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Martial Arts and Crafts

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Get those chores done, now! Chop chop!

"We would parade across the rooftops in the still of night, making naught but a whisper. By the time they realized there was a parade it was already over..."

In shows which feature martial arts heavily, there are a lot of different styles found in The 'Verse. This is Truth in Television as there have been many martial arts developed throughout history often based on local needs. For example Okinawan weapons were developed from household and farm implements.

Sometimes everything is made into a martial art. Need medical attention? We have Ninja Medics! The King's scribe? He probably knows Martial Arts Calligraphy. Need trees chopped? Black Belt Lumberjacks. Expect these characters to have an Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance related to their fighting style.

This trope is the inverse of I Know Madden Kombat; it covers instances where martial arts are used for mundane tasks, or a martial art is developed from humble beginnings. This trope is sometimes invoked by games that seek to be balanced for PVP or competitive dueling.


Miyamoto Musashi related combat and carpentry in the Book of Five Rings, and samurai trained in painting as well as swordsmanship.

Compare Mundane Utility, Mundane Made Awesome, Improbable Sports Skills (aka Martial Arts Sport) and Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting. It's often a case of I Know Kung-Faux.

Contrast What the Fu Are You Doing?


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ranma ½ is likely the Trope Maker, certainly the Trope Codifier, and the list of just how many different styles that the anime alone named is high. Most, but not all, are based specifically on one of the many strange competitions they have. In general, you have "serious" ones (that is, ones where the contestants aim to hurt each other), and "contest" ones (martial arts that tend to be goofy even by this series' standards).
    • On the serious side, we have these gems...
      • Martial Arts Cookery: though never explicitly named, there are implied to be quite a few of these in the world of Ranma ½. Ukyô Kuonji, one of the main characters, practices a variant revolving around okonomiyaki, and in the late manga we are introduced to a childhood rival who practices a variant involving takoyaki. An anime episode has Ukyô fight a practioner of Martial Arts Crepe Cookery, and the episode ends with the implication of Martial Arts Sushi/Sashimi Cookery.
      • Good Old Days Martial Arts: an anime-only martial art that involves using old-time toys (trading cards, tops, marbles, hackey-sacks, thread, etc.) as deadly weapons.
      • Martial Arts Calligraphy: while the combatants do aim simply to be the first one to draw a certain kanji/hiragana symbol, they are also allowed to beat the snot out of each other with letter openers, paper weights, ink, paper and calligraphy brushes the size of quarterstaves. An apparently lost variant allows the practitioner to draw special designs on a person's body that can manipulate their internal ki — the only example we're shown, the Mark of the Gods, is a goofy smiley face on the belly that amplifies the subject's skill something like tenfold.
      • Martial Arts Figure Skating: teams of two in extravagant costumes zipping around on an ice-skating rink and beating the living tar out of each other. This one is actually very dangerous, and the story arc involving it features arguably the most violent fights of the series. After all, you are fighting with the equivalent of daggers strapped to their feet, and over a hard, rough, icy surface.
      • Martial Arts Tea Ceremony: uses items from tea ceremony, including stirring sticks, spoons and tea whisks as weapons. Combatants must fight from the formal kneeling position — the trained practitioner can zip around in this pose as though they were standing, thanks to their strengthened toes, and even climb, hang upside down from the ceiling, and jump.
      • Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics: implicitly a girls-only style (explicitly stated to be so in an anime filler episode involving an attempt to create a men's version), combatants use gymnastic props to beat on each other. Oddly enough, Ryôga knows this art well enough to teach it to Akane.
      • Martial Arts Cheerleading: another "girls only" style, Martial Arts Cheerleaders attempt to bolster their team through a mixture of cheering on their own teammates and beating up the opposing team, usually with very flashy moves.
      • Martial Arts Takeout Delivery: combatants race to be the first to deliver their takeout to the delivery place, beating up anyone who tries to oppose them. The only rule is that their own delivery item survive unscathed. (Anime-only; the manga version of the storyline features Shampoo in the role of Kaori and makes no reference to a Martial Arts School centering around the delivery.)
      • Bathhouse Fu: an anime style (though hinted at by Happôsai in an early story common to both canons), this fighting style is amphibious in base (combatants attack both from under water and on the surface) and uses items from around the bathhouse, like towels and pails, as weapons.
      • Martial Arts Shogi: combatants dress up in shogi piece costumes and adhere strictly to the rules of the shogi piece they are ranked. What keeps this from being a hokey style is the fact that they do legitimately try to pulverize the other team.
    • There are more serious Martial Arts and Crafts in Ranma ½ than there are joke ones... which is kind of worrying.
      • Martial Arts Dining: this style gives a whole new meaning to "food fight". The objective is to be the first one to clear all of the many plates of food you're given — and, for an extra twist, you must be incredibly neat about it. As in, you can't be seen to actually eat the food — if you're spotted, you get an extra plate as a penalty. As a result of centuries of adherence to these rules, practitioners have faces that they can warp and stretch like silly putty, as well as super-speed hand-strikes. Swallowing watermelons whole, picking a sweet from the top of one's own head with one's tongue and then swallowing it, all of these are possible. Ranma, unable to actually develop sufficient speed to compete, instead attempts to master an ancient and dangerous strategy known as the "Parlay du Fois Gras", where one's food is stuffed into the opponent's mouth (much like geese are force-fed to make fois gras) in an attempt to cause a jam and thus, a forfeit. The "dangerous" part comes from the fact that devoted users tend to starve to death.
      • Martial Arts Watermelon/Carry The Snowman Race: two different versions of a contest, one for beaches, one for mountains, and both essentially based on the Smashing Watermelons game. With a watermelon/miniature snowman in one hand and a bokken in the other, race for the finish line while smashing the items carried by the other racers and avoid getting your own smashed.
      • Martial Arts Pingpong/Badminton: just like the ordinary game... only the balls that the fighters bat back and forth can contain all sorts of booby traps, like exploding in a shower of glue.
      • There was also a Martial Arts Marriage Contest in the second movie.
    • It also seems that every mundane task in The 'Verse gets not only a martial art, but specific fighting moves in Anything Goes. Crouch of the Wild Tiger is used to beg forgiveness.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: The main character uses "Fist of the Nose Hair", which is basically Exactly What It Says on the Tin. That is only the beginning of the martial arts madness. There's a full list here.

    It must be noted that, although the Finishing Attacks of each school do indeed fit the theme indicated by the name, most of the actual fighting in the series, no matter the formal school used, boils down to confusing the enemy to the point where they can't defend themselves against that finishing attack. Bo-bobo at one point laments that, aside from a basic hand chop and the "confuse them" strategy, he really only has a single special attack.
  • In Cromartie High School, Masked Takenouchi masters the art of pillow-jutsu, in which he softens a pillow by beating it with a stick according to the desires of the pillow user. He takes out a whole bike gang with this type of combat.
  • Every school club in Futaba-kun Change! seems to have a martial art based upon whatever the club's focus is. Including martial arts calligraphy.
  • The chainsaw-fu that protagonist Fumio in Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo uses on her classmates was originally meant to aid her when she inherited her grandfather's lumber company.
  • The Naruto filler brings us Ninja Chefs and Ninja Postmen. Self-explanatory, really. In canon, they have Ninja Medics (though for the most part these are simply combat medics in a ninja organization, they also have ninja-based healing techniques and some also have ways to using their medical techniques to fight), Ninja Puppeteers, and at least one Ninja Painter.
  • As a variation, in Lone Wolf and Cub, one story deals with a samurai postman messenger.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple:
    • Jujitsu master Koetsuji Akisame normally keeps to standard techniques, but when up against a speed-sculpting Russian Sambo master, he responded in kind. Martial arts sculpture battle, anyone?
    • Turns out that Kii Kagerou's unearthly iaijutsu skill translates well into ploughing fields. Who knew?
  • Gunnm gives us hypersonic knitting. Yeah.
  • Leave it to Samurai Champloo to have some of the best swordsmen in Japan use their skills... to play baseball. Yeah, it was only once, and the game was a compromise, but COME ON MAN! Subverted when Mugen tries to use his breakdance fighting skills to pitch...and throws foul ball after foul ball after foul ball.
  • Love Hina has an episode where Mokoto and Kaolla are, in one scene, using Mokoto's sword skills to make statues out of logs so people will pay for the "show". Mokoto lampshades this by noting how the sacred art that was passed to her by her family has been reduced to cheap entertainment.
  • Hikkatsu is centered around the main character trying to turn Percussive Maintenance into a martial art.
  • One Piece:
    • It features plenty weird martial arts, some of them derived from mundane activities.
    • Sanji has to fight a "noodle martial artist", who uses noodles as weapons — including firing noodle darts through his nose or creating giant noodle tentacles. Sanji uses his own Chef of Iron training to beat him.
  • Kill la Kill: If it can be a school club then expect super-powered martial arts. Tennis, band, gardening, sewing... someone has found a way to kick your ass with it.
  • Sakigake!! Otokojuku In it's massive roster of often goofy martial arts styles throughout the franchise it features there are plenty of ones that are similar to mundane tasks and even claim to be the originators of them. Some of these styles involve things like blowing bubbles made of sulfuric acid however many more boast to be the origin of certain sports such as soccer, golf, ping pong, ice skating, air hockey, and even synchronized swimming.

    Card Games 
  • Yomi, a card game, is based around a Olympic-style martial arts tournament. While some of the characters the players can use make sense to be in a martial arts tournament, four other characters make less sense — Jefferson DeGrey, Ghostly Diplomat; Max Geiger, Precise Watchmaker (actually something of a Time Master); Valerie Rose, Manic Painter; and Lum Bam-Foo, Gambling Panda. For some precision, DeGrey seems to be spicing up his martial arts with some debating, Geiger with time control, Valerie Rose has the most common Martial Arts Painting, and Lum Bam Foo spices things up with Martial Arts GAMBLING. (Complete with coin throwing.)

    Comic Books 
  • MAD had a reportage from the noble martial art of "House-Fu", where you use household items in combat. And the combat is assumed to take place in the kitchen.
  • Raphael using Chinese Butterfly Knives to trim a Christmas tree. This scene made it into the 2000s TMNT cartoon.
  • In one issue of The Muppet Show Comic Book, the special guest is the master of stealth tapdancing, Ninja Rogers.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Natasha manages to use her stage magic abilities for fighting. This includes slipping her bonds and then pulling out a bouquet to wack a Sangtee Empire guard in the head with, revealing that it was hiding a crowbar but causing the guards to hesitate because the attack is so odd.
  • A long-running cartoon in British newsmagazine Private Eye was The Cloggies, an Oop North morris-dancing team who elevated traditional northern English clog-dance to the status of a lethal martial art, frequently winning dances by three groinings and a right uppercut. Eventually collected in comic-book form detailing the lives and times of northern folk. Homaged by Terry Pratchett as the Lancre morrismen (see below).

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Parodied by Kung Fu Panda's "Martial Arts Picking Up a Dumpling with Chopsticks" training scene. And in the holiday special, the Furious Five and Po use their mastery of kung fu to... cook and serve a fancy dinner?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Long Kiss Goodnight, the protagonist become really good in the kitchen shortly after a car-crash. She thinks her memories are starting to return after six years of amnesia, and that her great skill with knives mean she used to be a chef. She's right about the first part.
  • Shaolin Soccer is centered on this trope. Stephen Chow's character believes that martial arts can be used for every day tasks. To promote the usefulness of kung fu, his ragtag group of former shaolin monks use their kung fu superpowers to play soccer. We also see kung fu used to trim trees, park cars, and fetch objects from high shelves. Tai Chi is also used to cook.
  • Stephen Chow's earlier film God of Cookery featured Shaolin-style cooking, complete with an over-the-top martial arts contest.
  • In Hero, one's skill in swordsmanship directly crosses over into skill at calligraphy. Nameless studies Broken Sword's calligraphy to get a better impression of his warrior skills. This is actually a reference to some Samurai beliefs — the way you hold a brush and the way you hold a sword have a symbolic relationship.
  • In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon one of the protagonists comments on the princess' calligraphy skills, comparing it to swordplay. She tries to act dumb, but her secret is clearly out. Tiny anvils begin to rain as she goes on to comment on how her name looks like "sword".
  • In Kung Fu Dunk, the main characters uses a special martial arts technique in the finals of a basketball game to travel through time in order to make the winning basket. In the same vein, his Masters from Kung Fu School show up to play after the most of his team is incapacitated by the opposing one. Projectile weapons are thrown, over-the-top slow motion is used and pressure points are hit.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Leo puts his swords by slicing up a pizza and distributing the slices to the plates. The last one ends up falling on Splinter's head!
  • Examples from classic kung fu movies:
    • Shaolin Soccer was somewhat predated by the 1983 Hong Kong movie The Champions, where Yuen Biao and Dick Wei use Football-Fu on each other.
    • There's more Martial Arts Calligraphy to be had in 1982's The Prodigal Son.
    • Jet Li repeatedly does Kung Fu Healing People in the Once Upon a Time in China series.
    • Almost anywhere you find a training scene in an old kung fu movie there's likely to be something like this — the "student learns some kind of Everyday Skill Fu and eventually gets bored of it, protests to the master and is finally shown what the meaning is" routine. Some examples are Jackie Chan learning Martial Arts Walnut Cracking in the original Drunken Master, Chin Kar Lok being taught Noodle Cooking Fu by Lau Kar Leung in Operation Scorpio, and Austin Wei in Shaw Bros' classic Five Superfighters unknowingly being taught Kung Fu Laboring.
    • Return to the 36th Chamber (a continuation to The36th Chamberof Shaolin) has the hero kicking the Big Bad and his entire crew with Kung Fu Scaffolding Construction skills (he was kicked out of the Shaolin Temple for apparently slacking off on his test to become trained in kung fu (said scaffolding making), but it's not quite unsubtly implied that the abbot gave him a Secret Test of Character which he passed).
  • The Karate Kid has the infamous "Wax On, Wax Off", not to mention "paint the fence", "paint the house" and "sand the deck". Nothing for Crane Kick, except getting free pizza from the delivery guy. Another example of kung fu healing. The Next Karate Kid included the "Kata Waltz".
    • The Remake gives Jackie Chan a quote that pretty much encapsulates the point of view of this Trope. Bear in mind, this films version of "Wax On, Wax Off" was to put on and off a jacket about a thousand times in a very specific way:
      Mr. Han: Kung Fu lives in everything we do, Xiao Dre. It lives in how we put on the jacket, how we take off the jacket, and lives in how we treat people. Everything is Kung Fu.
  • Gymkata features the deadly combination of ninjitsu and... gymnastics. It also completely fails at both. To be fair, pommel-horse fu is scary... if you're within two and a half feet of a pommel horse.
  • Dreadnaught, a 1981 Hong Kong film directed by Yuen Woo Ping, may prove to be the Trope Codifier. This martial arts comedy (with dashes of horror) contains all of the following kung-fu applications: Medical treatment, Lion Dancing, being fitted for a custom-made suit, and a kung-fu serial killer using Chinese Opera motifs. But the biggest example from this movie is Yuen Biao's character, whose family's unorthodox laundry methods turns out to be the fabled Eagle Claw. He didn't even know it was Kung Fu until Master Wong Fei Hung saw him using it, and he ended up using it to defend himself against the aforementioned serial killer. Chris O'Donnell's laundry scene in Batman Forever is a shot-for-shot homage of Yuen Biao doing his laundry work in this movie.
  • Bloodsport — From Muy Thai and Sumo to Karate and Jungle Style fighting
  • Kung Fu Hustle, made by the same team as Shaolin Soccer, has this in droves; because the theme of the movie is ordinary-looking people turning out to be kung-fu masters, we typically see the "mundane" use before their true abilities are revealed to the viewer. The strong, silent Coolie who carries heavy loads for people uses his super-strong legs for kicking. The doughnut-maker who uses long poles to knead the dough is a master with spears and bow-staffs. The tailor uses heavy rings to both hang up his wares and wears them on his arms in combat. The Landlord who's constantly being beaten up by his wife can secretly deflect and withstand heavy blows. The Landlady who's always yelling and roaring at everyone has an outright sonic scream.

  • Discworld
    • In Thief of Time, Lu-Tze dismissively describes tung-pi as "bad-tempered flower arranging".
    • Making Money has a brief demonstration of sloshi, Martial Arts Clowning, in which ballistic pie throwing, "battle-planking" and lethal balloon animals all feature.
    • A throwaway one-liner in some supplementary material indicates that in the Discworld's equivalent of Wales, "choral singing has been elevated to the level of a martial art".
    • Lords and Ladies has a group of Morris Dancers who manage to fight off attacking Elves with their dance routine. Wintersmith reveals that this is in fact what Morris dancing (and its secret midwinter Shadow Archetype, the Dark Morris) was originally designed for.
  • Age of Discovery trilogy by Michael Stackpole: A true Martial Artist may achieve true magic and potential immortality by completely mastering his style. Then again, so can a basket-weaver once he completely masters basket-weaving.
  • Circle of Magic: Ambient magic is when people have magic that reacts to certain activities — such as gardening, metalworking, dancing, making clothes, you name it. Anything to do with that activity, that ambient mage draws power from it. Most of the time, ambient mages just work away at their own crafts, but when you get in a fight...just watch out!
  • In Catching Fire, book two of The Hunger Games, Katniss theorizes that the reason why District 12 tributes do so poorly in the Hunger Games is that the people living there don't learn their district's trade of mining until they become an adult and are finally safe from being picked as tributes. Meanwhile, children from other districts learn their districts' trades while as children, and are able to apply what they learn to combat settings (a prominent example being Finnick Odair, from the district that specializes in fishing, making him deadly when wielding a trident). This applies to Katniss herself, as her archery skills work equally well for both killing animals for food and killing human opponents.
  • Doehring Cowart, in Coiling Dragon, instructs Linley in the Straight Chisel School of stonesculpting. Earth-style magi can sense and understand the essence of the stone in order to carve fine details without needing more precise tools. Besides producing sculptures worth large amounts of money, this technique also acts as training for the magus's spiritual essence.
  • Journey to Chaos: In legal trouble, Eric visists his guild's in-house advocate, Reywal. The adovcate's assistant soon makes a fool of himself and Reywal assures Eric that he is skilled in Advocate Martial Arts. Then he says, "kidding! But seriously..."

    Live-Action TV 
  • A variation appears in an episode of Sliders on a world where they have "seers" for every imaginable field — medical work, law enforcement, even politics. (But presumably not gambling.)
  • The Goodies episode "Kung Fu Kapers" featured the Lancashire martial art of Ecky-Thump, which consisted of hitting people with black puddings.
  • John Belushi's famous series of Samurai sketches on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s, in which he portrayed a samurai running various mundane businesses (Delicatessen, Tailor, Hotel, Bakery, etc.) and speaking only (fake) Japanese.
  • The hired goons of the various gangs in Kaiketsu Zubat always specialized in a particular skill which they also used as a fighting style. They always considered themselves the best, but Ken Hayakawa would prove that they were only #2 in Japan.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A major feature of Risus. Players are encouraged to invent ways to use inappropriate skills in combat (but only if it's funny). Using an inappropriate skill successfully deals three times as much damage as normal. The text example is a ninja evening the odds against a hungry monster by presenting it with a poisonous souffle.
  • Exalted:
    • Among the many martial arts presented by this Tabletop RPG, there's "Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style" for fighting while being refined and social, "Citrine Poxes of Contagion Style" for fighting with medicine and poisons, and "Prismatic Arrangement of Creation Style" for combining sorcery and martial arts. "Laughing Wounds Style" includes fetish gear as a form armour, and uses whips and chains as a form weapon. Popular among lesbian stripper ninjas, as is Pearl Courtesan. Let's not even mention some of the fanmade Martial Arts.
    • Second Edition canonised Martial Arts Sailors (Seafaring Hero Style), Martial Arts Orgies (Orgiastic Fugitive Style) and even Martial Arts Psychiatrists (Border of Kaleidoscopic Logic Style, one of the most powerful in the game).
    • The Quicksilver Hand of Dreams Style, which involves the manipulation of dreams and imagination and the imposition of same upon concrete reality, and the Obsidian Shards of Infinity Style, which can best be summed up as Martial Arts Parallel Universes.
  • The Diana Warrior Princess Tabletop RPG includes the ancient numerology-based martial art known as The Way of the Exploding Grid, or Su Doku.
  • Parodied in Ninja Burger, where characters use their ninja skills for fast food delivery, losing honor if they're seen or late. Their slogan? "Guaranteed delivery in 30 minutes or less, or we commit seppuku!"
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Complete Warrior Drunken Master prestige class. 'Nuff said.

    Video Games 
  • Fruit Ninja, well, the title says it all, really. The game is about using your cool katana to chop up fruit.
  • The plots of Type Moon's Melty Blood Fighting Games are driven by the reality-warping Night of Wallachia. Among other crazy things, this phenomenon transforms Kohaku and Hisui from simple maids into Martial Arts and Crafts masters capable of fighting half-demons and ancient vampires by using dustpans and potted plants. Basically, a justification for Competitive Balance.
  • Disgaea: Chaos Fire Style Kitchen Fist, Boom!
  • In Dwarf Fortress:
    • Civilian miners can be drafted into the military in an emergency, and are actually quite useful. The game uses their (quickly trained) mining skill instead of a weapon skill, their attributes are often much higher than your slower-working carpenters and masons, and pickaxes are fearsome organ-lacerating weapons.
    • Civilian woodcutters use battle axes to chop down trees. Tree trunks, legs... not a huge difference, right?
  • In No More Heroes, the story revolves around climbing the ranks to become the Number 1 Assassin. The problem is there are many characters, and none of them are an Assassin in any sense of the word. They clash giant, loud lightsabers, pilot giant robots, launch very illegal fireworks, and act like loud lunatics with random weapons.
  • Forte from Rune Factory 4 is a knight by trade, but all her skill with a sword also translates quite nicely to using a knife to slice up sashimi or a salad. Just don't ask her to cook anything else. Seriously, DON'T.
  • Implied in the bio of highly skilled Swordfighter Lon'Qu in Fire Emblem Awakening where the random fact listed at the end is that he's the "deftest potato peeler".
  • The original GBA version of Rhythm Heaven had a calligrapher who did his strokes with the power of a martial artist, complete with kiai calls on the power strokes you were supposed to press A on.
  • Dustforce is a game about ninja janitors doing exactly that.
  • Justified in Masquerada: Songs and Shadows: The best way to harness the Elemental Powers the Masquerenes give is to find some skill you're good at and incorporate the powers into that.

    Web Comics 
  • Invoked and then subverted in Lookism, the Jae Won High School is a creative school where students can focus on what they like within 7 departments, with (simplified) subjects like Fashion, Confectionery, Beauty, music and dance, just music, building, and sports. Despite this does all the departments have martial artists, who do real martial arts rather than ones based on their department.
  • Parodied also in Web Comic Sam & Fuzzy, which has the Ninja Mafia (black suits, ties, ninja masks), who were exactly what they sound like: organized crime, complete with protection rackets, run by ninjas (sort of). The Ninja Mafia broke up into a variety of mercenary and other groups when their emperor and ruling council were slain, including one bunch who formed their own Ninja Burger franchise, though that was more like a ninja-themed McDonald's. They are, by the way, far and away not the most absurd element of this comic. That honor probably has to go to the competing gerbil-run organized crime syndicate.
    • No, that honor has to go to the obsessed vampire who turns people he bites into werewolves.
    • No, that honor has to go to the sociopathic teddy bear Played for Laughs. NMS, by the way, has ninja bookkeepers. Not just bookkeepers who are ninja, but people trained in the art of ninja bookkeeping. Both bookkeeping with ninja skills, and keeping ninja books. *stage whisper*: They really only call it that to make the extremely elderly bookkeepers feel better about not reliably being Badass Great-Great-Grandparents.*/stage whisper*
  • Thief, in 8-Bit Theater, has a squad of Law Ninja. They kill anyone that violates his forged contracts. They also wear bright red and are, as Thief describes them, "inherently disposable".
  • Freefall:
    • The French ninjas of "Le Restaurant des Ninjas" run their restaurant without being seen. Everything from directing patrons to their tables, to delivering menus, food (including desserts, drinks (including refills), and the bill, all while being completely stealthy. Well, almost completely. They're so effective at hiding, they hide their restaurant.
    • Ninja accountants appear on-screen in Goats.
    • Oddly, this plays into a real life example, with Ninja New York, an actual ninja-themed restaurant in which your servers will appear from nowhere, and you might just get assassinated.
  • Played with in The Order of the Stick, where a waitress, upon sneaking up on her customers and startling one, admits that she's waiting tables to pay for ninja school.

    Web Original 
  • In The Weather Channel Goes the Way of MTV from Hitherby Dragons, there are weather ninjas that dress up in costumes with the weather forecast on them. Accordingly, we have martial arts like the invincible TORNADO WARNING fist and the FLOOD ALERT style.
  • Chaka, at Super Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, has the superpower of Ki control, and has invented new Martial Arts and Crafts at the drop of a shuriken. When given detention, she invented (on the fly) martial arts mopping (instant cleaning by attuning her Ki with the mop), martial arts linen folding, martial arts grime scrubbing... She has used her martial arts skills for healing problems beyond medicine, like Doctor Heavy's inability to turn off his local 8-G gravity field (she turned it into a local 0-G field by accident). And she has developed all kinds of martial arts weapons for herself, including sewing needles, forks, playing cards...
  • Fighters High sports this as an essential part of the eponymous school's culture. Within the first 10 minutes of the first episode, we've seen the school's cook face off against a student, blasting him into a wall using a fireball generated via spatula.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall features a ninja-style dancer.
  • The Codeless Code is about programming monks.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, Leela's martial arts are applied in grossly inappropriate situations; she has even been known to shout "HI YA!!" when unplugging a refrigerator.
  • Kim Possible has the standard Mountain Temple Ninjas, Monkey Ninjas, and Aristocratic Englishman Monkey Ninja. It also has Embarrassment Ninjas. Dr. Drakken speculates that in that field it pays to specialize. There's also Sumo Ninja.
  • In the first episode of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, the turtles walk through the "ninja district" of the city and, after finding their original destination (Ninja Pizza), see signs for Ninja-run dry cleaning, shoe repair, video rentals and dentists. At said Ninja Pizza, the food is thrown like shuriken at the customers (and either you catch it or it ends up all over you).
    [a ninja throws a dagger with a piece of paper at the Turtles' table, landing smack in the middle; Raphael picks it up]
    Leonardo: What is it, a threatening note?
    Raphael: Worse than that... it's the check!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In one episode, it is revealed that SpongeBob is nigh-obsessed with karate, driving his boss Krabs to nearly fire him from his frycook job due to the fact this obsession is interfering with his work... until he realizes that SpongeBob's karate can also be used to mass-produce burgers and to put on a very entertaining show for customers.
  • In one episode of Wakfu, kung-fu baking becomes pretty Serious Business.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The various bending techniques are shown to have various practical applications. These range everywhere from the sensible (i.e. using firebending to stoke a boiler, earthbending for stone masonry, and waterbending to propel river boats) to very effective (i.e. using earthbending to send mail, airships that don't need to carry fuel if there's a firebender onboard).
    • There's this one guy in "The Desert" who uses his dual dao swords to prepare soft drinks.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012): "Lotsa Luck" reveals that there is an extreme sport called kung fu quilting, and Mrs. Twombly was the inventor and grandmaster of the sport!

    Real Life 
  • Capoeira is a martial art meant to look like a dance. In practice, it's extremely unpredictable, painful, and in some cases, rather impractical. (To be fair, the simplest and most practical techniques are the first to be taught, and the most impractical techniques do not even have to be learned).
  • When there wasn't anyone to spy on or assassinate, the ninja worked as gardeners.
  • Traditional samurai martial arts included not only a variety of fighting styles, but every necessary skill for a soldier, split up into different techniques or jutsu. This meant a well-trained warrior knew, besides the better-known jujutsu (unarmed technique) and kenjutsu (sword technique), things like suijutsu ("swimming in armour technique") and kajutsu ("burning down peasant huts technique"). All of these are still taught by a few hardcore traditionalist schools, although one wonders how they practice arson at the dojo.
    • Probably with Rebuilding Jutsu so they can perform arson again and again for practice.
  • The ubiquitous "dragon dance" seen at Chinese New Year — and so damn many movies — is a form in Kung-Fu.
  • Most of the "Animal Style" Kung Fu traditions have a legend about their founder watching some animal in its natural habitat doing what comes naturally. These masters are then struck with inspiration and found a new tradition of martial arts based on the natural flow found in the animal's movements.
  • A lot of weapons started out as agricultural and gardening tools including scythes, flails, and even kunai! In fact, the French Revolution was mostly fought with farming equipment.
    • In fact, save for obvious exceptions such as swords and certain types of firearms (e.g. machine guns and artillery), most weapons have legitimate civilian uses. The spear and bow were originally hunting tools, for example, and axes and hammers were and still are construction tools. Even those types of weapon mentioned do have legitimate uses, for example, using cannons as avalanche control devices. It's just that those uses are much harder to find.
      • A sword is just a knife long enough to be impractical for daily use as a tool. Gunpowder was the result of Taoist alchemists looking for an elixir of immortality, and most small arms have legitimate civilian uses including hunting (muskets, rifles, shotguns) and defending oneself against illegitimate civilian uses (e.g. shotguns, handguns). Also, gunpowder and dynamite (and plastified explosives in modern times) were extensively used for mining and industrial demolition. A great many battles have also been fought with hunting guns—the sharpshooter units of many European armies are called "hunters" (chasseurs in French, Jägers in German, snipers in Englishnote ) because that was what they did for a living in peacetime.
  • A 10-people building deconstruction firm in New York specialized in doing their job with Karate.