Alright, here's the deal. If someone is making a tongue-in-cheek kung fu scene, there is always a character who suddenly pulls a pursed-lips expression, makes some random mystical arm movements, and shouts a falsetto "WOOOOOOO-ooooOOOO-WAHHHHHHHH!" Anyone doing this can automatically be written off as having zero martial arts talent — unless it's an elaborate Confusion Fu double-bluff...
This trope's been around for a while, but it doesn't look to be going away any time soon.
Of course, Bruce Lee himself gets a pass for his own shtick - if not because, in a bit of Unbuilt Trope, he had the naturality and body language necessary to actually sound and look threatening with it. A common experience for those who discover Lee as an actor is realizing he can be much, much less goofy than pop culture might make you believe.
Compare and contrast Kiai, where the character is using it seriously.
- One commercial for Fruit Gushers involves two karate students turning into fruit heads and duking it out, complete with appropriate sounds. It's more pronounced with the boy though and the fight is actually well choreographed.
- A series of Stanton Optical commercials invoke this trope with screaming eyeglasses.
- Invoked in Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi; in order to invoke the powers of the "martial arts" world he and Arumi found themselves in, Sasshi had to "embrace the form; even if he didn't have the substance" (basically the "be water" adage in reverse). First, he did the Bruce Lee thing with his nose, then started making noises; then he was Bruce Lee.
- The teacher from Super Radical Gag Family.
- Rock Lee from Naruto. Unlike most practitioners of this trope, Lee is highly competent, though his win-loss record doesn't exactly reflect that fact.
- The shortest fight in Bleach history was between Chad, and a guy whose entire fighting style was made up of flailing his sword and shouting dramatically.
- Stocking in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt after stabbing a zombie cat in the head with a vibrator.
- Tony Tony Chopper from One Piece does this when he uses his Kung Fu Point transformation. In an OVA, Chinese-themed secondary antagonist Nightin engages in this trope with Gusto as she tries to unleash a flurry of kicks on Hancock.
- Tsubomi and Erika do this at the end of one episode of HeartCatch Pretty Cure! after they realize that they really didn't need that sort of training. They were just playing around at that point.
- Any parody of Fist of the North Star will include these, despite the series itself playing it completely straight.
- For the series itself, Kenshiro will usually do these whenever he’s in a fight (at least once, to boot). He’s much more calm whenever he isn’t fighting the cruel villains of this world.
- Fei Long in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie uses these a lot in his (brief) fight with Ryu. Then again, he basically IS Bruce Lee with a different name, and puts up a good fight too, averting the "zero talent" aspect.
- Home on the Range: Buck is known to do this when his crime-fighting fantasies get the better of him.
- Bruce Lee does this constantly during fight scenes.
- Spoofed in High Risk, when Frankie Lee - a character that is a loose parody of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan - tries dubbing one of his fight scenes in a recording booth. Suddenly, a random cockroach crawls across the table, on Frankie's fingers... cue Frankie frantically yelling "Wah-ta! Ta! Ta!" as he tries shaking the roach off, which ends up being recorded and synching perfectly.
- The annoying porter in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory ("I know a little WOOOOAAAAHHHHH... I know a little of that myself.")
- Jennifer Love Hewitt during the rooftop fight of The Tuxedo.
- Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour films, one of the more notable examples occurring during his fight with Zhang Ziyi in 2.
- Gonzo in Muppet Treasure Island, whilst throwing starfish in a shuriken-esque way. Amusingly, what he's saying is actually grammatically incorrect Spanish ("Mi Casa Su Casa" translates to "My House Your House").
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights ("Do you know... Praying Mantis?"). Achoo mixes in some Funny Michael Jackson Noises.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: HI-KEEBA!
- Elliot Carver mocks Wai Lin by making faux-kung fu gestures accompanied by Funny Bruce Lee Noises in Tomorrow Never Dies.
- Sonny Chiba, especially in his early career and The Street Fighter series. It might be funny if the films weren't so brutally violent.
- Jeeja Yanin in the first fight scene of Thai actioner Chocolate.
- Artemus Gordon pulls one of these in Wild Wild West, but only to distract Jim so he could press the Big Red Button on the wall behind him, activating a trap that essentially puts the latter mere inches above railroad track (they're on a moving train).
- The Chosen One in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist does this, though he does have some martial arts talent. A very prolonged one near the opening has him eventually rupture an artery from the strain of sustaining it.
- In The Karate Kid Part III, Silver, despite being an actual karateka, does Kung Faux poses while making Funny Bruce Lee Noises before fighting Mr. Miyagi. And then after Mr. Miyagi is through, the old man mocks him in this fashion.
- Rupert Grint does this in one scene in Wild Target while practicing with a Japanese sword.
- Larvelle Jones (played by Michael Winslow) does this in every Police Academy movie starting with the second one. (Where he first demonstrates skill in martial arts). Since he's also a ventriloquist, he also makes it look like everything he says in those scenes is being badly dubbed in, just for fun.
- Malaguita does a shuffle variation of this in Torrente: El brazo tonto de la ley to intimidate Torrente, though he has real martial arts training and seems to be very skilled.
- Hilariously parodied and exaggerated in Lloyd's Dream Sequence in Dumb and Dumber.
- Race for the Yankee Zephyr. A guard catches the hero sneaking up, intent on braining him with a lump of wood. Instead of grabbing his rifle, the guard begins waving his arms about and howling in a highly exaggerated martial arts style. The hero gapes in astonishment then, as the guard turns to deliver a spinning kick, boots him down the mountainside.
- In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, this is done by Bruce Lee (appearing here as a Historical Domain Character) when he fights with Cliff on the set.
- They Call Me Bruce?. The title character makes a hissing noise while waving his hands about whenever he's trying to convince people he's a badass kung fu warrior like Bruce Lee, whereas in truth he has no martial arts skills at all.
- In The Magicians, Quentin invokes this before knocking open a cut-through door. The successful yet anticlimactic result may explain why Alice laughs.
- Hugh Laurie's "The Gun Seller" has something like this at the start. To get the man trying to break his arm off him, the protagonist lets out "what Japanese martial artists refer to as a kiai — you'd probably call it a very loud noise, and that wouldn't be so far off - a scream of such blinding, shocking, what-the-fuck-was-that intensity, that I frightened myself rather badly."
- This isn't actually a special technique for striking, it's just to shock his assailant for long enough to headbutt him in the face, kick him in the balls then smash his head in with a small statue.
- In Thief of Time, a monk tries to intimidate Lu-Tze with "Ai! Shao! Hai-eee..." before learning his opponents name. "-Ai! Hao-gng? Ohsheeeeeohsheeeeeee.."
- Super Sentai/Power Rangers:
- Theo, the Blue Ranger in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, tended to make nonstop Bruce Lee noises during battle, notable in a series where most of the Rangers actually practiced Chinese-based martial arts and none of the rest felt the need to do that.
- That very same year, the teamup movie between Engine Sentai Go-onger and Juken Sentai Gekiranger had a minor starting enemy named Nunchaku Banki who made these noises at all times. Regardless of whether he was attacking, jumping, getting hit, or painfully getting knocked across the battlefield by exceptionally powerful attacks, he still made these noises. It's possible this may have been a Take That! against the above, but we'll probably never know.
- In the episode "Clean-Up Club" from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Jason and Zack have some fun doing these while crushing tin cans.
- Lord Zedd also utilized this trope once to make fun of Tommy, who uses Kiai liberally. Zedd proceeds to beat Tommy's ass.
- The Ninninger's latest mecha is heavily Chinese myth-based, and employs martial arts for its fighting style. Its transformation sequence imagery even invoke a Shaolin temple. Naturally, the sound effects made by its gimmick is riddled with Bruce Lee screams.
- Kamen Rider Meteor seems fond of these. He actually uses Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee's signature style — it's given a different name in the series, but it is essentially the same style, so it makes perfect sense for him to make those noises. Also, his name is Ryuusei, and ryuu means "dragon," Bruce Lee's nickname.
- Meteor's battle theme, "Shooting Star" by everset, even has the singers making these noises during the instrumental break.
- Used hilariously on Chuck in an episode early in Season 3. Chuck is unable to "flash" during a confrontation with a Ring operative he lured to the store to keep her away from Devon. So instead he tries to psyche the operative and her mooks out with this and a bit of posing, then takes off running.
- Danger 5: In "Johnny Hitler", Tucker makes "wha" sounds when he finishes his ninja training by Mackenzie.
- One episode of Drake & Josh had the title characters doing this...during a ping pong game.
- Private detective Lionel Whitney in Tenspeed and Brown Shoe is prone to making these when he goes on the defense against thugs or kicks open the occasional locked door. Unusually for this trope, Lionel has genuine karate skills — he's a third-degree black belt — but since he's played by a then-27-year-old Jeff Goldblum, the comedy remains. (Lionel's real problem is that, being a gentleman, he tends to waste time warning his attackers of his skills, allowing them to get in the first hit.)
- The newly hologrammatic Rimmer has a good go at them when Rimmer and Lister run into the Cat for the first time in Red Dwarf.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: In "The Day the Earth Froze," Joel's invention exchange is a selection of snacks crossed with kung fu/ninja movie weapons (the Five Lady Fingers of Death, star-shaped throwing cookies, etc.), collectively termed "Snaction." Throughout the skit, Tom and Crow are in the background having a mock battle with accompanying vocalizations.
- Broforce: Naturally, Bro Lee makes these any time he attacks. Additionally, when Broden uses his iconic Torpedo move, he says some Asian gibberish like in the classic Midway Mortal Kombat games.
- Dante emits a high-pitched scream in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening when using his Satellite special attack, available to his Cerberus moveset. When he gets Cerberus back in Devil May Cry 5, he does it for every single nunchuk attack.
- Bayonetta does so when you have a combo really going while equipped with Sai Fung, which are nunchuk guns.
- Jon Talbain from Darkstalkers. Justified in that he's a werewolf, so of course he'd howl. Further justified in that he's a werewolf Bruce Lee Clone.
- Jann Lee of Dead or Alive is another Bruce Lee Clone with this habit.
- Kim Kaphwan from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters. Unlike most of the examples listed in this section, Kim isn't a Bruce Lee Clone (he's a Korean Taekwondoka) but lets out very Kenshiro-like battle cries during several of his attacks. The same applies to many of the other TKD practitioners in KOF, such as Jhun Hoon, May Lee, and Chae Lim. Ironically, his son Jae Hoon managed to emulate most of Kim's Taekwondo expertise, but his 'Atatatata' is lower pitched that it's not quite the trope anymore.
- Liu Kang of Mortal Kombat fame makes this annoying. Midway - or more specifically, voice actor and series co-creator Ed Boon - decided to make it sound like turkey gobbles! (that's only when he does his Bicycle Kick, though)
- Raiden also fits this trope with his Torpedo move, yelling what fans originally believed to be either Japanese phrases or weird English sentences like "Get back in the car!", "Gimme ma money!", "I humped my dog!", "Freddy bought a car!", "Your mother's from L.A.!" or even "Santa Monica!" before Midway revealed that Raiden was just screaming gibberish noises.
- Chie of Persona 4 does this occasionally. She's a fan of Bruce Lee movies (well, kung fu movies), so it makes sense. One of her win quotes is even "Don't think. Feel," which is a quote from the man himself. As of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, she's got Makoto doing it, too.
- Pilot Kids, a game where you are a Living Toy fighting toy-based enemies, have Brice lee action figures as mooks. Who makes Lee's iconic "wah-taa!" while attacking.
- Soulcalibur's Maxi (another Bruce Lee Clone) does a lot of this too.
- Fei Long from Street Fighter, particularly with how his dialogue is written out in Alpha 3, cementing his status as Bruce Lee Clone. Hwaieeeee-YAAHHHHHH!!!
- Rufus' theme song in Street Fighter IV is punctuated with high-pitched kiai.
- Marshall Law of Tekken, being a Bruce Lee Clone, obligatorily uttered these sounds. So did his son, Forrest. Until Tekken 5, these were actually provided by series designer Katsuhiro Harada.
- Kim Dragon from World Heroes, being the first video game Bruce Lee Clone, obviously used them.
- Touhou Project: Some versions of Hong Meiling have her use these, others use "JAAAOOOOO!"
- If you can hear them over the dying screams of your opponents in One Finger Death Punch, you may notice enemies and the Player Character doing this, as a part of the game's use of silly Martial Arts Movie cliches. Players can be tempted to do this as well while playing, as Markiplier does in his videos of the game.
- In Donkey Kong 64, Diddy is clearly making these when he uses his standard 3-bit combo attack.
- Ruby uses these to describe her fighting style in RWBY. In an interesting variation, she really is that good. (Although fortunately she doesn't make said noises while actually using her fighting style.)
- Done in the Strong Bad Email "huttah!". In an effort to convince The Cheat that he doesn't get nice emails, Strong Bad tapes a note reading "the cheat" to his computer where the greeting normally goes while yelling "Huttah!" Two unpleasant emails addressed to Strong Bad show up, and The Cheat isn't convinced by his deflection.
- Angry Joe in Channel Awesome' anniversary video often does this.
- Naturally, Mike Diva does this as part of his portrayal of Bruce Lee in Lee's Epic Rap Battles of History entry against Clint Eastwood. He even lampshades it in his first verse:
How can you talk more shit with my fist in your jaw?
Don't need words to serve you, I'ma just say, WA-TAAAAAH!
- In the first episode of Batman Beyond, near the beginning, the first random Joker Terry shoves around starts posing while making these noises, before blowing a raspberry and running away.
- The Bots Master: Despite being a competent and stoic Cyber Ninja, Ninjzz often breaks into silly, high-pitched kiais when fighting.
- Kim Possible: Quite often, Ron Stoppable.
- Happens in Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected, although they're not fighting, they're just flipping the fuck out because one guy's eye turned into a fountain of blood.
- A crab perched on a rock does it to a group of seagulls in Finding Nemo. As the gulls are about to pick the crab apart (to raucous cries of "Mine!"), the crab waves its pincers and makes noise in stereotypical kung fu fashion before back-flipping itself back into the water.
- Texas does this a lot in Motorcity. Probably because he actually does watch a lot of action movies.
- Rafiki does this as he fights off the hyenas in The Lion King (1994).
- Po in Kung Fu Panda's dumpling-and-chopsticks fight scene.
Po: Raised in a noodle shop and never seeking glory or fame,
- Po continues to do this in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. Including in the Bragging Theme Tune:
He climbed the mountain top and earned the Dragon Warrior name,
Kung Fu Panda!
- In the Megas XLR episode "Buggin' Out", Coop makes these noises when he grabs some snake creatures and forms them into nunchucks.
- An early Running Gag in Steven Universe had Pearl making weird vocalizations when summoning items from her gem for no clear reason, though it pretty much stops after the first season.
- The Kiai (yelling when striking) serves a number of different purposes, from the physiological (yelling firms up the core muscles, increases blood flow, and helps to keep you from getting the breath knocked out of you) to the psychological (yelling focuses your attention on the moment of the attack and may startle the opponent). The timbre of the yell makes little difference for most purposes. Yelling while warming up can serve many of the same purposes, including intimidation, increased blood flow, and increased focus. However, most martial arts classes will be quick to tell you that Funny Bruce Lee Noises are not a kiai and only serve to waste your time. Partly because opening your mouth while fighting is a good way to get a broken jaw, which is why the participants of full contact martial arts matches, boxers and MMA fighters are less likely to kiai.
- The signature shrieks which earned the Tasmanian Devil its name are said to sound similarly. Here's one example.