Follow TV Tropes


Fantastic Fighting Style

Go To
Three-Sword Style vs Six-Sword Style.

Image by jlonewolf.

Martial arts styles that are given a name and/or described in a work of fiction but do not exist in real life. They often involve unrealistic or dangerous-in-real-life moves. Moreover, it will often involve some kind of superpower, possibly Charles Atlas Superpower. Many will be some kind of variant of real-life martial arts.

See also I Know Kung-Faux and Supernatural Martial Arts.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach has Hakuda, the term for Shinigami unarmed combat and Zanjutsu, the term for Shinigami swordfighting.
  • Choujin Sensen has at least two Experts who are masters of their own unique fighting styles. Ye Hao Yue is a Kung Fu Master who channels the mysterious Dragon Pulse from All-Creation using his "Meiyouken" style to shatter boulders, and Mishima Daigo is a Bare-Fisted Monk that hones both his body and mind through his Buddhist mantras into his signature "Fudoushinjuken" style.
  • The Hokuto Shinken and Nanto Seiken styles from Fist of the North Star, along with a host of others derived from them.
  • Mifune from Soul Eater uses "Infinite One Sword Style." It involves spreading a vast number of katanas across the battlefield, but (usually) only wielding them one at a time.
  • One Piece has a whole bunch of these.
    • Roronoa Zoro uses Santouryuu (Three-Sword Style, one in each hand, one in the mouth).
    • The octopus Fishman Hatchan uses Rokutouryuu (Six-Sword Style, with six arms).
    • Many higher-ups in the World Government including CP9 use a set of seven techniques called Rokushiki (Six Powers). These techniques include Razor Wind, bullet-like finger jabs, Super-Speed, Double Jumping, two methods of No Selling (one that makes you Made of Iron but unable to move much and one that makes you flexible like paper), and one Ultimate Technique that's basically a two-fisted one-inch punch.
    • One often seen is Fishman Karate and its variants. These fighting styles, used by the Fishmen (Though humans can use it too, albeit far less effectively), are all about controlling and using water to their advantage, while sometimes taking advantage of a particular Fishman's attributes (Fins, tentacles...). Part of what makes this an interesting and formidable fighting style is that because every living being is made of water, it can hit virtually anyone, even our rubber-bodied hero.
    • Hasshouken (Fist of Eight Impacts), a fighting style used by the Chinjao family where they manipulate the vibrations produced by their blows to bypass defenses and augment their blows.
    • Okama Kenpo, which basically combines Karate with ballet dancing.
    • The Longarm and Longleg tribes have a second elbow and knee joint in their arms and legs, respectively. Members of these tribes thus have fighting styles which work in tandem with the increased reach they have as well as the ability to coil and spring their double-jointed limbs almost like a snake striking.
    • The number of Fantastic Fighting Styles just go on and on and would take way too long to list them all. Basically, anyone who doesn't have a Devil Fruit will have one.
  • Shinmei-ryuu ("Gods' Cry School") is the name of a fictional style of kenjutsu used by several manga and anime characters created by Ken Akamatsu.
  • Strike Arts and Kaiser Arts in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid are karate-like martial arts that rely on magical energies as much as on the practitioner's fitness.
  • The earlier story arcs of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure give us Hamon, a martial art technique wherein practitioners can harness their vital energies through proper breathing techniques and project them as sunlight to combat the forces of the undead and the Pillar Men. The applications of Hamon are incredibly varied and versatile, with skilled users capable of healing injuries or projecting Hamon energy through various objects to increase their lethality.
  • Rurouni Kenshin gives us Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, a deadly sword style used by Himura Kenshin, the Hitokiri Battousai, focused on blinding speed, reading the opponent's emotions and battoujutsu. This is just one among a great many fighting schools introduced in the series; among the more prominent is the Kamiya Kasshin Ryu taught by Kenshin's Love Interest Kamiya Kaoru, a Martial Pacifist style that teaches its users to conquer their opponents rather than kill them (e.g. breaking a kneecap to disable an opponent).
  • From Battle Angel Alita, Panzer Kunst and Ahato Mastarday spring to mind. Not to mention the thousands of sects of space karate, like Tohji's Electromagnetic Karate in Last Order.
  • Naruto:
    • Killer Bee uses seven swords to attack, without using his hands.
    • There is no such thing as Frog Style Kung Fu either. In it, even punches that miss actually still hit.
    • The Hyuga clan's "Gentle Fist" fighting style involves lightly tapping the opponent in near-microscopic Pressure Points to damage nerves and internal organs. Only the Hyugas can use this style, because those pressure points' locations vary slightly from person to person and thus it requires X-Ray Vision to know where they are.
  • Dragon Ball has the Turtle and Crane Schools of Martial Arts, and while animal-named fighting styles exist in the real world, ones where a Kamehame Hadoken is the ultimate move...not so much. That said, aside from the Kamehameha, the Turtle School is mainly a way of life rather than a specific fighting style. There actually is a real-life Crane Style Kung Fu school, but it sadly doesn't teach students how to fly.
  • Many are shown in Ranma ½: Musabetsu Kakutō Ryū (Anything Goes Martial Arts), Umisenken, Yamisenken, various Martial Arts and Crafts styles, and more.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has "Breathing Styles", martial art techniques that use controlled breathing patterns to increase physical prowess via oxygen saturation in the bloodstream, allowing practitioners to fight against demons on equal footing. There are different kinds of Breathing Styles, each of which provide their users with varying benefits and signature attacks known as "Forms", including (but not limited to):
    • "Water Breathing", the style taught to Tanjiro at the beginning of the series. Considered one of the more beginner-friendly Breathing Styles to learn, Water Breathing grants its users the flexibility and fluid motions of water.
    • "Thunder Breathing", the style utilized by Zenitsu. With techniques derived from iaijutsu, Thunder Breathing grants its users the blinding speed and power of lightning.
    • "Beast Breathing", a self-taught style utilized by Inosuke. By using two swords in tandem, Beast Breathing grants its users the heightened senses and raw strength of a wild animal.
  • Katanagatari: The members of the Yasuri clan, absolutely unable to wield a actual katana, use the Kyotoryu technique, a martial art in which the practitioner is considered to be both the swordsman and the katana. It is extremely effective against swordsmasters. It is, in a way, Kiki Shikizaki's final and ultimate Deviant Blade, as a master of Kyotoryu can destroy any of the other Deviant Blades, as Shichika himself does ins his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Girls und Panzer gives us Sensha-Donote , which is a traditional armed combat style for women. Where "armed" means "driving a huge box of armor rolling on treads and bristling with guns -- as in, cannons."
  • Marvel Anime: Blade has the sword style that the titular character and his rival Kikyo use. It's techniques involve Razor Wind, You Are Already Dead, Death of a Thousand Cuts, and Homing Projectile moves.
    • In an interesting inversion, according to The Rival Kikyo, who also uses the same style as the hero, their sword style is Yagyu Shinkage Ryuu, which is a real life swordsmanship school.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam has THE SCHOOL OF THE UNDEFEATED OF THE EAST! used by series protagonist Domon Kasshu and his shishou, Master Asia. It allows them to catch bullets, kick skyscrapers, and behead mobile suits with a scarf.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman had at least two Kryptonian martial arts styles.
    • Klurkor, which Lois Lane learned in the bottled city of Kandor.
    • The villainess Faora Hu-Ul knew Horo-Kanu.
  • The Green Arrow used Moo-Gi-Gon.
  • Spider-Man, prior to the Spider-Island event, trained under Shang Chi to compensate for the temporary loss of his Spider Sense. After the martial-arts equivalent of boot camp, Shang Chi and Spider-Man developed The Way of the Spider, a unique fighting style that utilized Spider-Man's physical strength and agility to their fullest.
  • Albedo: Erma Felna EDF has stick fighting, basically a mix of both bojutsu and kendo with a cane rather than a shinai.
  • In Legion Of Superheroes, Luornu Durgo Taine, alias Triplicate Girl (or Triad, or Duo Damsel, or Duplicate Girl, or...) was proficient in Tri-Jitsu, a martial arts form native to her homeworld of Cargg, that exploited her natural ability to split into three bodies, so she could attack from three different points in perfect unison. In one of the more recent reboots, after discovering the ability to split into unlimited duplicates of herself, she could now move like a virtual army acting in concert.
  • The Dungeon Verse has a fair share of those.
    • A sect of Dungeons & Dragons-type monks made of sentient elephants, whose racial martial art involves copious amounts of booze and violence, so they're known as babarian monks.
    • Marvin taught an unnamed martial art to Herbert that can turn feathers into the ultimate weapon against green colored enemies (like goblins or even people covered in green bile) which for a duck means Herbert can simply flick his finger to turn monsters into Ludicrous Gibs.
    • The Kochaque are a Proud Warrior Race type, similar to mongols weaponry.
    • Grogro and his race have a special technique that requires a certain innocence and dimwitness according to Gilberto: basically it's swallowing the opponent's whole by being too dumb to choke or see the issue.
    • Hand-to-hand combat magicians relies mostly on a spell called calcium brisus which shatter bones simply by touching. Necromancers like Horous weaponized their magic for autopsy so they can remove body parts without scratching the skin.
    • Draconists are similar to babarian monks but sober.
  • Robin: Tim Drake learns a meticulously balanced martial/healing art from Tibet that's said to be older than Buddhism from the discipline's last master, an ancient Tibetan refugee living in Paris.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: In the Golden Age all the Amazons' powers—outside of immortality—were derived from their martial arts system which included learning mild telepathic tricks and training the mind to see spirits and things out of sync with our dimension, and allowed humans to develop Super-Speed and strength at higher levels of mastery.

    Fan Works 
  • The Mega Crossover Undocumented Features has the Asagiri katsujinkenryuunote , which combines more traditional martial arts techniques like zanshin with Jedi kata. Special attacks are Hyakken no Arashi and Blade of the Inviolate Soul.
  • Played with in "From Bajor to the Black, Part II". The Bajoran viewpoint character draws a comparison between the Israeli art Krav Maga, which is part of Starfleet's training regimen, and the Cardassian-derived "military boxing" she learned when she was in the Bajoran Militia. The Wrong Reflection gives the Cardassian name of the art as chakar daran and even shows two practitioners (Eleya, the protagonist, and her mirror universe counterpart) sparring with it.
  • In Red Fire, Red Planet by the same author, an Orion character mentions Klingon Mok'bara, Andorian shan-dru-shaan, and human jujutsu as arts she's learned.
  • Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm: Sailor Mars uses fire jets to maneuver around the battlefield and deliver powerful punches. Sailor Venus does something similar with her six energy chains.
  • Soul Eater: Troubled Souls introduces one called Soul Fist. While it's better associated with the Olmett Family, a legendary ''legacy family'' of the DWMA, anyone can learn it once taught by the right person. It's both a martial art and a technique, cloaking the user in his or her own soul wavelength and pushing the body's physical abilities beyond their normal limits.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once: One of the first Alternate Selves Evelyn taps into is a version of her who was trained in martial arts. Later, as her powers grow, she ends up tapping into an alternate self of that alternate self, who was trained in martial arts using only her pinkies. Her first demonstration of this is to send a mook flying into the air with a jab from her now incredibly muscular pinky fingers.
  • Gymkata is an entire film built around the blending of Western gymnastics and Eastern martial arts to create a new fighting form.
  • Star Wars:
    • The prequel films introduced seven different forms of lightsaber fighting. These largely explained why different characters have different fighting styles. Anakin had a strong, relentless style (Djem So/Form V), Obi-Wan's subtle defensive style (Soresu/Form III), Yoda's crazy acrobatics (Ataru/Form IV) and Count Dooku's dueling focused bladework (Makashi/Form II). These forms were based on the stunt coordinators notes and explained in the expanded universe. Depending on the fight choreographer these forms are often based on practical fighting systems (Dooku is heavily fencing inspired), with adjustments to account for swordsmen who are precognitive and wielding weightless blades that can cut through almost anything except another lightsaber. Darth Maul's sabre-staff variation on the most aggressive fighting style (Juyo/Form VII, refined by Mace Windu as Vaapad), for example, would be at least as dangerous to the wielder as the target for anyone who didn't have Super-Reflexes to ensure that they didn't accidentally chop their own limbs or body off - which is why it's mixed with the most Force based style (Niman/Form VI).
    • The original films did not have a consistent style between characters, though it was partially inspired by samurai films. Vader himself, after his injuries as Anakin Skywalker, had to modify his style to be wholly unique with a greater focus on force powers, basically his original Form V without any flourishes. Luke Skywalker is mostly self-taught and far more heavy-handed than the more graceful moves seen in the prequel movies. It lacks acrobatics and relies on light footwork and power more than elegance. In The Last Jedi, he demonstrates far more grace and agility, easily evading Kylo Ren's wild attacks, not directly engaging because he's not actually there and just acting as a distraction, suggesting he rediscovered something while training Leia and the others.
    • Because the Jedi had been largely wiped out, their classic styles of lightsaber fighting are pretty much long-forgotten. As a result, the lightsaber fighting in The Force Awakens and other sequel films focus more on characters adopting styles from what they are more familiar with. Rey tries to utilize as much range as possible like you would a bow staff and Finn's style is noticeably direct, evoking a possible riot weapon training from his Stormtrooper past.
  • Gun Kata in Equilibrium and Ultraviolet (2006): the art of dodging bullets by estimating statistically where they would land and not having any body parts there.
  • Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins had Sinanju, the Korean martial art from which all other arts are descended.
  • Black Dynamite has the titular character face off against Fiendish Doctor Wu, who uses his family's "Red Silk" Kung Fu while Black Dynamite fights with his "Panther Fist" style.

  • This is Older Than Television thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His 1903 Sherlock Holmes Short Story "The Adventure of the Empty House" has Holmes practicing "baritsu", which is either a typo of or a Shout-Out to the Real Life mixed martial art Bartitsu (a turn-of-the-century British takeoff of jujutsu that adds quarterstaff moves intended to be used with a gentleman's walking cane).
  • The Asterisk War: Volume 2 (episodes 5-7 of the anime) compare and contrast Ayato's Amagiri Shinmei Style with Kirin's Toudou Style. Amagiri Shinmei is about five hundred years old, dating to the heyday of the samurai in the Sengoku Period, and is noted to be a little bit slower since it's designed with the weight of armor in mind (Kirin recognizes its age because Ayato's stance puts his hips lower). The Toudou school dates to the end of the Edo Period and puts the user in a more upright stance. However, since it's a style developed for the battlefield rather than the dojo, Amagiri Shinmei includes more than just katana moves: Ayato ultimately defeats Kirin by combining katana, spear, kodachi, and hand-to-hand combat.
  • Dune:
    • The Weirding Way, which is derived from the Bene Gesserit prana-bindu skill.
    • Due to the presence of kinetically-sensitive personal Deflector Shields, knife and sword fighting styles have evolved to include slow strikes that can penetrate shields.
    • The Honored Matre fighting style involves incredibly fast kicks delivered with no nervous input from the brain, which makes one wonder what triggered the attack in the first place. Reflex action?
  • In Isaac Asimov's Forward the Foundation, Hari Seldon is skilled in "Helicon twisting," which isn't described in detail.
  • Logan's Run (the 1967 book that the 1976 film was based on). Sandmen use the hybrid martial arts style Omnite.
  • David Weber's Honor Harrington:
    • The Manticoran military uses coup de vitesse (French for "blow of speed"), an art featuring little finesse and specializing in the brutal pounding of enemies into the pavement. Honor holds a top rank in it and gets an extra edge from being a heavyworlder. Coup de vitesse seems to be the Manticoran Navy's preferred style.
    • The Judo-derived Andermani martial art Neue-Stil Handgemenge (Dog German for New-Style Hand-to-hand Combat) is also demonstrated. It is the preferred style of Helen Zilwicki junior and the Gryphonian martial artist known only as Master Tye.
    • There is also the Grayson sword arts. There are apparently several schools, but all of them are basically what you get when you learn kenjutsu from The Seven Samurai and then decide to redesign the katana into a more efficient form. Honor ends up influencing one of the schools by showing historical records to its master which inspires him to try Dual Wielding the traditional Grayson sword with a wakizashi as well as adding some kendo moves to his repertoire.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's novel Podkayne of Mars mentions a martial art called "Kill-Quick", which Podkayne's mother is skilled in.
  • Sinanju from The Destroyer, said to be the antecedent of all martial arts.
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle books feature the Ketan, a martial art practiced by the Adem. It seems to be inspired by both Karate (it contains kicks, punches and even chops, and it can be trained solo in a sort of kata system) and Aikido (it includes grappling techniques, most of which seem to be standing armlocks and pain compliance throws, and it also contains swordfighting and a deep philosophical base). It's so effective that a mediocre Adem is a match for three or four professional soldiers. Proficiency in the Ketan is based on understanding of the Lethani, the moral code of Ademre. Adem believe that women are more naturally moral than men and therefore are also better fighters than men.
  • In Trevanian's novel Shibumi the master assassin Nicholai Hel has invented the martial art Naked/Kill, which involves turning everyday objects (such as a paper cup, or a drinking straw) into lethal weapons.
  • Vasili Golovachov:
    • The Envoy introduces Rossdao, a Russian martial art based on ancient Russian combat styles and is said to be equal to any East Asian martial art. While the details are not described, the protagonist learns how to put out a candle from a distance (similar to a Real Life Wing Chun technique), jump and kick from a kneeling position, evade a submachinegun, etc.
    • In his Catharsis series, he introduces a martial art that has its roots deeply in magic, and the fights take place at Super-Speed.
  • In Leonid Kudryavtsev's Star Corps Agent, a Bounty Hunter challenges the titular protagonist to a fight using a martial art called Handasiri-ha. Somehow, a master of this (even a regular human) is able to move at Super-Speed to the point where a fight that takes up two pages is actually only about 5 seconds in real-time. The basic fighting stance involves arching one's back in a cat-like manner, spreading one's arms, and tilting one's head slightly. The bounty hunter is also a Human Alien and has more joints than a human, allowing him to use more complex moves. A single successful strike can break one's spine or even kill on the spot. Several moves and stances are named but not described, such as Spirit Windmill, Twist, Griffin's Wing, and Deadly Spinner
  • The Matador Series by Steve Perry has sumito (a.k.a. the 97 steps), developed from silat by professional fighter Lazlo Mourn in The Musashi Flex and focused on footwork and body positioning. It eventually became associated with the monastic order the Siblings of the Shroud, then the Siblings taught it to Emile Khadaji in The Man Who Never Missed. Khadaji in turn passed it on to the Matadors. Sumito relies heavily on footwork and positioning, with practitioners training by walking a pattern of 97 footprints stenciled onto the floor. The series includes a number of other examples as well, including oppugnate, a military mixed martial art fusing elements of boxing with bits of several other arts.
  • Star Wars Legends: Shadows of the Empire, also by Steve Perry, introduces Teräs Käsi, an art originally designed as a defense against Jedi. The art has since shown up elsewhere such as in Perry's later novel Death Star, and gets a brief mention in The Musashi Flex as a Shout-Out.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe:
    • The Rihannsu series has llaekh-ae'rl, a Romulan martial art whose name translates as "laughing murder". It requires the practitioner to root themselves to the ground and control their movements. Ael's crew member N'alae is a master but Ael herself isn't—her temper tends to get the better of her.
    • In Star Trek: Titan, Andorian Shan-dru-shaan. In the novel Fallen Gods, Pava Ek'Noor sh'Aqabaa and Tuvok have a conversation regarding their respective cultures' martial arts; Tuvok mentions the previously established Suus Mahna discipline. He also notes that in the pre-Federation years, feuding Vulcans and Andorians borrowed from each others' traditions.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Wielding a Shardblade in is based around a structure of ten stances, each one a fighting style and combat philosophy named after one of the Ten Essences (Windstance, Smokestance, Flamestance, etc). Shardblades are supernatural light, extremely large, cut through any inorganic material and pass through organic things, killing them instantly, meaning that they require an entirely different set of moves to use effectively. In one specific combat scene, the hero switches from the elegant Windstance he usually favors to the Combat Pragmatist style of Ironstance to deliver a brutal beatdown to remind his fellows that they are in the middle of a war.
  • Chronicles of the Kencyrath has the Senethar, a four element fighting style favored by the Kencyr culture. Kothifiran street fighting has also made an appearance as a Capoeira-like acrobatic style.
  • Tor, encountered in both The Balanced Sword and the Jason Wood stories. It includes tricks like sensing the move your opponent is about to make, turning invisible, and killing demons with your bare hands.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Genome, there is a martial art called yu-dao that can only be used by fighter-speshes, due to the fact that it requires superhuman strength, speed, endurance, and reflexes, not to mention the ability to bend joints in ways most people can't. A sixth-level defense stance is described in the follow manner: "Legs forward, as though they had been broken and twisted at the knee, torso leaning backward, left hand, palm open toward Alex, at her face, and right arm thrust forward."
  • It's not terribly often, but for all the high-tech weaponry taken for granted in the Perry Rhodan universe martial arts, including alien ones, do make the occasional appearance. Prominent examples are the recurring traditional Arkonid martial art Dagor (trans. All-Fight) and the Upanishad style once taught on a mass scale by the warrior cult that had taken hold in the twelve galaxies once ruled by the super-intelligence ESTARTU — and which involved among other things the regular drug-assisted conditioning of practitioners of the fourth and higher ranks (of ten) at the time.
  • Discworld:
    • Deja-Fu from Thief of Time: The feeling you've been kicked this way before... There's also a string of others of which we learn nothing except their punny names ("No-kandu", "Okidoki", "Upsi-Dasi") and the fact Lu-Tze doesn't take any of them seriously.
    • Sloshi, first mentioned in the Fools' Guild Diary, and later shown in Making Money, is the Fools' martial art, also known as "battle clowning". It's basically slapstick taken to the next level. A Sloshi master can take out a squad of attackers with nothing but a stepladder and a bucket of whitewash, and do horrible (yet somehow hilarious) things with balloon animals.
  • Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher novel series provides a subversion. It features the eponymous monster hunters, Geralt in particular, using supremely sharp claymores of either steel or silver (depending on the opponent) in sword arts relying on speed and fast footwork. These are combined with carefully managed nutrition during adolescence and mutagens and potions that further improve the witcher's abilities, which usually means any given witcher is the most lethal swordsman in the room. Blood of Elves covers witcher training with Geralt's foster daughter Ciri, showing her doing things such as running an obstacle course through the woods and practicing sword moves atop a "comb", a balance-training device made of several flexible sticks mounted horizontally at one end (with the trainee standing on the end that hangs out in the air).
    • By now, you might have noticed there's nothing about any style in the paragraph above. That's the point — no monster will ever care about any style as it tries to gut you, so instead of techniques and countertechniques, a witcher's training is about developing the basic reflexes, spatial awareness, and so on. Standard fencing is also taught, but the whole training's really about the improvisation.
  • And Another Thing... reveals that Zaphod Beeblebrox has studied the ancient art of Du-Bart'ah. However, he doesn't realize that it was developed by a race of Actual Pacifists who intended it to be used for getting berries of a bush without harming the bush itself; whenever he tries to use it for violent purposes, his body spasms and he pulls a muscle, the result of subliminal conditioning in the meditative chants.
  • The Whaddon Bypass in Grent's Fall, which lets King Osbert Grent dual-wield two swords. It's downplayed somewhat, as even among skilled swordsmen only a small percentage could handle it; the rest would have to use a sword and a dagger.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • This series introduces the Klingon martial arts Mok'bara, which includes unarmed combat and the use of traditional Klingon weapons such as the bat'leth. Several Mok'bara katas are mentioned to be very similar to Tai chi chuan.
      • The episode "The Icarus Factor" features anbo-jyutsu, a Japanese-developed staff art taught to Riker by his father that requires the combatants to fight blindfolded. Kyle Riker stated he considered it the ultimate form of human martial arts. Dr. Pulaski thought it was incredibly dangerous.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise mentions a Vulcan martial arts, Suus Mahna, which doesn't get nearly as much screen time as Mok'bara. It appears again in Star Trek: Discovery.
    • Star Trek: Picard:
  • Doctor Who has Venusian Aikido (sometimes called Venusian Karate), which was mainly practiced by the Third Doctor, but has occasionally been used by later Doctors. According to some Expanded Universe novels, it was hard for two-armed beings to learn because Venusians have six arms, the Doctor being one of the few to succeed.
  • Kamen Rider: Kamen Rider Super-1 fights using Sekishin Shorinken, a fictional offshoot of Shaolin Kung Fu. Several decades later Kamen Rider Meteor used Seishin Darinken, whose name is a direct Homage to Super-1's style, but in practice more closely resembles Jeet Kun Do.
  • Time Trax: Mosh-ti was a 23rd century occidental improvement on the martial arts.
  • Cole on Tracker had a martial-arts fighting style that relied on both his and the fugitives' ability to move faster-than-human, and sometimes made use of Cole's hyperspeed ability for brief periods.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • "The Warrior" introduces the Jaffa martial art mastaba, which is really just capoeira with the serial numbers filed off.
    • In "Affinity" Teal'c gets an apartment in Colorado Springs and practices a martial art called loc'nel, which he teaches to his neighbor Krista. Then she uses it to kill her abusive boyfriend in self-defense.
    • There is also an unnamed martial art used by the Sodan, a tribe of rogue Jaffa. They teach the basics to Cam Mitchell in order to fight one of their own to the death (his teacher, who fakes his death). When SG-1 is ambushed in a later episode by a group of Sodan, Mitchell and Teal'c are the only ones to successfully hold them off, while Sam and Daniel are quickly taken down (granted, Daniel is an archaeologist, but Sam has no excuse considering the third episode in the series stated she had advanced hand-to-hand training).
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Zack's Hip-Hop Kido, derived from breakdancing.
  • The Goodies had Ecky-Thump, the ancient Lancastrian art of self-defence. It involved the use of black puddings as weapons. Tim and Graham challenge Bill with several other (made-up) martial arts, such as "yach-y-daa" and "Oy vey!".

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the setting Forgotten Realms, the elves have a sword-fighting style called Bladesong, which is available only to elven fighter/mages. It is described as being deceptively graceful and appears like a dance. The focus of the style is on putting the opponent off balance before striking home with a mixture of spells and lethal swordwork.
    • The 3.5 edition sourcebook Tome of Battle introduced a series of nine martial disciplines in an effort to offset Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards. Each consists of a series of maneuvers and stances that incorporate supernatural elements into combat.
  • Shadowrun has carromeleg, an elven martial art similar to capoeira, with whirling, dance-like movements.
  • In Traveller, there are a number of these. Notable are styles made for the ayloi an artificial claw worn by humans fighting Aslan style.
  • Inspired in part as it is by Eastern mythology, Exalted has many of these (mostly powered by Essence).
  • The Palladium RPG Ninjas And Superspies included, among others, Lee Kwan Choo, a non-violent martial art that stunned opponents by almost making lethal strikes; presumably it was less effective in a setting where Everybody Wasn't Kung Fu Fighting.
  • This is also referenced as being included in earlier editions of Palladium's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG, in the "Guide to the Universe" sourcebook where a practitioner has this art.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse
    • The Stargazer tribe practices Kailindo, a martial art style specialized for werewolves that uses wind-magic and their natural shapeshifting.
    • Klaivaskar is the art of dueling and fighting with klaives, which are silver daggers or swords made of silver.
  • Mage: The Ascension features a hybrid mental/physical martial arts discipline practiced by the Akashic Brotherhood simply called "Do."
  • Eon featured several:
    • The Elven Cinneach sword-style involves holding the sword in a backhand grip, and confusing your opponent with series of lightning-quick attacks ended with a heavy "killing blow".
    • The one given most page time was the Dwarven axe/hammer style Zûr-Khan ("Stand Still"), prominently used by fluff character Kharzim clan Ghor. Zûr-Khan involves standing still (ideally, the only movement done should be a step with the first movement, back if it's a parry or forward if it's an attack), and instead relies on parries and attacks with both haft and head of the axe.
  • GURPS describes (and provides game rules for) several imaginary styles in various editions of GURPS Martial Arts, including Sylvan War Lore, a staff centric art developed and practiced by wood elves; Smasha, a dirty-fighting-centric art developed and practiced by orcs; and "Force-Swordsmanship," an art centered on and developed by... well, guess. Various PDF supplements describe even more, as found in specific fantasy worlds, developed for use in zero-G in an SF setting, and so on.
  • Pathfinder:
    • A whole host of "style" feats exist, which range from the mundane, like Monkey Style or Brute Style, to the fantastically inspired, like Dragon Style or Orc Fury Style, to the obviously supernatural, like Maddening Style (which draws inspiration from Eldritch Abominations to drive enemies mad by hitting them) or Marid Style (which generates ice from nowhere to trap its foes). Some of the more obviously supernatural are mostly utilized by the monk, and involve Ki Manipulation.
    • The divine fighting techniques are a number of combat styles named for the deity who created or inspired them, such as Cayden Cailean's Blade and Tankard - going into battle with a rapier in one hand and an ale tankard in the other, throwing it into an enemy's eyes or drinking it yourself, and refilling it mid-battle.
    • The Path of War 3rd party supplement includes a number of "disciplines" with individually named moves, for maximum Combat Commentator potential. Some disciplines are nonmagical, most definitely not; Thrashing Dragon is mostly about using two weapons and dirty fighting, but Elemental Flux focuses on manipulating elemental energy and Veiled Moon involves a lot of teleportation.

  • Transformers have included several Cybertronian martial arts, like Circuit-Su or Crystalocution. The best-known one is Metallikato, mastered by the Decepticon Bludgeon.

    Video Games 
  • Virtually every fighting game made has at least a few of its characters using fictitious martial art forms, such as:
    • The King of Fighters: So far, there's:
      • Kyo, Iori, and Chizuru all use fictionalized martial art forms that draw loose inspiration from the famous Orochi Legend.
      • Hyakkyoku Seiken which is utilized by Terry Bogard and Geese Howard, both of Fatal Fury fame.
      • Terry's brother, Andy, originally used Koppo-ken, but switched to Shiranui style ninjutsu (along with Mai) beginning in Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory.
      • The Sakazaki Family (Ryo, Yuri, and Takuma) are all practictioners of Kyokugen-ryuu Karate. While Robert is Famed in Story as being the first foreigner to ever practice and master the style.
      • The Ikari Team is said to be using Commando Sambo, except their version of it includes pyrotechnic powers.
    • Street Fighter:
      • Ryu and Ken were trained in Ansatsuken, which was loosely based on Japanese martial arts.
      • Dan Hibiki created his own (ineffectual) fighting style known as Saikyo-ryu which was a combination of his late father's fighting style, Muay Thai, and the little he learned from Ryu & Ken's master Gouken.
      • Laura from Street Fighter V was a practitioner of Matsuda Jiu-Jitsu, which was inspired by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
    • Dead or Alive:
  • Billy & Jimmy Lee of Double Dragon practice Sou-Setsu-Ken, which is described as a "complete collective of various martial art styles", combining techniques from other styles such as karate, tai chi, and Shorinji Kempo into one. Double Dragon Advance introduced its Evil Counterpart Gen-Setsu-Ken, a Magical Martial Art utilized by the Black Warriors.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords discusses the Echani fighting style, which is said to be dance-like in its movements and your party members Handmaiden and Atton are skilled in. The game also allows the player to learn some of the seven different lightsaber forms depending on their class, each having different bonuses and penalties.
    • Shii-Cho (Form I/Determination) is the first one the player learns and the most basic technique, ideal for using when heavily outnumbered.
    • Makashi (Form II/Contention) was specifically developed to defend against other lightsaber users, but leaves the user open to blaster fire.
    • Soresu (Form III/Resilience) enhances the user's ability to defend against blaster fire, but is unsuited for combat against multiple opponents.
    • Ataru (Form IV/Aggression) is especially useful against a single opponent but like Makashi leaves the player open to blaster fire.
    • Shien (Form V/Perseverance) works similarly to Soresu, but is unsuited for single opponents rather than groups.
    • Niman (Form VI/Moderation) combines elements from the previous six to create a single form useful in all situations, but with no apparent strengths.
    • Juyo (Form VII/Ferocity) is a precarious fighting style that is best against single powerful opponents, but weakens the user's defense against Force powers.
  • Dark Forces Saga consolidated the seven lightsaber forms into three; Fast Style, Medium Style, and Strong Style.
    • Fast was a combination of Soresu and Ataru, a defensive style utilizing the blade held close to the body to more easily deflect shots or launch quick jabs & cuts, while also making use of acrobatic jumps and rolls.
    • Medium was an upgraded form of Shii-Cho with elements of Niman, simple in technique while providing reliable offense and defense.
    • Strong was a combination of Juyo, Shii-Cho, and Makashi and was based primarily on wide, powerful strikes to batter through an opponent's defenses.
  • Monkey Island:
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, the Khajiit are said to have many forms with colorful names like Goutfang, Whispering Claw, Two-Moons-Dance, and Rawlith Khaj (translated as "Raining Sand").
  • Dwarf Fortress hand-to-hand combat is a mess of possibilities, most impractical, so the community has boiled the most effective attacks (whether realistic or exploiting the game's Good Bad Bugs) into a brutal and pragmatic art named "Kisat Dur" (literally, "Empty Fist"). Techniques include "Sodel Ar" ("Shield of Flesh"), "Idrazoluth" ("Dog Combat"), "Enkos Nitem" ("Vision Taker"), and the Simple, yet Awesome "Stot Abodsuton" ("Surprise Gut Strike").
  • A key gameplay element in The Witcher is switching between Geralt's three styles of two-handed swordsmanship on the fly, since each works best on particular opponents (i.e. they play into a Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors with each type of enemy):
    • "Strong Style", also called the "Temerian Devil" style, was adapted from Temerian knight training. Geralt becomes a Mighty Glacier with this style: it has the highest damage per strike but the longest cooldown between attacks.
    • "Fast Style", also called Addan Anye ("Fiery Dancer"), was adapted from elven sword arts and has a higher attack rate but lower damage than Strong Style. While most effective against faster opponents such as ghosts and vampires, it can also be used to interrupt enemy attacks and deal the Death of a Thousand Cuts.
    • "Group Style", also called Viroledan Naev'de Feaine Glaeddyv ("Nine Sun Swords"), was adapted from the sword arts of the Nilfgaardian town Viroledo, and relies on lots of spinning and broad slashes to rapidly cut down large numbers of weak opponents. Be prepared to see lots of flying heads if used against human enemies.
    • While discussing the sword styles, Witcher swordmaster Lambert also comments that the higher fragility of the silver sword used to kill some monsters requires modifications to the sword arts, namely less parrying and blocking and more use of footwork to dodge incoming attacks. While the game averts Breakable Weapons, the rest of this statement is reflected in gameplay, with separate perk trees and slightly different animations for steel and silver swords.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic VI: The Naga Faction have developed a sword-fighting style named "Four Waves", to account for the fact that members of their race are sometimes born with four arms instead of two. Naga who master this style are known as Kensei, carry a sword in each of their hands and can land multiple strikes in the time it would take a typical swordsman to land one.

  • El Goonish Shive: The ki-based fighting style that Greg teaches Nanase, Elliot and Justin is called Anime-style Martial Arts and it is said to be inspired by several anime series.
  • 8-Bit Theater: gives us a few sword based ones courtesy of Fighter. The Twelve Schools of Vargus-do Zodiac-Style Swordplay, which includes the Two Fisted Monkey Style and Ram Style described by Black Mage as “breaking your opponent’s equipment with your head before your opponent breaks your head with his equipment”. Another one is ‘The Glorious Chainsaw Method’ created by Red Mage for Fighter described as “Make your swords become like things unto chainsaws.” And then there’s Fighter’s use of Swordchucks.
  • Girl Genius: The canonical spin-off "Othar Tryggvassen's Twitter" establishes that Othar is a Genserherskernote  of the school of Norwegian Sweater Fighting. The only thing that prevents this from being I Know Kung-Faux is that Othar is consistently shown to be one of the most lethal hand-to-hand combatants in the setting.
  • While many of the fighting styles shown in the first half of The God of High School have some basis in real life, they're exaggerated to ridiculous proportions with completely implausible moves. The entire series itself is basically running on how flashy every attack is.
  • As a series set in a world dominated by martial arts, Gosu is full of different fighting styles including the [Twelve] Divine Heavenly Destruction Techniques, the Flying Flash Sword Style and the Doh Family Spear Style.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons has a number, with the most well known one being the Art of Cutting. Meti Ten Ryo was supposedly so good at Cutting that she was able to kill fifteen master swordsmen with a stick, needing nothing more than the sheer will that the opponent be cut in order to cleave them in half, and in the comic itself Mathangi Ten Meti demonstrates this by cutting a bullet in two without even drawing her sword. Also mentioned is an archery style that uses a gigantic bow to make impossibly precise shots from miles away with arrows the size of javelins, a style that involves using magical acupuncture to make one’s own head an indestructible bludgeon, and diverse forms of unarmed Supernatural Martial Arts, colloquially known as “fist arts”.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Tagon's Toughs have received training in Parkata Urbatsu, a descendant of Le Parkour designed to be even showier, though some have taken to it better than others. The amorphous brown blob is faster than he looks.

    Web Original 
  • The Onyx Eye tong in Academy of Superheroes practices their own unique martial art, the Onyx Way. It includes horribly painful torture techniques, incredibly effective blindfighting skills and, for the most skilled practitioners, immunity to telepaths.

    Western Animation 
  • The eponymous heroes of Mummies Alive! practice a fictional martial art called "Egyp-Tsu".
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: the episode "Kelly's World" introduces a fighting style called "Wool-Hair-Do'' that is practiced by Kelly's species, involving two people combining their hair to perform attacks.
  • Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels taught herself both the Shien Reverse Grip and the Ataru lightsaber form, and under the tutelage of Anakin Skywalker she learned to combine this with the Jar'Kai Dual Wielding technique, creating a unique and extremely complicated fighting style.
  • Ninjago: "Spinjitzu" is practiced by the titular ninja and involves spinning so fast one looks like a glowing tornado.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fictional Fighting Style


Temporal Fist

The Temporal Fist is an ancient Furon art that The Master perfected with a mix of Furon psychokinetic powers and Buddhist teachings.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / FantasticFightingStyle

Media sources: