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Extremity Extremist

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Zangief: What are your special moves?
Balrog: I punch really hard.
Dhalsim: Do you kick?
Balrog: What's a kick?

Some people have a weapon of choice. Some people's weapon of choice is no weapon at all. And again others like to specialize even further.

This trope is about fighting styles wherein people always use exclusively either their legs or their arms, with rare exceptions. Perhaps it's preference, or perhaps it's just their particular form of martial arts. Most characters of the kicking variety like to include elements of Taekwondo and flashy Capoeira moves, which often makes this overlap with the Dance Battler. The fist-only variety is less common, and is obviously most closely related to boxing, though Top Heavy Guys may fight like this for obvious reasons. The Kick Chick is a subtrope. A character who uses both hands and feet is a Bare-Fisted Monk.

Not to be confused with Well-Intentioned Extremist.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tomoyo Sakagami from CLANNAD mostly uses her legs when she fights.
  • Sanji from One Piece uses a leg-based martial art called "Black Leg Style". As he needs his hands to cook, damaging them would deprive him of his art, so he doesn't take any chances beyond sometimes using them to balance himself. Both of these sentences also apply to his teacher, Red-Leg Zeff. The one time he did allow himself to use his hands was with a pair of knives, because his opponent was using food as a weapon and armornote . It didn't last long after that.
  • Lenalee Lee from D.Gray-Man. Since her boots are essentially a powerful magic weapon, made of the only substance that can harm the villains, she doesn't have much choice about the matter.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, the martial art Sensui uses is called Resshuu-ken; his particular version of it also uses his reiki (Reikou-reshhuu-ken). It involves using the legs as offense, and the arms as defense, which comes in handy for Sensui, since the boy has some extremely long legs.
  • Played with in Real Bout High School: Taiho Hashiba is a boxer and usually only punches, but when the going gets tough, he abandons the family style for something with a little more kick.
  • Syaoran Li does this in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- because he cannot perceive depth very well, seeing (sorry) as he only has one eye.
  • In Shadow Skill, Front Skills were almost exclusively punches while Shadow Skills were almost exclusively kicks. This is because, like the Real Life Capoiera, it was devised by slaves.
  • Featuring the wide array of martial arts it does, it should come as no surprise that History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi has at least three Extremity Extremists Ikki Takeda, known as "Takeda the Puncher", is a boxer. There's also "Koga the Kicker", named for much the same reason. Finally there is Kisara Nanjo, who uses Tae Kwon Do.
  • Yakitate!! Japan has Gran Kayser, who doesn't speak or walk so that his immensely distorted arms can be used more effectively to bake.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Super Gogeta doesn't use his arms for anything but energy attacks (and throwing confetti.) He gets double points as the only apparent reason he does so is so that he can keep up his smug look.
    • In the Dragon Ball GT Final Bout video game, Vegetto only uses his feet for his meteor combos.
    • This is attempted by Frieza, who spends a decent chunk of his fight with Goku using only his legs and his tail, keeping his arms smugly folded throughout the battle. Goku being a good enough fighter to make him drop this and start using his arms is a sign that he's finally met someone who can fight him at an equal level, and is just the beginning of his Humiliation Conga.
  • Ryohei Sasagawa from Reborn! (2004) is a very enthusiastic boxer. Coincidentally, he adds, "to the extreme" to every other sentence.
  • Ichi from Ichi the Killer almost exclusively uses kicks in his fighting repertoire; albeit, while wearing razor blades on his shoes.
  • In Fist of the North Star, Shu, the successor of the Nanto Hakuroken fighting style, which focuses almost entirely on using kicks; kicks which slice people apart from sheer air pressure. He can use his hands... But he did so on-page exactly four times, two of which were high-speed techniques where he needed the feet to move that fast, against a child Kenshiro (Shu was already an adult) and to pluck his own eyes in exchange for sparing young Kenshiro's life.
  • Maki the Air Master is perhaps only borderline. She's not afraid of using her fists, or — more frequently — her elbows, but her strongest and most frequently used weapon is indubitably her unbelievably-long legs. As a trained gymnast, she understandably uses her arms mostly for balance.
  • Touma Kamijou in A Certain Magical Index, due to its nature as an Anti-Magic weapon, tends to fight primarily using his right hand. So much so that an enemy is legitimately surprised when Touma shifts to his left for a punch.
    • Accelerator later tries to emulate Touma by using only his right hand to fight, but comments on how difficult it is.
  • Both Kotetsu T. Kaburagi/Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks Jr. in Tiger & Bunny. Barnaby focuses heavily on kicks, while Kotetsu almost exclusively uses his fists.
  • Medaka Box: Zenkichi (and his mother Hitomi) use Savate, meaning the vast majority of their attacks are kicks.
  • Bleach:
    • Kon is a Mod Soul with super strong legs, that's why almost everything he does in combat is related with his legs.
    • Mashiro uses her legs more often than her Zanpakuto. She even fires Ceros with kicks.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Tenya Iida fights exclusively with kicks, due to the fact that his quirk "engine" (which simply gives him engines in his legs) makes his legs much more powerful than his arms, and kick based fighting is better suited to his Super Speed.
    • Another example is Izuku Midoriya. He inherited the One For All quirk from All Might, and tries to imitate his predecessor who relied mostly on Good Old Fisticuffs. However, One For All takes a huge toll on the body, and Midoriya breaks his arms to the point where he's at risk of crippling them permanently. Realizing his legs are stronger than his arms, he switches to channeling One For All with kicks instead.
    • All Might, Midoriya's mentor and the one whom he inherited One For All from, is a firm believer of Good Old Fisticuffs, channeling One For All into a variety of punches, knife-edged chops, grappling, and throws. The closest he gets to a non-arm based technique he shows is turning his back to the opponent and punching, generating enough force doing so to launch himself backwards at incredible speeds.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Crystal demonstrates accuracy to kill for when she kicks her Pokéballs at wild Pokémon. When she broke her arms during her childhood (and her own heart later), she went to the mountains to train her legs, and the training stuck after she got better. She eventually teaches this skill to Emerald.
  • In Sailor Moon, and especially Codename: Sailor V, Minako is an avid user of kicks, using her hands almost exclusively for special attacks (including a few punching ones that are actually stronger than her kicks). By how she kicks, she apparently learned Savate before getting her powers, as she was already kicking like that in her first battle, before getting any training.
  • Ted from Zatch Bell! relies in Good Old Fisticuffs for all his fights. While most mamodo's spells serve for all sorts of powerful combat magic, Ted's simply make him gradually stronger and faster, while he keeps using nothing but his fists to fight.
  • Komura from Ashigei Shoujo Komura-san is an exaggerated example in which she exclusively uses her bare feet to perform even the most mundane tasks as well as tasks that would normally leave an ordinary person bamboozled trying to do the same thing as she does. And yet, the way she uses her feet for her tasks, she makes it look like child's play. Justified in that she comes from a line of really talented acrobats.
  • Mikey from Tokyo Revengers fights using his signature roundhouse kick to the head, which is usually enough to completely knock someone out.

    Comic Books 
  • A Marvel Golden Age villain called the Armless Tiger Man.
  • DC has the Armless Master.
    • A story arc in Robin involved the brother of the Armless Master: The Legless Master.
  • Bullseye is the ultimate Improbable Weapon User, but he usually uses his legs to fight when he doesn't have something in hand. Presumably he prefers this style because it keeps his hands free to potentially grab something to use as a weapon.
  • When was the last time you saw Superman kick? Justified in that the Trope Title Boxing Lessons for Superman is quite literal; most stories about Superman learning to physically fight involve him learning boxing or arm-based grappling. Kicks just don't seem to be something he's interested in.
  • Captain America foe Batroc the Leaper trains exclusively in savate, making his kicks extra powerful and allowing him to leap extraordinary distances.
  • The version of Hermes in Wonder Woman (2011) attacks exclusivly with his taloned feet.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Shards, Harribel and by extension her student Naruto both use primarily kicks for their martial art. According to Harribel, it was a style developed by slaves whose hands were shackled. It does have a few hammering blows made with both hands but those are exceedingly rare.
  • Evanna Narec of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines is a Power-Up Punch bloodliner, so she fights exclusively using her fists.

  • Any Chuck Norris (popularizer of the Roundhouse Kick) or Jean-Claude Van Damme character will have a propensity for kicks.
  • In the Terrence Hill & Bud Spencer Spaghetti Western They Call Me Trinity, one of their allies is a guy called 'Shy', who had his hands permanently buried in his pockets, and fought exclusively with kicks. He taught a bunch of Mormons to fight the same way, too.
  • Honorary mention: In one of the most famous scenes from the film My Left Foot, the protagonist, an almost-total paraplegic who is carried around in a wheelbarrow, uses his only working appendage - guess which one - to do some damage in a Bar Brawl.
  • The title characters ? one of whom is legless, the other armless ? in The Crippled Masters.
  • The final battle in Jackie Chan's Legend Of Drunken Master was between him and a villain who did pretty much nothing but kick. The hero beats him with drunken boxing, which uses the entire body.
    • In another Jackie Chan film, Who Am I? (1998), the final battle consists of Jackie fighting a duo made up of a man who primarily punches and a man who primarily kicks.
  • If you pay close enough attention to the Matrix films, you'll notice that despite being in no less than five fight scenes, three of which were quite long and one of which involved around one hundred copies of himself, Agent Smith only kicks a few times.
    • Hugo Weaving commented at one point that his right arm is much stronger and more coordinated than his left. Most of his moves consist of straight punches with his right arm.
    • This analysis postulates that the reason agents only use one or two moves is to reflect their role as rigid-minded machines. As the human characters learn and grow, their fighting styles evolve with them. But Smith never learns. This lack of variety is compensated for by inhuman strength and speed, which are the only two factors the machines increase when upgrading their agents, rather than adding finesse.
  • Invoked in Ip Man 2: The British, trying to stack the deck further in favour of the Twister after he takes a few good hits, tell Ip that kicking is now against the rules. Shortly after, when Ip reflexively lashes out with a kick, the ref is quick to remind him that another one will disqualify him. Frank in Ip Man 3 subverts this, however: he is a boxer like Twister, but he's much better at dealing with Ip Man's kicks and leg attacks than Twister, and when Ip tried to exploit this trope, Frank showed that he is no stranger to using kicks as well.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Barry features Ronny in the episode Ronny/Lily, a Taekwondo master who almost exclusively uses kicks. They are powerful enough to kill outright with a single kick to the head, so this isn't surprising.
  • From the Kamen Rider franchise:
    • Played straight by the aptly-named KickHopper and PunchHopper in Kamen Rider Kabuto. The former even focused on kicks while using the Bee Zecter, even though its finishing move is a punch.
    • Kamen Rider Kiva uses kicks as a signature move, particularly in Emperor Form.
    • Kamen Rider Wizard uses a highly acrobatic fighting style based entirely around kicks, as well as his gunblade. Because he uses Rings of Power to channel his spells, he never uses punches; at most he'll occasionally perform a palm strike. The only time in the series where he does throw a punch is in the final episode, after he blocks one of Gremlin's sword attacks with a ring, destroying it.
    • Kiriya Kujo/Kamen Rider Lazer from Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is a lesser case: He tends to attack with kicks and defend using his arms, but this only really holds up when he doesn't have a weapon like Girigiri Chanbara's Gashacon Sparrow.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • There are a number of examples in the history of Dragon Gate, namely Shogo Takagi AKA the Berlinetta Boxer (very unique punch-intensive offense); Masaaki Mochizuki (deadly karate kicker); BxB Hulk (flashy kick-heavy style); and Naoki Tanizaki (employs a wide variety of knee strikes).

    Video Games 
  • Sai from the fighting game Akatsuki BK has one or two punching moves, but overwhelmingly uses kicks while his hands are in his pockets. He's supposed to be a suave businessman, but he comes off as a total nut.
  • From Anarchy Reigns we got Durga, whose moveset consists of kicking and shooting with his mechanical leg. The only times where he actually uses his fists is when he need to reload his leg or when he grapples a downed opponent.
  • Mickey Rogers from the Art of Fighting series only uses punches, Sinclair from AOF3 only uses sword attacks and cannot kick.
  • Viper/Daytona from Azure Striker Gunvolt only uses kicks when delivering physical attacks. Fitting given the animal he's based on.
  • Battle Circuit: Pink Ostrich, a bird and all, uses mostly her legs and beak. She mainly uses her wing for flying, and the only time P. Ostrich uses them for attacking are her uppercut and desperation attack.
  • Big Bang Beat: 1st Impression:
    • Mighty Glacier Sanzou Kongoumaru only has punches, unless you count shaking the ground by stomping on it or falling feet-first onto an opponent after jumping. He's so large, attempting an actual kick would probably just make him fall down.
    • Boxer Burai Yamato only has punching moves, for a completely different reason. Half of his attack buttons are used for dashing because of this.
  • Death Vegas:
    • This is the situation with champion boxer Helmut. In his case, however, he's so top heavy that he's probably genuinely incapable of kicking without completely throwing off his balance. And, like Balrog, he may simply be too stupid to reach out of his style's traditional roots even in unsanctioned fights, being a serious piece of Dumb Muscle with a mind clouded by years of severe steroid abuse.
    • Joshua and Winstone both have this to lesser degrees; Joshua has only one punch in his repetoire, while all of Winstone's normal attacks are punches and all his special attacks are kicks.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor: Each and every unarmed attack is described as a kick of some sort, and the hero himself will punt everything, be it a door, chest or a monster, but will never use their hands for something other than magic, shields or weaponry. This being Dungeons of Dredmor, it's lampshaded constantly, with mentions of enchanting your boot to deal extra damage common among skill descriptions.
  • Nayuki Minase and Kaori Misaka in Eternal Fighter Zero are the kicking and punching versions, respectively. Kaori, in particular, seems to be based partially on both the above mentioned Dudley and Vanessa, moves-wise.
  • In the Fatal Fury series, Kim Kaphwan and his sons Kim Jae Hoon and Kim Dong Hwan all have a punch here or there, but their moves are overwhelmingly kicks. Kaphwan's KOF teammate Jhun Hoon, on the other hand, really only has kicks. They all are Tae Kwon Do practicioners.
    • Boxer Franco Bash, like Kaphwan and sons, has a kick here and there, but relies overwhelmingly on punches. Heavy D! from The King of Fighters really just has punches. Rick Strowd deserves special mention: he only punches, and many of his moves were later inherited by Vanessa in the KOF games.
    • Hinako Shijou, being a sumo wrestler, basically only uses slaps and grabs, with one or two kicks (namely low kicks and stomps) in her arsenal.
  • Liu Yungmie from Fighter's History Dynamite is another Taekwondo fighter who uses nothing but kicks in combat. She kicks with punch buttons, throws opponents with her legs, blocks enemy attacks with her knee, and even sends out sonic booms from her feet.
  • Joe Fendi, the boxer in Fighting Layer, doesn't even have Kick buttons; pressing them instead performs an evasion technique.
  • Fight Of Animals:
  • In The Godfather: The Game, your man Aldo uses his fists almost exclusively and only breaks out his legs for a "power attack" knee to the face against a kneeling target or some Execution Styles.
  • The player can do this in God Hand, customizing Gene's moveset to have exclusively leg or arm moves.
    • One may be an extremist even among extremities—it is possible to create a chain of moves solely consisting of, say, right-handed punches.
  • Jack Garrison from the arcade fighting game Holosseum is a self-taught martial artist who fights only by kicking.
  • A sort of car-applied example happens in Initial D Arcade Stage, where the Mazda RX-7 is meant for uphill races and the Toyota Sprinter AE86 is for downhill races.
  • Kick Man: A non fighting game example; you can kick (and ONLY kick) in this game to get balloons back into the air to stop from losing a life.
  • The little-known Taito-published Kick Master features Thonolan, a titular Kick Master whose physical attacks consist of, you know, various kicks.
  • Killer Instinct:
    • Boxer T.J. Combo only uses his fists (although in the 2013 game he is re-imagined as an MMA fighter and thus has a more diverse set of attacks, including leg attacks).
    • From the same series, while Sabrewulf is capable of kicking, he would mostly rather bite. And claw.
  • In another sort of example, in the fanmade Kinnikuman Muscle Fight, Mixer Taitei specializes in knocking opponents down and using moves from the mount position. Additionally, Terryman's style is clearly boxing inspired and most of his special moves and strong attacks are punches (even though one of his signature attacks is the Texas Condor Kick, but even that's actually done with the knees rather than the feet).
  • The vast majority of Lee Rekka's moves in The Last Blade series are kicks.
  • In Little Fighter 2, Dennis uses only kicks and Davis uses only punches.
  • In Lunar: Dragon Song, protagonist Jian Campbell fights with his feet and all of his weapons are things like sandals and sneakers (although his character design has him wearing boots). His few magic spells are performed by spinning on his head.
  • Ghost Kick and Scorpion from the fighting game Martial Masters both favor kicks overwhelmingly to punches; Ghost Kick, particularly, doesn't have any punches at all. This proves to be a somewhat one-sided source of conflict between them, as Scorpion wants to prove his is the ultimate kicking style.
  • Yumizuka Satsuki in Melty Blood is no boxer or anything like that, but for some reason none of her attacks are kicks (other than using her knees as a jab for one of her her style).
  • The Messenger (2018) has the cyclops brothers, Colos and Suses. Colos has a very muscular upper body and scrawny legs, and only attacks with his arms. Suses has a flabby gut and very muscular legs, and only attacks with his legs (not just to kick — he also picks things up with his feet).
  • Need for Speed is full of this.
    • In Carbon, muscle cars (e.g. Dodge Charger 1970 and the Ford Mustang GT) are strictly for straight-line acceleration, exotics (e.g. Lamborghini Murciélago and Porsche Carrera GT) is for speeding, and tuners (e.g. Toyota Sprinter AE86 and Volkswagen Golf R32) is for cornering.
    • ProStreet has each Street King assigned to specific race types: Ray Kreiger for Grip, Nate Denver for Speed, Karol Monroe for Drag and Aki Kimura for Drift.
    • Payback has each crew member who have different specialties. Tyler specializes in Race and Drag events, Mac specializes in Drift, Offroad and Speedcross events and Jess specializes in doing Runner operations.
  • Persona:
    • Akihiko Sanada from Persona 3 is the captain of his school's boxing team; therefore, when fighting Shadows, he relies exclusively on his fists. This is in contrast to the Main Character, who can also equip gloves (Akihiko's "weapon" of choice) but can kick as well as punch.
    • Chie Satonaka from Persona 4 fights using kicks, and blocks with her knees when she's on the defensive. She even summons her Persona with a roundhouse kick. Her weapon is boots, obviously.
  • Pokémon: Hitmonlee. It even stole Blaziken's signature move in DP. Though to be fair, you can teach him moves that don't involve kicking; but the anime was all about the kicking game in the two times he was shown. Its counterpart Hitmonchan is a boxer who specializes in punching attacks. Hitmontop's moves mostly involve spinning, but since its legs are the only things that'll be hitting you...
    • Hitmonchan can sometimes have the ability Iron Fist, which boosts the attack power of all "Punch" attacks; most Pokemon with Iron Fist will be built by their trainer to have punches dominate their movelist.
    • Stonjourner is another kicking specialist, though for wholly different reasons: it's a sentient dolmen. Not only are its arms fairly short for its size, it doesn't even have enough joints in its body to properly throw a punch. On the other hand, with its legs being two giant slabs of rock weighing nearly half a ton, it doesn't really need anything else to wreck things.
  • Olof Linderoth in Power Instinct Matrimelee only uses his legs to fight because of arm injuries. The only exception to this is a Limit Break in the form of a Megaton Punch that hurts him if it connects.
  • Resident Evil:
    • In 4 and 6, most of Leon's melee attacks consist of various kinds of kicks. For the most part, he only uses his arms for throws and Suplex Finishers.
    • By contrast, in 5 and 6, Chris's melee attacks revolve around punches and throws, and only has one kick move.
  • In Sengoku Basara, Tokugawa Ieyasu (from the third game onwards) fights primarily with his fists with a style that's a mix between boxing and brawling. At most, he uses an elbow drop for his ground pound attack and a really powerful headbutt as one of his Special Arts.
  • In the Sonic The Hedgehog series, Knuckles only ever uses punching attacks, and Rouge uses only kicks. Tails just tail-whips and Sonic relies solely on Rolling Attacks. While Sonic's dark counterpart, Shadow, can do the same rolling attacks that Sonic can, he also tends to use kicking attacks when engaged in hand to hand combat.
  • The Grieve Edge discipline from Soul Calibur III uses kicks enhanced by sharpened metal footwear. They block with their bare hands though.
    • Yun-seung has no punch attacks in the games, only kicking and using his dao broadsword.
  • While Peter from Spider-Man (PS4) is not above throwing punches, the majority of his attacks are kick-based. This stops during the final phase with Dr. Octopus' boss fight where the Webhead simply decides to deliver No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on him without his usual Capoeira inspired fighting style.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Balrog from the series uses this, since he's a boxer and everything. Of course, he also headbutts, but still. Lampshaded by Street Fighter: The Later Years with the quote at the top of the page.
    • Similar to Balrog, British boxer Dudley only ever punches (no headbutts, but uses elbows in air), even if a kick button is pressed.
    • Elena, a capoerista from Street Fighter III, only uses kicks, even if you press a punch button.
    • Juri from Super Street Fighter IV plays this similar to The King of Fighters's Kim in that while she does have punches, her moves are primarily kick based - yes, even her projectiles and her throws. Like Kim and Hwoarang, she is a South Korean Tae Kwon Do practicioner.
  • Super Smash Bros.
    • While Fox McCloud can throw a punch, almost all of his attacks when fighting up-close are kick-based.
    • Being a boxer, Little Mac only ever uses his fists to attack, being the only fighter with that level of specialization.
  • Earthgain and Vyrose from Super Robot Wars 64. Earthgain specializes in punches while Vyrose specializes in kicks.
  • Regal Bryant from Tales of Symphonia vowed never to use his hands to hurt anyone ever again after killing his lover, and spends most of the game wearing shackles to enforce this... But his legs were a different story. He will, however, use his arms for things besides fighting, like cooking or destroying prison cell walls.
  • Tekken
    • Steve Fox is strictly punches, being a middleweight boxing champ. When you press the kick buttons, he'll do some kind of dodge which can actually leave you open if you're not expecting it, so he takes some getting used to. He has one rather weak kick, which is really more of a stomp, and another jump kick was introduced in Tekken 5. He can head-butt with the best of them too, though, and isn't afraid of using his elbows.
    • Tae Kwon Do practicioners like Hwoarang, who only has about 1% of punch moves; the rest is all kicks. Averted with Baek, who uses a more traditional style of TKD that employs close-handed strikes and has just as many punching attacks as any other fighter.
    • If not for two poking moves common to all of the fighters — namely the crouching punch and the supine kick — Steve and Hwoarang would be purists. The Capoeiristas still have rollout hand strikes.
    • Sumo wrestler Ganryu kicks when you press the kick buttons, but his moveset is focused mainly on open-handed striking.
  • Almost all of Zan's attacks rely on kicks in Undercover Cops.
  • Urban Reign, being a sister game to Tekken (made by the same developer) has many characters who share moves with Tekken characters, like Park, a Tae Kwon Do ace with no punch moves, and Grimm, a boxer that only sports 2 very basic low kicks.
  • Kyle in Violent Storm only attacks with kicks.
  • Toei's Warriors
    • In the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam series, the Gundam Epyon can only use Melee attacks. When you press the charge button (which would normally unleash a shot attack), the Epyon just twirls its heat rod above its head as an attack.
    • The main Dynasty Warriors series finally indulges in this too in 8. One of the Downloadable Content weapons, the Sabatons, is a pair of armored boots, and its moveset consists entirely of kicks.
    • Hyrule Warriors has Fi whose attacks consist largely of ballet-style kicks. Justified, since she's an Armless Biped. There's also Linkle, whose fighting style when using the Pegasus Boots consists entirely of kicks.
  • Yakuza
    • Shun Akiyama fights primarily through kicks, only using his arms in either counter-attacks or grapples. Kiryu somewhat prioritizes punches over kicks in his Rush style, and almost entirely uses open handed swipes in Beast when he isn't grappling or swinging a weapon. Majima's Breaker style attacks with his legs, using his hands for balance, and his Mqd Dog style has similar kicks when he isn't slicing with his tanto.
    • Multiple non-playable characters also apply. Akiyama's final boss in 4, Arai, shows off his kicks to mirror Akiyama, The Man in Black is a Korean Taekwondo expert with bladed boots, and Tachibana relies on his legs to fight due to only having one arm. In contrast, there are many boxers among your friends and foes throughout the series, like Kuze, Jackal, Joon-gi, Tendo, Bachus and Kamoji, and boxing-type mooks are common in all encounters. That being said, no boxing boss or enemy is above fighting dirty, making occasional use of elbows, headbutts, weapons and even the occasional kick.


    Web Original 
  • Bobby Jacks of Survival of the Fittest almost invariably resorts to his fists in combat. He is, however, a boxer, so that isn't a huge surprise. He doesn't seem to have many compunctions about using his head either. It's mostly a case of sticking to what he's good at. (In fact, the one time he tried to kick somebody he immediately got his ass kicked).
  • An online comic/story series called Setsudankanja tells the tale of a martial artist who learned his art after having his arms and feet (But not legs) cut off. He trains two girls in his fighting style, and ends their training by giving them special irremovable outfits that forever bind their arms together. It's Author Appeal, to be sure.
  • In Darwin's Soldiers, Dr. Kerzach prefers to use a weapon in combat but when he fights unarmed, he will almost always use his feet. Justified because as a Cassowary, he has sharp talons and very powerful leg muscles that can easily cause serious injuries.
  • RWBY:
    • Yang Xiao Long is a martial artist who rarely uses her legs for anything other than running and jumping, preferring to let her fists (and her Ember Celica shotgun gauntlets) do the talking. This can get her into trouble with fighters who make heavy use of their legs, such as Mercury. From Volume 4, she starts learning to fight smarter and think more about how she's fighting, but her primary skill remains fist-fighting.
    • Hazel doesn't rely on a weapon for battle, he fights solely with his fists and arms. When he stabs Dust crystals into his arms to power up, his fists become capable of discharging lightning or fire with every blow.
    • Mercury, who primarily attacks by kicking his opponents, using a deadly combination of taekwondo, capoeira and breakdancing. His fighting style is also enhanced by his metal, prosthetic legs and a pair of boots called Talaria which he uses to fire projectiles.
    • Minor villains Militia and Melanie Malachite are identical twin sisters who fight with, respectively, Wolverine Claws and bladed Combat Stilettos, and make little use of the limbs they haven't weaponized.

    Western Animation 
  • The Oblongs: Bob Oblong, in spite of being born with no arm or legs, is still able to fight, by flinging himself head-first at his opponent's stomach. In the first episode, he uses this to knock out a redneck who's bothering his wife.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: Punching Judy might have very muscular legs and thin arms, and she might have a lot of natural talent when it comes to kicking, but she chooses to punch instead because it's in her name and it's in her blood. She comes from a family of top-heavy punchers.
  • The Legend of Korra: this trope is almost never used, but there are some characters that come close :
    • Unalaq in season 2 only uses his arms for throwing actual attacks and has little in the way of legwork. When he has lot of water to play with, like in his fights against Tonraq and later against Mako and Bolin, he pretty much stays in the same spot for the entire fight.
    • Ghazan in season 3, while not actually an example as he uses his entire body to fight, is notable in how often he uses elbow strikes.

    Real Life 
  • Boxing, of course.
    • Worth saying that, while only punching is used, these punches are powered not by biceps or triceps, but by the hips, meaning a solid stance, strong legs and a strong core are as important as the arms. Legs also play a huge part in dodging, which is easily seen when a boxer is "rolling". You may notice that professional boxers are muscular all over the body, and that happens precisely because boxing uses the whole body to generate power and deliver it through the fists.
    • Also, while the rules specify that you're only allowed to strike with your fists, pretty much every professional boxer has at one point or another broken that rule accidentally or intentionally. How accepted this is depends on the referee. Many examples are found in the duology between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Tyson was constantly striking with his elbows, and Holyfield was constantly headbutting (Tyson headbutted as well, but he wasn't as good at it as Holyfield). Tyson also used his teeth, but that's another story.
      • Headbutts, especially ones that are and/or look like accidents (so the referee won't penalize the headbutter), have actually decided major matches before. Holyfield hit Hasim Rahman with a (very likely intentional) monster headbutt in their fight, causing a horrible injury that necessitated the fight being stopped, leaving the result down to a technical decision (which Holyfield won on part of being in the lead for the first six rounds). Wladimir Klitschko accidentally snapped his head into Corrie Sanders' in their match, followed by six anvil-like headbutts from both of them that left Wlad much worse off, bleeding and visibly disoriented, contributing to Sanders' second round knockout victory.
  • This is thought of Capoeira, which supposedly uses almost exclusively kicks. This is because the art was developed by slaves, who expected to have their hands shackled when the time came to use it. The traditional reason given for the acrobatics was to disguise the practice of the art: if asked while practicing, the slaves would reply that they were dancing. All that being said, there are plenty of hand blows in capoeira, though they are rarely used when playing due to being too dangerous and hard to hold back, and that's not even going into the fact that a lot of supposedly defensive moves allow you to stick an elbow into various fleshy parts of the body.
  • There is an Eritrean fighting style called Testa (Italian for "Head") which consists entirely of 1) headbutts, and 2) pushing your opponent off balance to set up a headbutt. (Unfortunately, it might be better to say "there may be an Eritrean fighting style called Testa" - you can find people talking about it on the internet, and an article was published on it in a martial arts magazine once, but it's all pretty vague.)
  • Nearly all the offense in Sumo Wrestling... slaps, thrusts, pushes, pulls, and the multitude of holds and throws are done with the hands. In fact, the winning techniques are known as kimarite, literally "decisive hands". There are a few trips, but these are rare (tripping an experienced sumotori is like uprooting a tree stump with one foot).
  • Taekwondo originated as an amalgamation of multiple unarmed fighting styles, but, despite having a name that translates to "The Art of Hand and Foot", has gradually evolved so that the emphasis is almost entirely on kicking, at least in competition sparring.
  • At first glance, aikido techniques seem to only use the arms. However, every part of the body plays a role, so while there are no kicks and no tripping, how you place your feet decides whether you get the technique to work. Other parts, like hips, are used more actively in throws. Some aikido schools do incorporate kicking into their striking techniques, but they don't emphasize them very much.
  • An old joke refers to the (fictional) Scottish Martial Art of 'Fuk Yu', which exclusively involves headbutting your opponent to the ground and then kicking them in the ribs.
  • Whereas most birds of prey will use claws to grasp their prey, then peck or bite to finish it off, the long-legged secretary bird is a specialized foot-fighter which kills by stomping small reptiles or rodents to death.
  • Savate (which means "old shoe") originally used almost exclusively kicks due to a combination of being born for use on ships and to fight off pirates, thus the hands were busy with either weapons or to hold on something for balance, and French laws of the time considering the closed fist a deadly weapon but saying nothing about kicks. While modern Savate also includes fists (and the self-defense version includes elbows and knees), it still tends to use mostly kicks.
  • Some versions of Wing Chun only have one kick, which is like the standard Front Thrust Kick. Otherwise, it's fists of fury flying furiously.
  • Karateka and kickboxer Bill "Superfoot" Wallace Played With this during his career, as he would punch and kick....almost exclusively with his left arm and leg because of a Career-Ending Injury he suffered to his right leg in judo.
  • In Naga Land, an Eastern state of Indian. The Naga people settle disputes with Aki-Kiti, kicking only martial art where even blocks/parries are done with the legs. There is a modernised variation called Naga Kiti-Do which adds in more acrobatic moves but still only allows kicks.
  • The Phillipines has actually two martial arts that subscribe to this trope to an extent. Sikaran and Suntukan
    • Sikaran is a mostly kick orientated style where hands are only used for blocks, parries, grabs and pushes.
    • Suntukan is a boxing style that allows elbows and headbutts. But absolutely no kicks.
    • Averted with mordern variations of Sikaran which mix it with Suntukan or other styles in a kickboxing/MMA style.
  • In Nigeria there is a boxing style called Dambe. Whilst low kicks and stomps are permissable. They are rare the entire style revolves around an assymmetrical method with the lead hand used for blocks, parries, grapples and pushes. The rear fist is tied up in rope or a ball and is ised for striking. Elbows and headbutts are typically unseen.


Video Example(s):


Shun Akiyama

Shun Akiyama primarily fights using kicks when it comes to combat, standing in stark contrast to the three other playable characters, who are much more liberal with the use of their arms. While Akiyama only really uses his for grabs and counters.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ExtremityExtremist

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