Follow TV Tropes


Drunken Boxing

Go To

Drunken Boxing, also known as Drunken Fist or Drunkard's Boxing, is a traditional Chinese martial art. It is a style of Wushu that imitates a drunkard in its movements. The postures are created by momentum and weight of the body, and imitation is generally through staggering and a certain type of fluidity in the movements. Part of the idea here is to make one's movements unpredictable (because it doesn't look like any normal martial art). It is considered to be among the more difficult Wushu styles to learn, due to the need for powerful joints and fingers. Think about the kind of strength you need to be able to lie flat on your back and stand up without using anything but your toes and ankles.

Drunken Boxing techniques are based on the legend of "The Eight Drunken Immortals". Each of the techniques in the Drunken Set demonstrates an attribute of one of the Immortals. These "elements" from all eight Immortals' styles are combined to form a beautiful and effective fighting art.

It also provides an interesting-looking set of movements for a character, or makes him stand out among other more linear fighters. In an animated setting, this can be a way for the artists and animators to show off their technique and ability in drawing and animating dynamic poses.

Variant of the Drunken Master in which the character performing this combat style doesn't need to actually be drunk. Related to the story trope Confusion Fu.

Unfortunately, although fighters with confusing styles have occasionally thrived in combat sports, true drunken boxing is often considered a good example of Awesome, but Impractical, as it performs poorly in competition.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Rock Lee in Naruto. Lee is actually a good enough fighter to begin with, but Kimimaro, at the time of his fight with Lee, noted that Rock Lee has a very direct, frontal attacking style of fighting, which could lead to predictability. With alcohol helping to keep his movements unpredictable combining with his freakish speed, Lee becomes a monster when using his Drunken Fist. He's also very easy to get drunk, which has caused problems when he did stuff like wreck entire restaurants with Might Guy needing to pin him down. (In Naruto Shippuden: The Movie, his sensei gives him a liquor bonbon and instructions only to take it in direst need.)
  • Parodied in Ranma ½. After Kuno has forced a whole bottle of sake down female-Ranma's throat, she begins to sway and dodge in unpredictable patterns. A teacher (whom Kuno shortly intimidates into silence) complains about underage drinking, but Genma tries to explain that it's really a form of Drunken Fist, especially when she kicks Kuno out cold... and she passes out right there, tanked out of her skull.
  • Chuu from YuYu Hakusho even incorporates alcohol into his Ki Manipulation, making them more powerful.
  • Master Roshi uses Drunken Boxing in the original Dragon Ball. The broadcast dub changed this to "Mad Cow" style with the addition of cow-head clip art to the scene, but the DVD version left it unchanged.
  • In Hoshin Engi, Taikobo eats a peach infused with sake from the Sennin world to get drunk and use this technique against Raishinshi, who otherwise outmatched him in bare-handed fight.
  • In Air Master , during the fight against the gang of delinquents who had kidnapped Mina, Tokita drink a flask of alcohol for the first time in his life to get drunk and use this technique. This render his movements unpredictable to his opponents, but this also make him too drunk to chase after the guy who was holding Mina.
  • In Fairy Tail, Bacchus Glowe of Quatro Cerberus has mastered a martial arts fighting style that, when he's drunk, allows him to unleash his full unrestrained strength and speed on a target such that they can't keep up with his unpredictability. Elfman, however, manages to exploit the flaw in it that since he uses his hands, he coats his body in incredibly tough and spiky scales so that Bacchus ends up damaging himself in attacking him.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past: After Harry starts teaching his friends martial arts, for both fitness and self defence, Luna turns up having learned some drunken monkey kung fu from Jackie Chan movies. Harry is skeptical, but when he hears that it's a real martial art, he just decides to get her some books to learn it properly.
    Luna: I watched how he did it and practised it a bit while I was home. It looked like it would be very surprising and quite fun to do.

  • Wong Fei-hung has displayed this type of kung fu in a good number of movies, especially the Drunken Master series with Jackie Chan and the Last Hero In China series with Jet Li.
    • Jackie Chan revisited this style in The Forbidden Kingdom, where he played one of the Drunken Immortals.
  • In The Matrix, Drunken Boxing is one of the many styles uploaded into Neo's head during his training on the Nebuchadnezzar.
  • Raging Phoenix is sometimes billed as "drunken (B-boy) muay thai vs. drunken kung fu."
  • In The World's End, the pubcrawlers, while not martial artists in any sense of the word, get progressively better at fighting their robotic foes the more they drink, even displaying a couple of recognizable moves from Drunken Master- this should be expected given that the stunt coordinator was Brad Allen, a member of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team. However, more frequently they use wrestling moves.
  • Panda Style, the Kung Fu style invented and used by Po in the Kung Fu Panda franchise shares many similarities with Drunken Kung Fu, namely that it relies less on avoiding damage than on receiving it and using the momentum and, well, body-fat. It's also highly irregular and mobile, compared to other styles.

    Live Action TV 

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Everway supplement Spherewalker Sourcebook. The combat system called The Entangling Art involves the user appearing clumsy, staggering out of the way of blows, accidentally tripping enemies and clumsily dashing weapons out of their hands. It can be used to break arms, knock down stout warriors, and even kill opponents.
  • One Terrestrial Martial Art in Exalted is called Orgiastic Fugitive Style. Basically Drunken Boxing mixed with copious amounts of narcotics and marathon sex.
  • Appears in Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition as the Way of the Drunken Master subclass for the Monk class. Despite having a similar name to a certain similar trope, they are actually designed after this fighting style. Their subclass abilities include the ability to sway out of harm's way (Tispy Sway), redirect missed attacks towards enemies (Drunkard's Luck), and strike multiple people at once (Intoxicated Frenzy). They also get a bonus to performance checks and their flavor text encourages readers to play them as subversive and silly tricksters. They supposedly don't get drunk as part of their martial art, but they do start off knowing how to use brewer's supplies to make alcohol. Make of that what you will.

    Video Games 
  • In the doujin fighter game Eternal Fighter Zero, Nayuki Minase parodies this with her "sleepy boxing" technique, which looks just like drunken boxing, except she's asleep. In this case, alcohol is replaced with strawberry jam.
    • Something similar also shows up in Kinnikuman where it turns out King Muscle and Kid Muscle have developed an elaborate sleep-fighting technique due to sleeping in the same bed. (Uh...)
  • Brad Wong from the Dead or Alive series of Fighting Games. Incidentally, his only goal in the storyline seems to be a search for the ultimate beverage of legend.
  • Shun Di, a regular of the Virtua Fighter series since the second game, uses Drunken Boxing as his fighting style of choice. Some of his more damaging and advanced moves require Shun Di to have a certain number of drinks in him to perform.
  • Chin Gentsai in The King of Fighters series. Like Shun Di above, he can execute certain moves by taking some drinks from his gourd. He spices his techniques up a bit from the classing drunken boxing by incorporating the ability to breathe fire with his alcohol.
  • Bo Rai Cho in the Mortal Kombat series has drunken boxing as one of his fighting styles, and carries a flask. His name is a pun on the Spanish word "borracho", meaning "drunkard". In fact, he is canonically the inventor of the style within the universe of the game.
  • The Pandaren Brewmaster of Warcraft III has this as an ability that gives them a random chance to dodge and do extra damage. They probably are drunk when they do it.
    • Pandaren are coming in the World of Warcraft expansion Mists Of Pandaria, and bringing their brewmaster fighting style with them, they're tanks who rely on dodging and "stagger" (shrugging off instant damage in favor of taking it over time, probably because they're too drunk to feel it right away).
  • Suika Ibuki, of Touhou Project's first of two Fighting Games, is an oni that is known to have a gourd that never runs out of sake. Translation: she is never sober, even while fighting (while standing, she sways quite noticably) and it just so happens she is the final boss.
  • In Jade Empire, one of your party members has the ability to toss bottles of wine to you, allowing you to activate the Drunken Master fighting style.
    • Which, although powerful, is quickly and easily outmatched by any other martial style. Drunken Master cannot be leveled up with skill points, meaning it never gets more powerful, but it's about twice as powerful as a basic martial style with no skill points. It's also very slow, and hard to control. It's mostly for Rule of Cool.
  • God Hand, with its customizable combos has several Drunken Boxing moves. You can make Gene a drunken boxer... however, the moves are relatively impractical.
  • In Punch-Out!!, the Russian boxer Soda Popinski was originally named Vodka Drunkenski, who used this style. His fighting style has not changed after he switched to soda.
  • The "not actually drunk" version is sort of exemplified by the Pokémon ability Tangled Feet. Pokémon with this ability gain a 20% boost to evasiveness when afflicted with the confusion status effect.
  • Phantasy Star Portable 2 gives us the Ikku Hikku, a Photon Art for the knuckles weapon. At the end of the combo, the user reclines on the ground and takes a swig from a flask pulled out of Hammerspace.
  • In Heroes of Newerth there is a hero literally called the Drunken Master, who uses this technique while also being completely drunk, all the time. Though he's a Strength hero, he's surprisingly nimble and can close the distance and dodge projectiles effectively, even more while he's drunk. One of his abilities is called "Drink", which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • In some of the earlier WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw titlesnote , you can select drunken boxing as a stance in character customization... however, there are no actual drunk boxing moves in the game, and the walk animation doesn't change... so in effect, it's possible to make a character that stumbles drunkenly while standing still... and that's about it.
  • Fighting game Wu Tang: Taste The Pain has this as ODB's fighting style.
  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo Neo can use Drunken Boxing as part of the fights.
  • This is one of the various combat styles in One Finger Death Punch. It's primarily seen in Boss Fights, rather than the Mob Round free-for-alls where it would be the most entertaining.
  • In Def Jam: Fight for NY, Drunken Boxing is one of the fighting styles you can learn by combining specific styles. It's also the preferred fighting style of Flava Flav.
  • Absolver has "Stagger" as one of four stances you can use in the game, and the only one not available from the start. The stance makes your character hobble around and your defensive ability lets you stumble out of the way of attacks (or into the opponent directly) and the moves all look like you're falling over as you perform them. It can also be the most dangerous style if it's mastered. Also included are sword moves, which are just as confusing to watch as the bare-knuckle ones.
  • Lei Wulong from Tekken has Drunken Boxing as one of his stances. As it's got fewer moves than most of his other stances, it's not a particularly good idea to rely too heavily on it.
  • Jamie from Street Fighter 6 is the series' take on Drunken Boxing, but mixed with plenty of hip-hop and breakdancing. He can take drinks out of his bottle mid-battle to improve or unlock new moves, though the devs say he's not actually drinking alcohol and according to him it's actually an herbal remedy that boosts your energy.

    Western Animation 
  • Jackie Chan Adventures had two scenes where Jackie used Drunken Boxing in homage to the movies. Since they couldn't mention alcohol on a kids' show, they used workarounds. The first time, he was disoriented due to the venom from a snakebite. In another example, he was suffering from "the bends" (leaving the water too quickly after a deep dive).
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness had 2 scenes in the same episode. In the earlier scene, Po practices "Dizzy Kung Fu" with Monkey. This turns out to be useful later, when Scorpion tries to poison the village, leading to the second scene, where he's intoxicated, as the poison didn't outright kill anyone, and being larger than most, he could endure its effects for longer, rather than passing out immediately like everyone else.
  • The three main characters of Seis Manos each have a different fighting style, and Jesus is a practitioner of Drunken Boxing. In an atypical twist on this trope, Jesus has a drinking problem, but he typically doesn't fight while drunk.

    Real Life 
  • If you haven't guessed by now, Jackie Chan is a Master of Drunken Boxing. He incorporates it into his movie choreography, giving us his entertaining performances.
  • While he wasn't an actual practitioner of drunken boxing, boxer Emanuel Augustus earned the nickname "the Drunken Master" for his radical, borderline-insane boxing style, weaving, swaying, ducking and sometimes even literally dancing around his opponents throwing out wild but calculated blows that seemed to come out of nowhere.
  • MMA fighter Shigeyuki Umeki became known by his bizarre style, mixing an invented form of drunken boxing with breakdance and Sambo, although due to his short career, his style was never properly challenged in competition.


Video Example(s):


Remi uses the Drunken Fist

Faced by a Galactic Warrior with the power to turn water into alcohol, an intoxicated Remi uses the Drunken Fist technique to fight.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DrunkenBoxing

Media sources: