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Martial Pacifist

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"Don't hit at all if it can be humanly avoided, but never hit softly!"

A martial artist that is peaceful, disciplined, kind, personable, and probably good with children. If there's an Old Master who isn't a total Jerkass, you can bet they follow the Path of Peace. A Martial Pacifist will often try to solve their problems with words first, and fists a distant second, typically resorting to violence only as a last resort. When that happens, they will mop the floor with anyone dumb enough to challenge them, showing that they also follow the Path of Pieces. Unlike their arrogant counterpart, they will not kill you unless they have no other choice, as killing usually goes against everything that they stand for. Almost universally being followers of good, martial pacifists tend to defend others who are in need of protection.

This trope is Truth in Television: many martial arts schools emphasize the importance of levelheadedness and use of violence only when no other option is available. Exercising self-control over your own body and mind is often an integral part of a practitioner's training, and this includes keeping your emotions in check. As such, you'll rarely hear about a karate black belt pummeling their wife in a fit of rage because they have the self-discipline not to. In fact, there are some martial artists who believe that any use of their skills for competitive purposes is a perversion of the art, and even refrain from sparring (making this the Trope Namer for the Pacifist Dojo, where they were probably trained). In a similar vein, veterans, even high-ranking generals are often much less gung-ho on going to war than politicians who never served in the army or never saw combat might be. They know from personal experience that War Is Hell after all.

When a Martial Pacifist is unrelenting and perfectly willing to kill when they deem that there is no other alternative, this can be a case of Good Is Not Soft. Cool and Unusual Punishment is a favorite trope of the martial pacifist. In darker works, Cruel Mercy can be applied if they prefer not to kill. This can become squicky if the martial pacifist has a broad definition of "alive".

One interesting variant of Martial Pacifist is also an unusual example of Good is Not Nice: They are only a pacifist as a result of a Heroic Vow or Morality Chain but are earnestly trying to accept these limitations in spite of their nature. When this is the case they are likely also The Fettered or a Noble Demon striving to reform for a loved one. In Black-and-Grey Morality tales or when Played for Laughs, you can expect a lot of Rule Lawyering as to what specifically constitutes "harming others" when they do become frustrated with their (possibly self-)imposed rules. This can even go so far as to slide into Pay Evil unto Evil if a sufficiently evil alignment makes someone fair game, and Batman Grabs a Gun if the rules go out the window when the Berserk Button gets hit. When this happens, it’s a case of Redemption Failure, though this may be averted by violence truly being the only alternative. For the noble demon, it may result in either having to slowly regain the trust of their morality chain(s) or a tragic rejection — the second can be especially tragic when the violence was done to save the loved one.

The inverse of Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy (and often a direct foil to such a character), and just as prevalent among martial artist characters.

Compare The So-Called Coward, Let's Get Dangerous!, Minored In Ass Kicking. See also Technical Pacifist. Contrast Reluctant Warrior, who believes exactly the same things the Martial Pacifist does but is constantly forced to fight and lacks their fighting power and ability to use non-lethal force. Contrast Suicidal Pacifism, where no amount of danger can convince the person to fight, and Badass Pacifist, who succeeds without even the kind of fighting the martial pacifist considers acceptable. If a Martial Pacifist tends to fight rough or otherwise take real risks with the lives of their enemies/allies, they might be a Reckless Pacifist. Their pacifism may degenerate into a Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow over the course of a story.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Astro Boy doesn't really like fighting, but you better not push him.
  • Hiroki Sugimura of Battle Royale manga. He may look intimidating as he is the tallest boy in the class and is a kung-fu master, but he is actually a shy and gentle boy who dislikes using violence unless it is his last resort.
  • Don Fua in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, as he's a Foil to his rival Zekka, who is an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy.
  • Bleach has several. Kyoraku Shunsui and Hisagi Shuuhei are the most obvious examples, and Kira Izuru may qualify as well, though with overtones of Reluctant Warrior. Kaname Tousen tries to portray himself as this but considering he cut off Grimmjow's arm to stop him from causing any more trouble, he's not fooling anyone. His suggestion that "Killing without purpose is only murder. But killing with purpose... is justice!" also seems to suggest that he's less averse to violence than he initially seems. And really, crippling someone as violent as Grimmjow seems like a pretty good way to decrease bloodshed. Chad is also something of an example.
  • Parodied (like everything else) in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo with Mr. BoJiggler, a fusion of Bobobo and Jelly Jiggler. He claims that he is a pacifist, and the villains are often quite willing to work out a peaceful solution to the issue at hand, but he still assaults them with super-powerful attacks while screaming things along the lines of "Why can't we just all be friends?"
  • From Code Geass, Sir Bismarck Waldstein, the Knight of One, might be the most powerful of the Knights of the Round, but he openly says that he's not thrilled to use his impressive fighting skills unless it's really needed and that he views mere unrestrained violence as ignoble and unworthy.
  • Henry Wong from Digimon Tamers. When he was a young boy and just started learning martial arts, he used his newfound skills to injure another boy, something he wasn't supposed to do and regrets deeply. He learns to balance between good fights and bad ones, though he remains a very non-aggressive person. However, he gets to put his skills to good use as MegaGargomon, so watch out.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Gohan. He has the potential to become one of the strongest people in Universe 7, but he hates watching people get hurt and lacks the fight-loving instinct that full Saiyans have. The only reason he fights is for self-defense, or for the defense of others.
    • His father Goku isn't quite as pacifistic: he quite enjoys fighting, just like most Saiyans. However, he does not enjoy causing pain or hurting people; he likes fighting as a sport. Hurting innocents is an excellent way to get him really mad at you. He also goes farther into Super Saiyan form than anyone else, and he isn't nearly as pacifistic when he's transformed.
    • Android 16 only wanted to kill Goku because he was programmed to by Dr. Gero. He refuses to fight anybody else, as he considers all life to be precious. He makes an exception with Cell and decides to try and destroy him because he knows Cell cannot be reasoned with and will destroy all life on Earth simply because he can.
  • Durarara!!: Shizuo Heiwajima's main goal is to be this, ironically enough. Despite common belief, Shizuo isn't really known for starting fights; finishing them is another thing entirely. This is exemplified with his relationship with Arch-Enemy Izaya Orihara; while Shizuo would absolutely love to break every bone in Izaya's body and wipe him off the face of the earth, he would also be perfectly content if Izaya just stayed out of his life completely. Usually, Izaya's the one who provokes Shizuo despite easily being the calmer of the two.
  • Wendy Marvell of Fairy Tail, unlike her fellow Dragon Slayers Natsu and Gajeel, personally doesn't enjoy combat and would rather solve things peacefully if possible. In fact, before she learned to fight her main magic was to heal and enhance the powers of others. That said, she's also one of the most powerful members of a guild that ranks among the strongest in the world, and has proven time and time again she is not someone who should be toyed with, such as the time she hit a demon through an ancient superweapon for trying to eat one of her friends.
  • Toki of Fist of the North Star, the only one of the Hokuto Shinken brothers who doesn't make a point of going around and punching people in the face. Instead, he works as a wandering doctor, using his knowledge of Hokuto Shinken to heal the sick and wounded. When he does fight, Toki is strong enough to go toe-to-toe with Big Bad Raoh, all the while suffering from a terminal illness. He also has a technique that allows him to kill people without even touching them: it causes them to feel incredibly blissful but also forces their body to contort in horrifying ways before they explode.
  • Gintoki from Gintama once used to be a mighty warrior with the nickname "White Demon" who led the war against aliens' invading Japan. Nowadays, he is working as a free-lancer, willing to take in any odd jobs to pay the rent. Like the Kenshin example above, while he avoids using force and acts like an idiot from time to time, he will not hesitate to commence asskicking should the need arises.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Space has an ASIMO robot who knows kung fu but wants to be friends with everyone due to prolonged contact with Sakura.
  • Yuko Omori, Cure Honey of HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!, is the first Cure to actively do this. If she attacks, she just uses one of her form changes and leaves the fighting to her teammates. However, she will break out a finisher from time to time and when it hits, it hits.
  • High School D×D: Issei Hyoudou only really cares about interacting with the ladies and building up a harem and is not really interested in fighting. Since he gets dragged into fights a lot, his philosophy is to be as strong as possible so he can end fights quickly and get back to the ladies.
  • This is pretty much the defining character trait of Kenichi Shirahama from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. A peaceful young man who only took up martial arts to stop being bullied, he often tries to talk his way out of fights first, and will even walk away from those who challenge him, only resorting to violence if he has no other choice (or if a challenger calls him a coward).
    • Also, several of his masters. None of them will actually kill you (well, Apachai might do it accidentally) but Akisame and Ma Kensei are the most notable.
    • After the Ragnarok arc, the conflict between the Martial Pacifist principle (katsujinken — "life saving fist") and the opposing principle (satsujinken — "killing fist") becomes the main plotline. The organization of evil satsujinken mentors, Yami, believes that Martial Pacifists actually degrade martial arts by making them less "martial".
      • Although the leader of Yami, Saiga Fūrinji, seems to be a Martial Pacifist.
  • The title character from Kimba the White Lion is a diplomatic leader who prefers not to fight, but don't make him angry.
  • Lynn Kaifun/Kylie from Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech is a very skilled and handsome martial artist, but in his conversations with Hikaru/Rick and Misa/Lisa he states his disdain for the military. And in the one fist fight he does get roped into, he never actually uses a direct attack, merely dodging and redirecting attacks aimed at him. However, despite him not going around and picking fights, he's shown as quite the Jerkass too, specially to his cousin and protegée Minmay...
  • While she might not exactly be a martial artist, the title character of Lyrical Nanoha counts to a certain degree. While Nanoha has become infamous for her method of making friends, it's worth noting that Nanoha always tries to solve conflicts through dialogue. Unfortunately, her enemies always insist on more violent means and when the chips are down, Nanoha doesn't pull any punches.
  • After getting some Character Development (and a crazy-powerful Super Prototype), Kira Yamato of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED becomes one of these.
    • This is the main schtick behind the Junk Guild in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray: as backed by a pacifist, they espouse non-violence and if they have to fight, don't fight to kill. This is kinda hard when there's a nutcase with a Mobile Suit trying to kill you because you have a certain Mobile Suit. Sorry, Lowe.
  • Quatre Raberba Winner from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. His first appearance has him telling his enemies to surrender, only attacking when they refuse to listen. That's how he wins Trowa's trust in their first encounter. He also praises Zechs and Noin in Endless Waltz for defeating so many of Mariemaia's soldiers without killing them.
  • Balsa from Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. In fact, she's sworn an oath never to take a life and has a near-Heroic BSoD on one occasion where she thought she'd violated it.
  • Naruto:
    • The kind, gentle Hinata Hyuga dislikes fighting and tries to avoid it when she can, but fights surprisingly hard if she has no other choice, especially if Naruto, the boy she loves, is involved.
    • Also, Shikamaru tends to dislike fighting and tries to avoid anything "troublesome". He even dubbed himself the "number one coward" because of this. However, he is willing to put his life on the line when duty calls.
    • Uchiha Itachi, the resident Aloof Big Brother who ran a Zero-Approval Gambit (including, but not limited to slaughtering his entire clan, Mind Raping his own little brother on several occasions, joining an evil organization in order to keep his village safe, and just acting like an all-around dick) and committed suicide by little brother in an attempt to keep the peace, never gets into a fight if he can avoid it, despite his disgusting amount of skill.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: Lord Yupa is described as the best swordsman in the land, but he prefers to stop people from fighting, including blocking Nausicaä's sword with his arm at one point.
  • One Piece:
    • Sanji, the first martial artist of the Straw Hat Pirates doesn't mind a good scrap now and then, but doesn't like killing people and hasn't been shown directly doing so. The Funimation Dub makes it out like he killed Satori in Skypiea, and Sanji along with the rest of the Straw Hats (minus Nami) did go Guns Akimbo in One Piece Film: Strong World but otherwise most of Sanji's foes remain alive. In fact, two of Sanji's strongest opponents, Bon Clay and Jabra, were shown to be able to walk again after being beaten by him; Bon Clay in particular assumed Sanji would kill him, but the chef just told him it was a good fight and let him live, though Sanji wasn't above kicking Mr 2 again while he was on the ground.
    • Jinbei, the second martial artist of the Straw Hat Pirates, also hasn't been shown killing anyone; though it's implied he has in the past with Sun Pirates who attacked humans, Jinbei is mostly very honorable and refuses to kill needlessly, and his friendship with Ace meant he refused to help The Government execute him losing his place as Shichibukai as result. Jinbei also showed mercy to the rebellious xenophobic New Fishman Pirates and even the Yonko Big Mom's forces.
    • Luffy, though he isn't classified as a martial artist, is still a proud melee fighter who doesn't believe in killing his opponents since, according to Oda, that's letting his them off easy. The non-canon Movie 6 is the only time where Luffy has directly and physically killed another person.
    • While Zoro loves to fight (more so than even Luffy and Sanji), he rarely, if ever, started a fight despite his Blood Knight tendencies. After the time skip, he even stated that he won't fight people he deemed weaker than himself and if he did have to fight them, he would go directly for their weapons or intimidate the hell out of them. That said, should anyone still come after him or the Straw Hats and any ally, he won't hold back. Averted at other times as Zoro has indeed killed people albeit indirectly e.g Hawkins's men in Wano.
    • The Mink tribe in general are a race of these. They're natural-born warriors and extremely powerful, but they'd rather end problems peacefully and only fight as a last resort.
  • As insanely violent as Oyaji can be, he actually never throws the first punch, he only grew to be this strong in order to protect himself and those dear to him; there’s no conflict to be had with the man if you just let him live in peace.
  • Yellow of Pokémon Adventures. Sweet-tempered and happy-go-lucky, she hates fighting so much that it pains her to fight her attackers, and sometimes even heals them afterward. Her first option when facing an enemy is to run away. She even tries to figure out ways to immobilize her opponents without actually hurting them. However, when push comes to shove, she will fight if she has no other choice and watch out, as she has the ability to make her normally low-leveled Pokemon to get abnormally stronger in a mere few seconds.
  • Haru Glory, in the manga Rave Master believes that Rousseau Was Right and that people shouldn't fight each other, and only goes into battle reluctantly. However, given that he's The Hero of an action-heavy manga spanning upwards of thirty volumes, he's reluctantly forced to go into battle quite often. He still somehow manages not to kill any of his opponents, although some of them die soon after defeat anyway...
  • Doctor Tofu Ono of Ranma ½ was heavily implied to be one of these, and his mastery of martial arts impressed Ranma in his very first appearance. He never got to show off his fighting ability, however.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Title character Himura Kenshin was once a ruthless assassin but uses a reverse-blade sword because of his oath not to kill people again. When villains go too far, Kenshin's Battousai mode takes control, and he drops all traces of pacifism—although he's always managed to avoid actually killing someone even then.
    • Kenshin's Love Interest Kamiya Kaoru is the daughter of a swordmaster who developed a kenjutsu style called Kamiya Kasshin-ryu whose goal is to have practitioners defeat their opponents without killing them. Techniques demonstrated by Kaoru and her and Kenshin's protege Yahiko in the series include disabling strikes to joints (e.g. breaking a kneecap), and a form of Barehanded Blade Block that enables the swordsman to immediately counterattack with the hilt of their own sword. In the Distant Finale Yahiko becomes known as "the man who caught a thousand blades".
  • Parodied with Amelia's father Prince Phil in Slayers. He is a passionate devotee to the concept of justice who greatly prefers to try and settle things with peaceful discussion, but is not only very savage-looking (he's been described as resembling a dwarf built to the scale of an ogre, and Lina Inverse mistook him for a bandit chief when she first saw him) but also prone to leaping headfirst into the fray with aggressive wrestling and kung fu moves that he gives goofy names. "PACIFIST CRUSH!" "GOODWILL TO ALL MANKIND KICK!" In fact, he's so strong a fighter he once managed to kill a demon with his bare hands. Amelia normally specializes in White Magic and Shamanist magic but she's quite willing to get physical when she feels inclined (one of her homebrew spells, the Visfanrank, actually equips her with magical boxing gloves for punching out demons.) She's usually too aggressive to count as a Martial Pacifist, though she does pull it off on occasion.
  • Saint Seiya's Andromeda Shun has the most latent power of all the five main Bronze Saints, and is an exceptional fighter in his own right. However, he dislikes fighting and will often resort to peacefully resolving situations first. When his kindness is refused/abused or they overstep boundaries, then the warrior comes out.
  • Vash of Trigun. Unlike most examples which are unrealistically idealistic, Vash has brilliant strategies to save people, and is willing to hurt them if it means more lives can be saved; unfortunately, he lives in a world much more cynical than he'd like.
    • The adaptation Trigun Stampede gives Vash a novel use for his signature gun: he flips it around and holds it like a tonfa to knock people unconscious, since he'd rather not shoot anyone. Indeed, it uses .22 calibre bullets despite having an enormous barrel, making it arguably better suited for clubbing than being fired. His world is still cynical, however, meaning it's rarely enough to prevent people getting hurt.
  • Unico the Unicorn from Osamu Tezuka's Unico series strongly prefers being non-violent and believes there are still some hints of goodness inside his worst enemies. He prefers using his horn to spread happiness with others or using it as a tool and defense mechanism. Usually when facing a stories' Big Bad, Unico would either talk them down or finding a peaceful solution as he's running away from them. Similar to Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy, Unico would only resort to using his horn as a weapon usually when his enemies manage to get the upper hand or showing zero redeeming qualities. However, he does apologize to some of them or showing visible concern after injuring themselves.
  • Thors from Vinland Saga, following his retirement from the Jomsvikings in the backstory. His son Thorfinn also becomes an example after much Character Development.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun: Titular character Iruma Suzuki is a human whose horrible, abusive, greedy, stupid parents put him into life threating situations since he could walk. This horrific upbringing did him only one blessing: he has superhuman dodging reflexes. Then when he is thirteen, his parents sell him to a demon named Sullivan for money. After some time in the Demon World, Iruma takes up Demonic Archery and becomes very skilled at it, able to snipe dangerous plant-monsters from a distance. While he prefers to handle confrontations as peacefully as possible and evading attacks when possible, he continues his pascifism aims by only shooting at an enemy demon's clothing to pin them to a wall and then using magic to knock the person out. During a mock battle against a teacher, she calls him out on this tactic and claims it to be a cowardly action. He needs to find the resolve to shoot to injure or kill his enemies.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Yuya and his father Yusho fit this far too well for a card game anime. They are both stuck in a war where the losers are sealed in cards, instead of giving to their hatred and rage, they try to reason and show their opponents the true point of dueling.

    Comic Books 
  • The French comic Captain Biceps (a superhero parody) has Pacific Man, whose shtick is that he's, well, pacific. His strip consists entirely of getting the crap beaten out of him (a four-foot-tall wimp in a World Of Musclemen) by villains without ever responding in kind, only quoting pacifist philosophy at them. Then when he changes into his civilian identity, a very large, muscular and naked robot shows up to demand his clothes. He's about to comply when he realizes what he's doing, punches out the goddamn Terminator and leaves, terrified... at the thought that he almost gave away his Secret Identity.
  • The DCU:
    • Batman:
      • In one Robin (1993) issue, while Robin is training with a super-secret paramilitary unit, one of the members asks why he and Batman don't use guns. Robin replies that, unlike the cops and the military, Batman and Robin can't appear in a court of law to justify it if they end up killing someone, and they don't have any official authority, so they don't use lethal force.
      • Which is all a mask for the real reason; Bruce's parents were killed by a gunman, leading his philosophy against lethal force. Obviously they can't tell the world that, but still. However, this rule does not seem to extend to anything that's not human. In The Supergirl from Krypton (2004), you see him standing side-by-side with the Amazons wielding a frickin' BATTLEAXE, which he proceeds to bury in the bodies of numerous clones of Doomsday. His justification? They were never alive to begin with.
      • Cassandra Cain, the third Batgirl. By being able to read body language as a first language means that killing a man makes her feel the horror of the other person's death, thus she doesn't kill. She is, however, the greatest martial artist in the entire DCU, so if she wants to beat you, she will beat you.
      • A figure occasionally mentioned in Batman's backstory is Kirigi, an elderly Korean martial arts master that Bruce trained with before he started his crimefighting career. Kirigi taught Bruce a great deal and would have taught him even more if Bruce had sworn to forsake all violence afterwards. Obviously Bruce Wayne wasn't going to do that, so Kirigi refused to train him further.
      • Bear in mind that the Bat-family are willing to use potentially lethal force — punches can kill, and they use edged weapons, explosives, and, depending on the version, what are essentially guns (the Batpod's cannons in TDKR, for instance). Part of fighting for them is calculating just how much lethal force they can get away with.
    • Dove. A pacifist martial artist, and probably the only serious pacifist superhero. He makes a point of actually never hurting anyone with his moves. Of course, since he associates with his brother, Hawk, who resorts to violence in most situations...
    • Although the Teen Titans' Raven has accepted that violence is necessary, she doesn't like it one bit.
    • Wonder Woman: Traditionally this was part of being an Amazon. They are sworn to avoid violence and harming others whenever it is feasible, but play "games" like bullets and bracelets, have frequent archery and martial arts tournaments for fun, and will easily take down any opponent they feel they must fight but they will absolutely not kill. The Amazons' backstory and motivations were then thrown out and they were reinvented for Volume 2, and they still avoid killing if at all possible even in situations where lives are at risk.
    • Birds of Prey:
      • As part of the Bat-Family, Oracle strictly tries to avoid killing, and enforces this rule among any of her agents. She is willing to OK the use of lethal force when she thinks it's needed (which is notable given the rest of the Bat Family typically believe its never OK), but she will make it clear when working with someone she knows is a killer that she will not tolerate killing.
      • Black Canary: Though she's not strictly about avoiding violence, she does avoid anything that can leave a body. She's demonstrated on many occasions she's actually very proficient with firearms but never shoots at people, instead using them for covering fire. At one point, Lady Shiva remarked on her untapped potential for lethal force and offered to teach her moves that would make her the Worlds Greatest Warrior, but to do so would mean embracing moves that were lethal to perform on someone.
      • Largely downplayed with Huntress, who can and will kill when she thinks its necessary, though she doesn't kill when she doesn't have to. Her willingness to kill is something of a Once Done, Never Forgotten quality as she was basically shunned by the superhero community at large for it, and working with her caused the Birds to also face some minor backlash at first too. Since Helena basically had zero friends because of her use of lethal force, the fact Dinah didn't give a shit about it and willingly befriended her despite herself lead to Helena becoming especially attached to her.
  • Curiously inverted in the French comic Dungeon: Marvin (a weapon-master and bipedal dragon) is a Person of Mass Destruction, but he is a stern adherent to a peculiar religion that (among other things) forbids him from ever attacking somebody who has insulted him. Unsurprisingly, having to endure verbal abuse from anybody who learns his weakness has made him a cranky, cranky fellow. However, his religion says nothing about killing the children of those that insulted him and he can find his way around.
    Marvin: Is it an insult toward me or my children?
    Dragon Shaman: One must be bright to shine on this salt.
    Marvin: Then it doesn't count.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Shang-Chi prefers not to fight, but his foes and family often leave him little choice. At least one enemy sought him out purely to see if they could beat him. He was not impressed.
    • Spider-Man is not a martial artist but once he grew up, he would normally try to talk his opponents down and then restrain them with webbing. Of course, talking rarely works and the webbing only works part of the time, resulting in a prolonged battle. As of Spider Island, Pete has had some serious martial arts training enough to fight at the level he could before his spider sense was shut down, thus playing this trope straight.
    • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl would much rather chat with a super-villain than battle, but a villain trying to take her on in a fight will lose, so better to make nice.
    • Ultimate Thor. He consistently attempts to reason with opponents, but can at the drop of a hat prove why he is known far and wide as the most powerful being in his universe (and several neighboring universes, as well).
    • Storm. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, she will often be the first to offer a reasonable, peaceful solution. She tries her best to adhere to a strict "no-kill" code, and despite being one of the most powerful X-Men on the roster, actively works to ensure that she does as little harm to her adversaries as possible. Of course, her tolerance does have its limits.
    • X-23 is a Tyke Bomb trained from birth as an assassin and so firmly conditioned that the first thing through her mind when she walks into a room is a reflexive threat assessment and working out the most efficient way to kill everyone in it. She does not like this, and much of her ongoing character development has focused on her consciously choosing non-lethal means more and more often.
  • Broot from The Omega Men is an odd subversion; while he prefers to use violence only as a last resort, he was exiled from his planet for his staunch belief that, yes, sometimes violence is the answer.
  • Shakara: Brother Zengo is the peaceful leader of a monastery who opposes violence, but he's not afraid to dish out a world of hurt when an alien who only wanted to study to learn their martial arts charges him after being told to leave.
  • Surprisingly, Sin City has one: Wallace. He is very polite and often asks to be left alone before having to pull out his Navy SEALS martial arts training. At one point, he is even seen meditating.

  • The Frantics: The teacher in "Ti Kwan Leep / Boot to the Head":
    Teacher: The only use of Ti Kwan Leep is self-defense. Do you know who said that? Ki Lo Ni, the great teacher.
    Ed Gruberman: Yeah? Well, the best defense is a good offense. You know who said that? Mel, the cook on Alice.

    Fan Works 
  • Yancy in As Fate Would Have It normally chooses to avoid Pokemon battles with other Trainers, and would rather be participating in a Pokemon Contest or Musical. That said, when she does get into a battle, she can be quite good handling her Fairy-types. Just ask Hugh, who learned the hard way.
  • The popular Deva Series has Laura Sims who, despite having the sworn Thou Shalt Not Kill, is a subversion of the trope, preferring to talk after the defeating her opponent.
  • DC Nation has a few. Raven, as mentioned above. Hugh Fulbright, one of Earth's Blue Lanterns. Granola Girl Fauna. The Nation-verse Green Arrow Connor Hawke also follows this path, as he never abandoned his faith in this universe.
    Sue Dibny: [checking in with JLA members on patrol] So business as usual?
    Connor: The usual, though we should always work... [There's the sing of a bowstring over the com.] To put ourselves out of business.
  • Kyon from Kyon: Big Damn Hero. He explicitly states that violence is the last resort, but sometimes it is required. He also has the skills and training of a few black belts.
  • Cult Stuck's interpretation of Tavros. He won't fight to please Vriska, but he will to protect a friend. As the threshecutioner in the tunnels finds out.
  • Yuzu, from the Bleach fanfic Chasing the Moon and its prequel. In her own words, she hates fighting and only kills Hollows because she knows they're being purified. Given the choice, she chose to incapacitate her human (she thought he was human anyway) opponent rather than kill him. That said, if you push her against the wall far enough, she is fully capable of reminding you who she is related to, and her fighting style has elements of Combat Pragmatist and Master of Illusion. To whit, she held her own against Kyoka Suigetsu for half a fight before her brother pulled a Big Damn Heroes moment, and managed to not get killed while fighting an Espada-level Arrancar.
  • Code Geass: Colorless Memories the main character Rai is one to a degree as C.C. put's it in chapter 9 after she had witnessed him beat up a group of thugs without breaking a sweat.
    C.C: From that one fight, I learned that you're not the fighting type by that I mean you're not the kind of person who would pick a fight with someone. Your moves are all self-defense, no offensive moves. Whoever taught you wanted you to be able to defend yourself, or possibly those precious to you in your past.
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: Fluttershy's entire fighting style and Fullbring revolves around taking down her opponents without harming them. Her "fights" with Posey and Gilda sums up to resolving their issues, but if that didn't work she has other ways, just in case. Gilda even said it's less embarassing she's not a totall softie.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Terawatt tries so often to talk everyone down peacefully that it would be a Running Gag if it were funny instead of sad. She's also a firm believer that Thou Shalt Not Kill. But since people insist on not listening, she regularly has to pinch carotid arteries shut, knock soldiers out with their own guns, and taser people with lightning bolts. And she's good at it.
  • In A Thing of Vikings, this is Berk in general and Hiccup in particular. He will always seek a peaceful resolution when dealing with other kingdoms, but if left with no other choice he can and will decimate opposing armies with efficiency, and takes no pleasure in the victory.
    Hiccup: [to King Donnchadh mac Brian] If you change your mind, send a herald to Vedrarfjord. They will be treated with all courtesy and hospitality. I want peace. If you come with an army, I will smash it. If you come with an open hand, I will shake it. Am I clear?
  • Having lost his taste for blood after witnessing his kin's atrocities, Jatar in Son of the Black has made it a rule to avoid conflict whenever he can. However, he is still the Warrior Prince son of Gunmar and is willing to end a fight swiftly and efficiently if he has too. When he becomes the Trollhunter, he makes it very clear to everyone that he intends to find a way out of it and will do things his own way until that happens.
  • Kali and Ghira are portrayed as this in Knight of Salem. They prefer non-violent methods to improving the plight of Faunus, and really despise Sienna for turning the White Fang into a terrorist organization. However, when they learn Mercury's father was a monstrously abusive asshole who crippled his own son, the couple praise Mercury for killing the man in self-defense.
  • A Loud Among Demons: In contrast to his more cynical and bloodthirsty co-workers, Lincoln doesn't believe in violence and prefers to be reasonable with others. However, as the story goes on, Lincoln realizes that Hell is basically survival of the fittest, so if he has to get his hands dirty, he will.
  • Vow of Nudity: Haara calls herself this, but the stories are rather inconsistent on whether she's living up to the ideal, as she frequently starts fights and kills opponents if she has to. When she has the option, however, she'll often choose to deal nonlethal damage with her final hit to leave an enemy unconscious but alive.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bullet Train: Ladybug expresses reluctance to kill anyone, especially since he doesn't know most of the other assassins. He gives his oppenents multiple opportunities to talk things through and back out, but when it's clear that they won't do that and keep fighting, he has no problem with fighting back. He also does end up killing three people, though in one case it's accidental and he's clearly distraught over it and in another case it's to protect someone he thinks is innocent.
  • John Spartan from Demolition Man is clearly a Destructive Savior. He had no qualms about destroying a mall to save a girl. But he doesn't enjoy violence and can distinguish between hardcore criminals like Simon Phoenix who need excessive force, and petty crooks like Edgar Friendly who was only forced into the margins of society because he rejected Cocteau's sissy future.
    John Spartan: Hurting people's not a good thing! Sometimes it is, but not when it's a bunch of people looking for something to eat!
  • Master Ip in the Ip Man Film Series. In the first film, he refuses the call to start a martial arts school and prefers to talk his opponents down. Of course, if pushed, he will fuck you up. He ends up starting his martial arts school in Ip Man 2, but still prefers to talk rather than fight, and hasn't lost any of his ass-kicking ability since.
  • Mr. Miyagi of The Karate Kid is a soft-spoken repairman who opposes the brutal Cobra Kai dojo. He is very insistent on attempting to solve Daniel's problem peacefully through dialogue, and only when he sees that this will not work does he agree to train Daniel for a fight (in a relatively safe venue: a martial arts tournament). Even then, he stresses that the point of the fight is not to punish Daniel's tormentors, nor to get revenge. The point is to earn their respect so that they will stop bullying him. But when circumstances force Miyagi to fight, he is a ruthless, highly pragmatic fighter without a chivalrous bone in his body, and he has no problem kicking you in the balls or karate chopping your face after he's taken you down. It's also revealed in one scene that Miyagi is a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, which implies that he has been incredibly valorous in combat. This issue is explored again in Cobra Kai in the TV section.
  • The main character (Sing) at the end of Kung Fu Hustle becomes an example of this trope, as he opens a candy shop as opposed to, say, teaching kung fu. He, too, faces an arrogant villain, the Beast.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Faramir finds no enjoyment in combat or violence, but will engage in both when duty demands.
  • Wong Fei-Hung, a Chinese folk hero who has been the subject of more movies than can be counted, particularly Jet Li's Once Upon a Time in China series.
  • Dalton from Road House (1989), who teaches his fellow bouncers to "be nice... until it's time to not be nice".
  • Star Wars:
    • The Jedi, especially Obi-Wan in A New Hope and Luke by the end of Return of the Jedi. In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda points out that Martial Pacifism is an inherent part of being a Jedi.
      Yoda: A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.
    • Qui-Gon Jinn was the epitome of this, especially when his mid-battle meditation contrasted against Darth Maul's animalistic, restless pacing while the two were separated by a forcefield. Luke would provide a similar contrast with Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, with Luke constantly turning off his lightsaber unless he was being directly attacked.
  • The Terminator in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, after John Connor makes him take a vow of mercy.
  • The Big Bad from Transporter 3 seems to honestly consider himself a pacifist. This does nothing to stop him from trying to destroy half the Ukraine for no apparent reason or temper him when he tries to stab Frank to death.
  • When the Last Sword Is Drawn: Main character Yoshimura is a Master Swordsman who prefers the discipline of swordwork to actual combat, only fighting when he feels he has no other honorable choice.

  • After the Revolution: Roland attempts to be this trope. Through the holes of his memories he remembers that he used to be extremely violent and has associated it with a deep sense of wrongness, and as such refuses to kill — he later shows a great deal of respect for Manny for his ability to talk his way out of problems, a skill Roland knows he lacks. The Dallas mission puts Roland in repeated situations where it is kill or be killed, causing him to jump off the slippery slope and become more violent. By the end of the book, Roland suffers a complete breakdown and devolves back into the Blood Knight One-Man Army he used to be in his former life.
  • In the Anita Blake series, Richard is introduced as a Martial Pacifist even in the face of not only his foes mocking him for it but also the protagonist. Like all the werewolves he possesses superhuman strength and regenerative healing; unlike the others, he lifts weights and trains in martial arts so he won't have to kill. The result is a stalemate in the first few books between himself and Bad Boss Marcus, with Anita criticizing him for refusing to kill him in their next confrontation. Of course, when Richard finally listens to Anita, she promptly flees in terror and jumps into Jean Claude's arms. Apparently vampires are better than werewolves because they're more fastidious about their people eating.
  • BattleTech Expanded Universe: Clan Cloud Cobra, though naturally drawn to peace, will go to war if their Way decrees it.
  • The Council of Lords from The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant have all sworn the Oath of Peace which while it doesn't stop them from using violence it does limit them to the absolute minimum level of violence necessary. Comes back to bite them when they find out this is why the Old Lords were so much more powerful — the Oath is inhibiting their magical abilities because said magic is potentially destructive. Even after learning this, they decide to keep the Oath as they think it's too important a principle to abandon.
    Do not hurt where holding is enough;
    do not wound where hurting is enough;
    do not maim where wounding is enough;
    do not kill where maiming is enough;
    the greatest warrior is he who does not need to kill.
  • Tavi Calderon of Codex Alera is notable for this even with Always Chaotic Evil bugs. In the long run, it's a remarkably good strategy, assembling the ragtag team of species that finally halt the Vord advance.
  • The Dinosaur Lords: Karyl is one of the best cavalry commanders in Nuevaropa, and an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, but detests useless violence and prefers to resolve matters peacefully whenever possible.
  • Discworld:
    • Played with in the novel Thief of Time with Lu-Tze: after he spends most of the book going out of his way to find peaceful solutions or facing potential opponents down with the power of his reputation, his sidekick Lobsang begins to suspect that he's avoiding combat because he can't fight very well anymore. Lobsang is wrong.
    • Carrot Ironfoundersson would rather talk the situation down, but if he has to fight, he can punch out trolls and put a sword through a stone pillar. (And the man who was standing in front of it.)
  • The Hunger Games: Peeta Mellark. He can kill when he has to but is more or less a pacifist who doesn't want to see more bloodshed, even after participating in two Hunger Games. Katniss has aspects of this as well but also has a streak of "means justify the ends" that lands her with a much higher body count than Peeta.
  • Of Fear and Faith has two:
    • Phenix detests fighting people and won’t do it unless someone he cares about is being threatened, and even then will try to find a peaceful solution first. If he can’t find one though, watch out.
    • North is an odd example, being a cross between this and a Blood Knight. He, like Phenix, doesn’t believe in violence as a first solution and will try to find a peaceful way to resolve problems, but he has absolutely no patience or mercy for people he deems evil and will eliminate them on the spot, relishing the battle as he does so.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Yoko Akia is very much this. She is usually calm and peaceful. However, she beat Harry Wong, the second greatest martial artist in the world and Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, in a sparring match before going out on a date with him. Indeed, no one in the series has been able to beat her in a fight! In other words, do not get on her bad side if you know what's good for you!
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • X-Wing Series: Wedge Antilles is very willing to kill his enemies, typically Imperial. But he's much more reluctant about groups that aren't explicitly his enemies — he'll kill them if he has to, but he doesn't like it. In Starfighters of Adumar, he infuriates the diplomatic liaison by refusing to kill the unskilled Proud Warrior Race Adumari in duels, thus making the Imperials, who do kill in duels, look stronger. Late in the book, when the liaison and much of Adumar has turned against him, he's death on wings, though.
    • As seen in Outbound Flight, Chiss as a people are isolationist, tending to ignore most things going on outside of their borders. They don't even trade much with outsiders. If someone does attack them, they wipe the enemy out, but they wait for that first attack. The Chiss language has no phrase for "preemptive strike", and they find the concept unlawful. This makes Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo very unusual. He tries to convince his brother that it's foolhardy to let their enemies choose the time and place to strike, and eventually launches several attacks that get him exiled from Chiss territory.
    • In Survivor's Quest, Luke is shown the Redoubt, a star cluster that is more or less the last refuge of the Chiss people, should their military fall to something. Luke idly comments that with a sanctuary like this, the Chiss can afford to let their enemies take the first shot. Chaf'orm'bintrano takes offense to this.
      "That has nothing to do with the Redoubt. It is completely and purely a matter of honor and morality. The Chiss are never to be the aggressor people. We cannot and will not make war against any until and unless we have been attacked. That has been our law for a thousand years, Master Skywalker, and we will not bend from it."
    • Of course, once the Chiss have actually been attacked, they have no problem with abandoning the defensive strategy. In fact, they're really skilled and ruthless when it comes to war. Chiss law could be seen as, "Never throw the first punch, always throw the last punch." They'll deal with you peacefully if they can, but if you attack them, they can—and will—end you. The Chiss law is the non-aggression principle as it applies to war, apparently. Note that the Chiss occasionally go by an Exact Words interpretation of this philosophy — there's a couple incidents where they're implied to encourage or invite an attack from a potential threat, and the utterly destroy the enemy once he attacks.
    • As already stated above, Luke himself is a Martial Pacifist of the highest order; he really doesn't like fighting and will avoid it whenever possible. If he's forced to fight...well, the only thing you can do is pray to the Force. It's clearly illustrated in Heir to the Empire . During his first encounter with the Noghri, seven of them advance on him at once, brandishing unknown weapons and trying to herd him to some unknown destination. He tries to talk his way out, he tries to trick his way out, he considers running and sees that won't work — but when he sees there is no other way he feels sorrowful and kills them all within seconds.
  • There Is No Epic Loot Here, Only Puns: Delta is firmly opposed to the idea of turning her dungeon into a murder-machine, despite the system constantly offering options to poison, boil, impale, or otherwise harm and torment those who enter, and despite the valuable rewards for it. She insists that her dungeon will be a place of life and learning. Still, she's aware that some visitors will intend her harm, and she prepares accordingly. Her floors and monsters and bosses end up ridiculously strong for such a small dungeon, yet quite friendly to anyone who doesn't intend them harm, like Bob the Abyss Worm, who's a total softie if you don't hurt the crabs he's befriended. Or King Jellagon, whose default form is a cute grub offering treats to those who visit, escalating to greater levels of power and aggression as people trespass against him (taking things they shouldn't, or killing the dungeon inhabitants). Even her nastiest and cruellest boss, Wyin, is not ordinarily allowed to kill challengers.
    Cois: Master will make rules. Master will warn. Master will give chances to run. Personally, I think Master is too kind.
  • Atticus Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird. His children's hot tempers and constant scrapping are an aggravation to him, and he has no interest in having his honour defended. He believes in the law, and his courtroom manner is polite and gracious even to opposing witnesses who are clearly hostile towards him. Also, he can kill a charging rabid dog with one shot right between the eyes (maybe a little to the right) because the sheriff doesn't think he can make the shot at that distance. Note that this means that with a mad dog charging towards him and his children, his hands don't shake in the slightest.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Princess Erowin goes on record by saying she detests violence of all kinds but that doesn't mean she'll refuse to fight in self-defense.
  • In Warrior Cats, main character Firestar in particular is this: he always tries to find a diplomatic solution when it comes to conflict, and per the warrior code and his own morals never kills, unless a character like Tigerstar or Scourge threatens the forest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 has John Sheridan, war hero, the man who defied the First Ones and led the effort to throw them out, but who, when recording a message to his unborn child, started with the words his own father told him, "Never start a fight; always finish it."
  • Cobra Kai:
    • Daniel attempts to be like this and train his Miyagi-Do students accordingly, but runs into philosophical conflicts. While he does a good job of teaching defensive karate to his students, there is a failure of learning to de-escalate a situation. He even admits to himself that he's always had problems being a hothead. In their rivalry with Cobra Kai it more often manifests as his students saying "I won't throw the first punch" rather than just learning to walk away. This leads to a dramatic school fight between the two dojos, while the Miyagi-Do students proved to win their individual encounters, they lost their moral high ground and subsequently punished equally. The only student who attempts to just not fight was Demetri and this is primarily because he hates fighting, not because of philosophy he was taught.
      • In Season 3, Daniel's trip to Okinawa forces him to re-evaluate his view on the pacifism of Miyagi-do, as his encounter with a certain Okinawan Miyagi-do practitioner shows him a side of Miyagi-do that Mr. Miyagi never taught, a side that involves nerve strikes, edged weaponry, and some debilitating if not outright deadly attacks.
      If your enemy insists on war, you remove their ability to wage it.
    • Johnny recreated Cobra Kai with the idea of teaching his students how to be passionate and strong, with their mantra being "Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy." He believed that the flaw of Cobra Kai was in his mentor Kreese and not in the philosophy itself. When his students started demonstrating the end results of that philosophy, the Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, he was appalled at their ruthless behavior. From that point on he started trying to correct that issue, admitting to his star pupil Miguel that he struggles with the line between no mercy and no honor. But by the end of Season 3 he was telling his students forthright that they are not to start fights or bully their peers, picking up the Martial Pacifist philosophy from Daniel and Miyagi-Do.
  • The Doctor from Doctor Who. He preaches a message of idealistic pacifism, but when it comes down to it, his enemies are often not willing to listen to him, and he's willing to massacre entire species if they won't take the smart path when a Time Lord offers to let them withdraw peacefully.
  • Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. Shown to be a competent fighter, but only when he has to back-up one of his friends.
  • Although he doesn't know martial arts, David Banner is also a martial pacifist in The Incredible Hulk (1977). "Mister McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
  • Juken Sentai Gekiranger has the seven Kensei, martial arts masters who have taken a vow not to fight. They now serve as mentors for the Rangers.
  • Likewise, many Kamen Riders hold this type of philosophy. Special mention goes to Emu Hojo, Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: as a doctor, his main priority is helping his patients and he only fights when there's no other option. When faced with a Bugster based off of a BurgerTime-style video game, he prevents another Rider from killing it and instead feeds it hamburgers, which settles things peacefully since that's the objective of its home game. Even when ordered to hunt down the creator of the Bugster Virus, a man who has the blood of many people on his hands (including Kujou Kiriya/Kamen Rider Lazer), Emu refuses to kill him, citing the Hippocratic Oath. Which is ultimately rendered moot when his "partner" no longer needs him and kills him.
  • Kwai Chang Caine and his Shaolin masters in the original Kung Fu (1972) TV show.
  • Legion (2017): Charles Xavier is trained in combat because he was an officer in the British army during World War II, but he's first and foremost a man of peace, so if possible, he'll seek a diplomatic solution. For him, violence should only be used as a last resort.
  • MacGyver (1985): MacGyver is somewhere between this and Actual Pacifist. He will never kill, no matter what. However, beating the crap out of people is fair game when called for, even if it's a last resort. He also has no problem setting bombs when all they cause is property destruction.
  • Playfully parodied in The Middle Man. Dub-Dub describes herself as a pacifist but cheerfully beats others up with whatever weapon comes to hand should the need arise. Lacey is similar.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Played with by Tally, as she comes from a community of conscientious objectors. She believes it's her duty to be in the military, but often balks when it comes to dealing with conflict and combat.
  • Dwight Schrute in The Office (US) is a high-level martial artist known for constantly having dangerous weapons hidden throughout the office, no matter how many times Toby has to confiscate them. However, he rarely ever uses these skills, but when he does he proves his skills are real, such as when he calmly and effortlessly floors Roy with mace when the latter is furiously charging in his direction toward Jim to attack. Other than accidentally making himself a bit, Dwight does not break his calm in the slightest.
  • John Reese from Person of Interest initially zig-zags this trope, occasionally killing villains but also using his Improbable Aiming Skills to take disabling shots. This trope actually gets played straighter as the series goes on and John attempts to distance himself from certain aspects of his Dark and Troubled Past.
    • Later on, Shaw is explicitly held to this standard by the rest of Team Machine.
  • Multiple Power Rangers are this, especially when they are practitioners of a martial art. When confronted by bullies, they merely swallow whatever harassment comes to their way, despite being fully able to beat said bullies up. However, when a Monster of the Week attacks, usually accompanied by large amounts of property damage, all bets are off and they will destroy said monster. Examples are Jason and Tommy from the original series, Chad from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue and Troy from Power Rangers Megaforce. This is Truth in Television, as every responsible practitioner of martial arts will never use violence to assert power, but only in defense of others or oneself.

  • The Purge: Marcus is a diplomatic man who refuses to kill anyone (or even pull a Failure-to-Save Murder) even in self-defense, but is willing to injure or incapacitate people while fighting defensively or threaten enemies with torture.
  • Star Trek centers around the United Federation Of Planets and their exploratory/defense force, Starfleet. Despite extolling the virtues of peace and cooperation, they are able to maintain a Balance of Power against the Romulan and Klingon Empires through much of the series history (even during a brief time when the Klingons and Romulans teamed up against the Federation). When push comes to shove, the Federation is quite capable of demonstrating why you must Beware the Nice Ones.
    • Then the Federation does it again in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, by way of one jury-rigged space station inflicting severe casualties on a large Klingon fleet, and later the Federation taking the lead against the Dominion. Two of the alien characters discuss how the humans are very friendly and enjoy their creature comforts, but will become absolutely ruthless if forced into a fight.
    • Conversely, despite the Klingons being a Proud Warrior Race who think War Is Glorious, they sometimes have to remind themselves that there is nothing shameful in backing away from a fight that would do more harm than good. They often worry their friendship with the Federation will make them soft but learned that against the Dominion being slow to fight is in their best interest note , if only because when the time comes for a big show of force they are better prepared.
      • By the third season of Star Trek: Picard Worf has become one, preferring to only use violence if it's truly necessecary. However the Son of Mogh has lost none of his combat prowess over the past two decades.
  • Ultraman Cosmos will never use lethal force as an initial option, always starting battles by attempting to calm down the Monster of the Week in his Luna Mode. However, if an enemy is something that cannot be reasoned with, he will use Corona and Eclipse Mode to take them down hard.
  • Van Helsing (2016): After nearly succumbing to He Who Fights Monsters in Season 3, Vanessa becomes this in Season 4, taking a vow of Thou Shall Not Kill but still being more than willing and able to fight to protect herself and others.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): Wonder Woman is much more powerful than most of her opponents but frequently resists using her power. The best example of this is in "The Man Who Could Move the World" when she removed her bracelets, lasso of truth, and belt of strength because she would not fight Takeo Ishida.
  • Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess is a Martial Pacifist for a majority of the series. Violence is a second choice to talking, and killing someone is a huge deal for her, which she only does to protect others.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Believe it or not, Thor. In spite of his violent reputation, he was one of the few Gods who didn't take pleasure in war and reserved his violent tendencies for defending the gods from Jotnar.
    • Freyr from the same mythology. He is the god of peace and his followers avoided fighting, but in two myths he was forced to fight.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Battletech: The Magistracy of Canopus is one of these where foreign policy is concerned, having no interest in expanding into the territory of neighbouring powers or taking sides when those neighbours are at odds but still maintaining a modest but quite effective military to protect the integrity of their own borders and suppress piracy and smuggling within them. They became a little more proactive in approach later on by entering into a formal military alliance with the Taurians and Capellans, but even that was a primarily defensive agreement.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Vow of Nonviolence and Vow of Peace from The Book of Exalted Deeds command their users to do no lethal damage (either to humanoids, or to any living thing — constructs and undead are excluded), and to prevent their fellow party members from killing helpless enemies. They're very capable of disabling you with nonlethal violence, however, and they only have to spare a defeated enemy's life once. Anyone pulling an I Surrender, Suckers on someone who takes such a vow is fair game.
    • Fifth edition has the Oath of Redemption paladin, who has a tenet that encourages them to use violence as a last resort.
  • Legends of the Wulin: Invoked by users of the Subtle Force external art. They don't have to be pacifists; they can choose to cause long-term harm with their strikes. However, the style provides a damage bonus when dealing wounds that will heal after a good night's rest, a technique that causes aggressive opponents to suffer, and another that allows Marvels (such as tripping or dizzying) in place of your primary attack.
  • In Nomine: The Archangel David refuses to strike the first blow as a matter of principle, and his angels follow his example. When he strikes the second blow, there's no third; he is one of the mightiest warriors of the Host, and nearly as formidable as Michael.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: A Princess of Clubs will often be this. The Invocation of Clubs forbids the Princess from causing harm to someone who has not entered the fight or from aiding another in doing the same, but she is free to use her magic to prevent fights without causing harm and can act freely against anyone who has already thrown a punch of their own.
  • Pathfinder: The empyreal lord Korada is a skilled martial artist, but is also a consummate pacifist. He never begins fights, and never uses lethal force if he's drawn into one.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: The Children of Gaia have a reputation in-game as hippies, and it's not entirely unearned; of all the tribes of the Garou Nation, they're the ones most likely to try and convince other Garou to look deeper into the issue, examine all the sides, and maybe find a non-violent resolution if possible. They're still warriors for Gaia, and also the ones who know that if no peaceful means of resolution is possible, then it's time to go absolutely rip-shit.

    Video Games 
  • In Alpha Protocol, Mike can take this approach to dealing with problems, and it will be noted on many occasions. There's only a couple of situations where his actions will result in an enemy's death; otherwise, he can defeat his enemies nonlethally or simply ghost past them.
  • Civilization portrays Mahatma Gandhi this way. True to life, he's one of the friendliest and least aggressive leaders in the game — in Civ VI he even has the "Peacekeeper" agenda that prohibits his AI from taking any action that would see him branded a warmonger, leaving him to fight defensively or to liberate others. But he's also subject to an Ascended Meme regarding Gandhi threatening that "our words are backed with NUCLEAR WEAPONS!" in the first game, as his own way to deter aggression. A such, modern Civ games give Gandhi a fondness for nukes, so while he may not declare a war of conquest, by god he will end one.
  • Felicia from Darkstalkers. She's not as bloodthirsty for battle as the rest of the monstrous cast, but rather she seeks for peaceful coexistence between humans and Darkstalkers. Doesn't mean she can't at least have fun when kicking ass.
    Felicia: Violence doesn't solve anything, but it sure is fun!
  • This is the basis of non-lethal playthroughs of Dishonored: Corvo still attacks guards and other combatants, but opts for choking them out and the use of sleep darts as opposed to his sword and gun.
    • Made easier in the sequel, where you can non-lethally disable enemies in open combat with parries, grabs, and choking. It's harder if there are multiple opponents since guards have no issues with stabbing or shooting their allies in order to get to you, but not impossible.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, the Bosmer (Wood Elves) have a reputation for being pacifists, due to the fact that throughout all the wars throughout Tamriel's history, the Bosmer have been the aggressors in only a small number of conflicts. They have, however, been forced to repel invaders on countless occasions, so they're not averse to combat; their race has produced some of Tamriel's finest archers, and if in dire straits, they have the power to unleash the nightmarish beasts of The Wild Hunt against their foes.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Courier can be played this way. If you specialist in Speech, you can talk nearly anyone down, even the Final Boss, despite being capable of destroying them in a matter of seconds. There's also the Mormon missionary Daniel in the Honest Hearts DLC, who would rather evacuate the tribals under his care from Zion Canyon than mount a counterattack against the vicious White Legs tribe, reasoning that the valley would no longer be "Zion" if they gave up their faith to keep it. That said, he's willing to fight the White Legs should they invade the Sorrows' encampment and says he's had to kill before.
  • Kim Kaphwan of the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series is an extremely amicable Tae Kwan Do master who is working to rehabilitate recidivist criminals Chang Koehan and Choi Bounge with burning justice. His son Jae Hoon hopes to follow in his footsteps, and it doing a fair job.
    • Hotaru Futaba, also from the Fatal Fury series, is a prime example. A calm, joyful girl, and overall a very sweet person. Fighting is, for her, the only way she knows how to reach her beloved brother Gato.
  • In Final Fantasy X-2, a game-long sidequest has you trying to convince the Ronso not to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Guado (Seymour Guado had committed genocide of most of the Ronso in the previous game). Given their size and Proud Warrior Race Guy tendencies, this is easier said than done. If the sidequest is completed, the final cutscene of the quest has the Ronso arguing over whether or not to kill the Guado, before calling it off and coming to the conclusion that true strength is not strength in battle, but rather, "strength to avoid battle."
  • Humanity is this in the Galactic Civilizations series. They specialize in diplomacy, and as such the Drengin Empire persuaded another race to invade them. Humanity fought back and kicked the attacking species' ass, surprising the Drengin. What terrified the Drengin was that, post-victory, Humanity immediately stood down the majority of their military and went back to being diplomats, this being a state of mind that the warlike Drengin literally could not understand.
  • Komato Assassin Ansaksie from Iji follows such morality. She will avoid killing people if she doesn't feel it's necessary (such as Iosa knowing too much), but when it's time to kill, she has her Massacre handy.
    I think violence should be used scarcely, but with utmost force.
    • Iji herself can also qualify if you play that way. One of the enemy logs wonders at the fact that the "human anomaly" appears to be unstoppable, to the point where she can simply walk past hundreds of troops and through a hail of gunfire without even bothering to fight back.
  • In Jade Empire most followers of the way of the Open Palm, including, potentially, the player character, could be considered this. Emphasis on "most"; the Way of the Open Palm is not necessarily good, just as the Way of the Closed Fist is not necessarily evil, or so the developers would have us believe. It's a popular theory that the Big Bad, a man obsessed with things being in their proper place, is a follower of the Open Palm.
  • Lee Rekka of The Last Blade series, who is a Shout-Out to both Jet Li and Kung Fu (1972).
  • Kindly priest Tiger from Martial Masters, who prays before and after matches and asks his opponent for forgiveness after defeating them.
  • In the Mass Effect series, Shepard is this if you take the Paragon options (though its moral compass aligns more to 'reconciliation vs aggression' than 'good vs evil'). Shepard leaves a swath of devastation through anyone who won't talk, but once you start a dialog, a peaceful resolution is almost always possible. If you really focus on pacifism, you can actually even talk down Saren at the end though it only gets rid of the first stage of the end boss, because the Reaper then proceeds to possess him.
    • A lot of background dialogue implies this is why many races are wary of Humanity. Their first contact with the rest of the galaxy came in the form of a short and bitter war against the Turians (who admittedly fired first) before the ceasefire was eventually called; only to take everyone by surprise by coming onto the galactic scene under a banner of peace. Many find it hard to reconcile human expansionism and brute military strength, with their diplomatic flair and desire for a greater role in protecting galactic peace.
  • Mega Man X possesses a Suffering Circuit, and abhors the idea of hurting others, to the point where others' suffering seems to directly harm him. He remembers and mourns every enemy he is forced to destroy, regardless of their atrocities.note  All that aside, he possesses literally infinite potential for power and wisdom and rivals Zero for being the most powerful character in the timeline.
  • In the Monster Hunter franchise, the Kirin is described as this, but in most games this is Gameplay and Story Segregation. However, in Monster Hunter: World, it, along with most other Elder Dragons, won't attack you unless you hit it first.note  Elder Dragons, including Kirin, are all strong enough to generally be understood in-universe more as "living forces of nature" than as proper monsters, having abilities (in Kirin's case, control of lightning) that defy humanity's understanding of life in a series known for routinely Doing In the Wizard.
  • Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat. Despite the copious gore in the games' fatalities, Liu Kang is the only character with a fatality that isn't actually fatal, because of his time with the Shaolin having taught him peace. Later games do give him gruesome Fatalities, including one where he turns into a dragon and devours his opponent.
  • One of the warrior trainers in Planescape: Torment is a monk whose order trains in preparation for the battle of the apocalypse. Except in cases of calm, controlled sparring, they are strictly pacifistic. Thus he gets his sacred beads stolen by a band of common thugs and enlists you to get them back. Whether 'you' go about it peacefully is your choice. In fact, the monk will be happier if you tell him that you did use violence to get the beads back (regardless of whether you're telling the truth or not). The Nameless one can fit into this trope as well, as the game often gives the option of not fighting, and frequently rewards you better if you manage to avoid combat (there are only 3 or 4 times where you absolutely have to fight in this 40 to 60-hour game).
  • The Shaolin monk Chinnen from Power Instinct is an intentional subversion, being a selfish know-it-all who's likely to pound you for looking at him the wrong way. His idea of meditating is passing out after binge drinking.
    • Lynn Baker from Rage of the Dragons. She's one of the types who practices martial arts as a means of spiritual fulfillment and all that.
    • Elias, a Catholic priest from Rage of the Dragons and Power Instinct Matrimelee, as well. While he abhors violence in general, he recognizes that there are times when there is no other alternative and that the Father will understand and forgive.
  • Professor Layton. He considers violence to be beneath a gentleman like himself, but if you actually push him to the point where there's no other option, he will kick your ass ten ways to Sunday.
  • Boman Delgado of the Rival Schools series firmly believes that violence is not the answer as a devout Christian, but he's prepared to do whatever it takes to bring peace to his school.
  • Tikal the Echidna from Sonic the Hedgehog is a softspoken, kindhearted girl who in her time strived for peace through non-violence and communication. She's also the chief's daughter of the Knuckles tribe and while it's exceedeingly rare that she'd actually be pushed to the point of physical conflict, when her hand is forced, she's every bit as effective as her modern day descendant Knuckles.
  • The title protagonist of sora. While she may not want to get dragged into a Forever War that she knows next-to-nothing about, she still won't hesitate to fight those who get in her way if it means ensuring a bright future for the planet.
  • Star Trek Online's Deferi have this as their racial hat. They are neutral in most of the game's conflicts due to their ethical code and philosophy of seeking balance in all things and will only fight in self-defense. At the time of the game they're at war with the Breen for attacking them in ancient times, and with the Borg because they're a threat to everybody and can't be negotiated with for the most part.
  • In Stellaris, most nations with the "Pacifist" or even "Fanatic Pacifist" ethos end up having to be this. Pacifists don't do offensive wars — they can only declare war to take back stolen colonies, to contain Fanatical Purifiers and other Absolute Xenophobes, to stop the rampage of an Awakened Ascendancy, or in the case of non-fanatic pacifists, to create client states with the same ethos. The galaxy is just too dangerous to go without a military, however. Always-hostile pirates, spaceborne life forms, conquest-hungry neighbors, and far worse things are out there, making a self-defense force a necessary investment.
  • Dhalsim from Street Fighter. He only enters the tournament for the purpose of raising money for his village and is deeply troubled by the fact that he has to resort to violence in the process. Even when fighting, he goes out of his way to avoid causing serious harm to his opponents.
    • Also, Elena. A Capoeira face-kicking beauty who travels the world and enters fighting Tournaments to meet new friends. Seriously.
    • Ryu, perhaps? He's probably more fight-happy than average but the rest fits.
      • Arguably, these are all explained by the Street Fighter tournament being, at its very base, a sporting event. It is, after all, a tournament, and the people in it are doing so on a voluntary basis. (Or mostly voluntary.) Fighting for sport against an opponent who is also doing so can probably still fill a pacifist ideal.
    • Gouken is a perfect example of this trope, contrasting his Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy brother Akuma. Although both of them studied the same master, Goutetsu, Gouken despised killing so much he toned the lethality in his fighting style down, which he then taught to Ryu and Ken. Despite not embracing the Satsui no Hadou like Akuma, he was still powerful enough to beat Akuma in their first encounter and survived Shun Goku Satsu in their second. He has even achieved a level of Mu no Ken (Fist of Nothingness) that is on par with Akuma's Satsui no Hadou, yet completely opposite in nature.
  • Sword of the Stars: The Liir are super-friendly psychic space dolphins who not long ago were living in agrarian and nomadic hunter-gatherer societies with limited technology, and war was unknown to them. Being conquered and enslaved by a starfaring race named the Suul'Ka and forcibly marched into an industrial revolution was a terrible wake-up call for them, and after overthrowing their masters and stepping into the cosmic boxing ring, they now understand the brutal necessity of violence and warfare. It's conducted entirely by Black Swimmers, a Legion of Lost Souls who willingly separate themselves from other Liir lest their murderous insanity spread to the rest of the species.
  • Tales of Xillia has Jude Mathis. His very first battle is of him fighting to save his life and he has some victory quotes that show he really wishes he didn't have to fight — but he will if he must. Appropriately enough, he is a martial artist and not one to be taken lightly considering the swath of destruction he ultimately leaves in his wake on his journey.
  • Warframe, Baruuk is a unique example of this trope among the Warframes. None of his basic abilities deal direct damage. They instead allow him to phase through attacks, put enemies to sleep, and forcibly disarm them. But after using these abilities enough, his Restraint meter will eventually be depleted enough to use his ultimate ability, Serene Storm, allowing him to mow down his foes with wind blasts and palm strikes that can go through walls.
  • Exaggerated in Way of the Passive Fist, a Beat 'em Up with a pacifist player character who can only dodge or parry attacks until enemies are exhausted, then knock them over with a dismissive flick of the wrist. You have to charge your super meter with combos just to throw one (1) actual punch, which is the only way to damage bosses.
  • General Hawthorne of the Alliance in World of Warcraft strongly believed in winning the war with minimal casualties, focusing more on breaking the fighting spirit of the Horde than wiping them out. Unfortunately, the Alliance ambassador wanted to wipe them out, and the Horde rather conveniently learned when to ambush Hawthorne.
  • The Goners of the X-Universe are Actual Pacifists for the most part (their ships aren't even armed, in a universe where even civilian freighters carry at least a tail gun), but push them far enough collectively and they will fight back with lethal force. This is amply demonstrated at the end of the Goner plot in X3: Terran Conflict when the Goners have the player character smuggle a crapload of bombs onto a pirate space station whose residents have been preying on their supply lines.
  • Fei Fong Wong from Xenogears has a distinct dislike for combat, since the first time he goes all-out in the game accidentally levels his home village and hates how the world's various factions are interested in him for his fighting ability. But he's still willing to get in his Gear and fight to help his friends.
  • Yakuza 's Kazuma Kiryu would much prefer to live a peaceful life tending to an orphanage and taking care of children than having to fight. When push comes to shove, though, make no mistake: he will absolutely kick your ass. And if you hurt a kid in front of him, don't bother fighting back: you'd be better served to pray he doesn't just straight-up kill you.

  • The unnamed heroine of The Bully's Bully tries to deal with bullies nonviolently if possible and with minimum violence otherwise.
  • Grace from El Goonish Shive is actually training to become this. She hates fighting and was brought to tears the one time she had to unleash her full strength on someone (despite that someone being the Omnicidal Maniac God-wannabe who abused her for years). She's taken up martial arts so she has more options than "cower in corner" or "tear to shreds".
  • Gosu: Gang Ryong. Despite the dying wishes of his master, he actively avoids getting into fights where possible and never uses lethal force where possible. The only time he has killed was when his hand was forced.
  • Guilded Age: Syr'Nj left her nature-loving, isolationist home to join the military of expansionist Gastonia in hopes of finding a way for Wood Elves and Humans to live in harmony.
  • Dhiar from the mature satire Incubus Tales comports himself as a pacifist in all circumstances possible and always tries to resolve a situation without violence; he has, however, had to resort to violence more than once and carries a whip — with which he is highly skilled — as a matter of pragmatism.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons:
    • Knights of the Holy Concordance, Angels who still hold to the Old Law (of which there aren't many left) always begin combat with a long prayer to the gods, ending with "forgive me for this violence I am about to inflict." Angels also favour using martial arts that subdue rather than kill if possible, like Fierce Horse Style.
      Alt Text: One side effect of the prayer of forgiveness is a rather long period in which an angel will do nothing but defend themselves. This is commonly held by many Throne criminals to be a grace period in which you may safely believe you can actually do something to an angel in close combat.
    • A repeated motif in the comic is that the greatest masters of Sword Law in the comic get so good at the blade that they cross a line over to the point that they stop using the sword at all. Meti ten Ryo, the greatest swordswoman to ever live, became a beggar, Lord Intra the Sword Saint became a wandering outlaw and teacher, and Mathangi ten Meti (whose given name means "Murder the Gods and Topple Their Thrones") is a beggar knight (all three are also perpetually drunk). By contrast, those who use their knowledge of Sword Law to harm and kill others are described as "exceptionally poor swordsmen".
    • The Order of the Silent Voice were a sect of pacifistic warrior monks and the sole practicioners of Ki Rata, The Greatest Style in The Multiverse. According to the author, they viewed the style in the same way Robert Oppenheimer viewed the Atomic Bomb and their training and discipline existed to make them never want to use Ki Rata. They only learned the style in the first place (and trained others in their use) so there would always be a monk of the Order capable of killing anyone on the Wheel who learned a Ki Rata technique by other means. The Monks were all destroyed by a Deceptive Disciple who went on to monopolize the style, having utterly failed to learn anything from their teachings.
  • Mob Psycho 100 has several:
    • Mob himself hates fighting people, preferring to stick to exorcising ghosts — but when he's pushed too far, or when there's no other options left, he proves himself to be an utterly terrifying adversary.
    • The bodybuilding club at his school is filled with huge, muscular guys who specifically did not build up their bodies for the purpose of fighting and who prefer to avoid violence whenever possible... but when forced to fight, they're terrifyingly powerful.
  • Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi: We all know that Samurai Jack is a Martial Pacifist badass. However when you read what he says here he just upgraded to patron saint of Martial Pacifist.

    Web Original 
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Gohan is depicted as this. Goku's failure to recognize that he doesn't like fighting leads to the ultimate failure of his Batman Gambit to get Gohan to defeat Cell. Even when he turns Super Saiyan 2 in the wake of Cell killing Android 16, and now has the impetus to fight, he still has this trait. And he makes damn well sure Cell understands crystal clear exactly how much and why he hates fighting:
    Gohan: Cell, you don't get it. I hate this. The vibrations through my fists on contact… the taste of blood in my mouth… the sound of my heart in my ears… I hate it. I always have. But right now, in this moment, the only thing I hate more than it is you.
    Cell: (sotto voce) Put that on a valentine.
    Gohan: Because you were right about me. I was a coward… scared of what might happen if I snap. Afraid that, if I lost it this time, I'd… never come back. That I'd finally kill someone. But I'm not scared anymore, Cell.
    Cell: Well... glad I could—(gets kicked into next week)
    Gohan: Because there's no point in being afraid of the inevitable.
  • Corrie, Cambria, Phylis, and Spark from The Gungan Council would all wish not to harm another being, yet they're all ready to kick ass when needed.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Uncle Iroh was largely this way even before the loss of his son. For one thing, he only pretended to kill the last dragon so that the species could live in peace.
    • This is part of the philosophy of the Air Nomads. Aang lives up to this, except when in the Avatar State; in fact, a minor plotline in the last season revolves around the question of whether he could set aside his pacifism and kill Ozai. He takes a third option.
    • It's noted by Avatar Yangchen, a female Air Nomad who was the last airbender to be the Avatar before Aang came along, that while as an Air Nomads, people like herself and Aang should hold all life sacred, the duties and beliefs of that Avatar precede those of Air Nomads, and basically tells Aang that sometimes you have to sacrifice your own spiritual needs/beliefs and do whatever takes in order to protect the world. Yangchen's historically noted for her power, and her duties as an Avatar were carried out so well that peace extended from her lifetime all the way through to the majority of that of her successor, Avatar Kuruk (a male waterbender from the northern water tribe).
    • The new Air Nation from The Legend of Korra also fit the trope, but place much more emphasis on the "martial" part than the "pacifist" part. While still spiritual and nonviolent by preference, Tenzin and all of his children became effective bending combatants from a very young age, and after Airbenders return to the world in force, they take a much more active role in preserving world peace than the old Air Nomads had. Tenzin's son Meelo takes this to an extreme, given his Blood Knight tendencies.
  • Played for Laughs in The Boondocks with Reverend Sturdy Harris, a Civil Rights-era activist and Suicidal Pacifist who refused to use violence no matter what. For self-defense he developed his own martial art called "hard chin, soft hand" which gently subdued attackers without harming them, and he had the Charles Atlas Superpower to make it work.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: The entire team will use their rings to defend themselves or other people, but they don't use them in ways that will kill their target. Gaia implies that a certain amount of pacifism is necessary for the Planeteers' work, but apparently that does not eliminate non-lethal possibilities such as hitting an opponent with a burst of water or wind. Wheeler is an interesting double version because the pilot shows he was this way even before getting his powers: the fear the mugger shows when he turns up implies that that the last person who goaded Wheeler to fight ended up on the wrong side of the battle, but Wheeler is perfectly willing to let the mugger run and get away with nothing worse than an intimidation display.
  • Parodied in Futurama episode "Godfellas". The Monks of Teshuva try to bluff Leela and Fry with their martial arts skills; but when Leela calls their bluff, they immediately back down and admit to being Actual Pacifists.
  • Hey Arnold! had an episode about Arnold learning to become one after overusing his martial arts skills and crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Jackie Chan from Jackie Chan Adventures is something of a variation of this trope, though less on the disciplined side. While constantly saying he doesn't want to resort to violence... he tries to run away. Naturally, being Jackie Chan, it's used for a comedic edge and he will end up fighting. And he has every reason to!
  • Legend Of The Dragon has Ang as this. He thinks about responsibility instead of power, prefers to think before acting, and he felt his sister Ling deserved to be the Golden Dragon. Well, guess what? He was chosen to be the Golden Dragon instead of her! He does prove to be quite the fighter when he has to be.
  • Samurai Jack himself was taught this from an early age by many cultures, including the Shaolin monks. In fact, Jack is quick to draw the blade against opponents, who are invariably robots. The few that are not robots, however, he hesitates. In one episode, his readiness to fight gets him in trouble when Aku uses his anger to create Mad Jack, a clone of Jack that knows only anger. As they fight, Jack begins to look more like Mad Jack, until it's almost impossible to tell them apart (and they set the whole forest on fire). Jack is only able to defeat Mad Jack by meditating to restore his inner calm, which results in Mad Jack vanishing. Jack is noticeably slower to anger in subsequent episodes as a result. He also won't hesitate to kill in self-defense. In the famous episode "The Princess and the Bounty Hunters" he seemingly kills the titular Bounty Hunters in a spectacular Curb-Stomp Battle taking only a few seconds (according to Word of God they all survived), and only spares the Princess when she drops her weapon. A big plot point early in the fifth and finale season, is Jack coming to terms with having to kill one member of an Amazon Brigade of Aku worshiping sisters, that were sent to kill him. Jack manages to come to terms with it, by remembering a traumatic moment in his childhood, when his father had to kill a group of bandits that were threatening them and gave Jack a few words of wisdom on the subject while comforting him. Later, when it is time to confront the rest of the sisters, Jack has realized that sometimes one must put their own survival over their moral code and warns the sisters they can still turn around and leave peacefully, but if they choose to continue trying to kill him, he will defend himself, even if it means having to kill them. It's later revealed that he lost his sword as a result of the one time he didn't abide by this, after he killed a group of possessed goats in anger over Aku's latest sabotage and was deemed no longer pure of heart.
  • Steven Universe: Steven's late mother, Rose Quartz, was an All-Loving Hero, but that didn't stop her from effortlessly beating up a triple-Ruby fusion with her bare hands if she decides it's necessary. Her personal sword was designed to be able to easily slice through the bodies of Gems, but never destroy their actual gemstone itself.

    Real Life 
  • The Shaolin Monks studied and developed their fighting style out of self-defense and swore an oath to only use these arts to protect. They took no pride in killing, and even less in needing to fight in the first place.
  • The entire martial art of Aikido is based on this principle. It has no purely aggressive movesnote .
  • Many people believe eastern martial arts started in India by Buddhist monks as a way to discipline body and mind, not for fighting.
    • The main alternative theory is that it was because weapons were more expensive than most could afford and banned by many governments.
  • The art of Taijiquan (more commonly known as Tai Chi Chuan or simply Tai Chi) is both a healing art and a martial art, though it's not clear which (if either) it started as. Its positions and motion help one to improve strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, coordination, and patience — and, like all arts, it has a philosophical element that emphasises knowledge of the workings of one's mind and living in the moment. However, all the moves/forms have hand-to-hand combat applications (albeit sped up, of course, as Taijiquan is usually practiced at a firm but relatively slow pace). More specifically Taijiquan teaches one to avoid superfluous movement and use the attacks of others against them — not by delivering counter-blows to stop their attacks dead, as in Kung Fu, but by moving with one's opponent and thereby putting them off-balance. Philosophically, Taijiquan is supposed to teach its practitioners to resolve/avoid cognitive dissonance (i.e. wholeheartedly believing in two contradictory concepts at once), deal with others in a social context (including duels of wit), and just generally move less clumsily and with more grace.
  • Sikhism was originally a completely pacifist religion meant to bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims - but after a torrent of religious persecution courtesy of the Moghuls which included horrifying executions of their religious leaders, succeeding Gurus placed emphasis that on top of their religious and spiritual observance they must also utilize martial prowess when necessary to defend themselves and others. This is the reason why practicing Sikhs must carry a dagger at all times and why they tend to, to this day, be over-represented in military forces like the U.N and the Indian and British armies.
  • There's a joke that goes like this. Also told about Israelis and probably others.
    • An Englishman, a Frenchmen, and a Russian are traveling through the jungle when they're captured by cannibals. The cannibal chief is a civilized person and will grant them one last request. The Frenchman asks that he have sex with the chief's daughter before he dies. The chief grants this, the Frenchman does the horizontal mambo and is killed and cut up for stew. The Russian asks that the chief kick him in the ass. The chief is confused, but willing, and does so. The Russian tumbles, comes to his feet, and pulls out a pistol. He shoots the chief and a half a dozen men, then runs for his bag, pulls out a rifle, and massacres the rest of the cannibals. The Englishman is shocked. "Why", he asks the Russian, "did you not do that earlier?" The Russian sneers and says "Russians are not aggressors."
    • The Israeli version changes the punchline to, "And get blamed by the UN for being the aggressor?" Israel, famously, has never declared a purely offensive war.
  • There's an old joke about a Quaker in Philadelphia who confronts a burglar on his front steps with a double-barreled shotgun, and tells him "Friend, I mean thee no harm, but thou art standing where I am about to fire!"
    • Similarly, a Quaker is asked by his neighbor why he is carrying a gun as he goes to town. He explains that Quakers are non-violent because they believe no one should die before their time comes. And so, he carries the gun because on his way to town, he may meet some robber whose time has come.
    • Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler was known as "The Fighting Quaker" in his time. At the time he held the highest rank in the Marine Corps, one of only 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice and 'the' only Marine to also receive the Brevet Medal for separate actions, and after his retirement an outspoken critic of War for Fun and Profit. He's best known for his involvement in Congressional hearings concerning an alleged, attempted fascist coup known as the Business Plot.
    • The original "Fighting Quaker" during the Revolutionary War, Gen. Nathanael Greene, renowned for his humane attitude toward the British. Wasn't enough to keep him from being expelled by the Quakers, though.
  • Guillaume Henri Dufour.
    • He was General of the Swiss army during the brief civil war, which he won with less than 100 dead on both sides combined. Later, he was instrumental in founding the Red Cross and presided over the first Geneva Convention. He was also an important topographer, leading to Switzerland's highest peak being named after him.
    • Switzerland, famously neutral, shot down both Allied and Axis planes that encroached its airspace during World War II.
    • This trope in general is pretty much Switzerland's military policy in general: the country abides by armed neutrality, meaning that while never starting or joining a conflict is more than prepared and able to fight and defend themselves if ever attacked.
  • Perhaps unbelievably considering his reputation, Sun-Tzu considered that the greatest victory of all was one where the fight never happened.
    • He explains it himself. An enemy will only fight if he believes he either has a chance to win, or you've backed him into a corner and he's fighting for his life. A completely crushing victory provides an enemy with neither. Also, convincing an enemy to surrender without a fight gives you an opportunity to preserve his resources intact for the next fight.
    • In his own words:
      Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
  • Chuck Norris, as a rule, prefers to back down from petty conflicts — possibly because he's a Christian who takes turning the other cheek seriously.
    • He tells a story in his autobiography(?) in which he's at a bar, and a biker-type comes up behind him and insists on taking his seat. Chuck complies without saying a word. Shortly thereafter, the biker realizes that he just took Chuck Norris' seat. He walks over to Chuck, now sitting in a booth, and asks why Chuck didn't simply beat him up. Chuck's reply: "What would it prove?"
    • Allegedly beat up some (armed) would-be robbers who knew who he was, but didn't realize he was a skilled fighter in real life and not just on the screen.
  • Gichin Funakoshi was the founder of modern karate. He recounts in his autobiography how, in the chaos of post-war Japan (when he was in his seventies), someone tried to mug him. In Funakoshi's memorable phrase 'his stance was full of holes', so Funakoshi stepped in and held the guy by the balls until the police arrived. He follows this story by a description of how ashamed he felt later, considering that he had abused his art.
  • Jet Li has gone on record saying he's never been in a real-life fight and hopes never to be in one and is strongly against the use of martial arts for violent ends.
  • Any good martial arts teacher should emphasise to their students that their skills should only ever be as an absolute last resort and/or in self-defense (or, at the very least, in the defense of another person).
  • Many professional armed forces tend towards this, as they recognize that not only is wanton and unnecessary slaughter bad PR, but it also can cause more problems than it solves. They also tend to have fairly specific rules for when lethal force is required, and will use it quite effectively once it is allowed. Leading to this somewhat dark take on the trope:
    General James Mattis, USMC: Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
  • There are jokes that S.W.A.T stands for "Sit, Wait and Talk". That is because, despite dressing up like combat soldiers and packing more heat than a supernova, S.W.A.T teams are not there to kill suspects, but to intimidate them into surrendering. They will if they have to, but most see the best outcome being where nobody, including the suspect, dies and everyone comes back alive.
  • Brazilian MMA fighter Vitor Belfort was once asked on an interview what he would do if someone hit his car, to which he responded: "If someone hit Pavarotti's car, would he start singing an opera?"
  • Chinese philosopher Mozi founded a school called Mohism that was based around pacifism (among other things), and the Mohists strongly opposed the militaristic aggression of the Chinese states. His philosophy also stressed education, particularly in areas such as mathematics and engineering. And so his students became known as specialists in siege warfare and defensive engineering, training the smaller and weaker states and helping them build fortifications to fight off attacks from larger powers.
  • Jackie Chan's movies often have him reluctantly being dragged into fights, even after he tries running away or pleading with his opponents to stop. Once he starts fighting though, he will use everything and anything to knock your punk-ass down.


Video Example(s):



Being the personification of Anarcho-Capitalism, Ancap refuses to start a fight to uphold the NAP. If you are the one that violates it however, it's fair game.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / MartialPacifist

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