"It can be inferred that we've been too soft on Kenichi. Therefore, I've designed a training program especially for him. It's called... 'Making His Whole Life About Fighting Even If He Dies!'"Characters in fighting, sports, and other My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours series have a tendency to go to extremes when doing their training. Whether it's a regimen concocted by a harsh (or just sadistic) mentor, or self-inflicted, expect to see our heroes go through training that would incapacitate or even kill an ordinary human. When played straight it's always worth it. The consequence is usually Charles Atlas Superpower. Hey, no pain, no gain. Ergo, according to this trope, a lot of pain, a lot of gain. Frequently occurs in a Deadly Training Area sometimes combined with a Batman Cold Open (or Danger Room Cold Open in the case of groups). For Training From Hell for a whole army, see The Spartan Way. For the parental or paternal figure version see Tough Love. May result in Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training if done from childhood. See also Improvised Training, when they have no equipment or money with which to train. See Look What I Can Do Now! for the aftermath.
— Koetsuji, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple
open/close all folders
- Used in a series of commercials for an auto parts store in the US. Ads so far have included employees changing a battery in a car while in freefall; and running through the savannah carrying a muffler, with raw meat tied to them and lions chasing them.
- Martial arts training in comics, particularly from Lady Shiva, often seems to consist of brutally attacking someone with negligible experience until this somehow causes them to develop proper form and build. In reality of course, being beaten up by an immensely more skilled opponent is not a very good way to learn to fight.
- Justified when she trained Batman in Knightsend, but only because he was an already experienced fighter trying to recover his abilities after months out of commission. Robin, when he trained briefly under Shiva, didn't get as much out of it.
- Batgirl III (Cassandra Cain) was brought up under Training From Hell so over-the-top it entered the realm of self-parody at times. Her workout program was said to have killed or driven insane all others who tried it. Of course since it included never learning to read or speak and only having contact with one person, social maladjustment at the very least would be expected. When Cass trained Stephanie Brown in turn, the training mostly consisted of her being knocked down with one punch, over and over again, although this may be because at the time Cass was more interested in moping than sparring.
- Similar to Cassandra Cain, X-23 was brought up under Training from Hell for the purpose of becoming an assassin for hire. Unlike Cassandra she was given an extensive education, although only because her handlers wanted her to be able to blend in with "normal" people to carry out missions. Of course it still causes her problems after escaping when she's actually trying to be normal, anyway. The training itself gets played with a bit in the events detailed in Innocence Lost and the follow-up miniseries, Target: X. Laura's sensei certainly wasn't easy on her, but was nonetheless fair and treated her with a great deal of affection. What Rice and Kimura did to her, on the other hand...
- Deconstructed in Wanted. The main character's initial training consists of being tied to a chair and having a guy twice his size pummel him for a few hours every day. It turns out the point was not to make him able to fight but willing to kill someone. This has some basis in Real Life military training programs; primarily it builds up a person's ability to handle pain and exhaustion, but it also builds up a lot of repressed anger.
- The Danger Room from the various incarnations of X-Men.
- Empowered goes through a workout session at the hands of her friend Ninjette that involves tree-hopping, swimming across a shark-infested bay, and shooting toys out of the air.
- Fairly subverted in The Middleman when Wendy begins her training with Sensei Ping. After a long sequence with Ida and The Middleman telling her how strict and ruthless a teacher Sensei Ping is and how unlikely she is to survive the first day, she bounces out of the training room, out of breath but mostly unhurt, yelling, "That was AWESOME!"
- In Bowling King, this sort of training is somehow necessary to be a successful bowler; Details aren't exactly forthcoming as to, like, why (other than bowling being seriously Serious Business), but on his first day of training Shautieh is forced to run for over three hours straight as a warmup. Later, he's made to mime sitting down while playing mahjong with ugly women, with the stipulation that if he loses or falls down they get to kiss him.
- Very controversial example in the current Dark Horse Conan the Barbarian comic series, which introduced a female warrior called Janissa whose "training" by her female Evil Mentor involved being repeatedly thrown into a pit full of demons and gang-raped by them until she learned to fight back.
- During Dark Reign Norman Osborn ordered Ares, Greek god of war, to train a special squad of soldiers. The speech Ares gave potential members of his team had him mentioning the possibility they can end as "bags of broken bones and blood" and that he will choose those who are worthy...or those he just wants to see in pain. Later he proved he wasn't kidding — his first lesson was "I will be shooting at you from a BFG, try to survive."
- Justified in the French comic series Requiem Vampire Knight. The training to become a Vampire Knight is hellish, and conveniently located in Hell. Of course, you will be fighting hellcreatures in Hell so...
- G.I. Joe, of course. This applies both to the Joes and Cobra. Most of this is merely hinted at in the character profiles, but one issue of the Marvel comic focused entirely on the training of new Joes. In addition to some grueling-but-expected training, it included having to watch a horribly boring training video about traffic safety for several hours without falling asleep. The Cobra file cards especially go into the horrible stuff you have to do to become an Eel or one of the the various types of Viper. In most elite Viper programs, surviving training is how you graduate. One might think that Larry Hama was exorcising some demons from his own time in the military...
- The Valiant one-shot Ultimate Warrior's Workout featured the titular wrestler revealing how he maintains maximum Destrucity. His regimen consists of lifting a giant statue, flinging cinderblocks in a stadium with enough force to wreck the place, dodging logs rolling down a steep hill, withstanding the waves of a stormy sea, and finally lifting a table covered in junk which he adds something to every time so it's heaver with every lift. Some of Warrior's "workouts" (the lifting the statue and table) can be seen as Fridge Brilliance since working out while off balance forces more muscles to engage, especially the core, and a stronger core helps to prevent lower back injuries.
- Judge Dredd:
- Judges undergo a fifteen year training programme at the Academy of Law. Minor infractions (such as crying) can result in expulsion. Regular sessions in a Deadly Training Area occur where cadets are trained in live fire conditions. After ten years, cadets undergo a "Hotdog Run"; a training mission in the Cursed Earth, a lawless wasteland that is the result of nuclear war. At the end of their training, they must undergo an on street assessment with a senior judge, which involves going on patrol and passing sentences on crimes. Minor mistakes can result in automatic failure. Even a near perfect patrol doesn't guarantee a rookie their full eagle, especially if a rookie is assigned to Dredd.
- The Law Academy in the dimension that the Dark Judges hail from is even worse. Primarily because a cadet in Joe Dredd's dimension, should they fail their evaluations, are simply kicked out of the academy and become citizens; on Deadworld they would have been shot. No surprise, since they were trained to become effective killers and torturers more than simply cops trying to keep the peace. It was apparently pretty standard for tutors to mutilate their students in order to raise morale.
- In Kick-Ass, one of Hit-Girl's lessons consists of her father shooting her just so that she knows what it feels like, when she’s only ten years old. In Kick-Ass 2, Hit-Girl trains Kick-Ass by hiring mentally challenged brutes to beat him up.
- In Usagi Yojimbo, Usagi is trained in a roughly standard way, but with an exception that made it hellish for a bit: Katusuichi started hitting Usagi with a bamboo stick at random times, day and night, such as when he was asleep. Although the rabbit kitten feared his teacher had gone mad and lived in constant fear for a bit, he later noticed that he developed the lifesaving habit of being constantly alert for danger and appreciated the spirit of his teacher's training.
- Brody is put through this to unlock his psychic powers in Brody's Ghost, a training that included weeks of constant exercise, learning combat, and being subjected to what was essentially torture (ten days of uninterrupted isolation, for example.)
- Dungeon Keeper Ami features this as a major facet of the Duel Arc. Ami has been forced into what amounts to a thinly-veiled public execution for angering one of the dark Gods. Her opponent, a Hornered Reaper, was one she'd managed to drive off once, and even beat, but all through means that would be stripped away for the duel. As a result, Cathy, commander of Ami's personal troops, trains her in melee fighting. At one point said training included sparring against one of her employees... a young dragon.
- In the Harry Potter AU The Darkness Series Harry gets dueling lessons from Voldemort at the end of which he frequently has to work on reattaching limbs.
- Many Naruto fanfics do this for ANBU selection. Ideas have included having two weeks to climb a mountain with no gear or chakra (knives are placed at the top at the one week mark and each member can only take their own knife), enduring interrogations that range from eight-sixteen hours a day for two weeks to thirty-one hours twenty-seven minutes (which is merely the minimum to pass) of continuous interrogation, and having to evade current ANBU while stealing notes (also guarded by current ANBU) and getting beaten and branded every time you're caught.
- Danzo's Team has this for all of Team 7's training. Naruto's in particular stands out as he learned how to fight with a tanto by having his teacher try to kill him with one. He was also taught how to train his sensor abilities by drinking a poison that eliminates all normal senses then being locked in a cave system and having to use chakra emitting devices to find his way out.
- In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, there's a whole school dedicated to this. Fittingly, Jack is one of the instructors, and it is expected that students will, in the course of training: break bones, suffer severe internal injuries, lose limbs, be Overdrawn at the Blood Bank and pay attention in class. It's called the KOMBT School, so this whole schtick isn't surprising. The rationale for allowing such ridiculously-physical training comes from bacta which patches any of the aforementioned torments up in a jiffy. Armando Bailey goes through a shorter one as well, having to dodge disruptor blasts and blacken his hands from using his latent powers, among other things.
- Pokémon: The Great Adventure has Ash's surrogate father and mentor send him to train with the Elites in preparation for the Indigo Conference, one Elite per week. Ash goes through some very hard stuff, including being used as a giant Onix bait and ending up with a giant Steelix attacking him, forced to read books after books about Pokémon and assimilating them in a week, having to climb the food chain of a haunted powerplant ruled by a giant Haunter and having to fight all four Elites and his mentor in basically one-sided fights. However, the reward was totally worth it.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Proto Man puts the Robot Masters through this in episode 9. It pays off, and they defeat Mega Man in a fight.
- In the Star Wars: The Old Republic fic Remi The Grey, Lord Scourge puts Jedi Knight Remi Syeriy through this while teaching her to use the Dark Side. Examples include refusing to let her treat injuries, encouraging another Sith to sexually harass her, and forcing her to watch a whole shipment of slaves (including very young children) get sold off to the scum of the galaxy while tied up and completely unable to do anything to stop it.
- In Emergence, to prepare to retrieve Yang in Syria, Joe takes Sam and Ruby to a military obstacle course and firing range. While Ruby clears the course with ease, Sam has a really tough time, especially since the course gets peppered with non-lethal but painful rounds to simulate an actual battle. He does a bit better on the firing range.
- Attempted in Teal'c's Wish by SGC to make Xander stay back from the front lines and "be coddled" and get Faith to quit. Instead both blow right through the training, Faith because she's a Slayer and Xander because of his various magical mishaps/possessions.
- In To Prey Upon the Dead, Ichigo is Covered in Scars and only one isn't from training. His spars with "Mother Masa" sometimes end with him impaled.
- Anko does this to her team in A Teacher's Glory, but intersperses it with breaks to train their minds and behaviors, such as taking Sakura on shopping sprees every ten days where they get all dolled up and practice infiltration skills by imitating useless noblewomen.
- All of the Sailor Scouts get this from Jason in Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm, which explains why they are deadlier than most (if not all) other incarnations.
- Second Wind: Luffy and Zoro begin training the rest of the crew in Haki in Chapter 15, once they’ve entered the Grand Line. It’s not only strenuous, but somewhat demeaning.
- Deconstructed in The Games We Play. Jaune's mother put all his sisters through this sort of thing, and while they grew up to become powerful Huntresses, they're also badly traumatised by the ordeal and barely on speaking terms with her.
- Guardian shows Yuna's summoner training edge into this when the Yevonite priest has her practice water-walking over the depths, even though she's not a strong swimmer, and allows her to continue doing so even after she nearly drowns and becomes feverish. When Lulu protests, he threatens her with penance for interfering with a summoner's duty.
- In the Harry Potter fanfic Rebuilt, Bellatrix puts Harry through this. Her first training session involves waking him up by throwing water over him then chasing him around the lake ten times, beating him with a stick when he slows down. Harry views Lucius's efforts at teaching him to act like a lord as this, too. While not as physically violent, they involve spending three hours learning about different sorts of cutlery.
- In Slice of Souls!, Ciaran's dads put her through this when she was a teenager, waking her up in the wee hours of the morning, making her run for miles, go through an obstacle course and do all sorts of strength training and Cross Fit exercises to help her fix her rage and abandonment issues as well as kick her booze and drug habits.
- Artorias also went through this when he became Ciaran's apprentice.
- Team 7's training in Team 7's Ascension starts with Kakashi throwing each of them into a different part of the Forest of Death with only a backpack of supplies (which doesn't include food or water) along with two scrolls: one containing an chakra control exercise and the other a jutsu. Their goal is to survive in there for eight weeks. He also cashes in a favor the Daimyo owes his clan to have Naruto learn politics for a month, Sasuke swordsmanship (without chakra), and Sakura etiquette. Then he makes them live in a training ground that has no water, almost zero vegetation, and few animals. The trio are forced to rely on Naruto's water jutsu for water and Sasuke's Sharingan to find animals to eat.
- In This Bites!, as soon as Cross has it hammered home exactly how dangerous being an ordinary human in a World of Badass is, he begins training under Zoro, who proves to be a Drill Sergeant Nasty. Not long after that, he ropes Usopp (and Carue) into joining him, and persuades Sanji to train Nami and Vivi.
- In Through The Cracked Mirror, Mukuro provides some details on what her training in Fenrir was like. She was only referred to as 35 and awakened every day at 4AM with a bucket of ice water, then told to run it off. Out of the 35 recruits her group started out with, only 10 survived it all.
- Played with in Knights of the Realm: the training Twilight Sparkle, Sunset Shimmer and Trixie undergo a terrifying training under Princess Celestia from a young age to become Knights of the Realm, but the training is just as bad on Celestia due her apprentices getting progressively crazier and causing increasing amounts of damage (at one point Twilight Sparkle destroyed half of Canterlot). It was so bad that, when new apprentice Knights appeared, Celestia fostered the job on the three Knights because she's still traumatized.
- Played straight with the new apprentices' training, whose easiest exercise is to pull a wagon (each) loaded with an absurdly heavy cargo. And that's the basic training meant to prepare them for the real training. In all fairness, Twilight, Sunset and Trixie did warn them it would have been that bad (and Rainbow Dash already knew it)...
- In 'Promises of a Wandering Hero'', in order to prepare Motoko to face her sister Tsuruko in combat in three years, Shirou trains her by fighting Motoko at slightly above her level. If by the end of the spar, she hasn't hit him once, he goes all out and beats the hell out of her. They do this every day: first thing in the morning, and again after dinner. Despite being in amazing shape, the training is rough enough that Motoko throws up afterwards.
Films — Animation
- In Mulan the training montage involved running through a field while being shot at by Arrows on Fire.
- In Mulan II, it is averted by Mulan, who begins teaching the girls to fight by telling them that one should be gentle and kind to others, in a reverse the scene with Shang from the first part of the film.
- Kung Fu Panda:
- Po gets abused by a dummy that knocks out a tooth, gets ensnared and cooked by the training devices ("There is now a level zero"), and gets beat on by four of the Furious Five and Master Shifu (although it could have been worse — if Shifu had had Tigress face Po, she probably would have killed him). This is actually a subversion at first: Shifu doesn't want Po to actually complete the training, he wants Po to give up and go home. After Po refuses to give up and Shifu changes his mind, the training gets less hellish but still rather difficult.
- Let's not forget Kung Fu Panda 2 which reveals that Tigress punched ironwood trees for TWENTY YEARS and now feels absolutely nothing on her whole body. Keep in mind she doesn't just not feel pain, but ANYTHING. Would really suck if she wanted to get a massage, or if she and Po got together. And yes, real martial artists do things like this.
- There's also Tai Lung who was pushed by Shifu to train until his bones cracked. Ouch. It should be noted that this is Truth in Television. Serious practitioners of kung fu really do train that hard.
- Turned on its head for Disney's Hercules where the training is worse for the trainer rather than the trainee. For instance;
Phil: [whilst standing next to a line of targets] Rule number 95 kid; concentrate!
[Hercules throws several knives which all very nearly impale Phil in the next shot]
Phil: Rule number 96; AIM!!
- Backstage footage of Gackt and his band preparing for concert is nothing but this. Gackt and his back up dancers' "training" includes lifting each other as weights and taking turns punching and kicking each other in the stomach over extended periods of time.
- Classical musicians sometimes go through this, especially at the famous schools like Juilliard. Overuse injuries are very common, and nervous breakdowns aren't exactly unheard of.
- This is an unusual example, in that most people going through the training wouldn't complain at all. They're all passionately in love with music, which is why they're studying music instead of something that pays better.
Training for Professional Wrestling in general seems to be this. It may be "fake", but it is highly dangerous, especially when coupled with the lack-of-experience of the participants, which leads to mistakes. Embarassing, painful mistakes. Many wrestlers have stated that the training they received was harsh, unforgiving and sometimes borderline torture, particularly in the Old School days, but it still isn't easy now.
- The Hart Family Dungeon. Stu Hart trained dozens of notable wrestlers, including his own sons.
- What Shane puts Vince through to prepare for the Royal Rumble.
- This is basically a fraction of what the Iron Sheik's AWA training camp was like, according to both Ricky Steamboat and Buck Zumhofe.
- The infamous NJPW dojo combines this trope with Japanese Spirit. "Young Lions" reared in the hierarchical New Japan system are not only subjected to rigorous physical training, but also obliged to perform chores and menial tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and attending to veteran wrestlers during and after matches. Given the consistently high caliber of talented, disciplined wrestlers the company has produced over the years, the system is not without its merits.
- Simlarly, All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling's dojo. American wrestler Leilani Kai, who trained there, said:
"We got up at 5 a.m. Running and skipping rope were a big part of our conditioning program. We would take the same bumps over and over. Each day we gave and took a hundred body slams. Our trainers also taught us kick boxing and the use of martial arts weapons. Before going to Japan I thought I had good wrestling skills. The skills that were learned in Japan were extreme to me. Moolah's school was the best school in the U.S. The skills learned in Japan started where Moolah's school left off."
- In Cthulhu Tech this is how Tagers are prepared to bind with their symbiont. First, they're practically tortured and emotionally manipulated by their instructors for at least six months, in order to learn how to maintain complete control over their bodies and minds. Then, they undergo the Rite of the Sacred Union, a three-day ritual in which they can't eat, drink, or sleep, having to remain focused the entire time. If everything goes correctly, they permanently fuse with a monster from beyond space and time. If something goes wrong, well...
- The Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000 are the masters of military Training From Hell. A typical recruit is a teenager when he endures his first trial. These trials are various but always potentially lethal: on a Feral World, the recruit could need to hunt and slay the fiercest predator on the planet, or survive in the outlands for an extended period; he could find himself in a duel with a real battle brother (a hulking monstrosity, eight feet and 800 lbs of carbon hardened bones and pure muscle mass); or the psykers of the Chapter could simply decide to Mind Rape him and see if he survives. If the young boy passes the trial, for years he will be gruelingly trained, cut open and stuffed with additional organs (some Chapters shun painkillers and assistance; if he dies from the wounds, he's not a good Neophyte), pumped full of drugs and conditioned by the Chapter Librarian. If he survives past his 18th birthday, he will become a full fledged Space Marine... Scout, and from there spend decades fighting until he is deemed worthy of being a Space Marine. Most of the recruits die; the unlucky ones are crippled for life, their mind is shattered and their planet will look at them as the living epitome of failure (some chapters use them as servants and support crew, which they're quite good at: no one wants to be the guy who let down the Chapter twice). The real unlucky ones are stripped of their free will and become Servitors to the Chapter officers: Fate Worse Than Death, indeed...
Each of the Legions has now nominated aspirants seeking to throw themselves upon our mercy in the vain hope that we may deem them worthy to join our ranks. Those loyal to the shrunken corpse on Terra still cling to their own processes by which perhaps one in a hundred neophytes may survive to become a battle brother. The methods I have developed over the last millennia are more stringent, for we must be pure in our hatred and hard of heart, body and soul. Fewer than one in every thousand survive, and I strive each day to lengthen these odds still further.
- And don't think they take just any 10-year-old. No, they take only the strongest, most savage kids ten years of survival on the planet has to offer, and often make them fight each other. The Black Templars comic has a recruiting battle-brother declare that four such recruits, on one planet, is exceptional good luck (though in this case they were all young men).
- Chaos Space Marines, what with being devoted to various horrifying gods, are even worse. Let's hear it from Fabius Bile, Mad Scientist extraordinaire:
- The Grey Knights make the Chaos Space Marines seem like pussies. First of all one has to be a psyker and quite powerful to even qualify for the dubious honor of choosing between being food for the Emperor or trying out for the Grey Knights. If he chooses the later he will be dropped on Titan with hundreds of thousand of other aspirants with the goal of reaching the Grey Knights Fortress Monastery thousand of miles away. The journey includes passing through all kinds of horrifying terrain, surviving the elements and horrors both real and psychic. Maybe one in one hundred thousands survives to reach the Gates of the Fortress Monastery. And this only qualifies him to begin a training more arduous then the one described above for normal Space Marines, because the aspirant must hone both his physical and psychic qualities. Maybe one in a million survive to become Grey Knights.
- Exalted: Since the basic idea of Exalted is that you can be awesome if you put an effort into it, Training from Hell is everywhere for both mortals and Exalts alike. Lore and War charms exist primarily so you can give a Training from Hell For The Peaceful Villager.
- In the case of Abyssals or Infernals, it's Training in Hell or Training by Hell. These are not for the faint of the heart. A certain Infernal-only Martial Arts can be taught faster through nightmares.
- Since charms learned by an Infernal are also learned by her Yozi master, this can potentially results in a Training for Hell. Insert Soviet reversal here.
- Although it is technically training from heaven, the training of a newly exalted Sidereal by the elders of the Five Score Fellowship is as harsh and demanding as the previous examples. Sidereals are the keepers of fate, they are well aware that their work is crucial to the very existence of the world as they know it, and they don't take training new recruits lightly.
- Mage: The Ascension features the Golden Chalice, a sub-faction of the Euthanatos that is effectively a fate-bending special operations group. Their training is said to be 24 hours a day for two weeks straight, with only the bare essentials of magic to keep contenders from dying.
- Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine: the Prodigy gained three ranks in The Ace by spending a long time in remarkably horrible training. One quote involves surviving for long periods on nothing but ice chips. It's no wonder she believes Hope Is Scary.
- The Crusader in 13th Age puts his paladin recruits through a gruelling experience more reminiscent of psychological torture or a lengthy tour of duty in Vietnam than the more traditional "squire" form of training. Washouts tend to be left with serious psychological scars.
- Although any martial art in Street Fighter could be done this way, but trying to master Bison's Ler Drit style or Vega's Spanish Ninjitsu is a particularly unpleasant pair of cases. Vega's standard training is to trap aspiring students in an orchard with one or more wild bulls, where they must either master the style's requisite agility or be fatally gored/trampled. As for Ler Drit... the lucky ones just die outright when they fail. The unlucky ones burn out their very souls, reducing them to Technically Living Zombies called Revenants.
- There are a number of careers in Rocket Age that have the incredibly harsh training regimes. The Legion Martien (the French Foreign Legion on Mars) leaves a trail of ruined men in its wake and the Nazis have a number of brutal training regimes with high attrition rates, some of which require surgery. The Martian warrior caste also have universally harsh training regimes but they can take it.
- Subverted in Fate/stay night. Shirou goes through training every night in magic that nearly kills him and terrifies anyone who sees it. This is, in fact, because he is really bad at practicing. It does essentially nothing for him. Another subversion comes in his sparring with Saber, where she points out that there's no way he can really hope to learn anything in such a short time so she'll just teach him to sense killing intent and get used to battle so he reacts better.
- Played straight, though, with our favorite Badass Grandpa Zelretch. He's notorious for periodically showing up at the Clock Tower and choosing out a few trainees. On the one hand, training under one of the few living practitioners of true magic, the man who killed an Eldritch Abomination bare handed? Sounds great! On the other hand, well, pretty much everyone he's ever chosen is currently either dead or insane.
- In Yo-Jin-Bo, Tatsunami Ittosai eventually reveals that as a child he was put through Training from Hell by his father, who believed that A Real Man Is a Killer. Ittosai is the only one of the guys who is completely unfazed when Kasumimaru uses a ninja technique to blind him, commenting that his father used to blindfold him and attack him until he learned to defend himself without being able to see.
- Dragon Mango: Lord Sherbert teaches the ''Sherbert School of Incredibly Dangerous Swordplay''. He is said to have "more fatalities than graduates", but an Elf who makes it through can withstand wearing an iron armor without even twitching from pain, while a simple direct contact with iron can kill an untrained Elf. His current pupil, an alumnus from another such school, asks for more: When he learns the girls are in danger, he asks Sherbert to crank it Up to Eleven so he can quickly graduate and rush to their help. Even Sherbert is surprised.
- Agatha's lessons with Zeethain Girl Genius.
"So the death thing this is supposed to prevent... why is it bad?"
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Gordito and Sean are forced to train to fight against 21 different spells within 24 hours. Their training includes being attacked with a flamethrower and having swarms of insects and snakes unleashed on them .
- KNIIIIIIIIIIFE EEEEEEEEYYYEEEE ATTAAAAAAAACK!
- This trope is basically the entire ninja method of child-rearing.
- In Misfile, Ash basically flat-out told Emily she would be put through this in preparation for her first race.
- Errant Story characters Chris and Sara both get a dose of this en route to becoming Ensigerum monks, but the circumstances aren't exactly the same: the Powers That Be are trying to bring Sara to the usual Ensigerum time-ninja status, but they're just hoping the training kills the other guy. Remarkably, it doesn't.
- Marena and Ten Winds from Keychain of Creation start putting Secret through this when they discover how low her Stamina score is.
Ten: You'll run or we can do the bee training again!
- The T-Girls of Jet Dream undergo extensive training in "Combat Femininity," with the purpose of acclimating themselves to their new bodies and defying Different for Girls with extreme prejudice.
- Collar 6. Mistress Sixx whips Laura severely to train her for pain tolerance.
- Subverted in Fite!, where Gorgado's harsh training seems to make Lucco weaker rather than stronger, and is more like a strange form of torture.
- In Demon Eater, the main character Saturno is going through this at the hands of the members of the Human Club.
- Homestuck has Dave's Bro, who quite frequently accosts his younger brother and beats his ass (Although Domestic Battles referred to as strife seem to be the norm in the Homestuck verse) in a total Curb-Stomp Battle simply to toughen him up (or maybe just for laughs). His Alpha Universe counterpart, Dirk Strider, isn't much better — he sends his friend Jake battlebots that utterly destroy him on their easiest setting in order to prepare him for Sburb.
- There are a fair number of distinct parallels between Bro's relationship with Dave and Jake's interaction with the "Brobot;" In both cases, Bro/Brobot present a seemingly impossible standard for Dave and Jake to live up to, because Bro/Dirk honestly believes that's what they need to succeed. However, both Brobot and Dave's Bro also serve as protectors to their charge, dealing with threats that pose a genuine threat to Dave or Jake's safety, and it's worth noting that Dirk holds himself to the same standards; he constructed Sawtooth to present a similar challenge to himself.
- The Avatar in Fire Emblem New Mystery trains obsessively; most of their supports involve people variously expressing shock at how hard they're working or completely failing to keep up with them in sparring. Apparently this was started by the Avatar's grandfather, who was of the opinion that the correct solution to fatigue was to extend the training session.
- Magick Chicks: Melissa had no idea what she was signing up for when she agreed to let Tiffany whip her into shape; especially since the wand had taken a liking to her. Meaning, Mel didn't have much of a choice, even her sleep. Her regimen included having to do dozens of single-handstanding pushups, sit-ups, sparring sessions, and parkour-style Roof Hopping. But about a month later, it paid off when she laid Rain out in seconds flat, from pure muscle memory.
- In Our Little Adventure, Angelika receives this from Candesco the Nemurik Cleric in order to cheat her way back to Level 8. She gets what she wanted, but she ends up getting skewered repeatedly and nearly boiled to death during these fights.
- Hilariously subverted in One-Punch Man: Everyone thinks Saitama went through this to get his ridiculous power, but his training of "100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and 10km running EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!", while tough, is severely underwhelming for all that hear it. Genos even states that for all the gravitas Saitama gives it, that's just standard strength training.
- Cale from Looking for Group spent his whole teenage years being beaten to unconsciousness by a group with sticks while blindfolded until he wins.
- Angel Moxie: A bunch of high-level literal demons get released for our heroes to practice on.
- The RPG Fanatic: At the end of the Castlevania: Curse of Darkness review the Student Sword forces the Fanatic to fight zombies as part of his ongoing "hero training".
- Sharon Kulikov from Survival of the Fittest was apparently put through this — by her own father, no less. Ironically the training doesn't help much when she gets into a confrontation and takes an axe to the back of the head, though her training didn't really involve combat techniques. Barry Coleson High's baseball and football teams also apparently went through an extremely rigorous training regime — described as military-esque — that would've cost their coach his job if it weren't for the fact that they're very highly skilled teams because of said training. The baseball team's practices apparently involve three miles' worth of laps around the entire campus at the start, hundreds of the same drills over and over, physical workouts, and being forced to do eighty pushups every time the player makes a mistake.
- YouTube's Billy MC went through this when his very first LP was Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. It took him a year in real time to beat it. However, he's since proven to be very good at easier — still fairly difficult — Mario games, like Super Mario Bros 3. He's also proven to be very good at games mostly considered Nintendo Hard since, having beaten The Karate Kid in only two Let's Play videos, Castlevania in four, and Ninja Gaiden in just five videos .
- Training for PPC agents is inconsistent at best, and can range from this (if you're lucky enough to get a thorough agent trainer) to being thrown into your first mission without any instruction whatsoever.
- Any fanfiction author unlucky enough to be "invited to attend" an Official Fanfiction University will go through this.
- In season 2 of Stupid Mario Brothers, Link trains the Mario Bros. to prepare for their fight against Nox Decious. It is however subverted when the training turns out to be a round of Super Smash Bros. which the Mario Bros. take seriously.
- Agents of the Organization from LIS_DEAD are put through extreme training pretty much from birth
- In Pyrrhic Joshua and his brothers were subjected to this by Sister Grace, with probably the least terrible thing mentioned done to them being waterboarding. It's implied that the reasons she did this was to prepare him for the supernatural aspects of the world that no one else knows about.
- We Are Our Avatars: Every Feccian Bladesman's training was this to some degree; for Zeke, it was this Up to Eleven. Justified, for if he was going to have any chance of going toe-to-toe with another Feccian Bladesman, he'd need all the advantages he could get.
- In the tgchan quest Chop's Dojo, Chop takes advantage of the neighboring magic school training healers. Given his dojo's typical training day involves running, hot coals, push-ups, running while carrying hot coals, and push-ups on the hot coals, the junior healers get plenty of training material.
- In Void Domain, Genoa puts her daughter, Juliana, through highly realistic combat. When Juliana finds a way to defend herself better, Genoa simply stops holding back quite so much.
- Rule 1 of Popo's training: Don't talk about Popo's training
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph psychologically trains Aang to Earthbend by doing things such as verbally abusing him, stealing his nuts and staff (literally his staff and bag of nuts), and not helping him protect his friend. Her physical training involves such tasks as running an obstacle course while carrying a boulder on his back, jabbing his hands through solid stone, and sending a giant boulder crashing towards him while blindfolded. However, this is a much softer example than most others on the page: Toph may be harsh, but she didn't give any exercise she didn't think Aang could handle, and the training itself is more harsh as opposed to downright brutal (Plus, she only verbally abused him when he chickened out of one of the exercises, and even then she didn't do it for that long).
- In The Legend of Korra, Tarrlok and Noatak are subjected to horrifying bloodbending, now illegal, training by Yakone, their father and the first known bloodbender capable of bloodbending without the help of a full moon. This training includes bloodbending one another as children.
- Airbender conscripts in the Earth Kingdom are abducted, thrown in a secret facility, and have stone discs flung at them for hours on end. Having energy spare to defend a fellow trainee is considered proof that you don't have enough discs being thrown at you, a situation they will happily remedy.
- Toph shows up again in Season 4 and offers to help Korra get out of her post-Season 3 Heroic B.S.O.D.. She subjects Korra to much of the same verbal abuse she subjected Aang to while also beating the snot out of the younger Avatar. While she did it mostly because it was fun, her actions did set Korra on the path to healing both physically and mentally.
- The cartoon version of G.I. Joe isn't as intense. However, in the multi-part series where Sergeant Slaughter first appeared, the Joes almost suffered a big setback after letting themselves get overconfident, so Gen. Hawk asked Slaughter to take over their training routines personally. Long story short, it was a good idea.
- In a later series, Slaughter is put in charge of an elite force called the Renegades, who he trains even harder. (The Renegades are a group of mostly-reformed thugs who need serious discipline to work with the Joes.)
- Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego had an episode that showed what went on in a V.I.L.E training program, which includes rappelling up the side of a life-sized mockup of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (or perhaps the real deal — Carmen did like to steal oddball stuff like national monuments).
- In an episode of The Fairly OddParents!, Cosmo and Wanda retreat to Fairy World to renew their fairy licenses; Jorgen von Strangle sets up a hellish training regimen as part of the renewal process, which includes doing 10 million push-ups.
- In The Boondocks, Colonel Stinkmeaner goes through a literal version of this after Granddad accidentally kills him, and Stinkmeaner is taught kung fu by the Devil himself so he can return to Earth and have his revenge.
- Stinkmeaner apparently doesn't think it's so bad, as he claims he's having the time of his life. He also called the Devil a "bitch-ass nigga" to his face.
- Wolf Den base in Galaxy Rangers. A bunch of Artificial Humans designed as living weapons put through grueling training like fighting giant mecha while being shot at with live ammo, being drugged with experimental substances, and casually being used as guinea pigs by their creators. The other students were happy to "weed out the weak" from their numbers, and didn't particularly care about little things like "casualties." That's before the Jerkass Corrupt Bureaucrat dosed all but the youngest with Psycho Serum.
- Generator Rex: Providence recruits go through 'Pain Week' during basic training — five days, one-hundred and twenty hours, of solid drills and exercises, with no breaks to eat or sleep. The trainer outright says that the goal of Pain Week is to force any recruit who couldn't handle fighting deadly monsters on a regular basis to quit early ... then walk down the long stairs from Providence's apparently cliff-top base and somehow get across a freaking desert to the nearest city. That's right, even the washouts get a little extra hell.
- This becomes an unintended case in the episode "Failsafe" of Young Justice when Miss Martian was overwhelmed by Artemis's "death" and her telepathic powers overrode hers and the rest of the team's conscious knowledge that the scenario was fake.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show:
Interviewer: Which animation show was the most rewarding and why?
Chris Reccardi: I would have to say Ren and Stimpy. But rewarding like getting ten root canals, and then growing new super-teeth later.
- When Samurai Jack asked to be taught to "jump good", the tribe of ape-people he'd befriended tied rocks to all his limbs and a giant boulder to his back, then ran him around the forest performing chores and surmounting obstacles. When he started, he could barely move under the weight; when he finished his training, the stones' removal left him feeling so much lighter that he virtually floated away with the smallest of efforts.
- Season Five has the Daughters of Aku, an Amazon Brigade of assassins who were born and raised for the sole purpose of killing Jack. Training ranged from being forced to fight a giant muscular woman as children to being shot with flaming arrows in the dark to hone their senses. They are not allowed to see the outside world, any distractions are punished with repeated punches to the face, and their final test is a battle to the death with their trainers (except for the High Priestess, who stays alive to declare their training complete). The result is that they are brutally efficient and far more dangerous than the typical foes that Jack faces.
- Dragons: Riders of Berk: Gobber claims that his father taught him to swim by threatening to kill him.
- Col. Hunter Gathers favors this method twice in The Venture Bros. First, in a series of flashbacks, he is shown training future One-Man Army Brock Samson. He introduces himself with a steel baton to Brock's kneecap and later, after learning that Brock can't swim, forces him into a swimming pool with armed frogmen and a shark while Hunter tosses grenades into the pool. In another episode, when Hank Venture tries to join SPHINX (Sphinx!), he puts Hank through a series of difficult tests trying to ensure he fails. Hank, having endured far worse in his life as a boy adventurer and having learned directly from Brock Samson, passes every test, much to Hunter's surprise.
- The Cow and Chicken episode "Sergeant Weenie Arms" has the titular sergeant training Chicken, Flem and Earl to become manlier by making them do ludicrous acts such as shaving with smooth rocks and cutting down a tree with their faces. The next day, they wake up muscular and he congratulates them with dolls, saying that men shouldn't be afraid to play with dolls.
- Xiaolin Showdown: The first week at Master Quon's temple sees the monks woken before the sun rises and run through a course of death machines till they drop, while being shouted at. Its all part of a secret plan to fool the villain but doesn't make it any less painful, especially since only Raimundo knew.
- Steven Universe:
- Deconstructed in the episode "Coach Steven". Steven tries to work out extra-hard so he can be stronger, but instead he wears himself out, and the next day he's too exhausted and sore to stand up.
- Also deconstructed in "The Test", where each of the Gems designed a chamber to put Steven through his paces mentally and physically, with Garnet's looking especially threatening (fire walls, spiked crushers, etc.). It's only when a crusher stops inches before hitting Steven and he walks right through a fire wall does he realize that the chambers were designed to let him succeed and keep him out of danger, even if he failed what he was supposed to do.