This is a point in a story where one of the characters, usually an Action Survivor
, feels a need to take action against the Big Bad
The problem is, they can't fight.
Cue The Protagonist
going to a trusted friend who can
, and asking to be taught. They agree, but although the two are on friendly terms, the training is anything but easy. It's sometimes even Training from Hell
but the protagonist takes a level in badass
by the end of it. Cue Look What I Can Do Now
Note that they actually have to ask for the training themselves.
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Anime and Manga
- Oh god poor Shirahama Kenichi in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple . As the show goes on, one starts to wonder if he would've been better if he just lost the match to Daimonji.
- On the other hand, the benefits of the training far outweigh the initial (and admittedly still ongoing) terrors Kenichi faces from his masters; he takes several levels in badass to the point that he's able to hold his own against low-level Master-class fighters (even if he doesn't actually win) and he even increases his own training regimen without his masters' input. This is far more evident in the manga, which is still ongoing after the anime ended.
- In Madlax, after Vanessa shoots a person for the first time (it's to protect the eponymous heroine and she only grazes her target, but she angsts nonetheless), she eventually asks Madlax to teach her to shoot. It doesn't end well, as she dies when protecting Madlax again.
- Shakugan no Shana. Yuji is a Non-Action Guy, but his insistence on keeping up with Shana's demon-hunting lifestyle led him to receive Training from Hell from several different sources, eventually taking several levels in Badass. Most striking is when he's being pushed around by a minor demon, who intends to use him as bait to draw out Shana. He suddenly realizes that this guy is well below his current power-level, and proceeds to kick his ass. Yep, Yuji's all grown up now...
- Mahou Sensei Negima!. Negi is already quite good at the start of the manga (it's suspected that he's been training from age four), but it really gets serious when he asks Evangeline to teach him.
- Several of Negi's students (especially Asuna) also begin training, if they weren't competent fighters already.
- Happens in Rosario + Vampire, a couple times. The first time with Tsukune being trained by Ruby and Moka. The second time, Tsukune is trained by Touhou Fuhai.
- Change 123 uses this trope twice, both times a boy asks a girl to teach him... well, not actually how to fight, since both boys do indeed have some confidence and experience in fighting (one of them is a black belt in judo and another one a fearless street brawler), but rather how to take their fighting skills to a higher level.
- In Monster, when Tenma decides that he has to hunt down and kill Johann, the first thing he does is seek training from a retired mercenary on how to properly handle a gun.
- In the comic Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, Ali teaches Superman to box. This is, of course, to create a non-superpowered "fair fight" between the two.
- Also happens in The Forbidden Kingdom with the protagonist and Jackie Chan's character.
- With a name like The Karate Kid, you can probably guess that this happens without seeing the movie.
- In fact, this is pretty much universal in kung fu movies not starring Jet Li, Bruce Lee, or Chuck Norris. Taken to extremes when the "teacher" is so completely non-badass that the suspension of disbelief is completely broken, e.g. Billy Blanks, Pat Morita, Mako, etc.
- In Leon, known in some areas as The Professional, a young girl asks to be taught a hitman's skills in order avenge her brother's death.
- Luke's arc as a Jedi in training (Star Wars episodes IV and V) begins with the death of his guardian family on Tatooine, starting with Obi-Wan Kenobi as his mentor, but this trope is particularly invoked when he goes to Dagoba and trains with Yoda, where Yoda at first rebuffs his request for training, the training is particularly challenging, and he clearly does Take a Level in Badass when that training is finished.
- My Bodyguard, starring Adam Baldwin, has some of this in it.
- Pendragon: After nearly being beaten to death by Saint Dane, Bobby asks Loor to do this. His training is very much Training from Hell.
- Harry Potter: Ron and Hermione ask Harry to do this, and Dumbledore's Army is born.
- Previously, Harry asks Lupin how to fight off dementors, and Lupin teaches him the Patronus Charm.
- Jason Marshall, in Rogue of Gor, devises a plan to defeat the pirates who are terrorising the peaceful river-ports along the Vosk. But first he must learn to fight with a sword. He wins the gratitude of the broken-down alcoholic Callimachus, who when sober is an excellent swordsman, levels up as per the plan and does indeed defeat the mean old pirates over the course of the remainder of the book and the next one.
- Richard Cypher of the Sword of Truth spends a good portion of the first book doing this, until he takes up the mantle of the Seeker and starts calling the shots. He's a woodsman who doesn't even let himself be angry because his mother was killed by a fire caused by an angry outburst. He knows questing, and killing, from nothing.
- Subverted in Fraternity of the Stone by David Morrell. A man whose parents were killed by terrorists asks his Honorary Uncle to help him learn the skills to fight terrorism. Years later he realises that the man he looked up to actually arranged the bombing himself. There's a similar plot in Brotherhood of the Rose — two orphaned boys turned CIA hitmen realise their mentor has manipulated them all their lives, including setting up a mugging so they'd be motivated to learn martial arts.
Live Action TV
- Done in Community episode "Comparative Religion" when Troy and Pierce have to teach Jeff how to fight a bully.
- Heroes: Claire asks Noah to teach her to fight. She is reluctant to actually do this until he tells her to "Just hit me!" with a plank of wood.
- Xena: Warrior Princess gets asked this by Gabrielle.
- Babylon 5: Sheridan asks Kosh to teach him how to fight "those things" (the Shadows) after first learning about them, and that they were connected to the fate of his wife on the doomed voyage of the Icarus ("In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum").
- Subverted when Connor asks Angel how to fight vampires; he's actually doing it to learn Angel's fighting style so he can kill him.
- In The Vampire Diaries, Elena goes to Alaric for fighting lessons. While she can't really compete with the superpowered fighters, she does take a small level in badass. Probably comes in handy once she becomes a vampire herself.
- Dungeons & Dragons adventure OA5 Mad Monkey vs. The Dragon Claw. During the sea journey NPC Ko La Ko approaches one of the PCs and asks the PC to teach him kung fu so he won't be so useless in a fight.
- Shirou from Fate/stay night. Saber starts training him just to shut him up and convince him that he's out of his league fighting Servants. In the Fate route, she then notes that his body is quite well-trained, and continues the training to help him survive against Servants for a few seconds or possibly take down other Masters. In Unlimited Blade Works, thanks to Archer's skills seeping into him Shirou can somewhat keep up with Saber, but she then becomes very dissatisfied because he's performing better using Archer's technique rather than hers.
- Any military training obviously enough. But mentioned for historical interest is the Great Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941. These were a Teach Me How To Fight on a national scale, meant to change an army meant for small border actions into one capable of fighting World War II. The commanders of the "blue army" and the "red army" included many famous American generals.
- Cassius Clay A.K.A Muhammad Ali's origin story. After his brand new bike was stolen, Ali was taken to the boxing gym by the police officer he complained to so he could learn how to fight. The rest is history.