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Playing With / Good Old Fisticuffs

Basic Trope: A styleless brawler can defeat opponents trained in formal martial arts.
  • Straight: Rocky, a street brawler, can defeat the karate-trained Miyagi.
  • Exaggerated: Rocky, a man who just punches with his left arm until his opponent falls over, can defeat Miyagi-sensei, a karate Old Master with decades of experience.
  • Downplayed: Rocky defeats Miyagi, but it takes him a boatload of effort to do so.
  • Justified:
    • The martial arts style Miyagi uses is more of a combat sport than a system for a life-or-death battle.
    • Rocky is a Combat Pragmatist, while Miyagi is constrained by rules and honour.
    • Rocky stylelessness comes from Confusion Fu, which falls outside Miyagi's paradigms, so the latter Didn't See That Coming.
    • Rocky is physically superior to Miyagi to the point where his moves have no affect while Rocky's punches send him flying.
    • Rocky is used to fighting full-force and receiving full-force hits because he had to fight for self-defense, while Miyagi is only used to sparring with people that aren't seriously trying to hurt him. While Rocky isn't particularly stronger or faster, he has more real-life experience than Miyagi.
  • Inverted: Miyagi Curb Stomps a group of hardened street brawlers.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted: But it wasn't enough and Rocky gets back up and is the final victor.
  • Parodied: By wildly flailing with his arms and legs, Rocky Curb Stomps a group of experienced black belts.
  • Zig Zagged: Sometimes Rocky wins and sometimes Miyagi does. Style and formal training or the lack thereof alone doesn't decide fights.
  • Averted:
    • Rocky knows Mortal Kombat.
    • Rocky never engages any martial artist in combat, and thus their combat styles cannot be compared.
  • Enforced: The author has something against most martial-arts training.
  • Lampshaded: "Spare yourself the embarrassment Miyagi-san, Rocky's one of those hot shot street brawlers that are almost impossible to beat. Just say "there's no honor in this fight" and move on."
  • Invoked: As a sort of martial-arts Rock Beats Laser, Rocky drops straight into boxing when Miyagi attempts karate, in the hope that his heavy slugs will overwhelm its seemingly lackluster defences.
  • Exploited: "I bet $100 on Rocky!"
  • Defied: Myiagi makes a point to train in self-defence and immediate take-downs over the sport-based martial arts, and has similar technique and power to Rocky: it's just the latter discovered them the hard way.
  • Discussed: "This fight is like seeing breakdancer in a dance-off against a Russian ballerina. And the breakdancer is winning."
  • Conversed: "You know, if Rocky and Miyagi were scientists, Rocky would be the Mad Scientist who never set foot in academics while Miyagi would be the sane one."
  • Implied: Rocky beats Miyagi. While it's never outright stated that Rocky is the better fighter or why he won, seeing the two fight, it's obvious that Rocky's less-flashy punches connected more often than Miyagi's fancy flips and kicks.
  • Deconstructed: Rocky's ability to beat any trained martial artist leads to most schools and traditions frantically studying his "style" and methods to try and stop him and his ilk from making them irrelevant. Soon Rocky is faced with waves of formally trained martial artists who, thanks to their dedication and organization, have literally deconstructed his style and take him apart.
  • Reconstructed: The act of merely ingraining combat responses without also incorporating creativity and intuition is what causes formally trained martial artists to be outperformed by Rocky. Rocky can beat any preformulated strategy or technique because he's too adaptable and unpredictable to outfox.
  • Played For Laughs: Miyagi starts off doing a lot of gymnastics and spin-kicks, only for Rocky to stand perfectly still, wait for him to somersault over, and lay him out with one punch.
  • Played For Drama: Miyagi is an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who performs a lot of flashy moves while Rocky is Retired Badass boxer who sets out to teach him not to be a bully. Miyagi's bouncy movements symbolize his impatience and brutality while Rocky's meat-and-potatoes style signifies his stern discipline, allowing him to win the day.

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