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Gun Fu is a catch-all term for stylized firearm-based combat styles in fictional visual media that combines martial arts with guns. Originating from Hong Kong action cinema, Gun Fu was pretty much invented by John Woo's action films from the 1980s-90s (which also launched the Heroic Bloodshed genre), which combined the stylized choreography of martial arts films with the intense gun action of western gangster films.

Though the invention of Gun Fu is typically ascribed to A Better Tomorrow, the Gun Fu in Tomorrow is better described as the best practices for shooting cinematic gunplaynote ; the combat style in Tomorrow consists of largely conventional stand-and-shoot. The truly stylized forms of gun combat that most consider Gun Fu to be today were developed in later John Woo films like The Killer (1989) and Hard Boiled.

Broadly speaking, there are two main styles of Gun Fu choreography: Gun Acrobatics and Gun Melee.

  • Gun Acrobatics: In Gun Acrobatics, the characters jump, dodge, slide, roll and leap their way through hails of bullets while unloading their own guns at their targets. Expect the character to be going Guns Akimbo with pistols (due to their maneuverability) and doing some Wire Fu. This is the classic form of Gun Fu found in John Woo's later films. In the West, it was arguably popularized by The Matrix.

  • Gun Melee: In Gun Melee, the characters move themselves up close and personal with their enemies, and use hand-to-hand combat to support their gun-based long range attacks. Expect lots of Pistol-Whipping and interplay between melee combat and gunshots. A much more modern take on Gun Fu compared to Gun Acrobatics, this fighting style was very much popularized by John Wick.

Now it must be clear that this is not Gun Kata, though it is a close relative. Gun Kata focuses on striking dynamic postures with guns during combat, in the style of martial arts kata motions. Acrobatics and melee are cool to have, but they're not central to Gun Kata, and there's nothing stopping you from using both at the same time.

Has roots in Wuxia. Compare Implausible Fencing Powers, just with swords.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The primary fighting style of adorable little assassin Yuumura Kirika-chan of Noir, the Heroic Bloodshed homage by Bee Train.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has a character named Jenny who is a master of using guns as if it were a martial art. She acquired such an ability on account being the daughter of a famous gun collector.
    • Kenichi's father, of all people, is capable of some of this; he managed to reload a giant shotgun with one hand, something that resident weapons master Shigure said wasn't possible.
  • Played straight and subverted with Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal Alchemist, depending on the situation: she'll fire on you while dramatically leaping away if she has to, but if she gets the chance, she'd just as soon deal with you from half a mile away with a sniper rifle...and neither really helps against homunculi, who are for the most part Immune to Bullets.
  • Death The Kid of Soul Eater is an expert at an Improbable Age, though being the Grim Reaper's son probably didn't hurt.
  • Rushuna Tendo of Grenadier.
  • Valmet and Karen Low of Jormungand, episode 7 especially.
  • Sharnid of Chrome Shelled Regios says two kinds of people use Gun Fu. Those who are truly skilled, and idiots. He is one of the idiots.
  • Coyote Starrk, a character in Bleach shows he has these skills when his twin automatic pistols come out.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Give Mana Tatsumiya a firearm or two and she's a death machine, capable of wiping out a crowd of people all around her without turning around. In one instance, she's able to snipe dozens of people (with rubber bullets, don't worry) from all over her improbably large school campus by ricocheting rifle shots off of various buildings.
  • Given that Black Lagoon is the lovechild of John Woo and Quentin Tarantino, it should come as no surprise that Revy engages in this pretty frequently. In her fight against Ginji she frequently uses her pistols to block his katana.
    • And then there's Mr. Chang, who is pretty much as close to Chow Yun Fat's various John Woo film characters as a work of fiction can get without getting sued for copyright infringement. It's implied he's the one who taught Revy the ways of Gun Fu.
  • Trigun is pretty much made of this: Vash, Wolfwood and the Gung-ho Guns in particular. "Derringer" Meryl has a few moments as well.
  • Spike's battles with Vicious in Cowboy Bebop seem to fit in under this as well.
  • Tomoe Mami of Puella Magi Madoka Magica does this with conjured flintlock rifles.
    • All over the place in the fight between Mami and Homura in Rebellion. The result is nothing short of SPECTACULAR.
  • Yoko of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this with her Sniper Rifle using it as a staff to take out the beastmen surrounding her during one episode as well as in the movie.
  • Although not quite as flashy as most examples since it's Neon Genesis Evangelion, the epitome of not really being awesome, Misato's big scene in End of Evangelion involves her gunning down a whole squad of JSSDF guys while running at a dead sprint before bashing the remaining guy into a wall with her gun and then shooting him point blank. Rather impressive when all other gunfights in the film are either the JSSDF casually strolling through the base picking off helpless NERV people, or Makoto and Shigeru ducking behind their work station while JSSDF pins them down with constant fire and occasionally returning fire.
  • In the beginning flashback sequence of Afro Samurai, Justice duels with Afro's father. Justice's weapons are a pair of six-shooters while Afro's father wields the BFS that Afro wields in the present. Afro's father may be able to deflect Justice's bullets with his sword, but Justice uses his guns to parry Afro's father's attacks and manages to do quite well in close combat with him.
  • Attack on Titan: The Anti-Human Suppression Squad combine wrist-mounted Maneuver Gear with pistols, allowing them to pull off aerial maneuvers and take on soldiers armed with swords.
  • Tasha Godspell and Ryu Hwan from Witch Hunter.
  • Resident Evil: Vendetta:
  • Rebuild World: After Akira gets trained in the ability by Alpha to use "compressed time" (a more grounded equivalent to Bullet Time), Akira ends up doing a lot of this. It's a Deconstructed Trope in a sense that doing this is something done out of desperation in close combat and often results in a Wrecked Weapon. Or, one time when Akira uses an anti-tank rifle in one hand while flying through the air, even though he's using Powered Armor granting Super-Strength, firing it unsupported breaks his arm and the arm of his armor. This results in Akira getting high-tech swords to make up for this weakness despite despising them at first due to Opposing Combat Philosophies. But he still does plenty of it after taking up Sword and Gun, with enemies often matching him due to drugs or implants granting them compressed time.

    Comic Books 
  • A memorable example appears during a Deadpool story arc, in which the titular mercenary and Spider-Man team up to bring down a hired killer. Said hired killer is revealed to be a Hit-monkey (who is exactly what he sounds like). The Hit-Monkey uses a very interesting variation of this trope. Using both his hands, and his feet to duel wield his guns while using a special form of martial arts that allows him to dogde and weave during a Firefight.
    Deadpool: His name is Hit-Monkey. He's a hitman. Who's a monkey. You don't believe me do you? Look around you, dude. He's real!"
  • Wanted is all about this trope. The series protagonist Wesley Gibson uses this as his signature style, a trait that he inherited from his father.
  • Sin City gunfighters tend to have very standard action movie/crime noir moves except for Wallace. He tends to do a lot more hopping around and is probably the most skilled protagonist of the series.
  • In Immortal Iron Fist, Danny initially begrudges Orson for using firearms in combat: "You learned your kung fu from Lei Kung and Smith & Wesson?"
  • G.I. Joe (IDW): Agent Helix's "Whirlwind attack" involves her delivering a flurry of kicks while unleashing a volley of bullets.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Transformers: The Movie: During the Battle of Autobot City, Optimus Prime transforms and launches himself in the air, while managing to nimbly and accurate take out several Decepticons with his blaster in mid air.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Just about every Heroic Bloodshed movie that John Woo made in Hong Kong, with The Killer (1989) and Hard Boiled being the most prominent examples.
  • James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies Wai Lin gets several fight scenes in which she displays this.
  • Hong Kong fight choreographer Corey Yuen (who was one of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao's best friends during their days in the China Drama Academy Peking Opera School) is distinguished in his ability to mix hand-to-hand combat and gunfighting, two styles of fighting that are not often used together successfully in Hong Kong action films.
  • The Matrix: The protagonist's ability to bend the laws of physics while in the Matrix enhance his abilities to fight this way, combined with a lot of Bullet Time.
  • The Man from Nowhere has a lot of Gun Fu.
  • Equilibrium combines both this and Gun Kata in the Grammaton Clerics' signature fighting style.
  • There are several scenes in Army of Darkness where Ash (immortalized by Bruce Campbell) mixes melee combat with rapid fire attacks from his shotgun. Call it Shotgun-jitsu.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine has Agent Zero, who fuses Guns Akimbo, Unorthodox Reload and Improbable Aiming Skills into one Gun Fu Fighting package... shaped curiously like Grant Imahara.
  • Shoot 'Em Up is made of this trope.
  • A sort of nascent example turns up in some Spaghetti Westerns — the lead who is not Lee van Cleef in The Grand Duel flips and rolls through gunfights, once shooting a Mook while falling upside down after propelling himself into the air with the aid of a cart and a falling body.
  • Kick-Ass has Hit Girl who is improbably good with guns. At one point she more or less flies down a narrow hallway, gunning down mooks, reloading from her belt, gunning down mooks, reloading by flinging the clips into the air and catching them with her gun, then gunning down more mooks before running out of bullets. Did we mention that she's dodging so well she's practically flying? Oh, and although she's willing to nonfatally shoot someone, everyone is finished off with a headshot. And she's 10 years old.
  • Maggie Cheung's character in Heroic Trio fights with a shotgun and a machine gun in two scenes, wielding them as if they were swords.
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight: One of the earliest western examples before John Woo migrated to America. Noteworthy examples include:
    • Leaping out of an exploding building and using an Uzi to shoot up the frozen lake below to soften the impact of landing (having already used a revolver to soften up the window before leaping through it).
    • Loosening a cable tied to a burning corpse hanging from the top of a bridge's bannister, making the corpse drop; holding onto the rope and allowing the corpse's weight to pull you up right next to the helicopter 50 feet above you and emptying the mag of the Uzi you just grabbed from the falling corpse as you passed it into your evil-ex-lover at point blank range.
  • John Wick performs a single-gun variant of gun fu, using Sambo grappling moves in combination with the Center Axis Relock style of shooting, making him absolutely deadly against multiple opponents in close quarter combat. This is especially pronounced during the club scene, where he kills his way through a lot of guys at close range, point-blanking them so as not to risk hitting the bystanders surrounding him, as well as hurling enemies down on the floor or a table before point-blanking them in the head.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service has a couple of single gun variants involving grapples and gadgets, most notable being Eggsy combing Gun Fu with Combat Parkour during the climax as he grapples, flips, rolls, leaps, and shoots through a winding maze full of mooks and Harry using his gun skills combined with martial arts to unwillingly slaughter a church full of armed bigots.

  • The Who's song My Wife.
    • "A blackbelt judo expert / With a machine gun!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun created a Martial Arts fighting style based on this Trope called Firefight, and noted that it came from the improbable fighting styles of movies (trideo). From SR4 Arsenal, page 157: "In 2068, Ares Macrotechnology unveiled a completely new martial arts form based on the popular image of a gunfighter whirling through a melee with a pistol in each hand, shooting as much as punching and kicking. The product found its market in eager young gunslingers raised on a steady diet of trideo action flicks." The trope is alive and well, even in 2070.
    • Notably the martial arts style only grants a reduced penalty to firing guns (from -3 to -1) while in melee range as well as a bonus 1 to Dodge (melee).
    • In addition, the Gunslinger Adept in SR4 was designed with Gun Fu in mind, using magic to augment his gunfighting skills.
    • Also, with GM approval you can take a martial arts specialization in clubs, in order to use your two pistols in melee combat.
    • In a rare attempt from Catalyst Games to add a bit of realism: Your guns will break if you bash them into people to much, of course you could just grab melee hardening as a mod and go to town, there is a unique pleasure in bashing a elf over the head while blowing a hole in the head of an ork
  • Exalted has the Righteous Devil Style. It's a martial arts style with a list of Charms (magical abilities) that require the martial artist to be wielding flame pieces or firewands (one-use short-range flamethrowers), that are the setting equivalent of pistols or rifles. Of course, a character could alternatively pick up a plasma tongue repeater or two, which are magic revolver flamethrowers.
    • Don't forget Golden Exhalation Style, for when you want to reload your gun with personal life energy, parry bolts of fire, and reload your weapon with the flame-stream of your enemy's gun.
  • CthulhuTech gets this in the Vade Mecum companion book. Your standard pistol styles are all there, along with Rifle-Fu.
  • And then there's the Gun Schticks one can get if you create a gun-using character in Feng Shui, most of which are meant to simulate the crazy-ass shit that Gun Fu practitioners can pull off in Heroic Bloodshed movies.
  • GURPS just straight up named its supplement on cinematic gunfighting "Gun Fu".
  • Every character in Hong Kong Action Theatre, in addition to knowing Kung Fu, can also shoot with gusto using his or her default Skill rating.
  • Scion, while not inherently an example of this trope, is a game where the player characters are half-divine heroes with reality-bending powers and, frequently, celestially-augmented weapons (including handguns). This is a setting where Gun Fu can be practical as a preferred combat style.
  • The Fudge Factor article Fudge Firefight II introduces a bunch of knacks that are built to allow this. Jumping through windows firing a pair of pistols is standard practice.
  • Since Hot Rods and Guns feature strongly in anime, Big Eyes, Small Mouth has "Gun Bunny" as one of its attributes. As the name implies, the attribute covers over-the-top feats that cinematic gunslingers pull off. The third edition lumps everything from the Gun Bunny and Kensei lists into the "Combat Technique" attribute.
  • The Martial Arts book for Hero System includes Gun Fu, often called "Zen Riflery" or "Woojutsu."
  • The Rifts Sourcebook China 2 has the Gun Master O.C.C. They are warriors trained in Tao Jen Qiang, "The Way of the Patient Gun." It is a martial art that lets them become one with guns in ways that would make Chow Yun Fat look like a novice. For instance, at first level they can kill MDC monsters with SDC bullets, which is normally an impossibility in Rifts (see Chunky Salsa Rule above for more details). At higher levels they can shoot ghosts.

    Video Games 
  • Tomb Raider: You have to appreciate Gun Fu, when you draw an M-16 while flipping backward in the air and successfully target some mook on the balcony below you.
  • Devil May Cry's Dante is a Gun Fu master, though his various swords are his more prominent weapon.
    • In Devil May Cry 2, it's even possible to hover in midair by firing both pistols downwards.
    • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening takes it to the next level. On a double jump, you can flip upside down, spin and shoot, flip back up, flip upside down AGAIN, spin and shoot, and flip back up in time to land on your feet.
  • Shadow Hearts: From The New World: Natan is a towering Badass Native American who uses Gun Fu with Guns Akimbo. His Special Power is called "GUN-FU" - and his basic attacks are actually Kung-Fu katas with added gunshots.
  • Final Fantasy X-2: Yuna goes from shy White Magician Girl in Final Fantasy X to a Gun Fu expert in two years.
  • Bayonetta and her fellow Umbra Witches take this trope to its illogical extreme: Guns Akimbo for both hands and feet is the standard loadout. How can they fire the guns on their feet, you may ask? They're witches — and this is just the simplest use of their magic. The firearms are usually used as melee weapons, using the metal barrels to add weight to their blows and parry the blades of their opponents, but their powers are focused on mobility and reaction time, which usually results in this trope when faced with large mobs.
  • This is Noel's fighting style in the Fighting Game BlazBlue. Oversized twin pistols, flipping around and hitting her opponent with her guns or short-range blasts, and transforming them into heavier arms for her Distortion Drives. Ironically, her zoning capability is practically nonexistent.
  • York, the hero of Cross Edge, thought that 'regular' martial arts were boring, so he learned how to fight with guns instead.
  • Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2: Kernel Corn can perform a suprisingly acrobatic (due to how slow he normally is) move called the Husk Hop, where he does a somersault while firing at enemies below with his dual Cob Busters, dealing modest damage while also tactically repositioning himself.
  • Rubi's primary fighting style in WET is a combination of Gun Fu and close-up work with the katana.
  • Jak and Daxter: Jak is a black belt in Gun Fu, with a favorite technique being a combination of his jumping spin kick with the Blaster or the Vulcan Fury.
  • Ratchet & Clank has shades of this as well, with the game's generous autoaim and "sideflip-to-dodge" mechanic.
  • All three characters in Resonance of Fate practice this with varying firearms while running/jumping often in Bullet Time presentation.
  • Stranglehold is a video game sequel to John Woo's Hard Boiled (interestingly enough there are talks of making a live action movie for the game) and does an excellent job of replicating the Gun Fu of the movie in a videogame.
  • Big Boss and the Boss of Metal Gear series developed a form of CQC that integrates a knife into a gun-holding stance, where the practitioner will hold a combat knife in the last two fingers of their off-hand, with the thumb and other two fingers still on the gun as normal (this produces some off grips on some rifles where just adding the knife with the off-hand where it normally goes would result in it stabbing the magazine; in Metal Gear Solid 4, we can see Snake using a sort-of claw grip to prevent this problem with his M4 and AK-102.) In cutscenes, this is taken much further, with melee spectacles involving the snatching of full-sized rifles out of someone's hands and having it ready to fire in under a second, throwing to the ground with a rifle since both hands are tied up holding it, and breaking down someone else's gun before they can fire it.
  • Vincent Valentine of Final Fantasy VII has been established as utilising this in the spin-offs, in the original game he was more of a straight up gunslinger.
  • Lightning in Final Fantasy XIII regularly shoots enemies while doing backflips.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has the Machinist job, a gun-wielding DPS class that specializes in this. In battle, Machinists regularly perform flips, twirls, and other acrobatic feats, all while shooting their guns and deploying Magitek weapons to attack their opponent.
  • Total Overdose, a Robert Rodriguez homage, becomes progressively more Gun Fu oriented as maximum adrenaline increases. The whole acrobat range of stunts are unlocked from the beginning, and the majority of sidequests are intended to introduce and exercise the skills.
  • Dungeon Fighter Online's Rangers, of both the Gunner and Female Gunner variety, are all about this trope. The males focus more on combining their kicking attacks with gunplay, while the females are more about combining gunplay with their Armed Legs and Gun Blades.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has a chapter that's a parody of The Matrix, allowing Conker to do some awesome mid-air flips and somersaults while gunning down enemies in slow-motion.
  • When you get guns in The Matrix: Path of Neo you can do nearly everything that you see in the movies.
  • In Champions Online, when you combine Munitions attacks with the Acrobatics travel power you get this. This is partly because it's an easy power to leave on all the time, so you tend to enter battle with it still activated. This is especially pronounced with the Dual Pistols form of Munitions, which has one attack (Lead Tempest) which is a PBAOE that can mow enemies down Equilibrium-style.
    • In a Meta manner, while it doesn't influence your visuals, 'Dexterity' is an extremely useful stat to have with any range powers.
  • The Game Mod Double Action: Boogaloo is a send up of 90' s Gun Fu films and involves a ton dodges, rolls, stylish kills, and back flips off everything including your enemies' faces.
  • In City of Heroes, this was to be embodied by the Martial Combat powerset, due to be released with Issue 24. Unfortunately, due to the method chosen for the handling of the closure of City of Heroes by NC Soft, only Beta Server players (and those who watched Zwillinger's Community Coffee Talks) were ever able to see the time slowing, ki pushing, bullet timing power set in action. However, it was present in the Duel Pistols powers, which featured the ability to shoot in all kinds of interesting ways and still hit enemies, with a final attack straight out of Equilibrium. And while toxic and incendiary ammo aren't entirely unrealistic, ice elemental ammo is a bit unconventional.
  • GunFu Fighter allows you to somersault and perform all kinds of flashy moves, often in Bullet Time, while firing away at mooks, zombies, and robots. It's right in the title after all.
  • Of the handful of party members that wield guns in LISA, Buckets takes it to the next level with skills like "Bullet Tap", "Bullet Dance", and "Bullet Ballet", which see him dancing in rhythm with his gunfire.
  • In Persona 5, one of the abilities the protagonist can unlock is "Down Shot", which allows him to knock down an enemy by unloading his entire clip into it while flipping all over the place like an acrobat.
  • Lex from Paladins is a Flank champion who slides around the battlefield and mows down foes with his two large magnums. Thanks to the low cooldown on his mobility and rapid fire on his guns, he can do John Woo style shootouts that other champions can't replicate.
  • The Dualies weapon class in Splatoon 2 have as their signature feature the ability to dodge roll. In fact, their accuracy is increased during the brief post-roll crouching stance, actively encouraging this in gameplay.
  • Injustice 2 features Red Hood, whose fighting style alternates between quick pistol volleys and smacking people around with martial arts. He almost never drops his guns even when engaging in melee combat, opting to grip them by the barrel to smash them into his opponent's face.
  • Laika: Aged Through Blood: Is an After the End Metroidvania about doing this... as an Action Mom Badass Biker doing tricks, flipping her bike to reload.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: During the climax of Operation I.T, Numbuh 1 and Numbuh 362 mix blaster shots with punches and kicks in order to fight off Father's clones and find the real one.

    Real Life 
  • The martial arts discipline Krav Maga as taught to Israeli special forces can integrate a rifle or pistol into your attacks. This can make the name of the martial art somewhat of a Non-Indicative Name, as it literally means "touch combat".
  • There are what amounts to a variety of martial arts techniques taught to police officers and soldiers for melee fighting while carrying a gun. Much of it amounts to keeping the other guy from pointing his gun at you while trying to knock him down or create enough space between you to bring your own weapon to bear on them. Or stabbing them with a bayonet if it comes to that.