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1->''"You can tell a shounen series by the amount of times that someone says 'I'm training to become stronger.'"''≤-->-- ''[[ Anime Nano Podcast]]''≤≤In [[FightingSeries shows where mano-a-mano combat is a main plot element]], characters spend much of their lives training and [[SuperWeight improving their strength]] so they can one-up each other at a critical point in a fight. This invariably develops into an arms race that can, and has, taken out entire planets and solar systems.≤≤This has a [[TruthInTelevision grain of truth]] in it, as between two equally ''skilled'' fighters, the deciding factor will often be one's strength.≤≤Compare WeakButSkilled, and contrast UnskilledButStrong. If two nations do this, it's a LensmanArmsRace. When the situation is about equipment and weapons rather than physical prowess, see BiggerStick. If two {{Rules Lawyer}}s do this, it's MyRuleFuIsStrongerThanYours. Also TheGreatestStyle, where one form of "kung fu" really is stronger than another.≤----≤!!Examples:≤≤[[foldercontrol]]≤≤[[folder:Anime and Manga]]≤* ''Anime/DragonBallZ''. In fact, this is the point of all four Dragonball shows (though less so in the beginning of ''Manga/DragonBall'', ''Anime/DragonBallGT'', and much of ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'').≤* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'', ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' and every other shonen series. It can be seen to a considerably lesser degree in other anime where martial arts are a central element, such as: ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', ''Manga/FlameOfRecca'' and ''Manga/SumomoMoMomoMo''.≤* Also seen to a lesser extent in sports anime such as ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis'' and ''Anime/{{Eyeshield 21}}'' (with training the sport instead of fight training).≤* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', between arcs, in the middle of arcs, [[TalkingIsAFreeAction even in the middle of ]] ''[[TalkingIsAFreeAction battles]]''.≤* This isn't just a factor in martial-arts series. It can show up in {{Mon}}s series like ''Franchise/YuGiOh'', ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'', ''Franchise/{{Beyblade}}'', and ''Manga/FightingFoodons'', and CookingDuel series like ''Manga/YakitateJapan''. Essentially, anything that has individual competition, typically in a TournamentArc, will tend to end up with this kind of arms race.≤* Displaying formidable multitasking skills, the main character of ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' is revealed in the series' ancillary manga to be able to train in the magical equivalent of VR constantly while leading her normal civilian life, apparently to explain her jump from neophyte magical girl to hardened battlemage in the short interval between the show's first two seasons. After the second season, she trains so hard she becomes known as "[[TheAce Ace of Aces]]" and is promoted to Combat Drill Instructor [[ImprobableAge in her early teens.]] In the third season, another character trains herself nearly to the point of exhaustion in an effort to prove herself ([[HardWorkHardlyWorks but doesn't quite succeed]]).≤** It didn't work because the show decided to point out that mindlessly trying to improve yourself with brute force tactics doesn't work, it just breaks you down. Nanoha had a HeroicRROD in during the second TimeSkip, specifically because of all the training she did.≤** And when Teana actually started listening in class, she got a lot better herself.≤** The [[AllThereInTheManual StrikerS manga]] devotes two chapters to explicitly deconstruct this trope: the younger cast try to figure out the "strongest fighter" in their organization, but eventually learn AnAesop that no matter how strong your opponent is, he always has a weak spot which you can exploit to defeat him. The winner is thus determined not by a single variable but by a combination of quick thinking, experience, magical power, and sheer luck.≤** Einhard Stratos from ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'' wants to prove that her Haoryu Kaiser Arts is the strongest. Victoria Dahlgrün wants to prove that her lineage is superior than of the other Ancient Belkan kings. And Sieglinde Jeremiah is more successful in proving that her Black Jeremiah fighting style is the strongest. It also helps that her ancestor, Wilfried Jeremiah, taught Sankt Kaiser Olivie Sägebrecht, who was the strongest warrior of the Ancient Belkan Era, how to fight and taught her the Jeremiah fighting style.≤* In a decidedly more [[HermeticMagic magical]] example, ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'''s Negi trains constantly for fear of harm coming to his students. He's particularly fond of using [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Evangeline]]'s [[YearInsideHourOutside time-warping villa]] to add extra hours (or rather ''days'') to his day to train more.≤* Although the battles are of actual skills (usually) in ''Manga/{{MAR}}'', the good guys are often sent to train themselves in this manner for the next set of battles whenever the story allows, often using a time-warp ARM in the process.≤* In ''Manga/LoveHina'', Motoko is stunned when Seta defeats her in martial arts, and becomes fixated on challenging him.≤* The titular character in ''[[Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi]]'' already goes through a daily regimen of TrainingFromHell to build up his stamina and improve his skills, but the few times he actually ''loses'' to an opponent, such as [[spoiler: Odin and Tirawat Koukin]], he forces himself to train even harder for the inevitable rematch.≤* Multiple Dei in ''Anime/KidouTenshiAngelicLayer'' spend all their free time training for the titular game -- even Misaki, the lead character that converts and attracts her opponents by teaching them that it's just a game rather than SeriousBusiness.≤* The very reason Kyo of ''Manga/FruitsBasket'' goes into the mountains to train for six months is to one day beat his cousin Yuki in a fight (the manga reveals [[spoiler:this is a lie covering up an unrelated HeroicBSOD, though]]). Every time Yuki wipes the floor with him, he only vows to become stronger... over... and over... again.≤* The 5 protagonist of ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'' spend a good period of the middle of the series training in the Guyana Highlands in order to overcome individual [[MyGreatestFailure failures]] ([[spoiler:For Domon, it's his unfocused rage actually helping the Devil Gundam; for the other four, it's DG Cell possession making them question their own motives]]).≤* Mugen from ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' always trains to the point of absurdity when there is an opponent stronger or more skilled than he is.≤* ''Manga/{{Swan}}'' is a shoujo version of this trope, but with ballet as the plot point.≤* ''Manga/BakiTheGrappler''. The greatest styles are "Total fighting" (Baki) and "Every martial art you damn please" (Yujiro).≤* {{Parodied|Trope}} in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', when [[TheRival Ryoga]] learns a technique to channel his {{Wangst}} into a mini AngstNuke. Ranma uses AwesomeByAnalysis ([[AttractiveBentGender and]] [[IHaveBoobsYouMustObey deception]]) to rip off the same attack. [[HilarityEnsues Cue contest to have a worse life and channel more]] {{Wangst}}. Ultimately [[spoiler: Ranma [[TookAThirdOption takes a third option]] and learns a counter-technique based on confidence. Unfortunately he severely underestimated the power of the [[UpToEleven upgraded version]] of Ryoga's technique, which became a true AngstNuke. Cue CurbStompBattle until Ranma's AwesomenessByAnalysis kicks in and points out a weak point in Ryoga's AngstNuke]].≤* Deconstructed in ''Manga/MutekiKanbanMusume'', a DeconstructiveParody of the FightingSeries: HardWorkHardlyWorks, so the only one who trains to be stronger than Miki the protagonist is Kankuro, the UnknownRival who doesnít have a chance to beat her. Toshiyuki (the WorthyOpponent) and Megumi (TheRival) know that they canít beat Mike with brute force, so they [[WeakButSkilled use their intelligence]]. And not even [[VillainTeamUp all of them together can beat Mikiís mother]].≤* Benny of ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' quotes this almost ad verbatim during the Greenback Jane arc.≤* Many characters from ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' boast that their martial arts are the best or that they are the greatest fighters. They usually are killed by the main character Kenshiro, who proves that the Hokuto Shinken, which has a 2000 years long history, is the strongest martial arts.≤* Although ''Manga/FairyTail'' usually averts this trope, it is occasionally played straight. [[spoiler:Mirajane's victory over Fried despite her rustiness is mostly because she just has more power than he does plus running on UnstoppableRage. Elfman has to overcome his mental block of using Full-Body Take Over to beat Sol. Natsu gets a temporary power-up from Jellal in order to defeat Zero.]]≤[[/folder]]≤≤[[folder:Comics]]≤* This phrase is actually said in the Marvel comic ''ComicBook/ImmortalIronFist''. The protagonist would necessarily have to have the strongest kung-fu if he could kill a dragon barehanded, so it wasn't empty boasting. Eventually he does get his ass handed to him by a guy who's even better.≤[[/folder]]≤≤[[folder:Films -- Animated]]≤* Unsurprisingly, since it is a kung fu movie and owes a certain amount to anime tropes, ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' has this as the basic set-up for the fight with the BigBad: that in order to defeat Tai Lung, the [[TheChosenOne Dragon Warrior]] must attain the [[MacGuffin Dragon Scroll]], for only with its cosmic powers can he hope to be strong enough to prevail. To hammer this point home (as if it needed it), after learning that his former student has paralyzed the Furious Five, Shifu declares that "Tai Lung has gotten stronger." Cue the delivery of the scroll to the understandably freaked Po.≤* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'' where Lord Shen can't beat Masters Croc, Storming Ox, and Thundering Rhino with his admittedly formidable kung fu style... which is why he shoots a cannon at them. Po, however, still uses martial arts to to beat Lord Shen's cannons after [[spoiler: achieving inner peace.]] ≤[[/folder]]≤≤[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]≤* Parodied in ''Film/AmericanPie'' during an overblown speech by Kevin.≤* ''Franchise/StarWars''≤** From ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'':≤--> '''[[OldMaster Yoda]]''': Powerful you have become, Dooku. TheDarkSide I sense in you.≤--> '''[[MasterSwordsman Dooku]]''': I have become more powerful than any Jedi. [[ArrogantKungFuGuy Even you]].≤** ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'': Obi-Wan says he is unwilling to kill Anakin, but Yoda sends him to fight him anyway, because "To fight this Lord Sidious, strong enough you are not." [[spoiler:Yoda finds he isn't strong enough either.]]≤* From ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'':≤--> '''Dark Helmet:''' You have the ring, and I see your [[LaserBlade Schwartz]] [[PhallicWeapon is as big as mine.]] Now let's see how well you handle it.≤* The basic premise of the Stephen Chow flick ''Film/KungFuHustle'' where everyone's kung fu is stronger than someone else. Sing's kung fu for the majority of the movie is awful, leading to him being beaten and slapped around by everyone... [[spoiler: until he is beaten to near death. This unlocks his "blocked chi" and he achieves peace with Buddha. Also he can knock buildings down with his hand. Without touching them.]] ≤* In ''Film/ManOfSteel'', Zod boasts during his fight with Superman that he has trained his whole life to be the perfect warrior. What he says has a fair degree of logic, though. Would you expect a person with little to no combat experience to stand a chance against someone who was specially trained to be a warrior? ≤-->'''Zod:''' Where did ''you'' train? ON A ''[[FarmBoy FARM]]!?'' ≤* The original ''Film/GameOfDeath'' wants to show that a good martial artist always has to improve and adapt to any situation that can occur.≤* Pretty much every Shaw Brothers [[{{Wuxia}} kung fu]] movie ever has this as either its major theme or as an important plot element. ≤[[/folder]]≤≤[[folder:Live-Action TV]]≤* In ''Series/ThunderboltFantasy'', [[WorldsGreatestWarrior The Screaming Phoenix Killer]] meets [[EvilOverlord The Bones of Creation]], they [[ScryvsScry predict that their battle will end in nine moves]]. [[DuelToTheDeath Only one will leave alive]]. ≤* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' / ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' has a lot of cases, but especially the {{Wuxia}}-themed ''Series/JukenSentaiGekiranger'', where the entire point of the series was two rival schools of fighting squaring off against each other.≤* In the finale of ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' - season 3, there is a delicious example of this, in a scene with the season's "BigBad" and Dexter. Remember Doakes's comment about why would a nerd like Dexter need to learn advanced ju-jitsu? Well it's so that when[[spoiler: other killers tie up Dexter and are armed with a pretty menacing blade he can overpower them and snap their neck like a twig...with one good hand as he had to break his other one to get free from those pesky ropes that were holding him(Dex) down]]. Very strong kung fu indeed.≤* PlayedForLaughs in ''Series/TheCrazyOnes'' when Simon Roberts, played by the inimitable Creator/RobinWilliams, says "Your Kung-Fu is no good!" (with requisite out of sync lip movements) to the giant [=Rock'Em-Sock'Em=] Robot in his office as he hides from an important meeting.≤* ''[[Series/WonderWoman1975 Wonder Woman]]'': The source of Wonder Woman's powers. In "Fausta, the Nazi Wonder Woman", Wonder Woman, under control of the golden lasso, explains to a disbelieving Colonel Kesselman that her strength comes from training in a pure environment. And, of course, she had to beat every other Amazon in order to become Wonder Woman.≤* ''Series/TheXFiles'': In "The Unusual Suspects" (origin story for Series/TheLoneGunmen), Frohike is stumped by a mystery Byers and Modeski brought to him, and they end up on Langly's doorstep. Langly forces Frohike to quote this trope before allowing them in to use his equipment. ≤[[/folder]]≤≤[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]≤* It's an actual ''character flaw'', explicitly ''called this'', in ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}''. It's intended for [[SupernaturalMartialArts Enlightened]], but could thematically be used to create any character who takes great pride in their key fighting skill and is frequently fighting others to prove their superiority.≤[[/folder]]≤≤[[folder:Video Games]]≤* Any game with a level up system, particularly those that give room for LevelGrinding, ultimately runs on this. Most RPG games fall into this trope on some level. ≤* Most incarnations of the ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' series portray Ryu as a loner who does nothing but train in his spare time. He is motivated to do this because Akuma killed his master (who was also Akuma's brother). Akuma himself has sacrificed his whole life to the way of the Satsui no Hadou ("Murderous Intent"), striving forever to become a stronger fighter, but also looking for someone who can defeat and kill him. He once defeats Ryu and then spares his life because he knows Ryu has the potential to become the greatest warrior on Earth (and the potential to fall into Satsui no Hadou as well).≤* Also a quote for ''VideoGame/DukeNukem''.≤* The rift that developed between Aoi Matsubara and Sakashita-senpai in ''VisualNovel/ToHeart'' was the result of the latter's unacceptance of "Extreme Fighting" as a martial art.≤** This rift disappeared when Aoi won the Extreme Fighting Championship in ''To Heart: Remember My Memories'' when Aoi defeated her senior Ayaka Kurusugawa who had defeated Sakashita earlier on in the tourney with ''one roundhouse kick to the head'', a la [[MemeticBadass Chuck Norris]].≤[[/folder]]≤≤[[folder:Web Comics]]≤* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Vaarsuvius says to Xykon, [[ "My power... EXCEEDS yours!"]] [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown Buuut that didn't help Vaarsuvius much.]] Actually, it makes it even worse. Had V just been out to end his reign of terror, he would have gone easy on them. In the case of a duel of strength, he had no reason to hold back.≤* An ''OldMasterQ'' [[ strip]] shows this between Chinese and Western fighting styles, ending in a stalemate.≤[[/folder]]≤≤[[folder:Western Animation]]≤* ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'': "We are the Samurai Kung-Fu Warriors From Somewhere East of Pittsburgh. Our kung fu... better than your kung fu!"≤* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' gets in on the fun in Magic Duel. Trixie returns with an ArtifactOfDoom and [[CurbStompBattle smears Twilight all over the landscape]] with spells. A good portion of the episode consists of Twilight training with Zecora to become strong enough to fight back. [[spoiler:Though they play with the trope a bit. Instead of becoming strong enough, Twilight relies on trickery to win.]]≤[[/folder]]≤≤[[folder:Real Life]]≤* In Chinese slang, the phrase "Kung Fu" is akin to "Mojo." In any activity, rivals will compare their respective Kung Fu with each other. This is because 'kung fu' means 'human achievement', or, skill.≤-->'''Jim:''' [[HongKongDub "Their Tiger Style kung fu is strong, but our Dragon Style kung fu will defeat it!"]]≤[[/folder]]≤≤----


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