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Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy
aka: Arrogant Kung Fu Girl

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The insult hurts more than the injury.

"I did twenty years of martial arts training in ten years by skipping the discipline part so bring it!"
Broadman, Sluggy Freelance

More Sonny Chiba than Bruce Lee, the Arrogant Kung-Fu/Gongfu Guy is a loner. He's simply too mean to have friends. Unparalleled in combat, he has The Gift. His interpersonal skills are nonexistent, and his temper is best described as "volcanic." Living in a constant state of aggravation, his only joy comes from Trash Talking and putting "foolish fools" in their place (and sometimes even that's a stretch). He may not actually enjoy fighting, or even want to if he can help it, but it's all he knows, possibly through being trained by a Thug Dojo. Their view of the world means they can never understand the concept of the Worthy Opponent, as they are either better than you or you are the roadblock standing in the way of greatness (forcing them to recognize someone can be a Worthy Opponent is often where they will falter and reconsider their demeanor towards others).


With this character, Failure Is the Only Option. They are almost always defeated by The Hero and are never the protagonist. Much of the time, they aren't as talented as they let on. If taken seriously, they might defeat the hero or a member of the supporting cast, only to be defeated by the protagonist in a rematch. Often, if you're in an anime or eastern video game, they'll spout off a line about how you are a hundred or more years too early to be fighting them. If this character is the protagonist, expect Break the Haughty to come into play or for them to in some other way learn An Aesop that true mastery comes from patience, discipline, and humility. If not, then they may be a Designated Hero or at least a Showy Invincible Hero.

Despite the name, this trope does not merely apply to merely those that know Chinese martial arts. Indeed all martial arts are probably represented at least once in this trope somewhere. Nor is the limit there — any skill may apply. The Cooking Duel is about as likely to involve one as anything else. That said, at least for martial arts, due to their a having strong national identity it's probably more likely for a foreigner to display this trope for some bonus Cultural Posturing about their proud history, especially if the native land has its own martial arts traditions. Which probably explains why many Japanese-made examples do use Kung Fu for this trope, while China might, say, have an arrogant boxer instead.


Tends to have a foil in a Martial Pacifist, the inverse of this trope. The Stock Shōnen Rival is often saddled with this characterization, as their contrast to the Stock Shōnen Hero archetype usually mandates some sense of discrimination against those not born with great potential. See also Smug Super, Jerk Jock. Contrast/See also Cavalier Competitor and Insufferable Genius. Also an inversion of Miles Gloriosus, who has the social skills to maintain a facade but zero bravery or combat skill to back it up.


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    Comic Strips 
  • Akira Yamamoto from Hsu and Chan comics is an Arrogant Video Game Designer, who nevertheless fits this trope like a glove. Mainly because he's also a talented martial artist. He and his father are rivals to the titular Tanaka brothers, and their rivalry has gotten very physical in the past. Like when Akira cut Hsu's hand off in a swordfight.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Just how arrogant is Tai Lung? When he meets the Furious Five, who had just cut the rope bridge he was on and were holding it up just long enough for Tigress to get off it and drop him, his first move is to use the rope bridge like a lounge chair while asking where the Dragon Warrior was and then mocking the Five when he reveals that he knows that none of them are that warrior.
    • Master Tigress flirts with kung-fu arrogance but in the end, is closer to a subversion. She will gladly tell you that she has much to learn and does not boast about her skill. However, in the face of someone like Po, who possesses none of the skill or finesse that she has spent her life perfecting yet is supposedly The Chosen One in spite of that, she will speak her mind and some of this leaks out.
    • The third movie gives us Kai, who is too strong for anyone to beat, even Master Oogway. This is justified by Kai having stolen the chi of many well-known kung fu masters.
  • In Mune: Guardian of the Moon, Sohone has a greatly inflated sense of his own combat abilities and thinks he alone is good enough to save the sun after Mune messes things up. Of course, the audience quickly realizes that although he is strong, he lacks a lot of the basic knowledge Glim has just from reading.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Many villains from Kung Fu movies fit this trope, particularly the Beast from Kung Fu Hustle and Han from Enter the Dragon. Another would be Sho'nuff from The Last Dragon, who even has a gang/chorus following him around repeating how great he is.
  • In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Jen fits this trope to an extent, particularly in the latter half of the story. She has The Gift of the art of Wudan, uses it arrogantly, and treats a lot of people she meets as enemies, without even observing the usual etiquette of the kung-fu world when doing so. She's one of the rare examples that are both female and a protagonist, being more young and headstrong than an out-and-out bad girl.
  • Wong Fei Hung in the first Drunken Master movie qualifies as this, as the protagonist. He one-ups the school's assistant teacher by criticizing his style, constantly gets into trouble by getting into fights, and is generally a brat (with a streak of kindness here and there); yet even his father grudgingly admits that his son is an exceptional fighter, prompting him to teach his son a lesson in humility — by letting his uncle teach him a new martial art instead, one with a brutal training regimen.
  • Jet Li's character in Fearless (2006) starts off this way, before he accidentally kills a master martial artist and wrecks his best friend's restaurant, followed shortly thereafter by the posse of the former killing his family in retaliation. He then has a Heroic BSoD and reforms.
  • Number One, the Centipede, in The Five Deadly Venoms. Of the six students of the Poison Clan, he's easily the most self-assured, feeling that as the first student he's the one in charge and bearing an intense grudge against number five, the Toad, after being defeated by him. He's also the one with among the most impressive abilities; They call him the Centipede because he's faster than greased lightning.
  • Kiet from Furious 7, as played by Tony Jaa, is a textbook example.
  • Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • The Kurgan from Highlander definitely comes under this heading. He openly admits that he only seeks to kill all of the other immortals, and only deals with mortals for convenience/amusement, but is described as "The perfect warrior" by Ramirez.
  • Ip Man film series:
  • Sonny Chiba portrayed his real-life master Masutatsu Oyama this way in Karate Bullfighter, Karate Bearfighter, and Karate for Life.
    • His character Terry Tsurugi from The Street Fighter series also qualifies, a viciously brutal antiheroic badass with absolutely no qualms about killing opponents in bloody and painful ways.
  • The Cobra Kai dojo from The Karate Kid. No mercy, and all that. Oh, and karate is about winning. Don't be afraid to sweep the leg even if you risk disqualification.
    • Chozen from Part II.
    • And Cheng and Master Li in the remake.
  • Pai Mei from Kill Bill. Mr. "Compared to me you're as helpless as a worm fighting an eagle?" The man who slaughtered a temple of monks because one of them didn't return his nod?
  • Parodied to great effect in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, with "Wimp-Lo" constantly challenging the hero. His master "purposely trained him wrong, as a joke". He believes that losing is winning, and as such his abilities range from "my nuts to your fist style" to declaring: "I'm bleeding! Making me the victor!"
    • His counterpart from the original movie, "Tiger and Crane Fists", was a more conventional example, having mastered the Crane Fist and seeing no value in learning the hero's Tiger Fist, even though both their masters stated that only by uniting their styles would they be able to defeat the villain.
  • Several in Master of the Flying Guillotine, including "Wins Without a Knife", the dishonest Japanese fighter who, when outclassed, invariably pulls a knife on his opponent and kill them, and the titular Old Master wielding the Flying Guillotine himself, who searches far and wide for the One-Armed Boxer to kill him as revenge for a loss that wasn't even his.
  • While most of the gung fu fighters in The Paper Tigers have a bit of this in them, special mention goes to Carter. Unlike the Tigers, Carter had continued to train in gung fu, officially teaching in Master Wong's school, and has a chip on his shoulder for the many times they defeated him. He gives Koans in Gratuitous Chinese, identifies as Chinese when it suits him (despite being the only Caucasian character), gives overly elaborate opening stances, and takes obscene pleasure in humiliating the Tigers. After Hing is nearly killed by the Fourth Disciple and Danny and Jim decide to confront him, Carter drops the smugness.
  • Rocky:
    • Apollo Creed from the series initially fits this trope to a T. Subverted slightly in that while the guy does have an ego, it's partly played up in the ring as part of his flashy acts and openings, plus he gets plenty of Pet the Dog moments.
    • Clubber Lang from Rocky III is a better example. While Apollo clearly had a life (and a family) outside the ring, Lang cares about nothing but proving he's the best and "bringing the pain" to anyone who disputes that.
  • In Samurai 3 Duel At Ganryu Island, this is how famous real-life samurai Kojiro Sasaki is portrayed. Hero (and more famous real-life samurai) Miyamoto Musashi, something of an Arrogant Kung Fu Guy himself in the earlier films, completes his transformation into a Martial Pacifist as a result of their climactic duel.
  • Kelly Stone, played by Joe Piscopo in the film Sidekicks, is an example of this trope taken to ridiculous extremes. He even mouths off about Chuck Norris... to the man's face.
  • In Shaw Brothers wuxia Soul of the Sword, the nameless hero is this to the core, irritating practically everyone in the martial world by challenging famous swordsmen to duels...and killing them. Amusingly, he is repeatedly told that he is not, in fact, arrogant enough.
  • Darth Vader, in both Star Wars trilogies, shows many of these qualities (lacks respect for authority, resorts to violence with minimal provocation, etc.)
    • Especially Vader-before-he-was-Old-Buckethead, as depicted in the Revenge of the Sith finale (during his climactic duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar) fits this trope to a tee.
    • The more so Darth Maul. If you count in the EU background, the latter exemplifies a training style given to Sith deemed less gifted, in which they're taught little but martial arts and using the Dark Side to enhance aggression and physical power, intended to produce shock troops and disposable assassins. At times, there have been a lot of these.
  • Uri Boyka from Undisputed II: Last Man Standing movie considers himself "the most complete fighter in the world" and is just as skilled as he's arrogant. After having his knee snapped in the climax he takes a turn towards Warrior Poet in the third one.

  • A number of the Robot Masters in The Megas come across as arrogant assholes who think they're invincible. Metal Man in "Metal Dance" and Top Man in "Can't Stop the Top" are particularly notable; in particular, Metal Man actively invites Mega Man to take the first shot. It doesn't work out for them.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Pili Fantasy: War of Dragons: It's easier to list the exceptions. While there are some characters who are either humble or only have a modest pride in their skill, there are quite a few who are easily offended or goaded into fighting at real or perceived slights, fueling a perpetual Cycle of Revenge.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Back when the National Wrestling Alliance was still a huge thing, every other NWA World title holder seemed to be one. The most famous of course was Harley Race but every world champion belt had more than a few holders of this variety. If you were a champion of any regional territory of the alliance and your belt corresponded to a "world" equivalent, it was just safer on your sanity to expect the world title holder to give you headaches and stock up on aspirin early. Ric Flair was a subversion though, he talked a big game and did win a lot, but usually by the skin of his teeth and through dubious means. And he was proud to admit it. This hasn't stopped now that the NWA is a smaller thing either, it's just not as noticeable.
  • Antonio Inoki and New Japan Pro-Wrestling in general garnered this reputation in Inoki's efforts to prove professional wrestling the strongest style in the world and his particular brand of strong style the strongest of all professional wrestling. The NJPW dojo would attract and open its doors to any fighters who disagreed, then shut its doors on them and have the best guys in their locker room beat them up.
  • Even among New Japan Wrestlers, Masakatsu Funaki had a reputation for going to any length to show he was the best at whatever he happened to be involved in.
  • Also from New Japan is American Dragon. He takes his job very seriously and if you're going in the ring with him you had better too because he will always look to kick your head in and let everyone know he has till five. He'll lecture you on why you're not good enough to beat him, talk about everyone else he's beaten, boast about his unbreakable small package and if you have the unfortunate fate of falling to him, he'll celebrate over enthusiastically. Don't talk about your favorite wrestlers around him either, unless you compare him to them in a favorable way. He'll take not being mentioned as an insult.
  • Dragon's trainee, American Angel, wasn't an example of this trope at first but those days of humility are a distant memory. What's that? Easy escape point from the bottom position? She'll start on her back and still not get pinned? Tap out? She knows one million different submissions holds! No closed fists? Fine, it's more fun to knock people out with the foot anyway.
  • Despite being of the New Japan mold, helping form the shoot fighting Universal Wrestling Federation and becoming the general manager of MMA rules Pride Fighting Nobuhiko Takada was notably not an example of this trope for most of his career. That is until Fighting Opera HUSTLE came along and he became The Generalissimo bent on destroying professional wrestling in favor of mixed martial artsnote 
  • Minoru Suzuki is another for New Japan, talking down to foreigners and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners while kicking in the face those who would enter "his" ring holding the ropes. Also, was a founder of the world's second MMA promotion, Pancrase. He really wasn't quite so mean as he would have you believe but apparently his derision of jiu-jitsu is legit.
  • Similar to the above, UWF's "Gracie Hunter" Kazushi Sakuraba was not an example of this at heart but put up the image, boasting about the might and superiority of professional wrestling during the lead-up to his MMA matches. Once he actually got done with his matches, even when he won, he was much more respectful.
  • Continuing The New Japan trend is Akira Maeda, who was notorious among his coworkers up to and including André the Giant, for shooting when he did not get his way. Not even Antonio Inoki had much patience for Maeda but the fans loved him.
  • Even among New Japan Pro Wrestling, Katsuyori Shibata's persona plays on this enough to stand out. Only in this case, he is a "shooter" who looks down on professional wrestlers. Now add in No-Sell and suddenly we have a problem (or not, fans really like him)
  • Subverted by Black Rose, she's a cocky show-off with a short temper that shows little respect for her opponents and has a hard time believing she's ever not right, but wrestling isn't the only thing she's arrogant about. She's equally competitive in managing, coaching, and dancing. She might even try to befriend worthy opponents but be careful rejecting the offer.
  • Matt Sydal is the epitome of arrogance and lack of discipline, or so it seems. If pushed on the issue, he'll admit it is just something he puts on and he would never go so far as to alienate the people who may otherwise buy his shirts.
  • Jimi Mayhem in Vendetta Pro Wrestling, as any self-proclaimed "Shogun Of Harlem" should be.
  • The Young Bucks fit this trope to a tee. They are regarded as one of the best tag teams on the independent scene, and they won't hesitate to remind everyone how great they are. Their arrogance knows no bounds and they will superkick anyone and everyone, including referees and ring announcers, just because they can.
  • Few people would felt proud of getting disqualified in K-1, but Bob Sapp did, just like he laughed on his opponent's faces and threatened to eat them in cartoonish forms. When he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Kensuke Sasaki, everybody realized he went for real.
  • Samoa Joe as face or heel.
  • Roman Reigns: He loved the idea that he could be (and, to this point, is) the one to retire Undertaker, and refused to listen to Shawn Michaels' advice about the match prior to WrestleMania. On an episode of Raw, he told Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman, as plainly as he could, that he's done much more in WWE than they have. And, at least once, he's simply told the fans "I can't be beaten one-on-one in a fair fight whether you like it or not." Acknowledge him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 4th Edition has a whole class dedicated to the concept. The Battlemind is a psionic swordsman whose powers act as a form of wish fulfillment, and whose blade is an extension of their ego. Many of their powers revolve around berating enemies for their lack of skill so convincingly they actually become less skilled. Or just die from terror at your abilities There's even a Battlemind Paragon Path called "Steel Ego", and it's perfectly possible for a Battlemind character to not know they have psionic powers and simply believe themselves to be that good.
    • It depends on the player, but about half the fluff for the Monk class falls in this category; the other half goes into Dissonant Serenity.
  • Exalted: The worst of the Immaculate Order combine this attitude with that of The Fundamentalist.
  • Warhammer: The Blood Dragons' mastery of martial combat comes with a degree of pride and disdain for humanity notable even among vampires. Blood Dragons view the majority of the human species as nothing more than pathetic vermin fit for little more than testing a new blade's edge, and make no attempt at hiding this attitude.

    Visual Novels 
  • Franziska von Karma of the Ace Attorney series. Though she practices law instead of martial arts, Franziska is a good fit for the trope. Perfection is the only satisfaction she can understand and she acts condescendingly towards everyone else, both in and out of court.
    • Her father, Manfred, is probably the best example from the series (as later on Franziska does start to become more sociable, though still relatively harsh towards what she perceives as ignorance). Franziska has never resorted to murder in retaliation to her opponents, unlike her father.
    • Yutaka Kazami in Investigations 2 has this attitude towards dessert baking.
  • Bolt in SC2VN is an Arrogant Starcraft Player.

  • Aiastes from Break fits the bill, treating his fights like jokes and assuming his opponent cannot compete with him
  • Tek Jansen in Fake News Rumble starts out this way, but takes a level in kindness later.
  • Both Isabel and her grandfather Francisco in Paranatural are inclined this way, in a Jerk with a Heart of Gold kind of way — they both mean well, in their own way, but are super-invested in how awesome they are. Of course, this causes them to butt heads: Francisco is convinced his training is the best thing ever and Isabel needs to suck it up and learn it, and Isabel thinks it's a load of crap and putting up with his high standards is more trouble than it's worth.
    Isabel: I don't need Spectral Fist. I can make whatever I want out of paper just by deciding to...I'm only training to please you, Grandfather, so it'd be nice if you'd act grateful every once in a while!
    Francisco: Arrogant girl! How could an immaculate and majestic being such as myself produce a descendant with such a flaw?!

    Web Original 
  • Subverted with Johnny Lawrence in Cobra Kai, the sequel series to The Karate Kid. While Johnny is still something of a violence-prone jerkass, he also decides that having no mercy shouldn't also mean having no honor, and has no wish to see his own students make the same mistakes he made. In a Season 2 episode, it is revealed that the rest of the original Cobra Kai gang (minus Dutch) also honestly regret all the bullying they did as teenagers.
  • Master Ken, founder and head of Ameri-do-te, in Enter the Dojo, and some of his students will happily tell you how deadly their style is — and how all other styles are BULLSHIT
  • Ruby in RWBY is a downplayed version. She is a friendly girl to the people around her but she believes her skills alone are enough to win her any fight she's in. She initially identifies more with weapons than with people other than her family. And in the beginning, she is constantly being told that fighting isn't all there is to life. Part of her development is learning how to fight in a team and trust her teammates.

    Real Life 
  • Certain Mixed Martial Arts exponents dismiss traditional martial arts as outdated and ineffective. Some traditional pugilists dismiss MMA-ers as Know-Nothing Know-It-All upstarts. So on and so forth.
    • Anderson Silva aka the Spider of UFC fame is known for his taunting and goading in the ring. Often to the point that Dana White gets embarrassed about his tactics. While this tactic worked to unnerve his opponents, the one time he goes overboard is against Chris Weidman. After playing off a jab by Weidman Anderson drops his guard in an attempt to mock Weidman; only to be met by a flurry of punches that knock him out.
  • While Jobst Brandt made a name for himself with his groundbreaking book on bicycle wheel design, he's almost as well known for his endless tirades against anyone who disagrees with him.
  • Muhammad Ali. Subverted though, thanks to his many Pet the Dog moments. And the fact, that he was just that good.
  • For an actual example from Kung Fu, we have Li Shuwen, a famed martial artist from late Qing/early Republican China and teacher of many famed bodyguards and warlords. He was a notorious master of Bajiquan, a style specializing in powerful close-range fighting, and was a frequent unarmed and spear duelist who is believed to have never lost, maiming and even killing countless opponents in the process. He bragged that he did not know what it was like to have to strike a foe twice, and was known for announcing which technique he would use to win. A harsh teacher, unrepentant killer, and all-around unpleasant man, his vicious ways finally caught up to him in his elder years when he was fatally poisoned.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Arrogant Kung Fu Girl



After Rosalia pushes so many of Kirito's buttons, she and the members of Titan's Hand learn how underleveled they are compared to The Black Swordsman.

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