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Force and Finesse

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The graceful Samurai Jack, versus the mighty Scotsman. Result: A tie, and a lasting friendship.

Noel: Well, all force and no style, just like usual, huh?
Sophia: You seemed to be handling the unnecessary acrobatics quite well on your own.

This particular trope emphasizes the Red Oni, Blue Oni relationship by having a fighting style or weapon that reflects the user's personality. This often results in having a blunt force powerhouse and a precision striker.

These fighters are either rivals or allies, but often go head to head with each other. And while they're not exactly the same, the contrast between brute force and precision is always apparent whenever they show up. Elves Versus Dwarves gives at least one interpretation of this showdown. This trope could also extend to gender roles, with the male fighter typically using force and the female fighter using finesse.

Subtrope of Opposing Combat Philosophies, and supertrope to Male Might, Female Finesse. Can be related to Brains and Brawn and Brains Versus Brawn, depending on if finesse coincides with intelligence. The Red Oni in a Red Oni, Blue Oni pairing is likely to use force, while the Blue Oni typically relies on finesse.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk:
    • Guts and Griffith. Guts is the BFS-wielding powerhouse of the two, while Griffith relies more on strategy and lethal precision, and wields a sabre. Guts also shares this dynamic with Casca before the Eclipse, and with Serpico following the post-Eclipse Conviction Arc.
    • The Lost Children arc has a boss fight against two bug-men of this type: the ginormous rhinoceros beetle guy just charges at Guts, while the praying mantis-man moves and attacks nearly too fast to see.
  • Bleach: Kenpachi and Byakuya have this dynamic when they take on Yammy. Kenpachi is a hot-headed berserker with no respect for tactics or grace and fights with wild, vicious strikes from his BFS. Byakuya is a Magic Knight skilled in all forms of Shinigami combat arts and his Zanpakuto special ability dissolves into thousands of tiny blades to skewer his enemies from multiple angles. Between the two of them, Yammy doesn't stand a chance.
  • Claymore has "Muscular Sophia" and "Stormwind Noel", the No. 4 and 5 of Teresa and Priscilla's generation. As their title implies, Sophia relies on her brute strength to fight, while Noel relies on acrobatics. The two are apparently rivals, and would frequently mock each other's fighting style.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Goku's Ultra Instinct and Vegeta's Ultra Ego fit this dynamic and suits their users very well as Ultra Instinct is about dodging, countering, and anticipating attacks while Ultra Ego is about getting stronger from taking and absorbing hits.
  • Natsu and Gray from Fairy Tail: Natsu is the hot-blooded smasher who use his fire dragon magic and fists to tear enemies apart with raw power. Gray, on the other hand, has many moves that rely on making weapons out of ice, including axes, swords, blades, spears and scythes.
  • Fist of the North Star:
    • Kenshiro's Hokuto fists, which destroy an enemy from within, and Rei's Nanto slicing techniques, which tear apart an enemy from the outside in.
    • Among the Hokuto brothers, Raoh is by far the most power-focused, while Toki is all about finesse and precision with his techniques.
  • High School D×D has Issei and Kiba. Issei fights with the Dragon Arm, while Kiba fights with swords.
    • On the girls' side, Rias fights with destructive energy manipulation while Akeno fights with lightning manipulation.
  • This is a rather important key trait to all fighters in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple.There are two types of fighters, "Sei" fighters who rely on wit, clear minds, and talent to fight. And "Dou" fighters who use aggressive emotions to fuel their attacks. Some fighters however can be both types.
  • Vita and Signum, the two offensive fighters of the Wolkenritter team in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. Vita wields a hammer and is prone to going berserk, while Signum wields a sword with cold Germanic Efficiency. Accordingly, The Battle of Aces video game gives Vita a bonus to raw damage, while Signum profits from easier and longer combos.
  • In Naruto this is a very prominent theme, used throughout the series. Usually the Force characters are the extroverted hard-hitters (Naruto, Sakura, Guy etc), contrasting the more introverted skill-refiners (Sasuke, Hinata, Kakashi etc) who serve as the opposing Finesse. Ultimately, neither factor prevails, which is especially highlighted in the final battle between Naruto and Sasuke. Instead, both serves a purpose mutually in combat.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy and Zoro. Luffy pummels through everything via fists while Zoro uses katanas.
    • Mihawk displays finesse (coupled with force) to Zoro as a way to demonstrate that the very best of swordsmen are capable of both. Zoro up until that point had been nothing but raw force and eventually learns to balance the sides.
    • Nami fights directly with the Clima-Tact while Robin fights indirectly by sprouting arms from anyone's backs.
  • Chris and Leon in Resident Evil: Vendetta. The large and musclebound Chris is a grappler specializing in jiu-jutsu while Leon is more acrobatic and employs more kicks in close quarters combat.
  • Rurouni Kenshin exhibits this with Kenshin's precision reverse-blade and Sanosuke's BFS. Sanosuke later ditches his sword and relies on his fists, further enhancing this trope.
  • The first opponents in Samurai Deeper Kyo are a giant with a hammer and a midget so fast as to be nicknamed "the wind". Kyo finishes off saying "You're slow".
  • Scryed has Kazuma and Ryuhou. Kazuma's Alter gives him a big metal fist while Ryuhou has a stand with precision blades.
  • Jun and Tomo from Tomo-chan Is a Girl! fall into this when they fight each other. Overall they are about evenly matched but Jun is taller, has accordingly superior reach, and is considerably the stronger of the two; while Tomo is far quicker and has considerably more technical proficiency in the martial arts. Those aware of his speed and skill or her freakish strength that realize this are rather more wary of antagonizing either. In terms of personality Tomo tends to be more level-headed... slightly... somewhat more often than not.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
      • In their tag team duels, Yugi and Joey are the finesse and force respectively. Yugi uses a spellcaster as his ace monster and relies on spell cards to manipulate the field. Joey, reflecting his street fighter background, uses warrior or warrior-like monsters in conjunction with his ace monster the Red Eyes Black Dragons and his spell cards often focus on weakening his opponents monsters and/or increasing the attack power of his own.
      • When Yugi duels with Kaiba, Kaiba takes the role of the force. Most of his monsters have attack points higher than 1500 and his prime strategy is summoning his Blue Eyes White Dragon to overwhelm his opponent.
      • Rex Raptor and Weevil Underwood. Rex plays a Dinosaur deck which focuses on beatdown tactics to reduce his opponent's life points as quickly as possible. Weevil plays an Insect deck which focuses on swarming and field control.
      • In the Ceremonial Duel, Atem and Yugi's decks have this dynamic reflecting how much they both have grown over the series. Atem's deck focused on summoning the the Egyptian Gods and some cards to support his Dark Magician. Yugi's deck focused on weak monsters with strong and versatile effects.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Yusei favors defensive tactics and building off previously summoned monsters to release bigger and stronger ones. Jack favors a more aggressive playing style and some of his cards inflict damage even when his opponents' monsters are in defense position.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Superman and Batman have this dynamic when they team up. The former is one of the most powerful flying bricks in existence while the latter is a Badass Normal martial artist, scientist, detective and Stealth Expert. Their respective distaff counterparts Supergirl and Batgirl also have this dynamic when they team up, as do Power Girl and Huntress.
    • Flash: Although they're both incredibly powerful speedsters, traditionally Barry Allen has been the finesse and Wally West has been the force. Wally is faster than Barry and has a unique connection to the Speed Force which allows him to instinctively do things that other speedsters either can't do easily or can't do at all. Meanwhile, although Barry is slower he's a highly intelligent man who supplements his powers with scientific brilliance.
    • The West twins initially shared a connection to the Speed Force which made their powers manifest in strange ways, Irey (finesse) had the power to walk though walls while Jai (force) had Super-Strength. In The Flash: Rebirth, Irey got the full suite of speedster powers (force) and Jai lost his powers altogether (finesse). Post-Infinite Frontier Jai has his strength back (force), while Irey has kept her speed (finesse).
    • Super Sons follows the adventures of Superboy (Jon Kent) and Robin (Damian Wayne). Given they are the sons of Superman and Batman respectively, they also repeat this dynamic with the superpowered Jon serving as the force while the sly and cunning but very human Damian serves as the finesse.
  • Marvel Universe: The classic team of Power Man and Iron Fist. Power Man — or Luke Cage, as he now prefers — is a superhumanly strong brawler with unbreakable skin; his crimefighting partner Iron Fist is one of the most skilled martial artists on the planet.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Between the four turtles in almost every incarnation whether it be in comics, movies or shows, the dynamic is divided pretty evenly.
    • Force: The Big Guy Raphael who is the most temperamental of his brothers and cares more about fighting than he does about the techniques of becoming a ninja and Plucky Comic Relief Michelangelo who is more cheery and fun-loving but also cares more about fighting similar to Raph.
    • Finesse: Leonardo who takes his role as The Leader and as a ninja the most seriously and is usually the one most dedicated in becoming a true ninja and Donatello who is the one who is the most strategic and brainy of his brothers and could qualify as a Genius Bruiser.

  • Features in AAML: Diamond and Pearl Version; as Ash and Misty start dating and become tag-battle partners, Ash's Grotle and Misty's Vaporeon in particular develop this kind of dynamic, as their team-ups focus on Grotle taking hits and then striking back while Vaporeon uses more hit-and-move tactics to wear their foes down.
  • In Avenger of Steel, when Jessica Jones and Superman join Daredevil and Stick in going after the Hand at the docks, Matt notes that Jessica relies on brute strength when fighting the Hand's forces where he and Stick focus more on evading and outmanoeuvring their opponents (Superman being otherwise occupied with Solomon Grundy).
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Harry vacillates between both of these in the latter part of the first book, as he's an inexperienced Glass Cannon - he knows enough to know he's powerful, but not enough to use his abilities most effectively or, latterly, avoid being goaded (albeit after severe provocation) into a head-on attack. After a brutal lesson or two, and a lot of training, he becomes a much more Finesse based fighter, using speed, illusions, and misdirection to open gaps in his opponent's defence. Gaps which he usually exploits with a shashka, the Russian Cossack sabre.
    • Thor and Loki tend to share this dynamic, though Thor does not lack precision or skill, and Loki does not lack for raw power.
    • The Winter Soldier and the Black Widow used to share this dynamic - he was the ruthlessly direct Force, being a Super-Soldier assassin, and she was the smooth Finesse, being a seductive and manipulative spy.
  • This is one of the themes of Sailor Moon fanfic Mars vs. Jupiter as Told by Mina, where Raye is finesse, due to her martial arts training. Lita is force, due to her raw strength, though she isn't terribly lacking in technique.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku and Pyrrha have this dynamic. Izuku is the Rookie Red Ranger with an enormously powerful Semblance but little control of it on top of having a weak Aura. Because of this, he tends to resort to Good Old Fisticuffs and his technique is clumsy due to being self-taught. Pyrrha is a world-renowned fighter whose Semblance allows her to always be in control of the situation. She subtly manipulates her foes' weapons to create openings in their defenses and block their attacks. But at the same time she lacks Izuku's raw firepower, failing to kill the Giant Nevermore even after Izuku's plan went off without a hitch.
  • The Night Unfurls:
  • Subverted in the Dragon Age: Inquisition series Twice Upon an Age. In terms of fighting styles, Victoria is Force (she wields a two-handed sword) and Mahanon is Finesse (he favors dual wielding daggers). But their personalities are the exact opposite; it's mentioned several times that Victoria is the serious, well-read diplomat and Mahanon is the clever, snarky, somewhat blunt one.

    Film — Animation 
  • Despicable Me: Gru and Vector's technology when compared to each other; Gru's machines are focused on comically-bulky Diesel Punk, while Vector's machines are slim, sleek and brightly-colored.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Cagefighter: Worlds Collide follows a feud between Reiss Gibbons (finesse), a highly skilled MMA fighter; and Randy Stone (force), a sloppy but hard-hitting former pro-wrestler.
  • The eponomyous fight in Freddy vs. Jason. Jason Voorhees (force) is a slow, lumbering brute with the mind of a child, who relies on his Super-Strength and Super-Toughness. Meanwhile, because the fight takes place in the real world Freddy Krueger (finesse) can't use his Dream Weaver powers, and is nowhere near as strong or resilient as Jason, but he's smarter, faster and more agile.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: Godzilla uses brute strength and his signature Breath Weapon while Kong relies on superior agility and the use of Improvised Weapons to level the playing field when the two fight.
  • Go Figure: The conflict between hockey and figure skating, as the two skating sports are very different: hockey is a brawny team sport, figure skating is a graceful individual sport. Katelin initially has trouble balancing the two but later manages to integrate them.
  • Thor and Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor has his trusty hammer and uses powerful lightning while Loki tends to have a variety of knives and is a Master of Illusion.
  • Jurassic World features the climactic battle of Blue the Raptor and Rexie against the Indominus rex. Blue uses her speed to keep the I. rex distracted while Rexie matches her on brute strength.
  • The Princess Bride has master fencer Inigo Montoya and rock throwing wrestler Fezzik (played by André the Giant).
  • Push has Nick go up against the more experienced Mover Victor. In their first fight, a telekinetic gunfight, Victor easily gains the upper hand. The same thing almost happens again, until it turns into a force-assisted blow battle, where Nick's raw strength wins out.
  • Kikuchiyo (force) and Kyuzo (finesse) are the logical extremes in Seven Samurai.
  • In the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Bash Brothers Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are "force" (no pun intended) and "finesse" respectively. Anakin tends to just clobber his opponents until they're defeated (see: him trouncing Count Dooku), while Obi-Wan's highly adept at blocking Beam Spam and uses a more gradualist approach. When Anakin has a Face–Heel Turn and Obi-Wan has to face him in a duel, Anakin launches a flurry of powerful Djem So attacks while Obi-Wan uses his Soresu defense to block and evade Anakin's attacks until he can get the high ground.
  • In the dozens of action-comedies starring Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, the former is usually Force, using his brute strength to beat his opponents, whereas the latter is Finesse, being faster, more agile, and more willing to use an Improvised Weapon.

  • Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar in Neverwhere. Croup does most of the important hurting, such as assassination and Cold-Blooded Torture, because Vandemar's violence is so unwieldy that it's seldom useful except as a vague threat.
  • The Saxon Stories gives us Steapa Snotor (force) and Uhtred the Wicked (finesse). Steapa is a giant, the biggest man in the series (with the possible exception of one gigantic viking he beats in a fist fight), his sword is sized to match, and his fighting style is pure Mighty Glacier. Uhtred, while strong, is also an expert swordsman, deadly fast, and when he finds himself forced to fight Steapa to the death he reacts by stripping off his armour so as to gain the full benefit of his superior speed.
  • Sparrow And Bright has a princess who knows how to strike pressure points, and can create light daggers to duel with. Her barbarian companion is supernaturally strong and can overpower any other human.
  • The Elves vs. Dwarves dynamic in Tolkien's novels is full of this. The straightforward dwarves tend to use axes and hammers while the more graceful elves opt for bows and daggers.

    Live Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow: The Lance Sisters, Laurel and Sara, have this dynamic. Laurel's fighting style as Black Canary features a harder more brutal form of fighting, focused on slugs and smashmouth-style techniques, while Sara's fighting style is far more graceful and focused on precision and fluid strikes (Justified as Sara was trained by the League of Assassins while Laurel's combat instructor was a former boxer).
    • It's even evident in their weapons of choice and vigilante antics. Laurel uses two practical tonfas/batons, while Sara uses the more elegant bo staff along with a silk scarf to fall down from great heights like a Cirque du Soleil performer.
    • Supergirl has the Danvers sisters, Kara/Supergirl and Alex. Even though they trained together, they have different fighting styles. Kara's fighting style as Supergirl is relying on her superpowers and brute force, while Alex's fighting style as a DEO agent is using precision and careful martial art skills.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has the titular character and Willow when the latter gained magical powers. Buffy is the force as she's mostly known for beating the crap out of monsters with her hand-to-hand combat while Willow is the finesse due to her using magical powers with precision. Justified with Buffy being the Slayer, and Willow trained using witchcraft.
  • Elementary: In "A Landmark Story'', Holmes and Watson deal with two hitmen working for Moriarty. Sebastian Moran uses a brutal, bloody method to kill his victims and is a Football Hooligan during his downtime. Daniel Gottlieb specializes in Make It Look Like an Accident, using elaborate schemes and manipulations to obscure how his victims actually died. Holmes notes the difference in their methods after discovering how Gottlieb operates.
    Holmes: If Moran was a sledgehammer, [Gottlieb] is the scalpel.
  • Nikita: While Nikita herself is a Master of All who can use both force and finesse when she wants to, the series adopts this dynamic whenever she's teamed up with Owen, who, while nowhere near as dull-minded as some characters insinuate, is generally a much blunter operator.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • This happens occasionally with tag teams, especially when there's a noticeable size difference between the teammates. The larger wrestler will typically use more of a grounded power-based style to serve as the Force side while the smaller wrestler will typically use more of a high-flying technical style to serve as the Finesse side. Unfortunately, as the smallest wrestler is usually chosen as the whipping boy in most matches thanks to his size making him easier to trash around spectacularly, this often ends up carrying the implication that Finesse is intrinsically weaker than Force and needs to be saved by its bigger partner.
  • An unusual example in All Japan Pro Wrestling was The Destroyer, who as the name implies is a grappler known for forcefully defeating his opponents. But teaming with Giant Baba made him the finesse grappler to Baba's forceful shoot kicks. Thing is, that a giant like Baba could have such a reputation for kicks automatically made him the finesse compared to most other wrestlers his size.
  • The breakout Zenjo feud between The Crush Gals and The Atrocious Alliance. Both Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka were lithe tomboys dedicated to many striking and grappling martial arts who watched tape of various wrestlers when not training to keep up with new moves and strategies when they weren't traveling the world to learn first hand. The Alliance was headed by Dump Matsumoto, a burly power wrestler turned nasty garbage wrestler who never had much interest in anything more complicated than a lariat or superplex and would often just bash or stab the opposition with whatever was handy. Some of the other Alliance members such as Bull Nakano, Aja Kong and especially Bison Kimura, had more finesse than Matsumoto, but none of them really came close to either Crush Gal.
  • Big Dick Dudley was the force to pretty much every other brother in The Dudley Boyz, while Little Spike Dudley was the finesse to the rest. Spike was deceptively strong for his size, known for tackling men larger than himself in football, but at 150 lbs soaking wet, that really wasn't saying much. Of the main two to tag outside of ECW, Devon Dudley was the finesse mat wise, and especially when working face which saw him used some aerial offense, while Bubba Ray was a force brawler who also became a powerful grappler after losing belly fat and becoming "calfzilla".
  • Concerning AAA's "standard" world parejas division, the second team to hold the belt, Love Machine and Eddie Guerrero of Los Gringos Locos, were a classical example. Frog splash aside, Love Machine was a big burly biker who fought and wrestled the way one would expect him too, and while Guerrero was remarkably strong for his size, his real strength was in technical wrestling.
  • Despite being the shorter of the two, Jay Briscoe is often the force to Mark Briscoe's finesse, to a degree. Jay is the better technical wrestler, but in the tag team and garbage matches the brothers enjoy, that is rarely seen, as he relies more on overhand punches, toe kicks, slams, neck breakers, suplexes and pile drivers. Mark, on the other hand tends to fly around, flip about about and deliver kung fu inspired strikes. When the two do wrestle one another one on one, force vs finesse tends to reverse on account of Jay's better mat work, which sometimes gets him the win but usually just results in a time limit draw or Double Knockout.
  • AAA has had two pareja divisions that lend themselves to these kinds of pairings. The Mascot division partners a luchador with a smaller, mini estrella versions of himself, or vise versa, while the World Mixed Tag Team division pairs a man with a woman. Nine years after the creation of the Mascot belts, every team to hold them played this trope straight in the expected manner, while it only took two years for an aversion to win the mixed belts, as Cinthia Moreno and El Oriental were equally finesse in their approaches. They were defeated for the belts twice by a straight example in Gran and Mari Apache and a straight but not in the expected way example, as it was the man, Aero Star who used a less forceful approach than the woman, Fabi Apache. Big Mami and El Niño Hamburguesa were the first mixed team to be equally force.
  • In AAA Chessman has been the force and the finesse as part of different parejas without changing anything about himself. Tiffany wasn't really all that graceful or technical by luchadora standards, but compared to Chessman she was a razor blade to a sledge hammer. Averno was a welterweight, or middleweight at his heaviest, and pretty much a power wrestler by the standards of those weight classes, but alongside Chessman Averno's use somersaults and controlling holds became a lot more noticeable. But with Abyss as his partner, Chessman was the (comparatively) precise striker, calculating technician and agile flier contrasted against a wild powerhouse with garbage tendencies.
  • Among the NOAH representatives competing in AAA's world pareja division, none were more immediately obvious than Takeshi Morishima and Taiji Ishimori. For those not in the know, Morishima is a very agile, versatile athlete with a background in judo, but don't expect him to show the latter, especially not in pareja matches. Most of the time one can expect Morishima to take advantage of his 300 lbs body by ramming it into his opponents as quickly and as many times as possible. Ishimori, by contrast is very short and light, even by lucha libre standards, but is just as quick as Morishima, even more agile and can be expected to try and outsmart and or out wrestle opponents. Go Shiozaki (force) and Atsushi Aoki (finesse) were also examples among the NOAH parejas, but nowhere near as obvious or dramatic as Morishima and Ishimori.
  • Takeshi Morishima was also part of a rivalry version in NOAH proper against KENTA. While Morishima was already more forceful than most other heavyweight title contenders, KENTA was a super junior, pure and simple, being pushed into the heavyweight ranks. Among the junior heavyweights KENTA was among the more forceful, relying pretty heavily on comparatively simplistic strikes, with a degree of feints to throw people off, and a pseudo power finisher(the famous Go To Sleep). Among the heavyweights, and especially against Takeshi, KENTA came off as quick yet calculating and precise.
  • In Chigusa Nagayo's Marvelous promotion, Mabutachi 2 Manjimanji is the finesse to the two power stables it was created to oppose, being(mostly) composed of more technically minded wrestlers than W-Fix and being much better coordinated than Level5. Unfortunately for them, force wins most times. The first time W-Fix found themselves being out wrestled by the upstart stable Infernal KAORU's simply bashed everything that moved with a wooden board, and the rest of W-Fix not only followed suit but considerably up the ante, to the point what little grappling seen by W-Fix members still tends to be illegal. Concerning Level5, they may not have the best teamwork but Tomoko Watanabe is a force of nature who can beat most of Mabutachi 2 Manjimanji by herself if she can build steam.
  • Level5 ironically dealt with W-Fix much better than the main baby face stable once W-Fix's antics got on even their nerves. Despite three fourths of Level5 getting buried beneath W-Fix's superior teamwork and shameless use of illegal garbage during their showdown at the first Korakuen Hall Marvelous show, Watanabe simply could not be stopped, not even after KAORU broke her board over Watanabe's head!
  • It's easy to overlook, considering their opposition, but the personal partners of Mabutachi 2 Manjimanji leader Mio Momono are usually force to her finesse. La Rosa Negra, who helped Momono take control of the group, is a fairly short wrestler who does a little of everything but busts out power moves on noticeably larger opponents all the same and favors raining down strikes from above. Momono is even smaller, to the point she uses a Combat Parkour strategy to wear out her opponents before shooting in for joint locks. Nyla Rose provides the most contrast among Momono's partners, being able to defeat many teams alone through raw's just Momono's stable wasn't created to fight those teams.
  • All Elite Wrestling really pushes this dynamic with the tag team of Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson. As William Regal himself puts it, they're the perfect combination of Danielson's pure technique and Mox's unrelenting violence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The two warrior heroes included in the base Second Edition of Descent: Journeys in the Dark are Grisban, a brutal dwarven berserker with a giant axe, and Syndrael, a knightly elven Lady of War who fights with a sword and a shield.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The module T1 The Village of Hommlet. Two of the NPCs living in the Inn of the Welcome Wench are Kobort, a hulking fighter with superhuman strength who has a sword and an axe, and Turoko, a monk who uses daggers in combat.
    • On a grander scale, Elves vs. Dwarves yet again. Dwarves typically get racial bonuses to strength and/or constitution and get training with weapons like great axes while elves get dexterity and/or wisdom bonuses and training with weapons like swords or bows.
    • Fighter and Barbarian. One gets more skill points and extra Feats. The other gets Rage and more hit points.
    • In 5E, the Fighter's archetypes enable a player to make them one or the other. "Champion" gets skills in critical hits and tanking damage while "Battle Master" gets combat superiority for strikes that can disarm or out-maneuver opponents.
    • There are weapons labeled specifically as Finesse weapons, these weapons allow you to use your Dexterity instead of your Strength when it comes to Attack and Damage rolls, if you so choose. Otherwise, you'd need Strength to use them properly.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Whenever the Imperium (Force) and the Eldar or Tau (Finesse) team up, this dynamic is the result. The Imperial Guard is all about using vast numbers of men and ordnance to blast the enemy to kingdom come, while the Eldar and Tau are both about using fewer, more elite units with precision firepower.
    • Team-ups between various Chaos Legions often end up with this: the Horus Heresy novel "Angel Exterminatus", for example, has an alliance between the elitist perfectionists of the Emperor's Children (Finesse), and the Iron Warriors (Forceful), default strategy "pound everything flat with artillery".
    • The orks have two gods Gork and Mork. One of which is a master of kunning brutality (hits you hard when you're not looking), the other of brutal kunning (hits you REALLY hard when you are). Which god is which, and does what, and which philosophy is which are just as many excuses for the orks to go to war with each other.

    Video Games 
  • Asura's Wrath uses this dynamic with Asura and Yasha. Asura uses his fists for everything while Yasha prefers to use Razor Wind.
  • Batman: Arkham City has Batman facing two brothers by the name of Sickle and Hammer. The names should tell you all you need to know about each brother's fighting style.
  • Ragna the Bloodedge and Jin Kisaragi in BlazBlue: Ragna's got his BFS while Jin has his katana.
    • The third game, Blazblue Chrono Phantasma adds the more beatdown-oriented Yuuki Terumi and Hazama, who fights with a stylish chain/butterfly knives combo. An unusual example in that they're technically the same character.
  • City of Heroes featured a pair of villain archetypes that exemplified this. The Brutes were focused on Force. They were tanks whose attack strength increased the longer they were in battle. The Finesse side of things was handled by the Stalker, whose description emphasized this difference. Stalkers were the assassins. They had extremely high attack power, but were also more fragile than Brutes, instead relying on the ability to hide from enemies and deflect their aggression.
  • Dark Souls gives us Ornstein and Smough, who are finesse and force respectively. Ornstein uses speed, Lightning, and a spear. Smough just uses a really, really big hammer.
    • Dark Souls 2 also gives us the Throne Defender and Throne Watcher, who fill force and finesse respectively.
      • The final boss of the first DLC for Dark Souls 3 has this in phase 2. Father Ariandel is big, strong, and slow; Sister Friede is normal-sized, less strong(though not to be taken lightly), and fast.
    • The Nameless King and Dark Sun Gwyndolin are this on a metatextual level. Though fought in different games, both are sons of Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight who employ contrasting skillsets, with the Nameless King being a the Force (a Dragon Rider who alternates between lightning-heavy Miracles from a distance and deadly attacks from his spear) with Gwyndolin being the Finesse (a Squishy Wizard Master of Illusion Wholesome Crossdresser who employs archery and long distance Sorcery while using Villain Teleportation to keep the player at a distance).
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Dante and Vergil. The hotheaded Dante uses a BFS and a pair of guns while the calculating Vergil uses a katana and summoned swords.
    • In Devil May Cry 4, meanwhile, Dante himself becomes the Finesse, while the Force role goes to series newcomer Nero. Nero has a much smaller set of weapons, and his skillset relies mainly on raw power. Dante, by contrast, has a large collection of weapons and styles that he can switch between on the fly.
  • Seen in the beginning of Dragon Age II with Hawke's younger twin siblings. Warrior Carver is Force, mage Bethany is Finesse. Both are extremely skilled, but only one survives.
  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z: Young Gohan focuses more on raw power, but lacks proper technique, whereas Adult Gohan has far superior technique to compensate for his initial lack of brute strength.
  • Fu Xi and Nu Wa in Dynasty Warriors. Fu Xi carries a greatsword while Nu wa has a rapier and shield. Fu Xi is powerful, slow, and hits like several trucks tied together. He can wipe out entire teams of enemies with a single swing, but his windups are so long that they can be avoided or interrupted by faster officers and even faster enemy Mooks. Nu Wa's attacks are precise, quick stabs, individually weaker than Fu Xi but extremely good at dueling officers, who are often hit so quickly that they cannot counterattack or interrupt her, but leaves her open to being swarmed by multiple foes.
    • This dynamic applies as well in Hyrule Warriors with the two Ocarina of Time representatives: Darunia is big, strong and attacks with a fire-elemental hammer that hits like a truck. On the other hand, Ruto is more delicate and mobile and attacks by summoning water and trapping enemies in whirlpools. On the villainous side, we have Girahim, who uses a sword and throwing blades with precision and graceful moves, while in contrast, Zant attacks with very physical moves and, despite summoning magic, he uses it in a very brutal and mindless way; his style is often described as resembling a temper tantrum more than fighting.
    • Generally speaking, this system can be applied to nearly every character in all of the Warriors games; force types are the characters who hit the hardest and have the widest arcs of attack which allow them to be exceptional at crowd clearing but suffer in one-on-one officer fights due to lack of precision options, while the more nimble finesse types can dominate the duels with focused combos but have more difficulty controlling crowds thanks to attacks that strike in straight lines.
  • In Ensemble Stars!, Souma and Adonis are contrasted this way, made most obvious in Athletics - both are extremely physically fit and often train together, but Souma specialises in the finesse arts of sword-fighting and dancing, while Adonis is more suited to sheer strength and long distance running.
  • Golden Sun: An Informed Attribute for two NPC fighters going to Colosso, Sean and Ouranos. Ouranos is described as huge by another man, while Mind Reading Sean reveals "[he] has speed and Ouranos has strength". Unfortunately the ship arrives too late for the tryouts so this is never shown.
  • Guilty Gear contrasts Sol Badguy's BFS with Ky Kiske's more traditional longsword.
  • Neon White has Neon Yellow and Neon White as Force and Finesse respectively. Yellow is more brash and gung-ho, while White is more straightforward and precise.
  • Mega Man 11 has the Double Gear system, which allows the player to choose force or finesse: the Power Gear gives the player stronger weapons such as a double charged shot, while the Speed Gear provides Bullet Time.
  • Mega Man Battle Network 6's Beast Out system varies depending on which version the player chooses. Gregar's Beast Out is the force, giving MegaMan.EXE a rapid-fire buster, super armor, and is best employed to decisively end a fight. Falzar's Beast Out is the finesse, offering a buster that hits multiple rows, immunity to Geo Effects, and gives the user an opportunity to gain stage control.
  • Overwatch gives the two builder characters Torbjorn and Symmetra this dynamic. Torbjorn builds hard armor and a rough, heavily armed turret while Symmetra constructs light shields and sleeker mini laser turrets. Symmetra finds Torbjorn's methods crude and outdated, while Torbjorn takes a jab at her cleanliness.
  • In the 'Isle of Armor' DLC of Pokémon Sword and Shield, Kubfu's evolution into Urshifu has it learn from either of these philosophies depending on which tower you train it through. Raising it through the Tower of Darkness makes its evolution take on the Dark-typed Single Strike Style, while the Tower of Waters confers the Water-typed Rapid Strike Style. This influences the signature move that the Urshifu learns upon evolution; either a strong single blow or a flurry of rapid weaker blows respectively.
  • Melee styles of Resident Evil 5 protagonists reflect this. Musclebound Chris uses simple but powerful punches and kicks which throw people around (and dislodge giant boulders), while slender and comparatively small Sheva fights with a lot of leaps, sommersaults and roundhouse kicks.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic and Knuckles end up within this pairing. Sonic being the speedy, clever Dance Battler and Knuckles being the powerful, linear thinking Barefisted Monk.
    • Sonic and Shadow tend to get this kind of balance when they aren't being treated as a Mirror Boss, though rarely along the same lines twice in a row. Sonic's more straightforward combat abilities and harder hitting Spindash techniques makes up his Force while his superior utilization of his raw speed and creative usage of his abilities can also make him more of a Finesse character. On Shadow's side, his access to destructive Chaos powers and more brutal rushdown fighting style is given focus when he's set up as a Force while his utilization of more complex Chaos Control based combos, enhanced mobility and air control through the use of his Air Shoes and tendancy to be a bit squishier than Sonic is gets played up when he's treated as a Finesse based character.
  • Street Fighter:
    • The series has Ibuki, who is the only character with ammo having a limited number of usable kunai. She is usually paired with stronger characters like R. Mika and Makoto, who both fight physically with no powers and both are in contention for the physically strongest female in the game, and Birdie. Birdie is a giant brute who's strength rival's Zangief's and can smash an opponent down a concrete floor.
    • Balrog and Dudley, the two prominent boxers in the series, emphasize this contrast. Balrog is known for his brute force while Dudley has a more refined technique.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee: Roy serves as the Force counterpart to Marth's Finesse: while Marth relies on careful positioning with his sword's sweetspot being at the tip, Roy's sweetspot is closer to his sword's hilt, favoring a more aggressive rushdown-based fighting style. According to Sakurai, the ideology behind Marth has always been to be a flashy, technical Finesse swordfighter to counterbalance Link's less refined but more powerful Force style of swordfighting.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Ike (force) and Marth (finesse) share this dynamic.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U: Marth and Lucina have the same moveset, but Lucina doesn't have Marth's "sweet spot" on the edge of the sword. Her strikes are weaker than Marth's sweetspotted hits, but stronger otherwise, meaning proper spacing is less important with her. Ike still shows as a force fighter, while Robin shows up as a new finesse fighter—his moves have limited uses in their "strong" form before he must rely on weaker versions of them for awhile.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Pyra/Mythra have this dynamic: Pyra is the Force, with attacks that are slow but damaging; while Mythra is the Finesse, having weaker but faster-hitting attacks.
  • Anderson and North from Three the Hard Way are respective practitioners of the Minami and Kita arts, two branches of fictional martial arts that are distinguishable by their force vs. finesse fighting style. In terms of gameplay, Anderson is The Big Guy with a greater attack, defense and health point stats than North, but his special skills aren't really useful, and they need to be Cast from Hit Points. Meanwhile, North isn't as capable as a tanker as Anderson, but his special attacks (that uses MP) have a better applicability in battles. The two characters don't actually interact much in-game, although they can discuss the differences between their martial arts school with a random NPC.
  • The Wonderful 101 has an interesting variation of this trope. Wonder Red is still the straightforward force fighter with a giant fist, but this time Wonder Blue is more of a laid back trickster that uses a sword.
  • World of Tanks tends to give each nation a trait that makes them stand out among the other tanks in their respective tiers. This is probably best exemplified by the Soviet and German contrast—the former favoring massive damage-per-shot at the cost of accuracy, while the latter tends to employ precise but lower-caliber firepower. As a result, Soviet tanks tend to blast targets for a lot of health but are less consistent, while German tanks are able to focus down weak spots but take more shots (and thus more time) to destroy a target.

    Web Comics 
  • In Jupiter-Men, Jackie is the force to Quintin's finesse. Her powers grant her Super-Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability so long as she's fully charged with electricity, letting her stare down the barrel of a gun without fear and throw dumpsters at people. Quintin's Elemental Shapeshifter powers don't produce a lot of raw force by comparison, but he's able grab things from a distance, uses his arms like a Grappling-Hook Gun, and cover things in slime thick enough to stop bullets.
  • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things protagonist, Commander Badass, and his "brother" Ace pull this off, as seen here. Seeing as they're respectively designed to be a manly gritty action hero and a Tuxedo and Martini type, it just comes with the territory.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Xykon was a powerful sorcerer even before he became a lich, but was constantly looked down on by wizards, who deem their magic to be superior due to requiring study instead of just being born with it. Xykon himself is somewhat lazy and has a fairly short attention span, and so was dismissed as being unintelligent by the more studious wizards. However, the sheer overwhelming force of Xykon's magic ends up being more than a match for the wizard Dorukan, which he delights in reveling in.
      Xykon: Only two things matter: Force in as great a concentration as you can manage, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide.
    • Roy The Leader is an unusually cerebral Fighter who was an Academic Athlete in school. His Evil Counterpart Thog is The Brute who left the Fighter class to become a Barbarian. Their final confrontation highlights the contrast between tactics and raw force.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Zuko begins the series as the Force to both Aang and his sister Azula's Finesse. Toward the end of the series, as he completes a Heel–Face Turn and is taught true firebending instead of the rage-filled bursts, he becomes the Finesse as Azula undergoes serious Sanity Slippage and becomes much more reliant on Force.
    • Iroh, also a practitioner of true firebending, serves as the Finesse to his brother Ozai's Force. Iroh became an introspective, spiritual, and patient man after the death of his son Lu Ten (and even before, he earned his position as a brilliant general and even more-skilled firebender). In fact, a lot of his influence is what guides Zuko down his path of redemption. Ozai, on the other hand, is a firm Social Darwinist who rose through the ranks through Agni Kais against other firebenders. Their Sozin's Comet strategies are even mirrors of each other. Ozai wants to burn all opposition to the ground, whereas Iroh unites members of all four nations to liberate a major city from Fire Nation influence.
  • A non-fighting variant in Bojack Horseman has Princess Carolyn's Force and Diane's Finesse, with Princess Carolyn insisting on being front for everything, is very aggressive for a bureaucrat, loves winning and can't help but be a showoff while being the Man Behind the Man while Diane relies more on arguments, persuasion and non-confrontational methods to succeed and loves being in the spotlight despite her nervousness.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, this is the reason why kwamis take holders. Bad, bad things happen when a god unleashes their full power.
  • Samurai Jack has Jack and the Scotsman as Finesse and Force respectively. Jack is far from weak, but favors tactics that involve outspeeding, outmaneuvering, or outwitting his opponents. The Scotsman is even stronger than Jack, but favors rushing in with his BFS or his Machine Gun leg rather than using any fancy moves.
  • Amethyst and Pearl form this sort of dynamic in Steven Universe, with reckless whip-user Amethyst being the force, and the graceful spear-wielding Pearl being the finesse. The leader of the Crystal Gems, Garnet, displays a balance between the two in most of her fights. Further emphasized when you combine either Pearl or Amethyst with the relatively stable Garnet. Sugilite uses a flailing mace with reckless abandon while Sardonyx has a hammer that she strikes with utmost precision.

    Real Life 
  • European Swordsmanship compared to Chinese swordsmanship is the Force and Finesse, respectively. European Swordsmanship involves using the entire arm, along with stancework, to slice the opponent, as opposed to Chinese Swordsmanship relying entirely on the wrist when it comes to arm movement (with the rest of the arm merely extending the length of the slash).
  • Your typical Street Brawler, and your typical Bare-Fisted Monk, are the Force and Finesse, respectively. Street Brawlers put their entire weight into their strikes, throwing haymaker after haymaker, whereas a trained Martial Artist, while forceful, generates efficient, speedy force through a combination of force and technique.