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Genius Bruiser

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Please don't make him tear you apart. This is a library.

"Given enough time, any man can master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man can become wise. It is a true warrior who can master both."
Emperor Yoshiro, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

Want to know what happens when you put Brains and Brawn as one character, brawn dominant? It's a possible benefit when you carry a heavy Doorstopper or two (or a whole shelf of them) while using it as weight-lifts and studying calculus at the same time.

The opposite of Dumb Muscle. This guy has not only huge muscles and fists, but a very bright brain! Even if he's not a genius about fighting, he is otherwise the personification of Strong and Skilled. There is, however, a difference between "especially smart" and "not a total moron;" keep that in mind when adding examples. Here's a tip: A character who is strong but displays frankly average intelligence is simply not an idiot. But if said character constantly spouts technobabble and is considered an expert in some scientific field, that's especially smart. Similarly, if the bruisers are especially smart, they must also be unusually strong to qualify. "Beats people up" or "very physically fit" don't count.


The inversion is the Badass Bookworm. In general, a Genius Bruiser looks huge and powerfully muscled, then unexpectedly shows off an intellectual side, whereas a Badass Bookworm looks like a standard geek, but then displays a surprising amount of physical prowess. Remember, in this case Muscles Are NOT Meaningless. The character does not need to look the part to qualify for this trope, though it's never a minus. If Authority Equals Asskicking, you may well end up with an Emperor Scientist. A Genius Bruiser is almost always also a Cultured Badass, but not necessarily.

This trope is very much Truth in Television, and often the Foil for Jerk Jock. While the latter are over-represented in team sports, Genius Bruiser types often come from individual sports, such as track and field, gymnastics, fencing, skiing or swimming. Compare Academic Athlete.


In fantasy, a Genius Bruiser is often a Magic Knight or a Mighty Glacier. This character also tends to be combined with Lightning Bruiser, as the speed is frequently tied into intelligence or very specific training. See also Minored In Ass Kicking and Smarter Than You Look. In a team specializing in brains, is The Big Guy (he is their Class 5) and if specializing in brawn, is The Smart Guy. Contrast with Shorter Means Smarter.


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    Fan Works 
  • Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Germany is both a very good fighter, and very smart. Why else would so many countries depend on him?
  • Dark World!Spike from the Pony POV Series is a fully grown dragon and as such extremely powerful. But, unlike most dragons, he's also able to come up with complex strategies (such as superheating the area around an opponent, then having Twilight freeze it to cause a temperature shock explosion or using his opponent's own weapon against them) and is quite intelligent. Twilight outright says this is an advantage he has over other dragons, whose combat strategy normally amounts to 'smash it till it stops moving' or 'Kill It with Fire'. We find out later that he spent those thousand years Discord ruled the world (when not busy being Discord's mount) reading books. He has in depth knowledge on everything from combat styles and meditation to chiropractic massage. This comes in handy fighting Rancor, the Spirit of Violence who's immune to violence, and thus only things that aren't violence are capable of hurting her, like chiropractic massage.
  • Last Child of Krypton:
    • Shinji is pretty intelligent, knows several languages and reads about a wide variety of subjects. He is also Superman, ergo he is a super-strong fighter.
    • Asuka was out of college when she was thirteen. She is also a Humongous Mecha Ace Pilot and a super-heroine endowed with Super Strength and other Flying Brick skills.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Canonically Asuka was out of college by age 14. Here she is also Supergirl. Her powerset includes Super Strength and computer-strong intelligence.
  • Xenilla (a.k.a Spacegodzilla) from The Bridge. While we got indications he was intelligent in the kaiju home realm, once he arrives in Equestria and we can understand what he's saying; he's got quite the mind on him. While most kaiju are sentient, it's obvious Xenilla was the one with the brains behind his faction. Aside from using his wit to trick his way into getting to the Crystal Empire, where he'd be stronger; he seems well learned in more trivial matters. Played for Laughs briefly when he forces the entire Crystal Court to pause and consider the illogical nature of Princesses Rule in an Empire, think it ridiculous Cadance wasn't an empress. Oh, and he's easily one of the most physically powerful kaiju in existence. His equine form being a full head taller than Shining Armor and very well muscled, retaining a portion of his true form's durability and power. This culminates in him being smart enough to trick King Sombra into his trap and then being strong enough to bash Sombra through multiple floors and walls of the castle in their battle.
  • In Origin Story, Alexandra Harris, a Kryptonian with all the super-powers that entails, is very intelligent, a speed-reader, and has perfect recall. Her mind literally operates faster than that of a normal human being's. She's just not used to thinking of herself that way, having memories of an emotionally abusive childhood in which the phrase "you're an idiot" was used a lot.
  • Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm:
    • Jason Shepard, aka Lightstorm, is this. Despite losing his powers before the beginning of the story, his intelligence is so great that he can use ordinary human tech to create Moon Kingdom-level weapons and armor. He's also one of the deadliest fighters known to exist.
    • Sailor Mercury, upon receiving military training from Jason. She is shown to be smart enough to learn the Moon Kingdom science that Jason teaches her, despite it being so advanced that it appears to be magic. Her skill with her ice powers also makes her a force to be reckoned with in a fight.
    • Sailor Jupiter. Her knowledge of chemistry exceeds that of Sailor Mercury's, and even before Jason began training her, she was able to kill six human adults at the beginning of her debut episode.
  • In Hope for the Heartless, the Horned King is portrayed this way (while also being a case of Adaptational Badass). He's both a warlord and a former Huntsman who's a formidable fighter in all aspects (like formidable strength and weapons usage) and exceptionally educated (and mostly self-taught).
  • Badass Octopus in The Last Brony: Kingdom Hearts With a Black Sora. Being an elephant-sized octopus that can survive on land and shoot Frickin' Laser Beams is quite formidable, but mostly he's known for being the smartest member of the team and having a vast knowledge of the universe's history.
  • Blood and Honor: Sanguis becomes one of the best lightsaber combatants of her era, but she's also cunning, well-educated and a student of Sith politics, history and poetry.
  • Sonic is this in Prison Island Break. He's a Lightning Bruiser on par with Shadow, successfully managed to defeat Knuckles, and is able to easily adapt to any given situation by being a brilliant and intelligent strategist.
  • Kevin O'Donnell, the Irish Blue Ranger from Power Rangers GPX is both the smartest member and The Big Guy-slash-The Lancer. He also mixes this with Badass Teacher.
  • Arturia Pendragon in A Knight's Tale as Inquisitor is an good example of one that routinely surprises others all around her by keeping such an diligent balance between brains and brawn at her 'age'. Already being strong enough to overpower an Pride Demon by herself and having agility second to none in the Inquisition, she shows herself to have alot of experience when it comes to negotiating, recruiting, and strategizing, even showing that she's fluent in multiple languages, including the ones native to Thedas.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku earns top marks in all of his courses (albeit, not without studying hard), recognizes obscure pieces of orchestral music like "The Cunning Little Vixen" by ear and knows slang from around the world. He's also Kryptonian, making him simultaneously the strongest, fastest, and toughest member of 1-A by a landslide.
  • Several in A Brief History of Equestria, but most prominently General Wind Whistler, who feels just as comfortable debating the finer points of Celestine constitutional jurisprudence as she does ramming a spear through your head.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl is a top student with at least three degrees. She's also capable of kicking a planet out of orbit, outracing light and shrug off nukes.
  • In Balto Futureshock, Tina was genetically altered to be super smart but she still knows how to kick butt is need be.
  • In A Force of Four, Power Girl is capable of learning how to create computer software overnight and is the world's mightiest hero.
  • In Canon Fodder, Wheeljack gets to show off his technical skills more than he did in the original.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Peter Parker is as smart as ever, hacking into a phone tower with tweezers and safety pins to get phone service and making all of his own equipment. Izuku, his protégé, is no slouch either, managing to cram a semester's worth of college-level physics, chemistry, and mechanical engineering into his head in three weeks.
  • The Dark Lords Ascendant's Big Bad is Tanizaki Kazuo, the head of a multi-national Mega-Corp with legitimate and Black Market dealings, thousands of politicians around the world in his pocket, resources everywhere, and long-reaching and very ambitious plans. ON top of all this, he's also a martial artist capable of going toe-to-toe with Ranma and winning, while calculating any outcome of said fight to be to his advantage.
  • The Communication Quests have the Hosts of Consensus. When it comes to magic, technology, or plotting, each of them demonstrates creative and innovative brilliance never seen in their respective universes. What makes them even more dangerous is the fact fact that they are straight up monsters in a head-to-head fight.

    Films — Animation 
  • Professor Padraic Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective is the rodent Captain Ersatz of Prof. Moriarty, plus is very physically imposing due to him being a... ahem... big mouse.
  • Lilo & Stitch: Stitch himself was designed to be this, being super strong (and Nigh Invulnerable) with a mind that can think faster than a supercomputer. Best exemplified with his prison escape (tricking the DNA-tracking blasters guarding him, for starters) and his rescue of Lilo (using a tanker truck full of gasoline on a volcano to propel himself into the air to reach and break into a spaceship, then throwing out its huge pilot). Similary, Dr. Jumba Jookiba is an incredibly stout alien, yet he's the scientist who created Stitch, and able to fight Stitch toe-to-toe.
  • Not explicit, but Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles must be very intelligent to master the subtle ins-and-outs of Insuricare, which we see even before he outwits Syndrome's Omnidroid and goes for a delve in the computer network. Mr. Incredible is actually quite sharp, and when he's infiltrating Syndrome's base, this fact helps him just as often as his strength does.
    • In the sequel, when Mr. Incredible had a hard time helping his son Dash with his math homework and although he never studied algebra before, he managed to learn and help Dash with his math homework after reading the algebra book overnight.
    • Speaking of the Omnidroid, it’s a very powerful Giant Mecha whose most dangerous ability is explicitly stated to be its intelligence and ability to learn.

    Films — Live Action 
  • The actor Richard Kiel has played with this trope more than once; his James Bond villain Jaws is far from stupid, although he only gets one line of dialogue to truly reveal this. Years earlier, he appeared in a similar role in a Bond rip-off film titled A Man Called Dagger. At one point his Big Bad employer asks rhetorically why Hitler lost World War II, and Keil's character considers for a moment, then starts to give a complex and erudite answer before being cut off.
    • In interviews for Spectre, Dave Bautista said that on his way to becoming part of the movie, he asked the director if his villainous character Mr. Hinx badass (he was) and if he was intelligent (yes, "very intelligent"). At least once he joked compared to his somewhat confused character Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy, that Mr. Hinx "knows what a metaphor is".
  • John Candy also played with this a little bit. Stripes, for example, has Ox.
  • Xander Cage in the movie xXx.
  • The musclebound Luther Stickell in the Mission: Impossible films and video games is also one of the world's foremost computer experts.
  • Killjoy in The Ice Pirates, played by the late John "Sloth" Matuszak, is not only the biggest of the pirates, but also the smartest.
  • Star Wars:
    • Chewbacca is an enormous Wookiee who has the strength to tear your limbs off if you get him angry enough. He's also quite the engineer, able to keep the Millennium Falcon running, chart hyperspace routes, and repair C-3P0 from virtual scrap. In Revenge of the Sith, Chewie is a high-ranking commander of the Wookiee forces, so he must be skilled at strategy and military tactics. He also plays Dejarak (the Star Wars equivalent of Chess), although he's apparently less skilled than R2-D2.
    • Darth Vader is a huge guy with extensive cybernetic implants. Although he usually kills people with his lightsaber or Force Choke, he is also capable of crushing a man's throat with his bare hands. He also built C-3PO as a child and modified his star fighter extensively. In addition, the entire plot of The Empire Strikes Back was his own very cunning Batman Gambit to draw Luke to him.
  • Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2. He's able to reproduce Tony Stark's Arc Reactor technology and bashes through Hammer's secure firewalls, as well as improve on Hammer's rather pathetic Powered Armor designs into genuinely viable weapons. During the prison-break sequence, he kills two men unarmed - one of them a burly prisoner and the other a guard who was grabbing him. Later, we see the aftermath when Hammer tries to lock him up - Vanko kills two security guards entirely unarmed and strings up their corpses for no readily apparent reason except it was amusing.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Twins. He was a result of an experiment of producing an advanced human being by combining sperm from six fathers who are athletes and scholars. Being raised by a doctor, he's physically strong, spiritually pure, and excels in history, science, mathematics, literature, and can speak twelve languages. Until he learns he has a fraternal twin played by Danny DeVito who inherited the leftover genes and living in shady lowlife schemes.
  • A dock worker in Eraser hints at being a Genius Bruiser while he and his colleagues are observing an arms deal between the bad guys and some men from the former Soviet Union.
    Boss: Damn Commies.
    Bruiser: Actually, Sir, they're not Communists anymore. They're a federation of independent, liberated states.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • In contrast to his more bestial appearance in X-Men, Victor Creed is this in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
    • In X-Men: First Class, Hank goes from being a Badass Bookworm at the beginning to being a Genius Bruiser toward the end. This is because he injected himself with something that utterly transformed his appearance. By X-Men: The Last Stand, he's a scientist/diplomat who can kick lots of ass.
    • The Wolverine: Implied with Viper since she's a scientist. Shingen Yashida makes a brief mention to the fact he graduated in biology, and is as well a very competent businessman. Ichirō Yashida served in the military in World War II, and later founded a highly successful technology conglomerate.
  • El Santo, the famous Masked Luchador hero of Mexico, was always portrayed as highly intelligent and cultured, and often as a true genius. To take just one example, in Santo en El Tesoro de Drácula, Santo invents a working time machine all by himself!
  • Gunnar Jensen in The Expendables 2 is revealed to have a Fulbright scholarship and a degree in chemical engineering... just like Dolph Lundgren, who plays him.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane looks like a gorilla wearing a Darth Vader costume. But he's a match for Batman tactically as much as physically. He's also highly cultured and well-spoken, he even holds the front of his coat like hes giving a speech like Winston Churchill. And one line even indicates that he has a good working knowledge of nuclear physics.
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man, the Lizard stands 7'6" tall and is capable of punching through inch-thick steel emergency doors. When he and Peter fight in a chemistry classroom, he takes note of the vials standing around and mixes the contents of two them together to create a bomb. It makes it clear Connors' intellect is still there under the scales. In a Deleted Scene he convinces himself he doesn't have to be afraid of Spider-Man because he is bigger, faster and stronger than he is, has teeth and claws and an Empire State University degree.
  • Roadblock from G.I. Joe: Retaliation he's not only strong, but he's also pretty smart and good at coming up with strategies.
  • In Broken Arrow (1996), Terry nearly bites off more than she can chew by trying to sneak-attack a mook in Nerd Glasses and a lab coat.
    "You probably thought I was some science nerd! I was a Navy SEAL, lady! You should see what I can do with just my thumb!"
  • Warrior: Brendan is a physics teacher, and a badass MMA fighter. This is even lampshaded by his trainer.
  • In Frankenstein: The College Years, the Frankenstein's Monster nicknamed "Frank" starts out as the typical lumbering moron of other film adaptations since the process to resurrect him is incomplete. The protagonists eventually figure out the secret to saving Frank namely sugar, since the anti-rejection serum that keeps Frank's organs working together causes glucose deficiency. This explains Frank's Sweet Tooth throughout the movie. After his brain fully recovers, Frank is able to speak for the first time in the movie and he claims that he's fluent in multiple languages.
  • Jason Bourne from The Bourne Series. Extremely good at lateral thinking and finding highly creative ways to stay one step ahead of the people hunting him, but when the chips are down, can annihilate anyone who goes up against him in a fight.
  • Cady, the villain in Cape Fear (1991) is both in exceptionally good shape and terrifyingly smart. He studied law in prison, becoming a lawyer, even acting as his own defense during his appeals.
  • In Godzilla (2014), Godzilla is rather crafty for a giant reptile. After seeing how his atomic breath only had a minor effect on the female Muto, he switched to grabbing her head and firing it down her throat until it decapitated her. As for the male Muto, Godzilla was having difficulty dealing with the male constantly resorting to hit and run attacks from the air. So Godzilla suckered the male into attacking him from behind by pretending that he didn't know it was there, then giving him a tail attack that knocked the male out of the air into a protruding beam, impaling it.
  • Nathan from Ex Machina is a muscular fitness nut who practices boxing and works out constantly. At the same time, he wrote the code for the world's most-used search engine when he was thirteen, built up a multi-billion dollar corporation around that product, and designed a ground-breaking artificially intelligent robot all by himself.
  • DMX's character in Exit Wounds. Besides looking like a typical thug and being able to fight Steven Seagal to a draw, he turns out to be a tech whiz who got rich during the Dot Com boom and who is using high-tech equipment to try to expose Dirty Cops. In addition, Big Bad is in charge of a large drug smuggling operation and can kick some ass to boot. No one suspects him of even being involved.
  • DMX in Cradle 2 the Grave plays a tough guy who can also plan out bank heists and execute them flawlessly.
  • The Operative from Serenity is an exceptionally dangerous hand-to-hand fighter and a lethal swordsman as well as ruthless and cunning planner. He proves incredibly adept at predicting the actions of Serenity's crew and forces Mal to resort to an Indy Ploy.
  • DC Extended Universe
    • Man of Steel:
      • Superman himself, in line with his comicbook counterpart. He's shown reading philosophy texts as a teenager, and demonstrates a good working knowledge of medicine (when he treats Lois' wounds) as well as physics, and also displays more creative use of his powers than most adaptations. He also uses a fair level of skill in hand-to-hand combat despite lacking any combat training whatsoever, as opposed to relying on strength alone.
      • Jor-El might have been Krypton's greatest scientist, but he still dishes out a severe beating to Zod while buying time to launch Kal-El's ship.
      • Zod himself is a genetically bred and trained Super Soldier who modified Jor-El's Phantom Zone drive into a working Warp Drive for interstellar travel.
    • Wonder Woman (2017): Wonder Woman is powerful enough to punch through solid brick walls and lift a 29 tonne tank while also being an Omniglot and master tactician thanks to her Amazon upbringing. Word of God states that she is the best fighter in the entire DCEU.
    • Aquaman (2018): Aquaman is a self-identified "blunt instrument" who "... [solves] my problems with my fists and rage"... but also speaks at least five languages and knows enough history to identify who Roman statues are meant to portray and rattle off a list of their accomplishments without pausing.
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes are this trope mixed with It Can Think. They've had their intelligence boosted as a side-effect of the experimental drug ALZ-112. They're able to speak (in Hulk Speak, though it's a Justified Trope as they communicate in ASL, a simplified language with implied conjunctions), use wrought-iron fence posts and manhole covers as Improvised Weapons, and trick SWAT troopers into a Curb-Stomp Battle. And of course, they're apes. In the sequel, they can vocalise, use firearms and engage in Gunboat Diplomacy.
  • Olga Kurylenko plays one in Momentum. Besides being a very capable Action Girl skilled in martial arts, firearms and whatever comes to hand, she's adept at Xanatos Speed Chess and outsmarts the intelligent bad guys on more than one occasion.
  • Shot Caller: The highest-ranking members of the Aryan Brotherhood are incredibly cunning in addition to brutal fighters. Their leader, the Beast, reads psychology books and political treatises in his spare time, and loans Jacob some of them to hone his skills.
    The Beast: A warrior's greatest weapon is his mind.
  • In The Predator, Olivia Munn plays a Hot Scientist who turns out to also be a tough-as-nails Action Girl, proficient with firearms and Combat Parkour. It's a Predator film, so World of Badass, natch.
    • Not to mention the titular Predators, or Yautja as they are officially known. These seven-foot-tall reptilian giants are able to lift a grown man from the neck, jump three times their own height and punch through solid concrete; larger specimens have been seen to rip humans in half with their bare hands. Yet they can also adapt hunting tactics to changing situations and manipulate outside-context events to their advantage (for example, hunting during an escalating gang war in Los Angeles so their ritualised killings do not attract suspicion from local authorities).
  • Roy Batty, the leader of the rogue Replicants and the Anti-Villain of Blade Runner. Roy is a combat Replicant with rank A in both Physical and Mental Level, he helps another replicant checkmate his creator in only two moves, and can easily lift a fully grown man with one arm. Pretty poetic and philosophical too.
  • Road House: Dalton has developed a very sophisticated strategy to keep the peace in the bars where he works, rather than just relying on his formidable combat skills to throw out troublemakers. It's also revealed that he has a degree in Philosophy from NYU.
  • Michael Myers, the Serial Killer Big Bad from Halloween. On the one hand, killing is all he does, and he does it very well. On the other, he's very resourceful about killing: learning as much as he can about his prey by stalking them before killing, creates traps, frightens potential victims with other corpses, and he can drive a car despite never being behind the wheel in his life.

  • Rummelsnuff looks like a real life german Hulk with the brain of a fly, whom you'd rather expect to work as an enforcer for the Mob. However, both of his parents were classical musicians and music teachers. The working class image is part of his art.
  • One of the most common Metal Head stereotypes is that they are Dumb Muscle. The technical ability required to play the music definitely creates this when combined with the typical image. This is especially the case for Folk Metal, where the musicians are invariably well-versed in history and folklore and they generally speak at least one language besides English (the only exceptions come from English-speaking countries), probably more.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Most Greek heroes are Genius Bruisers. The ancient Greeks believed as much in exercising the mind as the body.
    • King Odysseus of Ithaca is the epitome of this trope in Greek mythology. Odysseus was the Achaians' most cunning general as well as one of their best warriors. Most notably he commissioned the Trojan Horse used to invade Troy. At the end of the Odyssey, he demonstrates that he's still a badass after all these years by performing some archery feats and then slaughtering a roomful of younger men. His combination of brains and brawn makes him the favored hero of Athena. However, like many Greek heroes, some of his best work was possible only with substantial help from the gods.
    • Athena is the goddess of wisdom and intellect and is known for her cunning and inventiveness. Though she prefers tactics and strategy instead of brute force, there are accounts of her incredible physical feats, such as crushing the giant Enceladaus with the island of Sicily. She is also undefeated in combat. In the Iliad, Ares, the god of war, challenged her on the battlefield and Athena knocked him out in a single strike.
    • Prince Theseus of Greek mythology; his use of brains as well as brawn to pass tests, defeat opponents, and slay monsters.
    • Hercules' Twelve Labors required a substantial amount of cunning as well as strength. When he found out that the Nemean Lion's hide was impervious to weapons, he strangled it. To fight the Hydra, which could grow its heads back, he seared the stumps with a torch. And to clean up the enormous and never-cleaned Augean Stables, he uses his strength to alter the course of two nearby rivers. Athena was the Olympian who liked Hercules best, excluding his father anyway.
  • The Shahnameh: Rostam, Siavash, Esfandiar and many other heroes are not only strong fighters and good tacticians, they're quite eloquent, witty, and knowledgeable. Rostam is mentioned to have played the tanbour and he could sing.
  • Christian martyrology has several cases of Genius Bruisers who were high-ranked Roman soldiers before their conversions, becoming Badass Preachers and facing the cruelest tortures and martyrdom with much badassery. Some of the more popular examples are:
    • Saint George of Lydda. Assuming that he existed—he may not have—he was a powerful soldier and then able and charismatic captain and administrator for Emperor Diocletian. He stunned the Emperor by declaring himself a Christian just as said Emperor was beginning the last Roman persecution of the Christians; he refused all kinds of gifts to convert to paganism and was martyred for his trouble. Unlike many other martyrs, he had led a long enough life in the Roman military to make other badassery possible, and people naturally added new stuff to his story. The most famous of these additions has him slaying a dragon, saving the local Barrier Maiden, and then managing to convince everyone in her kingdom to convert to Christianity. He later became Patron Saint of a ridiculous number of things, including England, Georgia (the country), Genoa, Portugal (because of blood ties between the English and Portuguese royal families), the Palestinians (well, the Palestinian Christians, but the Muslims of Bethlehem and Lodnote  like him, too), Scouting, and armored units. This patronage, by the way, is why the flag of England looks exactly like the flag of Genoa and both are awfully similar to the flag of Georgia.
    • Saint Sebastian. This ex-captain of the prestigious Praetorian Guard (meaning, the guy was among the guards that protected The Emperor) was so badass that he had to be martyred twice (first by arrow shooting, later by flogging).
    • Saint Christopher. A man over 7 ft. tall who started out as an arrogant Genius Bruiser obsessed with finding the best and more noble king to serve, then became a Gentle Giant after coming to believe that Jesus Christ (specially as Baby Jesus) was such master, and remained a Badass Preacher as he was tortured and killed by the Romans.
    • More recently, we have Ignatius of Loyola who began his career as a Spanish knight but was severely wounded when a cannonball struck him in the legs. During his convalescence, he was inspired to switch his focus to religious study and eventually founded the Jesuit order. Fitting for the trope, Ignatius is the patron saint of both educators and soldiers.
  • Ogma of Celtic Mythology. He's described as the Celtic Hercules based on his appearance, but he is so well-spoken that he can lead men happily into hell. If you prevent said men from following him, they'll get pissed at you.
  • Odin of Norse Mythology. He is a god of war and hunting, but also of wisdom, magic and poetry. AND he's a trickster to boot. While old and gray, he is often depicted as quite physically imposing.
  • The Book of Mormon gives several examples:
    • Nephi was said to be "large of stature" even in his youth, and the vocabulary and terminology he uses indicates the he might well have been a smith by trade. He also built a deep-water ship for his family and ended up leading his people once they had crossed the ocean, both in building up civilization and creating civic projects and also as a warrior.
    • Captain Moroni was the general of the Nephite armies several hundred years later. He would end up in the middle of battle from time to time and acquit himself quite well on the field, but some of his greatest victories in the war against the Lamanites came as a direct result of the strategies and ruses he devised. Several of his sub-commanders also qualify.
    • At the end of the narrative, Mormon is made the general of the Nephite armies specifically because (much like Nephi a thousand years earlier) he was really big and strong even from his youth. In addition to his military exploits, he was also an accomplished historian and scholar (he clearly admired Moroni so much that he named his son after him) who ended up abridging a thousand years of the spiritual history of his people to form the record that bears his name.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • EMLL luchador Lizmark is known as "El Geniecillo Azul". Meanwhile Blue Panther, a doctor outside of the ring, opened his own acupuncture clinic.
  • George "The Animal" Steele, Bill "Masked Superstar"/"Demolition Ax" Eadie, Little Spike Dudley and Matt "Prince Albert"/"A-Train"/"Giant Bernard"/"Lord Tensai" Bloom all were teachers before getting into pro wrestling. Steele would mostly wrestle during summer vacations. Matt Striker had to resign from his teaching position because the school system found that he had taken "sick days" when he was actually wrestling in Japan, or, as in the incident that caused his dismissal, wrestling a try-out match for WWE. Caylen Croft, real name Christopher Pavone, went in the opposite direction, retiring from wrestling to become a teacher. WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana has been a teacher since the mid-1990s, though he still works the occasional indy show.
  • "Precious" Paul Elllering, best known for his work in the 1980s as the manager for The Road Warriors on television and off roles, is a member of Mensa and carried copies of The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times with him to the ring during the Road Warriors' early days in Georgia in 1983. Despite this, he still accepted the ridiculous Rocco the ventriloquist dummy gimmick in 1992 WWE.
  • Scott Levy, better known to Professional Wrestling fans as Raven, has an I.Q. of about 160.
  • Likewise, Accie Julius Conner (a.k.a. Dlo Brown) is a Certified Public Accountant.
  • Female wrestler MsChif is a genetics scientist outside the ring.
  • WWE NXT participant David Otunga is a Harvard Law grad and a licensed attorney, having passed the bar in Illinois.
  • Former wrestler and WWF Tough Enough season 1 finalist Christopher Nowinski was also a Harvard grad. He went on to be signed by the WWF, and did quite well for himself until forced to retire due to post-concussion syndrome. He now heads the Sports Legacy Institute, a non-profit group dedicated to researching the long-term effects of concussions and other injuries in sports and "sports entertainment".
  • Similarly, pro wrestler John "Bradshaw" Layfield, who's about 6-6, 290, has made millions with his keen stock market acumen, makes frequent appearances on financial programs to dole out advice, and is a Senior Vice President with Northeast Securities, as well as CEO of Layfield Energy. And you thought the whole Screw the Rules, I Have Money! thing was all an act... Doubly appropriate as he's apparently a complete jerk in real life too.
  • John Cena has a degree in exercise physiology. Might explain the superhuman rate of recovery from just about any major injury...
  • Modern pro wrestling is particularly good for these. When on the road, wrestlers have a lot of time in cars and on airplanes, so they take to reading to pass the time, which ends up with quite a few rather knowledgeable autodidacts. Mickie James has been slowly but surely working toward a business degree, Shantelle Malawski (TNA Knockout Taylor Wilde) retired to focus on her psychology studies, and bodybuilder Chris Mordetzki (Chris Masters) is fond of reading books on politics on the road.
  • Michelle McCool is a former 7th grade science teacher.
  • Glenn Jacobs, better known as Kane, has degrees in English and teaching, and has said that if he weren't wrestling, he'd be teaching. He's also a quite knowledgeable blogger in political matters. Check out "The Adventures of Citizen X in the Land of the Free" sometime. Since becoming a part-timer, he's gotten into insurance sales and is even running for local political office in 2018. Indeed, he just won the mayoral race in Knox County, Tennessee... and used his ring music to greet his supporters before his victory speech. Usually mayors don't use Slow Chemical.
  • Sheamus was an IT technician before coming to the ring.
  • Wade Barrett is a former bare-knuckle boxing champion, and a former marine biologist. (Only the former is in kayfabe.)
  • WWE talent Xavier Woods (formerly known as "Consequences Creed" in TNA, most infamous for losing the tag title belt held by Adam "Pacman" Jones and Ron Killings on his debut with the company) has a graduate degree in psychology and is looking to earn his doctorate in the field.
  • Baron Corbin has a degree in psychology and sociology. He's also 6'8".
  • WWE talent Mojo Rawley started working for Morgan Stanley as an intern in 7th grade, attended college on a full ride academic scholarship, graduated from the University of Maryland in 3 years and was on the Dean's List for all of them. He was all-ACC academically and earned numerous academic awards. He also still holds several Maryland Terrapins strength and agility records, and played professional football (as a Defensive End and Nose Tackle, positions generally reserved for the biggest and strongest) for two teams before becoming a pro wrestler. Funnily enough, his wrestling gimmick is that of a meathead jock.
  • Britt Baker, currently with All Elite Wrestling, is a dentist.
  • Another AEW performer, Luchasaurus (formerly Judas Devlin in NXT and Vibora in Lucha Underground), has a master's degree in medieval literature.

  • Alexander Karelin was the most dominant Greco-Roman wrestler in history. He went 12 years without a single defeat in international competition, 6 years without giving up a single point and made a habit of defeating his opponents, the toughest wrestlers in the world, in a minute or less. His signature move, the Karelin lift, involved lifting a struggling heavyweight from the mat and suplexing them into submission and was believed to be impossible for heavyweight wrestlers. Karelin was such a terrifying and imposing figure that on many occasions, his opponents (again, the best wrestlers in the world) would simply let him pin them rather than face him and risk serious injury from the Karelin lift. He is 6'4" and wrestled at over 280 lbs, but was renowned for his incredible physique and conditioning, and responded to accusations of steroid use by passing every test ever asked of him and remarking, "I train every day of my life like they have never trained a day in theirs." He is also a poet, an enthusiastic fan of opera and ballet, holds a PhD, a law degree and is currently a politician in Russia.
  • Chess boxing is a sport designed for genius bruisers. The players alternate between rounds of boxing and rounds of speed chess. You can win by a knockout, a checkmate, judges' decision or by your opponent running out of time in the chess game.
  • Josh Waitzkin, the former chess prodigy whose early career was portrayed in Searching for Bobby Fischer, also has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • A number of Mixed Martial Arts fighters are surprisingly intelligent.
    • Rich Franklin, who is considered one of the top fighters in the UFC and the promotion's former middleweight champion, was a high school math teacher at one of Ohio's top public schools. He holds a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati.
    • Matt "The Law" Lindland ran for Oregon state representative but lost partially due to his opponent's anti-MMA ads. He also earned his nickname by successfully litigating to overturn a wrestling match he lost via illegal move. He went on to win the rematch.
    • Chael Sonnen also ran for state representative. More infamously, he took part in a money laundering scheme as a real estate agent while fighting professionally at the same time.
    • Shane Carwin is a full-time mechanical engineer and showed up to work as usual at 9:00 a.m. on March 29, 2010... two days after he won the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship.
    • Dr. Rosi Sexton has a 13-2 win record as of July 2012 and a Ph.D in theoretical computer science.
    • Nick "The Goat" Thompson achieved his J.D. in Law and became a practicing attorney while amassing more than 50 fights across almost every major fighting promotion.
  • Several Boxers. In fact, this may be fairly common at the lower levels, where the pay isn't as good and so most boxers have full-time jobs.
    • The Klitschko brothers (Wladimir and Vitali) were both reigning heavyweight boxing champions, renowned for their prodigious knockout percentages, huge size and amazing physiques, as well as doctors of Kinesiology. They are also pretty good chess players. As of 2014, the eldest brother, Vitali, has retired from boxing and is currently the head of a Ukrainian political party and Mayor of Kiev.
    • Recently retired Mexican boxer Marco Antonio Barrera is a qualified lawyer.
    • His countryman and one-time opponent Juan Manuel Márquez is still recognized as one of the top 10 boxers in the sport. Marquez is also an accountant.
    • Lennox Lewis is/was well-known to be an avid and skilled amateur chess player.
    • George Foreman is not only one of the greatest heavyweight legends of the sports and on top of being considered as both the hardest puncher and toughest Stone Wall in the sport, he is also a very successful businessman whose clever endorsement helped sell millions of a various electric grills. On top of that, he's also the pastor of a local church in his current town of residence.
  • Zdeno Chára of the Boston Bruins is a Certified Financial Planner (he took courses during his stint in Ottawa), can fluently speak four languages, with a working knowledge of two others. With plans to learn Italian. He also holds the all-time NHL records for tallest player and hardest slapshot.
  • Ice hockey players Douglas Murray and George Parros are both the epitome of a stereotypical hockey player (large, heavy hitters who are not afraid to get physical during a game), yet they're also both Ivy League grads — Murray from Cornell, Parros from Princeton. Murray even runs his own business, UberTap, that produces a three-spout beer keg tap.
  • Despite being more known for his physical play and fighting, Kevin Westgarth (like Parros) graduated from Princeton. During the 2012 lockout, he became a representative of the NHL players and assisted with getting a new collective bargaining agreement worked out.
  • Shaquille O'Neal is widely recognized as one of the best centers in the history of professional basketball who often used his size (over 7 feet tall and over 300 pounds) to overpower opponents on the court. As of May 2012, it's now Dr. Shaquille O'Neal, as Shaq has earned a doctorate in education, which he earned with a cumulative GPA of 3.8. He also attended film school, and is currently attending law school, simply because he thinks it's fun. Shaq may be the only man in the world with a PhD, a platinum album and an Olympic gold medal. Shaq is also a savvy businessman, having made large of sums in real estate, and was one of the original investors in both Google and Vitamin Water, both of which became enormous successes.
  • Pau Gasol started medical studies in his hometown of Barcelona before basketball got in the way. He also speaks five languages, two of which he taught himself.
  • Examples in rugby union:
    • Conrad Smith, a member of the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks, and the 2012 captain of the Wellington Hurricanes, has a Law degree with Honours and is therefore a qualified lawyer.
    • Alun Wyn Jones, the current (2019) captain of the Wales national team and also the country's most-capped player (i.e., most international appearances), is also qualified as a lawyer, more specifically a solicitor.
    • Uruguay's Diego Ormaechea, the oldest player ever to appear in a Rugby World Cup (in 1999 at age 40), is a veterinarian.
    • Felipe Contepomi (Argentina), Jannie du Plessis (South Africa), and Jamie Roberts (Wales) are all qualified medical doctors. As was 1970s Welsh great JPR Williams—though in Williams' era, it wasn't all that uncommon for rugby players to be degreed professionals, as union (as opposed to rugby league) didn't become a professional sport until 1995.
    • France's Imanol Harinordoquy doesn't have a professional qualification... but is fluent in three languagesnote , ran his family's cattle-trading business for the last several years of his professional playing career, and also has his own apparel company.
  • New York Jets Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was an economics major at Harvard and interned at a hedge fund.
  • Similarly, Andrew Luck—a star quarterback picked number one in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts—chose to remain at Stanford (the Harvard of the West) for an extra year to complete his degree in architecture and engineering.
  • The SECOND pick of the 2012 draft: Robert Griffin III. Let's let The Other Wiki explain: "Griffin graduated from high school a semester early, after serving as class president and ranking seventh in his class. He began attending Baylor University during the spring 2008 semester when he was 17 years old. As a member of Baylor's track and field team, Griffin finished in first place in the hurdles at both the Big 12 Conference Championship and the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meets; he also broke the NCAA Midwest Regional hurdles record. He placed third in the NCAA meet and also participated in the U.S. Olympic Trials, in which he advanced to the semifinals. Griffin graduated in three years with a degree in political science and a 3.67 GPA, while appearing on the Dean's List twice. During his final year of college sports eligibility, he was studying for a Master's degree in communication."
  • Offensive lineman Ron Mix, the second ever American Football League player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,note  was known as "The Intelectual Assassin" during his playing days, known as much for his Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness as for his playing prowess. He became a lawyer after his playing career, practicing out of San Diego for over three decades.
  • Alan Page, Hall of Fame defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings. Practiced law after his playing days, eventually becoming a Justice on Minnesota's Supreme Court for over 20 years, only leaving the bench because state law required him to retire upon reaching 70.
  • "Touchdown" Tommy Vardell, longtime NFL fullback, once was late to workout for NFL scouts, because he was back at Stanford giving his Master's Thesis in Computer Science.
  • Myron Rolle. Rhodes scholar and 6'2" 215 pound safety for Florida State University. Was drafted by the Tennessee Titans, but never played a regular-season game... but no need to cry for him. Rolle enrolled in medical school at FSU in 2013, graduating in May 2017 (making him DOCTOR Myron Rolle), and is now a neurosurgery resident at Harvard.
  • Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is almost as impressive as Rolle. The Montreal-area native went to that city's McGill University, where he played offensive guard for the Canadian football team and was the consensus best player in Canada... while practicing only once a week due to his medical studies. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014, and first made the roster and then established himself as a starter... while continuing his medical studies during the offseason. He graduated from McGill's medical school in 2018, though he'll put a residency on hold until he's finished with his NFL career.
  • Linebacker Dhani Jones stands out in particular, as one of the only pro football players to have conducted an orchestra while on an NFL roster.
  • Tim Ruddy, former center for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Miami Dolphins football teams, who at 6'3" and 300 lbs. easily manhandled opposing linemen for 15 years, finished high school with a perfect 4.00 GPA, and graduated from Notre Dame with a 3.86 GPA (including a perfect 4.00 during his junior and senior years) and a B.S. in mechanical engineering.
  • Malcolm Brogdon, guard for the Indiana Pacers (who made his NBA name with the Milwaukee Bucks). His parents each have a PhD and law degree, and his grandmother was disappointed in the idea of him choosing Virginia over Harvard. After breaking his foot his freshman year, he redshirtednote , and with a fifth year of eligibility, enrolled in UVA's Master's in Public Policy program. He wants to use that degree to create an N.G.O. to alleviate Third World poverty. He was an All-American in both 2014–15 and 2015–16, the ACC Player of the Year in the latter season, and NBA Rookie of the Year in 2017. On top of that, he joined the NBA's exclusive 50–40–90 club in 2019.note 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Although the Chaos God Khorne, from Warhammer, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000, is usually seen as a blood mad berserker, he is still the physical embodiment of war itself and no mortal, god or daemon can match his understanding of tactics or his military expertise. As extensions of his will, the most favoured of Khorne’s daemonic generals are also gifted with a fraction of this knowledge.
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • The Emperor himself was a giant of a man, but also an Emperor Scientist who was said to have achieved mastery of humanity’s technology and labored for years to create what would become the Space Marines.
      • Along with the Emperor are his sons the Primarches, all are exceptionally intelligent with superhuman strength, most of them are either powerful warriors, great statesmen, brilliant scientists, or any combination of the three. The standout though is probably Roboute Guilliman, the Ultramarines Primarch: Guilliman was a monumentally powerful asskicker, that's true - he faced five other Primarchs and beat four, losing only to the one who was considered the greatest warrior of the eighteen) but he approached war as a science and emphasized having information over having raw power, and his real talents lay in statecraft and logistics; he literally wrote the book on how to be a Space Marine, the Codex Astartes.
      • The Adeptus Custodes are above any Space Marine not just physically, but mentally as well. While most of their prowess is directly seen in the battlefield, where they perform feats of strength and endurance regular Marines need Terminator armor to even approach, but they are also well-educated even in topics that have little to do with warfare (such as politics and economics, giving them a hand in running the Imperium), extremely quick learners, excellent tacticians and regularly perform infiltration exercises on their own forces to find any flaws in their defense and patch them, making them expert infiltrators despite their huge presence.
      • Techmarines of the Adeptus Astartes are field mechanics and combat engineers. With all the custom high-tech weaponry and dangerous tools they have on hand, they are also among the most formidable individuals the Space Marines can field!
      • The Space Marine Librarians, though they're also an inversion of Squishy Wizard. They have both great Psychic Powers and all the strength and equipment of a regular Space Marine!
      • Commander Dante of the Blood Angels is not just a mighty warrior, able to defeat almost any foe in combat, but he is also a tactical genius who has almost two millennia of experience in leading warriors to victory. Dante is so skilled in his tactical planning that, during the 7th Edition of the game, he could have two Warlord Traits when fighting certain types of battle.
      • Warlord Gazghull Mag Uruk Thraka; not content with being as big as a Space Marine Dreadnought, he's brought the Imperial planet of Armageddon to its knees twice (the first time was just a test run, see) and, unusually for an Ork, has learned from his experiences to the extent that he can outwit most Imperial field commanders before they even make their decisions. And all whilst fighting in the front lines with his ladz.
      • Kharn the Betrayer is from the World Eaters traitor legion and is the greatest mortal champion of Khorne. Most often he is thought of as a psychotic mountain of superhuman muscle (and he is - he wields a chainaxe called Gorechild with one arm which is too big for most men to even lift, and he once decimated two legions, one of which was his own with nothing but a flamethrower). However outside of battle he has something of a Warrior Poet streak and has unpublished philosophical treatises.
      • Boss Snikrot, the leader of the Red Skull Kommandoz of Armageddon, is an Ork Warboss who learned how to employ guerilla warfare tactics after his Boyz were massacred by the Imperial Guard's Armageddon Ork Hunters in the initial skirmishes in the Second War of Armageddon. In fact, even by human standards, he's brilliant at leading his boyz in infiltrating Imperial positions and sabotaging them, using elaborate kunnin' plans.
      • Ork Warbosses in general, large by definition, are sometimes portrayed as Genius Ditzes. Though mindlessly obsessed with war and destruction, and unconcerned with the losses their numerous and disposable soldiers suffer, they can and do use tactics more complex than the stereotypical "charge screaming at the enemy".
      • The Beast was the peak of this, being a Warboss strong enough to fight a Primarch to a standstill with a mind to match. Not only was he a genius strategist, he also knew how to harness WAAAGH! energy to power fearsome reality-defying technology that put even Eldar tech to shame. The Beast even had Ork diplomats who could deliver a verbal beatdown to the High Lords of Terra, in fluent High Gothic. It turns out there were actually six of them. And Gazghull Mag Uruk Thraka is well on his way to becoming the next Beast.
    • In the first two editions of Necromunda, the Heavy had to have both copious amounts of brawn to carry the massive squad-support weapons they use, and just as much technical skill to maintain the equipment of his entire gang despite the lack of supplies in the underhive.
    • Warhammer:
      • The Ogre warlord Greasus Goldtooth from is both a stunningly powerful (if also very lazy) warrior and an incredibly shrewd businessman who has built his empire on physical conquest, intimidation, bribes, and cunning trade agreements in equal measure. It helps that he commissioned a magic crown that increases his intellect.
      • Burlok Damminson, Guildmaster of the Dwarven Engineers Guild, who when not maintaining cannons is ripping goblins in half with his Steampunk prosthetic claw-arm.
      • And Malakai Makaisson, the Slayer Engineer, responsible for, among other things, a fully automatic throwing-axe launcher, various successful modifications to the repeater cannon known as the Organ Gun, and the Warhammer world's first successful airship. All of this whilst under an oath to seek an honourable and violent death. And he's a Violent Glaswegian in all but name, right doon to th'accent.
      • Gotrek Gurnisson: former engineer, now turned into what must be the single most dangerous creature in the Warhammer world, which is no small feat.
      • Also Azhag The Slaughterer, one of the strongest Orc warlords, who happens to have a crown that "gives him good ideas", probably because it contains the spirit of Nagash the strongest wizard ever, inventor of necromancy and all around evil dude. Most of the other famous Orcs and Goblins qualify too, especially Grobad Ironclaw, Grom the Paunch, Grimgor Ironhide and Skarsnik (if you count Gobbla).
    • In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, those who have never faced an Ogroid Thaumaturge in combat believe them to be nothing more than dumb brutes due to their size and monstrous appearance. In reality the Thaumaturges have incredibly cunning minds and possess a deep knowledge of the arcane arts.
    • Blood Bowl:
      • The famous Orc Star Player Varag Ghoul-Chewer, captain of the Gouged Eye has an unusually tactical mind for a greenskin. This combination of intelligence, muscle and a violent playing style has earned Varag a legion of fans.
      • The Troll Star Player Ripper Bolgrot underwent experimental ‘sports therapy’ that greatly elevated his intelligence. Now, despite retaining the look of the average troll, Bolgrot is easily one of the smartest players to have ever taken to the Blood Bowl pitch and has become famous for his strategic plays that combine tactical manoeuvring of his teammates with extreme violence.
  • The Adamantine Arrow of Mage: The Awakening endeavors to train all of their members to be formidable physical combatants (without the use of their magic) as well as highly capable with a wide range of mental skills. As their creed goes, "Adaptability Is Strength".
  • Many Euthanatos of Mage: The Ascension may also fall under this category. To counter the effect their assassin training has on their psyche, many of them dedicate what's left of their "normal" life to various forms of science and academics - from medicine, to philosophy, to computer science.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons
    • Any character or creature with a high Strength and Intelligence score will be an example by default.
    • A Fighter/Mage build in any of the various editions uses physical ability and arcane knowledge, hopefully by combining the two into a powerful synthesis.
    • In fourth edition, Assault Swordmages and Tactical/Resourceful Warlords rely on both strength and intelligence, and unlike the gish example above their strength is not a result of magical buffs, thus making them even better examples of this trope.
    • The canonic Forgotten Realms character Fyodor is a big lad with an enormous sword and all the education non-witch can get in average Rashemaar village, The Berserker, and uncontrollable one at that. He also got a magic sense, can see spirits, is a good storyteller and smart enough to outtrick a drow. Sort of lampshaded, as he carries a sword that is blunt piece of metal he normally cannot swing, but fits his strength well while in Unstoppable Rage (and the sword's sheer mass makes it truly unstoppable) and bears a strong enchantment, so it can cut or chip even things immune to normal weapons, blunt or not.
    • Ogre Magi. They are as strong as regular ogre, but they are smarter than average human. And they can use magic.
    • While most of the Lords of the Nine Hells are both very intelligent and dangerous fighters, Bel, Lord of the First fits this trope best. He's the largest and most physically powerful of the Archdevils, but is an absolutely brilliant military mind. Indeed, most all of his type of devils, Pit Fiends, fit this very well. Powerful demons are like this too. Mariliths and nalfeshnee both have genius-level intelligence, and are strong enough to defeat small legions of enemies on their own. (To say nothing of their masters; Orcus didn't get his position just because he was the strongest.)
    • And of course, there are the monsters the game is named after. Dragons, especially the oldest ones, are overwhelmingly powerful, and most of them have very high Intelligence scores, which only get higher as they get older.
    • Tome of Battle's warblade was often acclaimed for this. Most melee combat classes either dump Intelligence or get it just high enough for Combat Expertise, and recieve a minimal two skill points. Warblades, on the other hand, receive four skill points, and many of their abilities key off Intelligence, meaning that most warblades invest in it. Your average warblade is a competent tactician, a skilled speaker, and an expert in military history, but still quite capable of slicing an iron golem in half.
    • The Knowledge Devotion feat allows a character to become this, letting you roll an appropriate Knowledge check while battling an enemy (for instance, Knowledge (nature) while battling a plant) and then getting a bonus to damage proportionate to the roll. It's particularly useful for Magic Knight characters like duskblades, which get access to Knowledge skills and enough Intelligence to max them out.
    • This also applies to hybrids from tieflings and orcs. Tieflings are known to be often very smart. Orcs are very strong. And the common children of them often unite both qualities in themselves.
    • Bugbears, a goblinoid offshoot, look vaguely like long-eared gorillas with bear noses and are by far the biggest and strongest of the goblin races. However, they're actually above-average in terms of intellect, and surprisingly stealthy and agile - in games where they're playable, their favored class is normally Rogue.
    • As of 5th Edition, Clerics of the Knowledge Domain can call upon the divine power of their god to gain proficiency with any tool or skill for a period. They are also - and it does bear repeating - Clerics.
  • Beckett the Gangrel scholar from Vampire: The Masquerade.
    • Clan Brujah tends to have quite a few of these. To the common outsider they may just look like your average street punk, caring little about any intellectual pursuits, but the facts are more complex than that. Back in the days of the medieval era they were known as the Learned Clan, and housed many Warrior Poets who were skilled both physically and intellectually. While this has detoriated quite a bit over the centuries, this bit of intellectualism crops up more than once in a while to further reinforce the clan's passions.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Dr. Bensi Skule is a renowned alchemist and knowledge broker who sits at the vast web of street urchin informants known as Skule's Army. Unbeknownst to most of Absalom's citizens, the real Dr. Skule actually died years ago, and his operations were taken over by one of his experimental subjects — an adult male troll whom Skule was vivisecting in order to uncover the secrets of its Healing Factor. The new Dr. Skule is an eight-foot tall, 300 pound predatory giant who can recover from almost any injury; he's also as talented an alchemist as his predecessor and is the one who assembled Skule's Army, turning him into The Fagin of the city.
    • Ragadahn the Water Lord is a millennia-old multiversal scholar and one of the most accomplished sages of the First World, with vast knowledge of obscure esoteric lore. He's also a titanic sea monster and a feared demigod.
  • Wasteland 2010: Bogg was a 20-year old science nerd and sci-fi enthusiast when the Changing caused him to mutate into a furry Beast Man, and he retains his intelligence in his new form. Also, he's the only one of the three leads who remembers the pre-Changing world, which he often has to explain to his younger teammates.
  • Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution: This crops up a lot. Average intelligence and strength for an esper are just shy of being a genius and peak athlete by human standards.
    • This goes double for somakinetics, who have increased strength and speed.
    • The character Tony, whose picture is used to demonstrate the Bruiser archetype.

    • All Toa of Earth from the main teams qualify. Onua was typically regarded as one of the wisest of the Toa, and possessed Super Strength. His mentor Whenua was a historian before becoming a Toa, and Nuparu was an unrivaled engineer and inventor. Unsurprisingly, these are skills that became just as important in their adventures as their super powers.
    • All Makuta to an extent (as they're Mad Scientists with 42 different powers and usually enough physical strength to beat people to death with their bare hands), but none moreso than Teridax.
    • Hydraxon has extensive knowledge of weapons and tactics. He is also one of the most badass characters in the series, once bringing a mountain down on Teridax and was The Mentor to the Toa Mata/Toa Nuva.
    • Brutaka is a scholar warrior when not cracking skulls or teleporting Tahtorak underneath Metru Nui for a laugh. Highly intelligent and learned-and went toe to toe with Teridax. That's pretty much the definition of Genius Bruiser.

    Web Comics 
  • Klaus and Othar from Girl Genius are prime examples. They are both immense men, towering over most normal people but they are also Mad Scientists. The two of them once got into a rip-roaring brawl from one end of Castle Wulfenbach to another busting through walls as they did so.
    • Also, the constructs known as Punch and Judy are pretty big and tough. A member of one of the "traveling Heterodyne shows" based on the adventures of the previous generation cheerfully plays Punch as the big, slow and stupid type that folklore would have him... until he meets someone who knows what he was ''really'' like, and learns that Punch was an intellectual Gentle Giant.
    • The Jager Generals. Big, heavy-hitting bruisers... and extremely intelligent and world-wise, with literal centuries of military experience each.
  • In Looking for Group, Krunch Bloodrage, the Tauren minotaur-like member of the main group is known to be part of two brothers, one a scholar and one a warrior. While he is confirmed to be the scholar and is generally the most knowledgeable of the party, he often relies on pure brute strength in battle and to solve other problems.
    • And despite being "the scholar", he has been shown to be capable of taking down a dragon and killing it without much effort.
    • Later, we see what Krunch's brother, a proper warrior, actually looks like. Suffice to say Krunch finds it amusing that other races could mistake him for a warrior.
  • Parodied with Dr. Birding in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, who is a genius with the ability to turn into a Hulk-like monster. He would be a Genius Bruiser — if his paralysis didn't carry over to that form. Martin, his son, is an example of Dumb Muscle.
  • Buck Godot is extremely strong and tough, owing to his Heavy Worlder physique, but is also shown to be a very quick thinker, able to outsmart his enemies (and occasionally employers) and come up with complex plans at moment's notice... and being very handy with plans.
  • Paige from Agents of the Realm is a powerful Magical Girl Warrior who can Blow You Away, but also a straight-A student who thinks before she acts.
  • In the fantasy theme of Irregular Webcomic!, although Alvissia has the most common sense of the party, Draak has the most book smarts. He is also clearly the physically strongest member of the party.
  • Sauerkraut of Trigger Star. The party's Big Girl sports dual master's degrees in literature and finance.
  • Uni-Man of Axe Cop starts off as a normal-looking, albeit extremely intelligent, man with a magical unicorn horn (It Makes Sense in Context). Events through the story see him use his own magic to permanently transform into a muscle-bound Mighty Glacier who keeps his intelligence and later builds an invisible lab. He's now seen with a lab coat instead of a suit and tie.
  • Equius Zahhak of Homestuck loves being STRONG and also builds robots. And then destroys them in steel-cage brawls in order to blow off steam. With his bare hands.
    • Dirk has an AI of himself that only fails the Turing Test because it wants to, builds robots, and is able to understand the Sburb code. He's also an alternate universe version of Bro Strider and like Equius, also has death matches with robots.
    • Equius's alternate universe counterpart, Horuss, has Equius's STRENGTH, but is smart enough to build not only robots, but also a steam-powered suit to actively reduce his STRENGTH so that he doesn't break stuff. (Of course, being a member of the Zahhak family, the steam is supplied by boiling his own sweat.)
  • Illyra of Rumors of War is The Big Guy in a smarts-centric Five-Man Band. Not that she doesn't qualify as The Big Guy on her own merits, she just tends to fall into The Big Guy role since she isn't as nice as Occela, and she isn't as motivated as Elysia. You know what? Never mind.
  • The gamer of the future is expected to follow this road, according to Nerf NOW!!.
  • More combative members of the Veiled tend towards the gray area between this and Badass Bookworm. Murai says it all in one simple sentence: "Our specialties are hand-to-hand combat and comparative theology."
  • In The Whiteboard, Doc easily qualifies, being a polar bear and built like one would expect of a member of the bear family who builds things like pizza teleporters, mecha, and reality-altering devices (as a paintball gun!) as a hobby.
  • Roy Greenhilt from The Order of the Stick is the party's fighter and leader. He also holds an MBA (Master of Battle Administration). The party's wizard is insulted when a mind-flayer finds Roy's brain to be the most appetizing in the party (as he has the best balance of Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma; the wizard, while having by far the highest Int score, has low enough Wis and Cha to make their brain less appealing). When his Dumb Muscle Evil Counterpart asks how he intends to use his Intelligence score in combat, he says "I'll figure something out, that's sort of the whole point". That something later turns out to be using knowledge of architecture to collapse a ceiling on him.
    "THAT'S how I use my Intelligence score in combat, DUMBASS!!"
  • In Jet Dream, Marlene is both the team's strongwoman and a brilliant scientist capable of achieving actual advances in the field of science!
  • Biscuit of Clan Roak in Goblins has been alive for six hundred years, and all creatures in the realm receive a stackable wisdom bonus based on their age. This allows him to deliver some eloquent Badass Boasts in between murdering everything that looks at him funny.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! Jean's ex, Slick Simmons, is a tall, very imposing, muscular guy, and also a brilliant scientist. And a loony.
  • Waterworks: Typhoon is described as a huge, extremely strong "beast of a man" whose hobbies include discussing scientific theories or reading fine literature.
  • Sketch Comedy: Professional wide receiver Ubiquitus Moss spends his spare time mastering chess and writing essays on Nietzsche.
  • At least two major characters in The Dragon Doctors fit the trope:
  • The Manly Guys Doing Manly Things-version of Kratos is headed this way, as is his video game counterpart. He is still very much the Hot-Blooded Emotional Bruiser, but also loves puzzles and thought-games of all kinds, and is regularly shown doing sudokus or fiddling with a Rubik's Cube. He also considers a Cenobite puzzle box to be too easy, and tells Pinhead to bring back a twenty-story one (as opposed to the original five-story one) instead.
  • The Psycho Stalker story arc of Suicide for Hire has one of these. The object of the stalker's affections is quarterback of the football team, active in three other sports as well and is also on the honor roll and a certified mechanic to boot. As the main characters say, egghead jocks are quite rare.
  • Grrl Power has Vehemence, a hulking muscleman who's proven to be quite smart and well informed, as savvy as Sydney, and who manipulated a horde of other villains into attacking the heroes to hugely increase his own superpower, which feeds on violence.
  • One perk of wearing a Vitalogy Ring in Hero by Night.
  • Lemurians in Atlantis: The Second Age are a race of gorillas with advanced technology, who not only have one of the highest bonuses to Strength in the game, but also much higher Intelligence scores than anyone else. Though it's an Iron Age fantasy world, they often prefer to fight with guns. And ride into battle on rhinoceroses if they can get one!
  • Mungo of Housepets!. K-9 officer, certified therapy dog, has a bad habit of breaking doors by knocking.
  • Guilded Age: Byron, the heavy-hitting berserker, is also the core tactician of the group, and often trades the role of leader/diplomat between himself, Syr'nj, and Bandit.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Pankrator Jagganoth is one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse and nigh invincible, but what really makes him dangerous is that he’s not Dumb Muscle like many think. He’s actually the most intelligent of the Seven and one of the few of them who actually plans ahead for the future; amongst other things, he’s the only Demiurge that bothers reverse-engineering technology from worlds he conquers. The others think they can just rely on their powers for all eternity and that nothing can stop them, but Jagganoth actually acknowledges threats to their power and develops contingencies. He’d be the Only Sane Man of the group, if not for the fact that he’s also an Omnicidal Maniac.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Ismail, the captain of the Black Guard, is quite a strong and skilled warrior but also has a good understanding of politics and magic thanks to having been taught by his friend Belial.
  • In Survival of the Fittest, professional boxer Bobby Jacks stands at 190 and weighs in at . He's also shown to be very intelligent, capable of trickery, fighting very tactically, and being able to quote William Shakespeare (relevantly) purely from memory.
  • In the RPs Insane Cafe 2: Rise of the Shurlups and Insane Cafe 3: The Curse of the Haunted Hotel features Zachary Johnson, an anthropomorphic Clydesdale who is very well versed in biology and is shown to be capable of tearing doors out of the wall with his bare hands.
  • Zachary Johnson from Darwin's Soldiers is a researcher at Pelvanida. He is so strong that when he kicks a combat robot, he leaves the imprint of his foot on the robot's armor.
    • Keegan O'Neill stands over six feet tall and is almost all muscle. He's also a high ranking officer of Dragonstorm.
    • Piotr Kozlov is seven feet of pure Siberian grizzly bear muscle, who is also a talented weapons designer.
    • Hans Donitz in the story Ship Of State is capable of understanding and explaining how the Einstein-Rosen bridge works. He is also a huge man with great strength and extraordinary combat prowess.
  • Will Heggers of AJCO is the Crew's patient engineer, and can work his way around the many machines needed to keep the Castle powered with ease. Going by MACELIPS stats, he's actually smarter than his former boss Nights as well as most of the other characters on the server. He's also absolutely enormous; the only people who beat him in terms of strength have a natural advantage due to being a demon/a robot/a Hector.
    • He once knocked a metal door off its hinges with his bare hands!
  • Odysseus and Attila the Hun from Fate/Nuovo Guerra. One's a Guile Hero best known for the original Trojan Horse and a Lightning Bruiser, and the other's a tactical genius who also happens to be a Mighty Glacier.
  • Ultra-Man, a stalwart member of the Global Guardians is a bit of a mix between the Gentle Giant and the Genius Bruiser. Regardlesss, he is the moral compass of the team.
  • At the Super Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, there are plenty of examples. Pyrs is a huge, brutish mutant 'with a brow ridge you could camp under', but obviously knows just what people think of him. We see him at the Whateley Weapons Fair (don't ask), looking for holdouts because he knows everyone assumes he wouldn't use anything other than a fist.
    • Maybe a better example: Montana, who looks like a huge blond Sasquatch. But his real power is a genius-level ability with small electronic gadgets.
  • Rowan Longstripe in Tasakeru treads the line between this and Badass Bookworm.
  • Muhammut Kali; fifteen feet tall, able to punch through solid steel, and wields a sword taller than a man with incredible power. He's also the president of a steel company and a brilliant businessman.
  • Worm has a few, such as Weld, who is literally made of metal, but has a sharp intellect.
    • Alexandria is best known in-universe for being a Flying Brick, but she also has Super Intelligence.
    • The Numbers Man first appears as the guy who seems to manage every cape's money, but later we find out that he's actually Harbinger, a former member of the Slaughterhouse Nine.
    • The Endbringers are shown to be quite intelligent during battle, despite being Kaiju that do literally nothing but try to kill everyone.
  • This Cracked article called "6 Myths About Body Builders That are Total BS" discusses the Dumb Muscle stereotype. According to it, a lot of body builders are total nerds about what they do for a living in the sense that they have extensive knowledge on things like deadlifts and are very passionate about body building.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Agent Maine/The Meta seems to just be a hulking, mute brute. However, even without Sigma to guide him, he can be quite cunning. For example, biding his time and pretending to be subservient to Wash until he got what he needed, neutralizing weapons that can damage him as soon as possible, and immediately getting into melee range when the Reds try to use grenades on him.


Video Example(s):


Dr. M

Not only is he a genius scientist, but he's capable of grappling with Murray, someone who he deemed stronger than the strongman in his old group. Considering he has an army of mutants of his own creation, it is likely he physically enhanced himself.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / GeniusBruiser

Media sources:

Main / GeniusBruiser