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Boxing Lessons for Superman

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"Depending on one's training and how they're used, Devil Fruit powers can become a weapon as powerful as any. I'm not like the rest of you fools, who depend solely on your powers."
Crocodile, One Piece

Take an already abnormal character and teach them some sort of mundane skill to kick their badassery up another notch. Got an Imagination-Based Power? Some engineering classes might make your constructs more formidable, along with art classes to stretch the imagination. Got Super-Strength? How about some Karate to avoid being Unskilled, but Strong? Are you a shapeshifter who relies on mimicking others? A few acting workshops could really help you embody your various roles. The power and the skills involved can exist in numerous combinations, but it works to the same effect.

One place to learn this sort of thing is in a Superhero School, as that's usually the whole point. This trope may also help a character find ways to push the limits of their powers, perhaps even overcoming the limitations imposed by Required Secondary Powers as a result of having new skills and knowledge needed to work around their power's weaknesses.

Compare with Mundane Utility, which is a sister trope. It may invoke cases of Mundane Made Awesome. If the character needs trained combat skills normally rather than just for a few special circumstances, he probably Fights Like a Normal. Compare also How Do I Shot Web?, in which the character requires specialized training or knowledge just to use those powers at a basic level.

Contrast Charles Atlas Superpower which is effectively the inverse of this trope. While Boxing Lessons For Superman features an extraordinary being learning a mundane skill to augment their abilities or serve as something extra to fall back on, Charles Atlas Superpower has a supposedly ordinary being able to achieve the extraordinary through proficiency in a mundane skill. See Strong and Skilled, which is what this trope often results in, or Talented, but Trained, wherein the hero(ine) is already powerful, but focuses and refines their abilities.

For more information on this trope, please see our Analysis Page.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Symphogear's Hibiki gains Magitek Mahou Shoujo powers but not the Impossibly Cool Weapons, flashy Called Attacks, and seemingly inherent fighting skills all the other girls have. Her powers just let her face the enemy with all the combat prowess of an ordinary middle-schooler until her Training Montage with the resident Badass Normal puts her unarmed combat on par with her BFG- and BFS-wielding counterparts.
  • In One Piece, this trope applies to most characters. Devil Fruits don't get stronger, users become more creative at using them and develop secondary skills to make using them better.
    • To cite one example, Crocodile of the Seven Warlords of the Sea is an Elemental Shapeshifter, having eaten a Devil Fruit that gives him the power to control, create, and turn into sand. He has mastered his Devil Fruit to the point that he can suck up the moisture from objects and people, leaving them as shriveled, withered husks.
    • Another good example is Trafalgar Law, who has the ability to connect pieces of different objects together or swap them with other pieces. To make the best use of this ability, he mastered the Sword Beam to slice things up so he can have the pieces needed to manipulate, and from a distance where most fighters cannot safely reach him. Even better, it was revealed that Law used to suffer from an illness considered terminal. By eating the Op-Op Fruit, he could make use of its power to the fullest, having received training as a doctor. He even cured himself of the illness using the fruit's power. One could even say that the devil fruit was practically made for him.
    • It's eventually revealed that not adhering to this trope is the reason that normally Nigh-Invulnerable Logia fruit users rarely survive in the New World, where so many people are able to use Haki to nullify their invulnerability. If a Logia fruit user is over-reliant on their Nigh-Invulnerability and doesn't have anything else to fall back on, they're screwed.
  • Bleach:
    • The Blood Knight Kenpachi is Unskilled, but Strong, using absolute brute force to beat most opponents. But when he finally faces one whom brute force is useless against, he switches to his secret weapon: a basic kendo swing that Commander Yamamoto had forced him to learn... which is so powerful it causes his opponent to explode. In chapter 520, Kyouraku's first order as the new captain-commander of the Gotei 13 is to give Kenpachi more formal training to prepare him for Vandereich's next move. Soul Society's ruling council actually doesn't want Kenpachi to get any stronger because they are worried he'll be unstoppable if he decides to rebel against Soul Society. Kyouraku convinces them that they need Kenpachi to become stronger, because if they lose in the current war, they'll be too dead to worry about such things. Kenpachi's teacher is Retsu Unohana, the first Kenpachi.
    • Ichigo, like Kenpachi, was always recognized as Unskilled, but Strong, having immense spiritual power but little practice in harnessing and controlling it. During the Fullbring Arc, which occurs after the Time Skip following Ichigo's sacrifice of his Soul Reaper powers, in his training with Xcution, he's forced to actually learn how to harness his spirit energy in more creative ways, especially since he's back at square one. Kugo Ginjo, the leader of Xcution, also put Ichigo under an extensive physical regimen. As using Fullbring powers requires Ichigo to act using his regular body rather than his soul, as he did when he was a Soul Reaper, Ginjo stated that Ichigo needed to beef up his physical body. This results in a dramatic increase in Ichigo's strength when his Soul Reaper powers are actually restored, to the point where Ginjo mistakes a heavy sword swing from Ichigo as a Getsuga Tensho.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • It's easy to forget, but this is what Master Roshi's training was for Goku in the second arc. When he's introduced, Goku is a very strong individual who knows how to fight and take down anyone who challenges him, but his time with Roshi gives him the proper outlook, training, and discipline of a martial arts master. Come the following arc, he's running rings around entire armies and all the weapons they can bring to bear. Of course, this being Dragon Ball, this is merely the beginning of Goku's journey as a martial artist.
    • After several instances of having his tail weakness called out in Dragon Ball (including by Master Roshi and Grandpa Gohan), Goku trains to overcome the flaw in time for the next tournament and is just as strong with his tail as the rest of his body. Notably, Goku doesn't tell anyone about it to bait anyone who assumes it's still a weak point. In the anime, this is elaborated on with Goku training with monkeys, eventually able to hold a full troop of them.
    • In preparation for the Cell Games in Dragon Ball Z, rather than try and chase a form beyond Super Saiyan, Goku and Gohan focus on holding their normal Super Saiyan transformation with no effort so that they can become accustomed to it and the transformation itself isn't a drain on their energy reserves. In addition to wasting no ki during battle, it's implied this helps close the gap to Super Saiyan 2, which Gohan is eventually able to reach.
    • This is a rule of thumb in the series. Characters who rely purely on their brute strength or natural talent to get ahead will eventually meet their match when paired with an equally strong or even a somewhat weaker fighter who is exceptionally well-trained and adaptive. A prime example of this is Frieza. Because he was born naturally strong and easily steamrolled anyone who got in his way, he was ill-prepared to fight Super Saiyan Goku, who wasn't just stronger but had the endurance to fight for a long time, something Frieza severely lacked. Even when Frieza actually trains in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' and gains a Super Mode whose power rivals a Super Saiyan God, he still subverted this trope. He stops his training right after he unlocks his Super Mode, causing him to have the same stamina problems that led to his defeat the first time.
    • Goku and Vegeta's training under Whis in Dragon Ball Super is based on this principle in a twofold way: firstly, they engage in grueling physical training to increase their base power levels, which are then amplified by the Super Saiyan transformations. Secondly, they train in controlling their ki, a motif going back to early Dragon Ball, which eventually allows them to unlock the more powerful Super Saiyan Blue transformation.
    • Goku essentially gives a bit of this trope to Caulifla, despite them being rivals in the Tournament of Power, explaining to her how, in order to master and unlock the higher stages of the Super Saiyan transformation, she has to continually fight in the lower stages to become used to them.
  • The officers of Section 2 in the Patlabor manga get trained in martial arts, to make them more versatile when piloting their giant humanoid mecha.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu spent much of his free time in high school learning how to fight without relying on his powers (which he limited to using only to help people in trouble), and managed to build a reputation as an undefeated street fighter without anyone knowing he was a NEXT. This comes in handy twenty years down the line when he starts losing his powers.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Yellow quickly realizes that while her powers are useful, she needs actual battling skills in order to fight the Elite Four, so she asks Green to train her.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In Ratman, after the eponymous hero realizes that there are people out there that he can't defeat simply by being Unskilled, but Strong in his transformed state, he starts working out and taking boxing lessons in his civilian identity to improve his baseline strength and skill.
  • Kinnikuman usually got by on luck up until the American Tour Arc. In fact, his victory over Robin Mask in the Choujin Olympics (Widely considered by all to be the turning point of his career) was mostly due to Robin being too distracted going "My God, What Have I Done?" In Hawaii, he met Prince Kamehame, the former 99-time island champion. Kamehame taught Kin his moves, including the iconic Kinniku Buster.
  • In one episode of HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, Tsubomi and Erika confront a fellow classmate who knew martial arts. Turns out, the kid just copied stuff from movies and really didn't know how to do so. It's implied, though, they do start training earnestly when Itsuki joins the team.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind:
    • Giorno's Stand gives him the ability to create life by turning inanimate objects into living creatures, as well as accelerating the growth of existing life. To make the most of his powers, Giorno studied zoology and botany extensively, learning about the many different kinds of creatures he could produce to aid him in battle, turning his Stand ability into a Swiss-Army Superpower.
    • Cioccolata, an Evil Counterpart to Giorno, before becoming a Stand user, trained as a doctor. Spending many years torturing his patients to death, he learned about all kinds of ways to disassemble a person’s body without killing them. This comes in very handy when he gains Stand abilities, as his Green Day's mold, in combination with his medical knowledge, allows Cioccolata to deconstruct his own body for stealth attacks, as well as being able to reconstruct his body afterwards.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In the episode "Oshawott's Lost Scalchop!", Ash helps train his Oshawott to fight without his signature weapon, the scalchop, meaning Oshawott is no longer rendered helpless when he is disarmed.
    • Pikachu occasionally has to fight enemies who aren't affected by his electric attacks. He had to improve his speed to beat a Raichu, and he later learned Iron Tail.
  • In The Familiar of Zero, Agnes and her troops are ordered to train the students of Tristain Academy in swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat. Montmorency said she didn't see the point... and then Agnes knocked her Magic Wand out of her hand and twisted her arm behind her back before she could react. The students then agree to the training. Saito also takes some lessons after deciding he shouldn't be reliant on the strength, speed, and sword skills his runes give him. When he loses his powers, the sword skills disappear from his mind.
  • In Attack on Titan, In a nutshell, this is what makes Titan Shifters so dangerous. Imagine fighting a fifteen-meter-tall Lightning Bruiser. Now imagine fighting one that's also a champion-level boxer. Demonstrated well by Eren, when fighting against the Armored Titan. Usually Eren's Super-Strength (even by Titan standards) is enough to carry him through most fights, but the Armored Titan's armor is just too tough. So Eren begins utilizing martial arts, throws, and grapples, combining skill with strength to break the Armored Titan.
  • Yoshimori in Kekkaishi is left-handed but has been using techniques with his right-hand. Upon putting two and two together, he realized he could get a major boost in power and accuracy by horizontally mirroring the techniques he's learned so he could perform them with his left hand instead.
  • Gunslinger Girl. Triela loses her confidence after Badass Normal Pinocchio knocks her unconscious and steals her pistol. Realising she's become too used to relying on her cybernetic implants, her handler Hilshire arranges for her to do hand-to-hand combat training with the Gruppo di Intervento Speciale, the special forces unit of the Carabinieri.
  • Tsukune Aono of Rosario + Vampire was infused with vampire blood and turned into a ghoul. This resulted in a lot of curb-stomps against monsters that were expecting a wimp... and a lot of curb-stomps from monsters who weren't, due to his status as Unskilled, but Strong. Five volumes into Season II, Inner Moka started training him in martial arts to use in tandem with his ghoulic power. This goes about how you'd expect. Haiji Miyamoto has this in his backstory; all of his asskicking until the final chapters comes from his karate training. When he does pull out his monster powers he's a tengu, his casual attacks are like frag grenades enhanced by his martial arts.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, the big problem most combat mages face is the fact that they are Squishy Wizards. Evangeline gets around this both through her natural toughness as a vampire and mastery of the perfectly mundane martial art aikido (it's implied that she learned from Morihei Ueshiba himself), which she uses to great effect whether in magical or non-magical battle. Negi takes a page from her book and begins learning martial arts as well as powerful magic, which serves him very well in his battles.
  • Codename: Sailor V:
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, the most dangerous Ghouls are those that have supplemented their natural powers through studying martial arts. Kaneki is shown to have religiously studied fighting manuals during the six-month Time Skip, and is extremely deadly as a direct result. His sparring partner, Tsukiyama is noted to be a martial arts enthusiast and mastered the normally slow and unwieldy Koukaku through adapting sword-fighting techniques. But perhaps the greatest example is Shachi, a Ghoul that has devoted his life to martial arts and is shown to have studied with human teachers over the years. It has made him a terrifying Lightning Bruiser with precise techniques and discipline.
  • One-Punch Man:
    • Defied when "Silver Fang" Bang offers Saitama and Genos to become his disciples and learn his martial arts style. Saitama, whose super-power is "wins every battle in a single punch", says there's no point. Saitama also doesn't want to get more skilled because his goal is to find a Worthy Opponent who can survive more than one of his punches, and getting more skilled would make that harder. Genos also refuses because his fighting style involves overwhelming destructive power and martial arts don't mesh with it.
    • Attempted in an arc added into the version illustrated by Yusuke Murata: Genos feels Saitama could benefit from at least an appreciation of martial arts by letting him enter a martial arts tournament. Of course, Saitama's "wins every battle in a single punch" ability puts a major snag in that, though Suiryu is still at least fast and deceptive enough to avoid getting punched.
    • Garou is specifically noted to be more dangerous than your average monster specifically due to being a martial arts master to go along with his superhuman power. This is ultimately what gets Saitama interested in martial arts. In their last fight, Garou is so strong that he almost matches Saitama. At the end of the fight, Garou points out that Saitama is a fighting genius and proves that Saitama can master martial arts moves instantly if he bothered to try. When going back in time, Saitama rewatches his battle with Garou and states how awesome his martial arts is. Too bad the Reset Button gets smashed to pieces and Saitama doesn't remember any of it.
  • Gate: The world beyond the Gate is still working with elements of nature, with mages using them in their magical theory. Lelei studies several Earth books on modern Physics and Chemistry, which makes her magic much more potent.
  • My Hero Academia;
    • All Might suggests to Tokoyami to improve his physical conditioning at the end of the Sports Festival. This was because Tokoyami is overly dependent on his Dark Shadow abilities which, while ordinarily quite powerful, become weaker when exposed to bright lights. This resulted in Tokoyami's defeat in the Festival when the light cast by Bakugo's Explosion powers weakened Dark Shadow enough for Bakugo to break through and grapple Tokoyami to the ground. This possibly wouldn't have happened had the latter had any sort of hand-to-hand training or physical conditioning to speak of.
    • This is a common theme in the series, where heroes with powerful powers tend to neglect their non-superpower fighting skills, which allows people with more technical powers to defeat more powerful heroes by getting in close and/or nullifying their powers and overpowering them with regular martial arts. Aizawa is the pro hero who shows this trait most consistently: he can negate anyone's power through eye contact, but that doesn't do much good against a large group or someone who themselves has martial arts ability. So he utilizes a variety of ninja-like combat techniques in tandem with his power to maintain the upper hand.
    • Midway through the story, all the major heroic characters go through some form of this, first at a training camp where they all essentially overexert their powers to make them more powerful, and later when the class is tasked with inventing "ultimate moves" that use their abilities in new and creative ways. Mundane combat training also proves useful for characters like Uraraka, who has an anti-gravity power that's often tricky to apply in battle, so she learns martial arts and often uses it to catch opponents (who are expecting a Quirk-based attack) off-guard.
    • A blend of this and Required Secondary Powers happens with the protagonist, who has to go through grueling strength training before receiving his Super-Strength power. All Might was concerned that if he didn't bulk up the old-fashioned way first, the overwhelming strength of "One For All" would rip his body to shreds. Even after doing that, it still has a tendency to break his bones when he overuses it, potentially causing permanent damage.
    • Mirio's power is intangibility, but comes with a Logical Weakness: while intangible, he cannot see, hear, or breathe. So he's had to develop Awesomeness by Analysis to anticipate where his opponent will be when he regains solidity. This was best shown when he was shot by a quirk destroying bullet but still managed to go toe to toe with Overhaul.
  • Ainz from Overlord (2012), despite being a spellcaster, has the ability to change classes to a fighter dual-wielding BFSes, which he uses for his Momon disguise. Though he has zero experience in swordfighting (to the point that more experienced fighters note how amateurish his fighting style is) he's still able to win any fight by virtue of being grossly overleveled compared to everyone else. Despite this, there are some occasions where instead of simply crushing his opponent outright he'll drag the fight on so he can study their fighting style to take notes on how to properly counter it without having to rely entirely on his stats.
  • Buso Renkin: Unlike other homunculi, the hawk homunculus Washio, who was created from an ex-JGSDF yakuza enforcer and combat trainer, trained heavily to unlock abilities unique among Koushaku Chouno's homunculi, such as learning to transform only his arms and use his instincts for navigating the winds to predict his enemies' attacks.
  • Philuffy in Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle gained Super-Strength after having an Abyss parasite implanted in her. Even as a child, she was as strong as an adult man, and she's even stronger as a teenager. She was taught martial arts in order to control this and prevent her accidentally crushing people in her everyday life, but this training synergizes well with her strength when she does need to fight.
  • Rinka from Tokyo ESP already practiced martial arts before she got her special powers. Later, she incorporates her martial arts into her attacks with the new forces.
  • In AR∀GO: City of London Police's Special Crimes Investigator, this happens literally to the titular protagonist. After getting his butt kicked by a rampaging werewolf, Arago goes to a local gym where he spars constantly against three of its top featherweight boxers in order to become accustomed to dealing with the werewolf's Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs.
  • Suzu of Ayakashi Triangle is instructed by Garaku to fold paper cranes as an exercise for controlling her haku. She directly uses her power to animate the cranes (as Garaku does with his paintings), but the folding itself helps her focus.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: When she first became a Magical Girl, Homura's only power was to manipulate time. She circumvented this by learning to use various weapons in conjunction with it, starting with a simple golf club, and then learning how to construct pipe bombs, and then by stealing firearms and other weapons from military and yakuza bases.
  • Hello World: The Hand of God allows younger Naomi to manipulate matter, but he needs to know the properties and structure of what he wants to change something into. He ends up accumulating a pile of science books as he learns how to change things more accurately and quickly.
  • Ryou in The Dark Queen and I Strike Back has incredible strength and fighting skills thanks to the Holy Sword, but his enemies know how to counter the latter. After the Artralia battle, he undergoes training with Liott to improve his skills and not have to rely on the Holy Sword.
  • Armed Girl's Machiavellism: Warabi Hanasaka has a pet bear named Kyo-Bo who assists her in battle. She taught Kyo-Bo boxing and wrestling, which often catches opponents who underestimate the bear, thinking it will just be a dumb animal, off guard.
  • Medaka Box: This is what Kurokami Maguro attempted for Munakata Kei during his time as the Flask Plan's supervisor. Kei was already a savant at assassination, as an Abnormal with an absurd homicidal urge, so Maguro attempted to "complete" him by teaching him how to use weapons. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), Kei was TOO specialized in killing with his own body to really learn weapon skills at all. The most this attempt did was give him a "Hidden Weapons" Skill, the ability to hide weapons on his person in ways frankly not humanly possible despite being a total novice at using those weapons. The result was merely something that weighed Kei down... which, ironically, was exactly what he wanted, as even though his Abnormality was his urge to kill, he didn't actually want anyone to die.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman:
  • When Wonder Woman lost her powers for a while in The '70s (the period when she wore the white catsuit instead of her normal costume), she trained under a martial arts master to help compensate. This case was atypical and a product of the era note —in most depictions, Diana already has warrior training as an Amazon.
  • In The DCU, Wildcat is a Badass Normal former pro boxer, and considered one of the hero community's go-to guys to get lessons from. The list of people he trained is like a Who's Who of DC Universe Badass Normals: Batman, Catwoman I & II, Black Canary II, Wildcat II & III, and Starman (Jack Knight), among others.
  • Speaking of Batman, he also counts. Batman has the natural talent and ability to have Olympic levels of strength, speed, and power basically making him the human equivalent of winning the human Superpower Lottery (of course he still had to train to reach there). However, he has a blackbelt in basically every martial arts possible. note 
  • In the New 52, the new Ray studies up on light after getting his powers in order to make himself effective with them.
  • In Legion of Super-Heroes, several Legionnaires take up training in various ways. Night Girl's super strength only works in the dark, so she learned martial arts so she could still take on bad guys in the light. Princess Projectra was taught martial arts by Karate Kid, which allowed her to kill Nemesis Kid after he negated her powers. Triplicate Girl had the ability to turn into three of herself. However, she learned to get formidable martial arts from Karate Kid, so when she uses her power, it's like fighting three Bruce Lee's.
  • Hitman: One arc has Tommy aboard the JLA's space station when they run into aliens who De-power them all. This isn't as big a problem as it seems until Batman (specifically noted as being the only guy they can rely on in these situations) gets knocked out.
  • Once, Beast Boy of the Teen Titans was seen watching Animal Planet to learn more animal forms he could turn into, and also what inherent powers he could gain from them.
  • One issue of the Green Lantern Corps had Kyle Rayner encounter a situation in which he could not challenge Sinestro without breaking a truce that kept a fragile peace. Kyle proposed that the two fight as normals—without any Green Lantern Rings. Sinestro accepts, brags that he had been trained by some of the greatest martial artists in the known universe, and asks Kyle who trained him. Kyle's reply? Batman. In a two-page splash, no less.
  • Genął. Caitlin Fairchild had Super-Strength and superhuman agility and speed, but in one issue Sarah Rainmaker started to teach her how to fight.
  • The original Firestorm, whose powers involve molecular transformation, has studied chemistry to make them more effective. Particularly notable in that he's a jock who does not find studying an easy task.
  • This is one of the whole points to the X-Men: teaching mutants the ideal ways to use their individual powers to best help or defend mankind.
    • Kitty Pryde learned martial arts (both Ninjutsu and Krav Maga) from Wolverine himself, in addition to being an Intangible Woman.
    • Wolverine is himself an example, having learned Japanese martial arts (including kenjutsu) well after he'd first exhibited his regeneration and superior senses. Depending on the continuity, it might even have been after he'd received the adamantium.
    • Elixir from New X-Men: Academy X studied biology because his powers allowed him to alter organic tissue at will. He also got all of Beast's medical knowledge telepathically implanted into his mind, Beast being the world's foremost expert in biochemistry.
    • Storm was taught by Wolverine, not only to fight but also how to use a gun. Good thing too.
    • Psylocke is a borderline example; while she has martial arts skills in addition to her Psychic Powers, and has the ability to use her powers and martial skills in unique ways, this was granted to her in an impossible "Freaky Friday" Flip fashion, and not something she learned herself. Kwannon, the woman whose body she inhabits, is this trope played straight, as a low-level empath who trained to become an expert assassin.
    • Nightcrawler has teleportation and super-agility that make him a dangerous enough combatant, but he has also increased his acrobatic skills by working for many years as a circus performer, and his love of Errol Flynn movies has led him to study fencing. So now he's a super agile teleporting swashbuckler who can attack with up to three swords at once (his tail is fully prehensile and can hold one).
    • Magneto:
      • After discovering his powers, but before becoming Magneto, Max Eisenhardt studied numerous scientific fields, including mechanical and genetic engineering, as well as electromagnetic radiation. Because of this, Magneto is capable of instilling the mutant gene in ordinary people, creating Designer Babies from genetic tissue, and building technological marvels (such as an orbiting base on an asteroid) that even Reed Richards admits are pretty impressive.
      • However, he is first and foremost a physicist, and naturally chose to specialize in electromagnetism and everything to do with it. Since his mutant power gives him control over the entire electro-magnetic spectrum, his scientific knowledge turns an already formidable mutant power into a full-fledged Swiss-Army Superpower- electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental forces of the universe, and knowing this and knowing just how few limits that really imposes on him makes Magneto one of the most powerful bastards on Marvel Earth and the sheer range of things he can do- up to and including opening interstellar wormholes and manipulating electrons to control even non-metals (e.g. wood)- is absolutely mind-boggling to the layman who doesn't appreciate just how great his power can be. He wouldn't be near that powerful if he didn't understand, in detail, the myriad ways his power works like that.
      • A good example of how important this is, comes in the form of Magneto's youngest daughter Polaris... who has identical powers but none of his scientific expertise. This results in her being far less effective at using her control over magnetism.
    • Domino underwent training from Shang-Chi after experiencing some Power Incontinence.
  • Susan Storm was mentioned at one point to have studied martial arts under Iron Fist, which she combined with her ability to project force fields to devastating effect. It was noted she was "a very good student."
  • During Planet Hulk, the Incredible Hulk becomes a gladiator on a planet with beings who approach him in sheer physical might, so he slowly but surely becomes a craftier fighter, using his strength in more ingenious ways instead of merely relying on it exclusively. The other Marvel "heroes" were in for a rude awakening during World War Hulk.
  • Subtly mentioned in various X-Men titles, like the X-Men: Evolution note below, Scott has learned various skills to compensate and enhance his power. He specifically trains to fight so that he doesn't lose his visor, has learned to fight blind and remember where his visor fell, and is a master of applied geometry. The latter has resulted in Wolverine owing Scott a truckload of beer over billiards.
  • The Incredible Hercules has had both Super-Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability since he was a newborn. During his growth into manhood, he became a hero and adventurer, learning all manners of hand-to-hand and weapons combat. Hercules (2015) also reveals that he has mastered modern forms of combat also, such as assault rifles, grenades, and tasers.
  • America Chavez is a Flying Brick but has several years of boxing training under her belt on top of that.
  • Taskmaster. His power? Being able to copy any move that he can physically perform as well as the guy he watched. The skill he later picked up? Teaching what he knew.
  • In depictions where Doctor Strange didn't learn the martial arts at the same time he learned magic, he picked them up later (often with the help of Wong) so that he could defend himself even without magic.
    • This comes in useful on several occasions where he is either depowered or otherwise unable to use magic. And at least on one occasion, his response to being outclassed in magic by an adversary is to cast a spell that negates magic powers in the immediate area - leaving both of them without access to mystic arts, but with Strange still in possession of his martial arts expertise.
  • In Mystic, flighty selfish party-girl Giselle gained her magical powers by accidentally hijacking the Seven Spirits. When the Spirits deny her help, Giselle is forced to actually learn some basic magic and philosophy from each of their schools to earn their respect.
  • More justified than usual in one issue of She-Hulk when Shulkie is in training to box the Champion of the Universe. She weight lifts as her human alter ego because she realizes that increasing her strength as a human has a geometric effect when she Hulks Out.
  • Discussed in Ultimate Spider-Man, in which Peter states that he's been getting by on pure luck and reliance on his powers. Mary Jane then suggests he learn martial arts.
    • His classic universe counterpart finally did get some martial arts training from Captain America and Tony Stark tried to mentor him. The Ultimate version did try to take lessons from them as well but... Between Tony being more interested in just hanging out with Spidey in his lab and Cap being an enormous asshole, it didn't go quite as well.
      • And he got some lessons from Iron Fist... which allowed him to do a Bullet Catch.
      • Having lost his Spider-Sense at one point, he realized how much he depended upon it in battle, so he accepted an offer to train under Shang-Chi, one of the Marvel Universe's greatest martial artists. Shang-Chi helped Spider-Man develop a unique fighting style called "The Way of the Spider", that incorporates Spider-Man's strength and agility. And then in Spider-Island, he regains his Spider-Sense and combines it with the Way of the Spider.
    • Spider-Man's vast history and being completely Taught by Experience means he did develop extensive street-fighting experience.
    • Similarly, Eddie Brock was a skilled reporter before he became Venom, and he used that skill to form plans. In the Fox animated series, he realized the symbiote increased his human strength in the same manner as She-Hulk above, so he hit the gym. In the Spectacular animated series, he's a scientific prodigy on a level that approaches Peter himself, and he uses that intelligence with terrifying skill, whether or not he has the symbiote.
  • New Avengers: One issue had Captain America acting as a Drill Sergeant Nasty and teaching several teammates – both supers and Badass Normals – how to use martial arts. He tells them they'll thank him later. Years later, did – posthumously. This actually had some basis in earlier Silver Age comics, as an old issue of ''Comicbook/TheAvengers'' had [[Characters/AntManHeroes Goliath hold his own in a fistfight with the Super-Adaptoid, which he chalked up to hand-to-hand combat training Cap had given him.
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark, unable to access his armor for the time being, goes to Steve Rogers to learn how to fight during the Demon In A Bottle story arc, under the pretense of being more vulnerable to his enemies now that his "bodyguard" Iron Man won't be able to protect him. It comes in handy when Stark is captured by Justin Hammer and his goons.
    Justin Hammer: Have you any questions?
    Tony Stark: As a matter of fact, I do. I'd like to know if this guard here knows what a clavicle is.
    Guard: Huh? Well, uh... no.
    Tony Stark: Surprise! It's what I just broke!
  • The entire point of Avengers: The Initiative and Avengers Academy is to invoke this trope.
  • In Preacher, not learning how to fight has major consequences for Cassidy, who - despite being a vampire, stronger and faster than a human could ever be - finds that Jesse, who suffered through a protracted bout of Training from Hell and is quite a Combat Pragmatist, can hold his own when they go toe-to-toe. Jesse himself has a lack of training in one area - he doesn't speak any language other than English, which turns out to be a bigger problem than you might imagine when your sole superpower is a Compelling Voice and you need to speak a language your target understands for it to be effective.
  • In Irredeemable, not ever learning how to fight and relying only on his strength alone come back to bite Plutonian hard, when somebody equally strong, who knows some moves, showed up.
  • One side-story in Atomic Robo set in the 1970s has Robo decide he needs to supplement his Buick-hefting raw physical power with actual combat training. Who does he get to teach him? Bruce Lee, a man who has to wear boxing gloves not for his own protection, but to protect the BULLETPROOF ROBOT he is fighting.
    Robo: Bruce, c'mon. (on the ground) Wait. What just happened?
    Bruce: I kicked you.
    Robo: That was like... being hit by a truck. And I've BEEN hit by trucks.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Harry gets training that increases over time, starting with an eclectic mix of combat techniques from the Avengers, and then a rigorous education in aikido from Sean Cassidy. This is because even after he develops powers in the PMD weight-class, and some physical enhancement he's still a relatively Squishy Wizard. This and a taste for Improv Fu means that by the sequel he can box out of his weight-class so long as he keeps his head, combining his various skill sets to deadly effect. He's also later programmed to become the Red Son, the successor to the Winter Soldier, with all the associated skills... along with a truly hideous degree of PTSD, and after, he gets trained by Bucky and a number of other teachers. Even his magic gets this treatment - at one point, he jury-rigs a railgun with a penny.
    • Sean Cassidy, as part of justifying his presence at Hogwarts when he's really mostly a guard for the school working for MI13, teaches a class that's pretty much all about this, demonstrating in his first lesson that while wanded witches and wizards can do incredible things with their magic, if someone gets in close and breaks or otherwise deprives them of their wand, they're worse than screwed, so they need another skill-set to fall back on.
    • Magneto shows (and later explains) that he's expanded his powers far beyond the usual Magnetism Manipulation-because electromagnetism is one of the fivenote  fundamental forces of the universe, he has a very broad range of abilities, such as controlling light and the weather to certain extents, EMP blasts, interfering with magic, allowing himself to fly, etc. Unlike in certain points of the comics, where he can do just about anything as long as the writer puts "magnetic" in front, the usage of his powers here actually makes sense.
  • In Game Theory, Nanoha learns staff fighting so that she can use her Device as a melee weapon in magical combat.
  • The central premise of Duel Nature is giving these to Twilight Sparkle and watching what happens.
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Professor Quirrell advocates this for his students.
    Quirrell: Most wizards do not bother much with what a Muggle would term martial arts. Is not a wand stronger than a fist? This attitude is stupid. Wands are held in fists.
  • Lelouch spend a few months training Ichigo in Soul Chess, explaining to the latter that Unskilled, but Strong only gets you so far. Ichigo himself notes afterwards that he no longer spams Getsuuga Tenshou and acquires considerably fewer injuries in most fights.
  • In the Facing the Future Series, Sam underwent concentration training in order to keep her newly developed fire powers under control. It had the bonus of making her ecto constructs more refined.
  • In the backstory of the Italian remake of Battle Fantasia Project Sailor Venus forced her fellow Sailor Senshi to undergo these after their poor performance against Galaxia. Appropriately enough, they included actual boxing lessons, as boxing includes the most powerful punch of martial arts and dodging skills that come handy when facing multiple opponents.
  • With This Ring:
    • Deconstructed with Superboy. While it's good for him to learn hand-to-hand combat, Orange Lantern fears that he's being held back by Black Canary. Black Canary is a good fighter, but she's still a normal human going against a Kryptonian. One wrong move from Superboy and she's paste. If Superboy gets too used to holding himself back, he will not fight at full strength in combat. Furthermore, Super-Strength fights have different priorities, with grappling becoming more important than striking, and knees becoming more effective weapons than concrete. So OL asks Wonder Woman, who has over eighty years of martial experience, regularly wins against Superman, and is Nigh-Invulnerable, to train Superboy.
    • Played straight when OL learns how to use a gun in-case he gets separated from his ring or his ring runs out of power.
    • Downplayed when he reluctantly learns the basics of unarmed combat from Black Canary, although he considers those instincts counterproductive for a Lantern.
  • The Bridge:
    • Aria Blaze takes martial arts classes, which later comes in handy because the various Kaiju characters turned human cannot be controlled by the Sirens' Mind-Control Music, meaning the Sirens have to take them on the old-fashioned way. She's still at a disadvantage because she has the body of a normal teenage girl and the transformed Kaiju still have Super-Strength and durability, but she eventually gains super strength and durability after absorbing Kaizer Ghidorah's energy, and Monster X agrees to give her additional training.
    • In the spin-off The Bridge: Humanity's Stand, the genetically engineered Kaiju Tytanna was taught several forms of martial arts and swordsmanship by her human caretakers, complimenting her natural strength and allowing her to hold her own in her first real fight in spite of her lack of battlefield experience. As for how her caretakers trained her, she has the ability to take on human form.
    • Godzilla Jr. is naturally stronger than his father Sr. by a big margin, but he spent a decent period of time during his childhood on Skull Island, learning from King Kong how to actually fight. This means he's not only extremely strong, but has the skill to apply it effectively. This is best shown in comparison to his Mirror Universe counterpart: Mirror Junior absorbed more radiation by raiding nuclear plants, making him stronger than Prime Jr., but he never learned how to actually fight. Whereas Prime Junior can deal with equal or stronger foes with his skill, Mirror Junior is Unskilled, but Strong and struggles when facing someone as strong or stronger where his power edge doesn't help him. Best shown when the skilled Raiga accessed her Super Mode. Mirror Junior gets dominated by her in close combat at that point now that he lacks a significant power edge and would've been killed if she'd had a longer charge.
    • The Equestria Girls versions of Applejack and Rainbow Dash eventually gain super strength and super speed respectively, but are inexperienced. Godzilla Jr. starts teaching them how to fight and how to control their powers.
  • Juxtapose: In chapter 2, the teachers discuss the tendency for students who rely only on their Quirks to ignore their physical conditioning. Later on, Izuku and his friends enforce this trope by training under Toshinori for physical conditioning, and later, Aizawa for weapons.
  • In the Eye of the Beholder has Lydia research the different Arcana in order to understand what they mean after learning from Victor and Igor about Social Links.
  • In Supergirl (2015)/The Flash (2014) story Call Me Kara both Barry and Kara go through this to utilize their powers to the fullest extent. Kara receives hand-to-hand combat League of Assassins training from Nyssa Al'Ghul, while Nyssa pushes Barry to learn to use his vibrations offensively. Both of these skills come in handy when they take down their respective Big Bads.
  • In Superman story Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, Kath realizes she can't rely on her powers after getting beaten in a fight, and takes martial arts classes.
  • Fates Collide: Taiga Fujimura and Li Shuwen's combat class teaches students to fight without their Noble Phantasms, and teaches swordsmanship and archery. Oda Nobunaga thought the idea of it was stupid, but Taiga warns her there may be a time she cannot access her Noble Phantasm, and knowing the basics may save her life one day. While the other students are able to adjust quickly, Nobunaga turns out to really need the training, since she has little experience with the bow and was too used to her magic guns.
  • Marionettes: Since the Marionettes are machines, they cannot get any stronger unless they get upgraded. Trixie figures the best way to increase their combat potential is to train them to increase their skill and to use their power more efficiently.
  • In Bat Brats, Blackfire is shown training in a MMA gym to learn more combat techniques to apply to her Super-Strength and gleefully takes advantage of the fact she can shut her super strength down at will to train like a normal human and have even greater muscle mass afterwards.
  • Avenger Goddess hints at Diana planning to give Tony lessons in some actual combat techniques so that he isn't purely reliant on the more obvious advantages of the armour in case he ever faces someone who can match the armor physically. By the next chapter, Tony has become skilled enough at hand-to-hand combat that he can take down Obadiah Stane without his armour despite Stane being larger and having the element of surprise.
  • During Infinity Crisis, after Hela has Thanos recreate Mjolnir, she's taken by surprise when the worthiness enchantment stops her from picking the hammer up while allowing her hostage, Jane Foster, to use it instead. By the spin-off fic Sins, Sirens & Strife, Jane is receiving lessons in using Mjolnir's full potential from Thor and Sif, and the fic concludes with Sif offering to train the Shazam family in their own use of their powers.
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse) has teenage Barry and Kara stranded on Lian Yu, and join Oliver for a decade with the League of Assassins. This makes Kara pretty much the World's Best Warrior, as she's a master hand-to-hand combatant on top of her other Combo Platter Powers.
    • Barry both plays this straight and inverts it by becoming an Empowered Badass Normal, as he joined the League as an ordinary Muggle and became an expert hand-to-hand combatant before the lightning struck, but afterwards continued to learn how to fight without using his powers.
  • Dial: Beyond his Omnitrix and being a casual weightlifter in his old world, Mahmoud isn't exactly groomed to fight, so he gets training from his superhero peers and invents Adaptive Armor to make up for it, especially when his Hour of Power times out.
  • In Fledgling Deity, Android 18 learns how to use her ki from Gohan (her power normally comes from her reactor) so she can actually learn how to get stronger.
  • In Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters, this is why, in the new Merged Reality, the Chan Clan is recruited to help train the newly empowered Guardians. Uncle and Tohru are there to train them in properly using their magic, while Jackie and Jade are there to train them in how to actually fight physically.
    • Same thing happens in the J-WITCH Series, another crossover between the same franchises.
  • In The Unity Saga, Luke Skywalker is able to benefit from learning Vulcan mind techniques to augment his Force powers.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Supergirl learns martial arts from Lady Shiva so she can become a better fighter.
  • Every Jedi in Star Wars: Lineage undergoes some of these. In addition to learning how to wield the Force, each Jedi is expected to be at least proficient in both lightsaber combat and hand-to-hand combat. Of course, plenty of Jedi are Master Swordsmen (and women) who are far beyond being "merely proficient."
  • A Possible Encounter for a Phantom: Kim figures out Danny relies on his powers more than anything else. She spends most of Chapter 38 teaching him hand-to-hand combat.
  • My Ideal Academia: Momo Yaoyorozu has mastered her Quirk, the ability to conjure up any object or material, but doesn't know how to fight. After she is humiliated by Shirou Emiya, who has a similar ability but is a skilled fighter, she asks him to train her. She becomes much more effective against villains.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Alex gets training in MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program), which she doesn't use much directly, but which gives her the idea of similarly training her telekinesis. Pyre also gets self-defence training, despite being only eight, because she needs an option other than her tremendously dangerous fire powers.
  • Absolute Zero: Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass has a powerful Geass and intellect, but last physical strength for a hand-to-hand fight. Adding the fact he can't remember his past as Lelouch vi Britannia and as Zero leads to Kallen training him to build up his physical ability.
  • This Bites!: Under Cross's suggestion, the Straw Hats have been training to enhance their own skills.
    • Zoro takes the role of Drill Sergeant Nasty (particularly to Cross) to get his crewmates in better fighting shape. He and Leo also began teaching Cross swordsmanship after the latter acquired Funkfreed.
    • Thanks to a suggestion from Cross in Alabasta to recreate their old antics from Goa, Luffy and Ace have brought back their use of pipes in combat. Luffy in particular has found ways of combining his old weapon with his Devil Fruit, such as winding-up his body to swing his pipe at his foes ala Home-Run Hitter.
    • Chopper is an interesting case, as he picked up Kureha's scalpel-throwing skills... by using his higher intellect to unlock his trauma-locked memories of her throwing stuff at him.
    • After their defeat by Aokiji, Luffy ordered Cross to inform the crew of anything that'll make them stronger, which includes the Six Powers. By the end of Enies Lobby, Sanji had learned three of Six Powers related to kicking (including Sky Walk and his own version of Tempest Kick), Carue had pushed Shave, and Boss Dugong had pilfered Jabra's Six Power cheatsheet to not only create a replica called Full-Shell Style but also developed his own version of the seventh power Rokuogan.
  • The Mon Colle Knights fic Cult is about Mondo and Rokuna being recruited into a newly finalized team of kids their age, each of whom receive a magical weapon of some sort or anothernote .
  • Arrow: Rebirth: It's revealed that Superman has been given hand to hand combat training by Oliver just in case he's ever exposed to red sun radiation and stripped of his powers.
  • XCOM: RWBY Within: Team RWBY find themselves trapped in another dimension where for some reason, their various supernatural abilities refuse to work. They still have their considerable skill-at-arms, but have to adapt to no longer being Nigh-Invulnerable as well as working with local weapons and as part of a larger unit than a typical Remnant Hunter team. Luckily, XCOM has some good instructors, and if anything the girls are more badass for learning a more structured school of small-unit tactics designed for hostiles who are much smarter than Grimm.
  • No Plumbers Allowed: Armsmaster, after taking some engineering courses, was able to get enough of an understanding of his power to not only not go into a Tinker fugue, but actually quietly patent several miniaturization techniques that could be replicated without powers.
  • My Hero Playthrough: All Might uses his access to The Gamer to invest skill points in boxing and dirty boxing. This leads to Harley and All for One discussing this trope. Except in universe they call it Karate Lessons for The Tick.
  • The Logia Brothers: After Luffy and his brothers eat their Devil Fruits, Kuzan trains them in how to effectively use them, especially how to instantly change into their element on instinct.

  • In Mauling Snarks, a Worm fanfic, a major way of Taylor assisting parahumans is asking their snarks what they want their users to do, helping their users come up with more varied ways of doing things, or making suggestions herself. Examples are encouraging Armsmaster to take maintenance times into account regarding overall efficiency, telling Amy to get a greenhouse to practice her bio-manipulation safely, or suggesting that Assault's snark also try absorbing molecular kinetic energy, which allows him minor thermal manipulation.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Disney version of Hercules had Herc go to Phil for training. He already had Super-Strength, but Phil taught him how to use that strength in a real fight, along with other skills like archery and swordsmanship. In addition, Phil's training gave Hercules actual muscle definition, most likely multiplying his super-strength by several factors.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happy Gilmore has Happy being able to smack a golf ball 400+ yards easily, but his putting game is not the best. It's in the third act that he learns how to putt from Chubs, who takes him to a minigolf course. It helps give him the advantage in the final tournament of the movie.
  • Iron Man Films:
    • In Iron Man 2, Tony is shown practicing "mixed martial-arts" (actually Dirty Boxing) against Happy Hogan. Later, when he and Rhodey get into a fight, the lessons actually come in handy because Tony is more used to fighting in Powered Armor and is actually able to hold his own against the military-trained Colonel Rhodes despite being drunk.
    • Followed up on in Iron Man 3, where we see Tony using a wooden rod-based practice Wing Chun (of which Robert Downey Jr. is a Real Life practitioner) "dummy" to do a quick sequence of moves on during the opening scene, showing that he's been keeping on his training - which he uses later when he is (mostly) without his suit.
  • Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk is using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lessons to help him control his rage issues, possibly even to induce and control the Hulk, as suggested by his Love Interest, Betty.
  • Ant-Man: During Scott Lang's Training Montage, Hope van Dyne makes a point to teach him some martial arts skills. The reason is so he'll be precise enough to not accidentally kill anyone with the suit's super-strength, but fighting skills come in handy against Yellowjacket and the Falcon.
  • Star Wars mostly zig-zagged. Played straight in the sense that the Jedi are extensively educated in various topics and mundane skills to complement their ability with the Force. But also inverted since that training seems to be at least in part to draw out their ability with the Force to begin with, and where most untrained adepts first manifest affinity. Anakin Skywalker first manifests unconscious ability with the Force while piloting a podracer, while Luke gets a crash-course at lightsabering before being blindfolded, and manifests adepcy first time making the decisive shot at the Battle of Yavin. Luke's training in Dagobah is shown to feature an extensive physical regimen.

  • In Star Wars Legends, Jaina Solo asked Boba Fett to train her in Jedi dispatching technique and Mandalorian attitude (including being a Combat Pragmatist) to prepare for her final duel with Darth Caedus. Many Jedi are also trained in hand-to-hand combat, both to invoke this trope and to end battles non-lethally.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • One of Harry Dresden´s many levels in badass involves him learning basic martial arts and quarterstaff fighting from Murphy, as well as running periodically so he has options other than blasting things in the face. This pays off whenever he's fighting someone who his magic is ineffective against, or humans, who he can't use magic against without risking breaking the first law of magic. And since he carries around a heavy oak staff anyway to channel his magic...
    • Harry also notes that teaching his apprentice gave him a much better appreciation for the basics of magic he himself learned and took for granted, as well as gaining proficiency in areas of magic he's weak in (like illusion magic, which his apprentice excels in).
    • The investigative skills he acquired as apprentice to a detective frequently prove more useful than the ones he'd picked up as a student wizard.
    • Harry takes up lock-picking as physical therapy for his burnt hand, then uses it to conserve his magical energy and cause less property damage while breaking into places covertly.
    • Joseph Listens-to-Wind is the White Council's preeminent healer, supplementing his magic by going back to medical school every decade or two to keep on top of modern practice. He's been doing this for centuries.
    • Wardens are generally proficient with a wide variety of firearms and bladed weapons, since the Laws of Magic prohibit killing with magic.
  • Pewter-burners in the Mistborn books burn their metal to gain inhuman levels of strength, speed and stamina. However, this only lasts as long as the metal supply, and the power works independently of the burner's body - as in, they don't suddenly sprout muscles. Pewter-burners like Hammond instruct the main character, Vin, of the benefits of honing one's body without pewter to increase one's strength while using it, as well as developing fighting skills with and without pewter, and using it tactically for powerful strikes instead of just using it the entire time while fighting. Someone using pewter has enough of an advantage against a normal person that skill is generally unimportant, but a sufficiently outnumbered Pewter-burner or one facing someone else with Allomantic powers (pewter or otherwise) will probably be glad for the extra training.
  • In Wearing the Cape, Hope Corrigan gains the Atlas-type power set, enabling her to outfly jets, bench-press buses, and take direct hits from military ordinance. So the first thing she does is go into intensive, fight-club style training so she has a chance against all the other Atlas-types out there.
  • Liar (2009): Micah was born being able to run abnormally fast. Then she gets taught proper running technique and is able to run that much faster and more efficiently. She's actually almost disgusted when she sees someone like her without technique and hopes she didn't look that bad before she learned.
  • The third book of the Septimus Heap series is partially about Septimus learning to become a physician while trapped in a time past. This becomes useful upon his return to his time to control an epidemic.
  • Harry Potter: Harry, Ron and the Weasley twins can pick locks the Muggle way.
  • In the Anita Blake series, characters with Super-Strength, Super-Speed, and Shapeshifting still utilize weight training, powerlifting, and bodybuilding—which gives them an edge against characters with similar powers.
  • Asha'man in The Wheel of Time learn swordfighting alongside channeling. Rand (himself one of the most powerful channelers alive and eventually a blademaster) insists it be included in the curriculum specifically because magic isn't always an available option.
  • More literally, Loup of Santa Olivia dedicates herself to her boxing training in order to defeat another person with the same superstrength as her, but who hasn't trained because he's coasting by on his (un)natural abilities.
  • In the short story Kid Cardula by Jack Richie, the vampire boxer has to spend time learning not to One-Hit KO his opponents and how to convincingly fake getting knocked down in order not to look like a boring Invincible Hero to the audience.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, young supervillains and superheroes are taught useful skills, such as acrobatics and hand-to-hand fighting. Alex reminds Lux and Lone Star that they know them, since they taught the kids, and so they are not useless, even Brought Down to Normal, and they help in the final fight, even if mostly against Mooks.
  • Super Powereds:
    • This is the point of the Hero Certification Program. It takes a lot to become a fully-licensed Hero (vigilantism is illegal and severely punished), and most Supers need tons of training in order to become good enough to be responsible for people's lives. A four-year program, the HCP trains Supers' bodies and minds for the hardship of being a Hero. All the professors are either former Heroes themselves or have been otherwise employed in risky jobs. This is demonstrated in Year 1 when Roy, an arrogant strongman, tries to take on Chad, the top student in the class. True, Chad might not have Roy's raw strength, but he has lots of training, better speed and reaction time, and precision, and handily beats Roy. Since then, Roy trains hard and spars with Chad daily, getting slightly better each time, all in the hopes of one day besting Chad. In Year 2, Mary, a telepath and telekinetic with a high potential, ends up being shown by an old woman, a retired Hero with a similar powerset. While Mary may have the power, Professor Stone has decades of training and experience, not to mention a lot more focus, allowing her to control dozens of objects simultaneously.
    • While hand-to-hand combat is important, it's by far not the only training the students receive. One major many physical Supers often disregard is Weapons, opting to go into Close Combat instead. Professor Cole explains that nearly all strongmen ought to be using weapons, but they don't because of outdated traditions. Weapons are a force multiplier, something to enhance a person's physical capability. Cole tells her students to try out different weapons, and her arsenal is stocked with all manner of sharp and blunt weapons to choose from. One student goes with a rapier (better suited for someone with invisibility), while another chooses a flail (her density manipulation power allows her to increase the flail's density just before impact). The class's Gadgeteer Genius (it's considered a power in this setting, although only fairly recently) builds his own high-tech staff. Roy opts for a good old-fashioned metal bat, since he lacks precision for a bladed weapon. After a minute, Professor Cole agrees that it's basically a club, one of the first weapons humanity ever devised, and has a special one made from a superdense material for someone of Roy's strength to wield. After realizing how much more effective he is with the bat than just his fists, Roy eagerly switches majors to Weapons.
  • People with mental powers in The Infected tend to become a lot more formidable after meditation training. And everyone learns how to fight, whether or not they're invulnerable and can bench-press a truck, which only makes sense since the protagonists are all superpowered federal agents.
  • The German SF series Maddrax has the taratze Graz. Taratzes are generally much stronger than humans, but the fact that Graz learned the fight with weapons, makes it an even more dangerous opponent.
  • In The Mortal Instruments the shadowhunters and the fairies fight like that. Although they are physically strong, they learn to deal with demons but deal with weapons.
  • The demigods in Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus fight like this. Each of them has a certain amount of superhuman physical ability, and often some kind of magic as well, but are taught to use swords and other melee weapons to defeat monsters.
  • Kellen in The Obsidian Trilogy who is a Knight-Mage, a kind of Wildmage that has incredible innate skill in combat and war learning swordfighting from Jermayan, and later, from Master Belesharon at the House of Sword and Shield.
  • The Raven Tower: Gods' Reality Warping powers work best when they have a clear understanding of the changes they want to make. The Healer God Oissen refined his Miracle Food by studying the chemical processes by which plants form nutrients, and hones his healing powers by watching thousands of slaves suffer with preventable illnesses.
  • In Worm, Members of the Wards are required to take lessons (e.g. in the theory of parahumans) as well as do patrols. Many villains train or research to improve their powers as well. Also, Brian teaches Taylor physical combat so she can be more useful at a close range without relying on her powers. It turns out to be helpful when she fights foes like Mannequin who can No-Sell a lot of what her insects can do.

    Live Action TV 
  • Slayers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are subject to ongoing martial arts and weapons training as a matter of course despite already possessing superhuman abilities and innate fighting prowess upon activation. This is necessary as it's pretty much a given that the Slayer will face opponents with greater strength than them.
    • In the Angel & Faith comics, the company Deepscan has its Slayer agents taught how to use military-grade firearms as opposed to the traditional weapons they've been accustomed to for centuries.
  • All of the Charmed Ones gain some sort of fighting skill along with their magical powers during the course of Charmed. Phoebe starts off when she learns kick-boxing early on to make up for her non-offensive power of premonition. Prue, who at the time was the only one with an offensive power, continues this trend in season 3 (though it is mentioned in the previous season that she is taking lessons). Piper learns how to sword fight in season six, despite the fact that she can already blow things up with a mere hand gesture. Paige also demonstrates some hand-to-hand fighting skills from time-to-time.
  • In an episode of No Ordinary Family, Jim Powell (who has Super-Strength) confronts another guy who has also gained that superpower, and gets his ass handed to him because the other guy actually knows something about fighting. So that it doesn't happen again, sidekick George teaches Jim a few of the basics of boxing, and Jim wins the second round.
  • On Heroes, Claire demands that her dad, a Badass Normal, teach her how to fight and defend herself. So he hands her a 2x4 and teaches her a stance.
    Claire: What is this, kung fu?
    Noah: No, it's baseball.
  • In one episode of Lois & Clark, Superman took a crash course in kung fu to face off against a martial artist who had stolen a mystical artifact that multiplied his strength. The martial artist yielded after realizing he couldn't beat Supes (who now has strength and technique), although only after his teacher told him to do the honorable thing.
  • The titular character of Kamen Rider Fourze takes kickboxing lessons from a female teacher he befriended during one of the Monster of the Week two-parters.
  • In Super Sentai, several series have an episode that focuses on the featured Ranger trying to learn the mundane skill the Monster of the Week uses a weaponized version of - more than once, it's actually boxing.
  • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Billy ends up taking martial arts lessons from Jason once he becomes the Blue Ranger. It really doesn't start to show until the second season.
  • After the events of the Season Eight finale of Smallville, Kal-El declares his Clark Kent persona dead and leaves for the Fortress of Solitude to begin training under Jor-El in earnest. It pays off the next season as he's Brought Down to Normal more than once and has to rely on skill rather than his powers.
  • Gen Ootori in Ultraman Leo learns various techniques (mostly kung-fu-based) to better fight giant aliens and kaijuu.
  • Cameron Hicks of Alphas has Super-Reflexes and Improbable Aiming Skills. He is also a trained military sniper.
  • Kara in Supergirl initially rejects the training of her adoptive sister Alex. Eventually, she realizes that she can't just rely on her Flying Brick power set against the sort of people she's going to have to deal with, many of whom are Kryptonians like her, and were also career criminals dangerous enough to lock in the Phantom Zone, while Kara is a professional office assistant. She undergoes several lessons in hand-to-hand combat in a training room that emits a low-level Kryptonite field, to the point where she can take down a Brainwashed and Crazy Superman at the end of Season 2.
  • The titular character of Black Lightning not only has powerful Shock and Awe abilities, but also extensive hand-to-hand combat skills, able to take out Mooks in a few moves even without using his superpowers.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): Princess Diana and the Amazons of Paradise Island train for combat constantly and every one of them has Super-Strength. When Wonder Woman leaves the island, she retains the full benefit of her training whether she is wearing her belt of strength or not. She occasionally fights as Diana Prince, such as in "Skateboard Wiz".
  • In The Flash (2014), the title character studies physics and aerodynamics in order to hone his powers, and teaches this to his daughter Nora. Oliver Queen also teaches him to use his speed to scout out an environment before combating an enemy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In some game systems where characters have skills, and can only use one skill for a task even though more than one might apply, other skills can work like this, giving a boost to the main skill.
    • EABA's grep setting has a skill, called grep, to control nanomachines to create things. Being sufficiently skilled in traditional ways of making a thing gives a boost to rolls to make it by grepping.
  • In the official Champions setting, the French supervillain Venin Vert studied chemistry so as to be able to use her powers (she can produce poisons from her hands) more efficiently.
  • In several New World of Darkness game lines the dice roll for activating supernatural powers is tied to mundane skills. For example, improving the Persuasion skill makes magical Summoning more effective.
    • The Adamantine Arrow from Mage: The Awakening has this trope as part of their formation- as far as they are concerned, you should have perfected the mastery of your body before you can start properly practicing magic. Their members usually are more than capable of defending themselves without magic.
    • Princess: The Hopeful: The magical weaponry of a Princess's Regalia is explicitly compatible with mundane Fighting Style merits, even when this doesn't look like it should work (for example, even if a Princess is shooting rainbow lasers with a cheerleading baton, she can still benefit from normal marksman's training).
  • In the Old World of Darkness, in Mage: The Ascension, your amazing spheres and arts may let you perform magic, but complex actions are going to require you actually understand the world around you. Magic becomes a lot more effective if your character has the background skills and knowledges to work it in a complex and strange world. This all depends on what you believe - called your paradigm - since Mage runs on Clap Your Hands If You Believe. For example, a typical Hermetic mage with Forces can probably mess with fire fairly easily, but with a few dots in science, he might start using Forces to mess with gravity or the electroweak force.
  • In the Exalted system, most magical Charms are directly tied to mundane abilities, and such Charms have prerequisite rankings in those abilities. For example, an Exalt must become a masterful non-magical swordsman before learning the most powerful magical sword techniques, while Larceny can be used to steal someone's surface thoughts or their love.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The entry requirements of some Prestige Classes sometimes demand that a character refine mundane skills. For example, an aspiring Fatespinner must become a competent professional gambler as well as a powerful spellcaster.
    • Intelligent monsters can supplement their own powers with class levels like a Player Character's, sometimes making them far, far more threatening. One notorious succubus went from Chaotic Evil to Lawful Good and became a Paladin, using her already superior physical abilities, natural resistances and spells, lengthy list of skills, and ungodly Charisma to become a very deadly enemy indeed. Her intrinsic fiendish nature (evil subtype) also protects her from attacks that target good-aligned characters, the bane of many paladins.
    • Good advice for low level spellcasters, who tend to run out of magic quickly. Rare is the wizard or sorcerer who doesn't carry at least a crossbow or dagger, and know how to use them. And unless you're Raistlin Majere, you've probably made Constitution one of your better stats to make up for a lack of hit points; you'd be amazed how many bookish scholars have the endurance of a marathon runner.
    • A number of Feats in 5e provide this, allowing a class to supplement their abilities or cover their weaknesses, and some are quite mundane. This can involve getting better with weapons, gaining new skills, or training with a shield to be far better with it.
    • It's rather common for a spell caster to take levels in Fighter or Rogue in order to gain access to their physical skills, such as Constitution saving throws or the Rogue's Cunning Action.
  • Pathfinder:
    • This is the purpose of the Arcanist gestalt class: a blending of the sorcerer and wizard classes. Sorcerers cast spells from inherent ability ("blood magic") while Wizards read spellbooks for power ("book magic") so an Arcanist is basically a sorcerer who studies wizardry.
    • In the Anniversary Edition for the "Rise of the Runelords" adventure path, the Lamia Harridan went from being a super-rare, super-special kind of lamia to an upgrade for any Lamia that gains at least 10 levels in a divine spellcasting class.
  • A very real possibility in GURPS. The most basic example is a superpowered character who has never been in a fight prior to the campaign's start picking up the Combat Reflexes advantage (in Layman's Terms, veterancy) at the first opportunity, as well as a few weapons/martial arts skills.
  • This trope is at play in Savage Worlds games that use the Super Powers Companion: you get all your character's powers up front, but you still start at Novice Rank; Characters at higher Ranks have higher Skills and Attributes and better Edges, which gives them an edge over less experienced characters.

    Video Games 
  • In Mabinogi, player characters gain stat points from training skills, including noncombat skills. This leads to players training, for example, the Weaving skill to use the Dexterity it rewards to help in combat. This also works in reverse, as some noncombat skills benefit from higher stats that can be gained by training skills, including combat skills.
  • The post-prologue beginning of Golden Sun suggests briefly that Isaac, Garet, and Jenna were learning about Alchemy from Kraden to understand their powers better. Isaac's mother is baffled, since Alchemy itself is a dead power and supposed to remain that way, in theory.
  • Pokémon: Effort Values are tiny stat boosts gained by fighting other Pokémon. Simply fighting random Pokémon and gaining EXP would yield a powerful monster, but with specialized EV Training focusing on specific stats, a Pokémon can yield monstrous gains in a stat. A player can just go through the game, train their Pokémon to level 100, and crush the NPC trainers with a level advantage. However, in the Battle Facilites and commonly-used PvP rules where all participants are set to level 50, EV training and IV breeding (which the game doesn't redily disclose on its own) matter lots more in deciding battles.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, following his conversion into a Cyborg, Adam Jensen undergoes therapy to help him cope with his new cybernetic body. Part of the therapy includes Jensen teaching himself how to build and repair clocks, in order to relearn precision control of his new prosthetic hands, which is based on actual physical therapy techniques. He still occasionally slips up, as shown in the trailer, where he's poured himself a shot of whiskey and the glass is shown to be slowly covering in cracks from his tight grip. This is also the in-story reasoning for the game's upgrade system; all the upgrades are already installed in Jensen's body, but activating them all right off the bat would be too much for his brain to handle and would leave him with a whole lot of deadly tech he probably wouldn't know how to use, so he has to let his body get used to the augments (read: get Experience Points) before he can activate them.
  • Pool Powers, most literally the Fighting Pool in City of Heroes, are one way characters can get some extra skills. Temporary powers are another.
  • In Academagia The Making Of Mages, the character is a student at a Wizarding School, but they also train in mundane skills to enhance and supplement their magic. For example, a student at Avila, the college of Astrology, is also required to study Geometry, because mundane Astronomy classes are part of the Geometry curriculum, and knowledge of mundane astronomy can assist in learning about magical astrology.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords both Kreia and the Mandalorians note that most Jedi aren't particularly skilled at anything, and their only advantage is their connection to the Force that gives them their abilities. They train the Exile to not rely on the Force to provide her abilities, but to hone a more mundane skill and use the Force to augment it. The Handmaiden also teaches the Exile hand-to-hand combat. In return, you can train her as a Jedi.
    Kreia: Take the greatest Jedi Knight, strip away the Force, and what remains? They rely on it, depend on it, more than they know. Watch as one tries to hold a blaster, as they try to hold a lightsaber, and you will see nothing more than a woman – or a man. A child.

  • Spinnerette gets trained in kickboxing by Mecha Maid. Despite Spinnerette's Super-Strength, she got beat up by a supervillain without super powers (at the time)... and by an ordinary car burglar.
  • In The Order of the Stick:
    • Goblin cleric Redcloak has taken basic chemistry, and makes use of this when summoning Elementals. Earth Elementals may be tough, but Titanium Elementals are 30% lighter and will go further if launched out of a catapult. And Silicon Elementals work very well in a desert, optimizing their ability to manipulate the plentiful sand around them.
    • The vampire cleric Malack was taught martial arts, making him a good hand-to-hand fighter without his magic, especially with his vampiric strength. He uses it mostly for the Mundane Utility of holding on to his meals while he drains them dry, but it works just as well against Durkon.
  • El Goonish Shive: Grace starts seeking martial arts lessons after a while, not as a way to get stronger, but as a way to learn how to control her strength. She recognizes the need for fighting, but doesn't want to kill anyone, so she wants to learn how to subdue an opponent without pulverizing them.
  • Poppy O'Possum: Poppy relies on being strong enough to lift a house and her innate Anti-Magic properties in all her early fights, but when she starts dating Queen Kit her bodyguard insists she get some martial arts training from Petunia.
  • Grrl Power: Maxima was arguably the most powerful super in the world, with an incredible array of abilities including the ability to produce effects measured in kilotons and survive the same. And then when she was eighteen, she joined the United States military, and became inarguably the most powerful super in the world. She combines her jaw-dropping powers with shameless Combat Pragmatism, use of allies and teamwork, and expert martial arts. There are only two people in the world who have ever fought her to a draw, and she seemingly managed to kill one of them. The other one joined her team. She also applies this philosophy to her team, making recruits to ARCSWAT go through the same Army training and giving detailed explanations when someone with a super laser power asks why she should bother with mundane firearms training.
  • Mob Psycho 100: Even though Mob may very well be the most powerful esper in the world, he's also a socially awkward teenage boy who wants to be popular and get his childhood crush Tsubomi to notice him, and most people stopped being impressed by his powers ages ago. Thus, he winds up joining the Body Improvement club, believing chicks dig muscles and Tsubomi will be into him if he's buff. Ironically, this winds up having a bigger impact on his psychic abilities than his naturally frail body, as the strong social support network it provides helps him better manage his long-repressed emotions and neglected social skills, granting him much better control over his Psychoactive Powers and turning him from a self-fearing chronic Angst Nuke to an empathic Warrior Therapist. He Did Not Get the Girl in the end, but he gets over it.
  • Sleepless Domain: Heartful Punch, one of the strongest and most popular Magical Girls in the city, is a firm believer in this. She runs the Magical Girl Power Training Club with several of her friends after school, where they not only train to hone their magical skills, but also to work out physically. The benefits of this are discussed when Undine joins the club — while it's unknown whether physical fitness influences magical powers, it's probably beneficial for combat either way, for obvious reasons.
  • Tower of God: By the beginning of the second season, Jue Viole Grace is a phenomenally powerful (for his level) Wave Controller who's also able to learn any new technique by getting hit by it. However, his martial arts abilities and physical strength aren't so great, so he's still a bit of a Squishy Wizard. Between the Workshop Battle and Hell Train arcs, he goes to get himself beaten up by martial artists of all schools so that he can absorb their techniques too, becoming a master of all of them.
  • Unsounded: The Functional Magic of Pymary consists of very precise commands to the Background Magic Field, so expert spellwrights need to have a solid grasp of physics and materials science to know what they're casting on and how it reacts to different effects.

    Web Original 
  • Used a lot in the Super Hero Schools in The Descendants where power creativity is an actual class, on top of self defense.
    • Chaos learned boxing at the Academy, only to learn it's not as useful in superheroics. Cue a succession of Tricked-Out Gloves to make it useful.
    • Once he developed the power to convert one elemental metal into another, Alloy took a bunch of chemistry classes. Later, he's seen to use lithium to create a Flaming Sword.
    • Characters have occasionally been mocked for not doing this.
  • The entire purpose of Whateley Academy is to churn these types of characters out. Specifically, there are seven different martial artists, all of different schools, who teach classes. All able-bodied students are required to take either beginning aikido or 'Survival'note  for a Physical Education credit. Special classes teach everything from 'team tactics' (think Spec Ops applied to superheroes) to designing a costume to understanding how not only your power works but also how your opponent's power works (though it should be added that there's also a heavy emphasis on Mundane Utility as well, for those less inclined to fight). This seems to be much more effective at creating criminals, however, in light of the success of such card-carrying villains as Lord Paramount, Gizmatic, and Mimeo. Given the significant support they get from the supervillain community, and their general neutrality policy, though, this suits the school just fine.
  • Quite common in Worm — this is one of the standard benefits of The Wards, the US's superhero organization for minors. Any characters who's powers don't lend themselves to up close fighting typically learns at least some basic self defense, and they often carry some sort of weapon as well. The main character carries what basically amounts to a nightstick and a combat knife whenever possible. Even characters who's powers do work in close range often get some basic training to help amplify their abilities as well.
  • All NFU Agents in Enter the Farside do regular training as part of their standard schedule. Grandmaster explains that they're made to train regularly because it helps them become more creative with their abilities, teach them how to work better with their team, and gain new skills in the process. Even Shaun comments that he's working on his aim so he can use his impressive strength from a distance, what with not having to actually needing to get stronger or tougher.
  • In RWBY, Ozpin forces Ruby to learn hand-to-hand combat in Volume 5 as he realizes that she's pathetic without her scythe/sniper rifle combo Crescent Rose. A short focusing on Yang that same volume revealed that Ruby hated learning other skills because she felt she didn't need them with Crescent Rose around.
  • Fenspace has the Panzer Kunst Gruppe, a martial arts academy created specifically for teaching android or cyborg fen (and presumably anyone with an organic biomod that comes with sufficient advanced strength) how to get the most out of their augmentations rather than relying on brute strength to carry them through. It also includes training in how to non-lethally subdue a squishier opponent without accidentally killing them.

    Western Animation 
  • A villainous example occurs in Justice League. Shade, who has a nightstick that creates shadows and manipulates them, is essentially rendered powerless without it. Batman beats him this way the first time. When it comes time for a rematch and Batman uses the same tactic, Shade sucker punches him, having taken lessons in preparation for this sort of thing. He still got his ass kicked, of course, but at least he learned.
  • In Young Justice, after being humiliated by Black Canary with a judo toss, Superboy begrudgingly takes private fighting lessons. The results start showing less than two episodes after.
  • Used in an episode of X-Men: Evolution. Most of the younger mutants who are used to training in the Danger Room with Wolverine are disappointed when Scott and Jean are the only teachers left at the institute and would rather teach them geometry and physics. Of course, they change their minds when Scott shows them he can ricochet his optic beams around a room to hit a moving target.
  • In a cold open of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, it is revealed that Batman taught Doctor Fate how to box, in case his helmet was ever removed.
  • Discussed but not used in Iron Man: Armored Adventures. When Tony has trouble with an agile villain, Rhodey suggests he might need to learn kung fu. Tony complains that he already has a highly-expensive suit of Powered Armor.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: Tony and Steve have a disagreement over the march of technology. Steve insists that the mundane ways are useful, leading to a boxing match, with exactly the result you expect. Hulk and Hawkeye are in the audience watching Steve Rogers punch Tony Stark in the face and floor him with a single shot. Tony complains in his armor he would know every move Steve would make before he makes them. Which leads to Tony Dramatically Missing the Point, as Steve's entire intention was to show that knowing how to personally defend yourself will never, no matter how far technology advances, become obsolete. Tony doesn't see what Cap means. Apparently the lesson was not lost on him, as we see in the next season that the training is continuing:
    Tony Stark: And hey, I only blacked out the one time.
    Skrull Steve Rogers: If that's the way you choose to remember it...
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Spider-Man (just like in the comics) spent a bit of time as a successful show-wrestler, learning how to fight using his powers and his webs before ever trying to fight crime.
  • Ben 10: Starting with Ben 10: Alien Force, the protagonist Ben Tennyson starts learning basic martial arts from his cousin, and, according to Word of God, received basic Plumber training from Grandpa Max, all so he could be somewhat capable of defending himself whenever the Omnitrix fails him. Most memorably, "Above and Beyond" has him put these skills to use, having him disarm a super-strong opponent while in human form.
  • In Teen Titans everyone from the planet Tamaran has superhuman strength; however, Blackfire complements that by also knowing martial arts from many worlds. Also, Cyborg's mechanical body wouldn't be nearly as awesome if he weren't also a mechanical genius able to repair and upgrade it (so for him it's also Required Secondary Powers).


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Alternative Title(s): Martial Arts Class For Superman


Lelei La Lalena

A Gateworlder Mage apprentice to Cato The Great Sage. After picking up some Chemistry and Physics books from Japan to incorporate with her spellcraft, Cato says she's more than earned her magical doctorate.

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