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Rival Dojos

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A pair of rival schools of martial arts, run by a pair of masters who have probably been feuding for years before the series even started. If dojo is applied to non-Japanese martial arts, its use is an example of the Far East trope.

Most often, but not always, the two masters were students of the same martial arts style before branching off to different styles: the protagonist usually (but not always) learning under the benevolent master who teaches wisdom and self defense, while the rival school is run by an Evil Mentor who encourages its students to be ruthless, aggressive and brutal. A tough Sensei for Scoundrels who takes the pragmatic middle-of-the-road approach could substitute for either of them.


A subset of this trope comes in the form of members of one school (or even an unaffiliated challenger looking to show his prowess) going to the other dojo and challenging the sensei or top student to a match, usually as an excuse to then completely ransack the dojo, maim everyone inside, and steal a memento of their victory (typically the dojo's marquee). This kind of act, whose exact term is dojoyaburi (道場破り, "dojo storming"), is Truth in Television, and there are stories about brutal dojo wars in historic Japan and more recently in the Brazilian vale tudo scene.

Very often comes up in Fighting Series. This situation often involves or ends with the main students from both schools eventually becoming friends or at least allies (usually after one of them defeats the other), effectively ending the feud, or turning it into a friendly rivalry (if it wasn't already) instead.


See also Feuding Families and Fire-Forged Friends.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • Being the quintessential Fighting Series (at least in Manga), Dragon Ball of course has this, with Goku learning the Turtle Style from the Muten Roshi, while his rival Crane Hermit's teaches his students styles of brutal assassination. Goku fights two members of the Crane School, the Crane Hermit's brother Tao Pai Pai and his star pupil, Tenshinhan. Tenshinhan defeats Goku the first time, but, in a rare occurrence for this trope, his Heel–Face Turn begins even before Goku eventually bests him.
    • The two styles get revived after the events of Dragon Ball Z in Dragon Ball Online, though the rivalry is more friendly in nature since they're headed by Kuririn/Krillin and Tenshinhan. There's still a schism between their philosophies, inspired by what each took away from their time fighting alongside Goku: the New Turtle School is all about playing support, while the New Crane School focuses on performing powerful, decisive ki attacks.
  • Pokémon did an episode about a pair of rival Gyms. Each of them tried to be official Gyms, but in the end, neither of them were worthy enough to be declared as an official Gym.
    • The games also featured this with Saffron City's two Gyms, one for the Fighting-type and one for the Psychic-type. Only one got to be the official Gym of the city, and the Psychic-type Gym won due to Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors.
  • Bamboo Blade has rival Kendo schools.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has the Ryonzanpaku Dojo vs. the criminal organization YAMI. They both are run by superhuman martial artists (that have Charles Atlas Superpower to the point they are "Physical God"-level badasses), and they re both (in a way) Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy-types (only the former is the "Condescending Compassion because they are the only ones that can fight other Masters" type vs. actual murderous arrogance), and their conflict essentially boils down to "Thou Shalt Not Kill and use martial arts to protect people vs. martial arts should be used to kill people and lord over them".


  • Jackie Chan's first starring role, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, is about two rival schools, Snake Hand and Eagle Claw. Eagle Claw has exterminated almost every student from Snake Hand. Jackie becomes the last student of the Snake Hand, and incidentally is able to fight the master of Eagle Claw without being killed, so he learns about his style and combines both of them into the style that names the film.
  • The central conflict in the Bruce Lee film Fist of Fury is between the hero's Chinese kung-fu school, and an antagonistic Japanese karate school. By the end, an open conflict between the two schools has left everyone dead except for a few of the hero's friends from the kung-fu school.
  • Turned drastically Up to Eleven in Star Wars where the Jedi and the Sith teach opposing philosophical approaches to similar martial and magical skill, and have been at each others' throats for twenty-five thousand years.
  • Supported by Miyagi Dojo vs Cobra Kai in The Karate Kid (1984) and The Karate Kid Part III. The rivalry gets revived years later in Cobra Kai, when Johnny Lawrence revives the titular dojo and Daniel in-turn revives the Miyagi-do. Sadly, Reality Ensues, and by the end of season 2 the heady mixture of resentment, petty feuds, vandalism and one-upmanship explodes into an outright war, leaving multiple students from both dojos injured, permanently disabled and in one case possibly dead.
  • Inverted by Best of the Best, where the two schools are both honorable and have similar philosophies.
  • Ninja Academy. Oddly enough, one of the students at the Hero ninja academy is a mime.


  • The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway has a rivalry between a ninja school and a mime school. (Yes, the mimes are martial artists. Don't ask.)
  • As they draw significant influence from European Swordsmanship, (see Real Life below) the Elsabeth Soesten books have this come up quite often. In Bait And Switch Elsabeth and Husson nearly get into a duel over the superiority of their respective masters.


     Live-Action TV  

     Professional Wrestling  

  • This was the whole point of the FWA Academy vs. WAW Academy - Academy Warfare event. This was mostly put on, since the academy happened to share some of their students, mostly.
  • Coastal Championship Wrestling saw a rivalry between CCW's Bodyslam University and Main Event Training Center after Pablo Marquez left Bodyslam and founded Main Event in protest to Bodyslam's head trainer, Cash Money Alex G, abuse of female students. As it is also in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, The Spot can sometimes act as a third wheel. For those of you worried, this rivalry was just an angle to give CCW Wrestlers something to fight over, Alex G doesn't actually try to hurt students, female or otherwise.

     Video Game  

  • Jade Empire naturally has a variant on this (It's technically the same school, but the two teachers use different styles). You get to decide which master's teachings come out on top.
  • Pokémon Red and Blue: The current official Gym in Saffron City is dedicated to the Psychic-type under Sabrina. Immediately next door is the Fighting-type dojo, which used to be the sanctioned Gym until Sabrina and her followers crushed it, though they still devote themselves to the practice. And then the Player comes along and sacks the Fighting-dojo a second time, forcing the Karate King to beg him not to take their emblem, instead offering up one of their prize Pokemon.

     Web Original 

  • This is the Central Theme indicated in the trailer for the second season of Cobra Kai. Miyagi-Do Karate, run by Daniel at his sensei's old home, serves as a counterbalance to Johnny's dojo. The Escalating War eventually turns into a full-scale fight-to-the-finish bloodbath between their respective students.

     Real Life  

  • Judo founder Jigoro Kano had to defeat several other jujutsu schools, among them Teshin Yoshin-Ryu and Ryoi Shinto-Ryu, in order to push his own and create the art as we know it. Ironically, he had to endure a massive loss when his school lost to the Fusen-Ryu faction, from where he brought the groundfighting principles to his art.
  • So common was this in Japan that Kyokushin karate founder Mas Oyama kept baseball bats on his dojo in case of a dojoyaburi.
  • In Brazil, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and luta livre schools were bitter enemies, as they featured opposite combat philosophies and taught different social demographies (BJJ was the martial art of the high class and Brazilian elite, while LL dojos were cheaper and friendlier to lower classes and poor people). Eventually Brazilian jiu-jitsu side, led by the ubiquitous Gracie family, got the upper hand and expanded internationally via the Ultimate Fighting Championship, while luta livre became a shadow of itself and almost faded out.
    • Even inside the Brazilian jiu-jitsu side and the very Gracie family there were important dojo wars. Hélio and Carlson Gracie's schools were rivals due to their different approaches to grappling, while another branch of BJJ led by Oswaldo Fadda was against the Gracie doctrine overall.
  • New Japan Pro-Wrestling, which boasted that professional wrestling was the strongest martial art in the world, was notorious for shutting the doors to its dojo when someone came in to challenge any of the professional wrestlers and then giving out No Holds Barred Beatdowns to the unlucky challengers.
  • Count Dante's Dojo Wars.
  • Comes up throughout the history of European Swordsmanship as well. The rivalry between the Brotherhood of St. Mark and Federfechter in particular stands out, as the former held a monopoly on instruction in the Holy Roman Empire, which the latter infringed upon.

Alternative Title(s): Dueling Dojos


Example of: