List of fictional martial arts

List of fictional martial arts

Many works of fiction such as movies and books have characters that practice martial arts. Usually they practice existing martial arts, such as Judo or Aikido, but sometimes a martial art is made up for dramatic purposes or to lend a fictional world a sense of authenticity. This is a list of such martial arts, sorted by the medium of the fictional work they appear in.


Books, comics, and card games

  • Déjà-fu from Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Specifically demonstrated in Thief of Time by the History Monk Lu-Tze, its only known master. It is best described as "the feeling that you have been kicked in the head this way before." Other Discworld martial arts include (comments by Lu-Tze):
Okidoki ("Just a lot of bunny hops.")
Shiitake ("If I wanted to thrust my hand into hot sand I would go to the seaside.")
Upsidazi ("A waste of good bricks.")
No kando ("You made that one up.")
Tung-pi ("Bad-tempered flower-arranging.")
  • Naked/Kill from Trevanian's novel Shibumi.
  • Baritsu — Japanese wrestling style used by Sherlock Holmes, either a typographical error for, or a bowdlerization of, Bartitsu.
  • Cards as Weapons — mock martial art of throwing playing cards with extreme force and accuracy, as presented in magician/card-scaler Ricky Jay's book of the same title. It has since been used in many pieces of fiction as the martial arts of choice for a gambling rogue character, usually using razor-sharp shuriken designed like playing cards for their attacks. The Magician with Bill Bixby features steel playing cards used in this manner. Many Chinese television series use similar devices,[citation needed] when cards can be used to cut. Something similar is practiced by the Marvel Comics hero Gambit, who throws playing cards with extreme accuracy and uses his mutant ability to turn the cards into explosive projectiles.
  • Heliconan Twisting— a martial arts form seemingly equal parts Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga. It is practiced by Hari Seldon, a key character from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of books.
  • Sinanju — a Korean martial art handed down for many generations in the Destroyer series. It is considered the forerunner to most real-world martial arts and is called "the sun source" by its practitioneers.
  • Klurkor— a Kryptonian Martial art used in the DC Universe.
  • Kung Fu High School is a brutally descriptive action, romance, fiction novel written Ryan Gattis.
  • Omnite, a martial art used by the title character in Logan's Run.
  • Coup de vitesse, favored by the Manticoran military in David Weber's Honorverse
  • Neue-stil Handgemenge, grappling style in David Weber's Honorverse
  • Do, a martial art known only to the "Akashic Brotherhood" in the White Wolf tabletop RPG Mage: The Ascension.
  • Munchkin Fu — from the Games 'Munchkin Fu' and 'Munchkin Fu 2 - Monky Business' by Steve Jackson Games. The game describes styles like Drunken Monkey Kung Fu, Kong Fu, Fee Fi Fo Fu, Sna Fu, and Stomach Fu.
  • Llap-Goch; a Welsh martial art featured in a mock advertisement in The Brand New Monty Python Bok, which claims to be able to teach students how to grow taller, stronger, faster, and more deadly in a matter of days. Those proficient in the style become "First Dai", awarded black braces (suspenders)
  • Ecky Thump; a Lancastrian martial art featured in The Goodies. Exponents use the black pudding (blood sausage) as a weapon.
  • Pung Fu; an Asian martial art for women, featured in the Norwegian comic Kollektivet. It's all about kicking men in the groin (the word "pung" can translate "testicles").

Video games

  • Insult swordfighting — employed in the Monkey Island series, which is a combination of fencing and insulting the opponent as a form of art.
  • Jarate — employed by The Sniper in Team Fortress 2, it is claimed to be a "Jar-based Karate" that primarily involves throwing jars of urine at opponents.[1]
  • Mishima Style Fighting Karate is a fighting style that is used by many characters in the Tekken series. Used By Heihachi Mishima, Kazuya Mishima and Devil, and Jinpachi Mishima. Jin Kazama practice it in Tekken 3 and Tekken Tag Tournament but afterwards, he abandons this style and takes up "Traditional Karate".
  • Saikyo-style (サイキョー流 Saikyō Ryū?, literally the "Strongest style"), a style of Karate developed by Dan Hibiki from the Street Fighter series.

Manga and anime

  • Hokuto Shinken, or "Divine Fist of the North Star" practiced by Kenshiro of Fist of the North Star and his "uncle" Kenshiro Kasumi in Fist of the Blue Sky. The martial arts is heavily based on the application of pressure points, which, when high strength is applied and/or in sequence, can cause paralysis, blindness, and massive hemorrhaging. However, the technique can also be used to heal. There is also a rival martial arts style, called Nanto Seiken, the "Sacred Fist of the South Star", which focuses on piercing and penetrating attacks by breaking through the opponent's defenses. For other martial arts style in the series, see List of fighting styles in Fist of the North Star.
  • Hatsugouryuu Aiki Jiujitsu, used by Uesegi Shizuka in the manga "Shamo". The martial art was called a legend or myth in the series due to its profound use of skill, speed and accuracy. The style uses a combined form of Aikido and Jiujitsu as shown by the manga with throws and grapples.
  • Panzer Kunst, German for "armored arts" is featured in the manga Battle Angel Alita, and was developed by Tiger Sauer, prior to the start of the series, on Mars. It is practiced by the series' main character, Alita. It was developed to anticipate cyborg attacks, counter armed opponents, zero gravity combat, strategize and analyze opponents to effectively counterattack and is very effective versus larger opponents. Those trained in this style rarely lose a second fight with the same opponent. All the ranks and attack names are in German.
  • Musabetsu Kakutō Ryū , or Anything Goes Martial Arts(from Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma 1/2), is the school of martial arts founded by Happosai, and is the art used by Ranma Saotome, his fiancée Akane Tendo, and their fathers Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo, respectively. It is most commonly believed that Anything Goes Martial Arts was founded by martial arts master and perverted lecher extraordinaire Happosai during his travels around China and Japan. How long ago is disputed as his exact age has never been disclosed. In the manga, Happosai is at least 118 and at most 230 years old (and in the anime a little over 300) with his training journey happening when he was still a young man. If this is true, then it is safe to assume that the school itself is quite old. . Happosai took two young apprentices, Soun Tendo and Genma Saotome, as his students, an act which would lead to both the creation of the two main branches of Anything Goes Martial Arts, as well as his lengthy hibernation without food or water.

True to its name, Anything Goes Martial Arts, is based on learning and adapting many different styles of martial arts, taking what works and discarding what doesn't. As such, Anything Goes Martial Arts is not confined to a single way of thinking or philosophy when it comes to martial arts combat. This gives the practitioner of Anything Goes Martial Arts the advantage of adaptability and unpredictability in a fight since he or she would ideally know moves and techniques from many different schools that complement each other, minimising perceptible weaknesses.

It is interesting to note that the philosophy of Anything Goes Martial Arts is similar to that of many martial arts used by many real-life mixed martial artists, most of whom cross-train in many different disciplines to create a balanced, well-rounded fighting style.

  • Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts , in general, the Saotome School is the more aerial of the two branches, with feats of acrobatics during their fights. In this respect, it is probably the closer of the two systems to the original school of Happosai, since the latter also prefers to go to the air when fighting. The Saotome school is also host to a number of offbeat, diversionary techniques named after animals, such as the "Crouch of the Wild Tiger", which are a hallmark of the Saotome school.

The school also has two sealed martial arts developed by Genma Saotome, the Yamasenken and Umisenken. Both are schools designed to help in thievery and have some rather deadly attacks. It was in attempting to learn the Yamasenken that the father of Ryu Kumon ended up killing himself and destroying their dojo, leading to the beginning of the younger Kumon's quest for the complementing scroll "to rebuild the Kumon dojo".

Training for the Saotome School involves turning everything, even mundane events into training exercises, as well as experimenting with many new techniques (as is the way of Musabetsu Kakutō). This willingness to experiment, however, can lead to some unexpected results.

  • Tendo School of Anything Goes Martial Arts ,The Tendo school seems like the more 'traditionally Japanese'/Karate-like ground-based school of Anything Goes Martial Arts (as opposed to the more 'Chinese'/Kung Fu-like Saotome school). However, both Akane and her father have been known to jump significant heights and use aerial attacks when necessary.

The Tendo School may emphasize power over speed. The Tendo School also seems to teach weapons use, both standard and improvised. In her battles with Ranma, Akane has wielded shinai, bokken, mallets, bonbori, tables, bows and arrows, and been clad in samurai wear, and Soun uses archaic armour and weaponry far more frequently. Akane's weapons training has proved enough to maintain an almost even official kendo match with Tatewaki Kuno, a known and highly skilled practitioner.

Tendo-ryu may be more effective against large groups of opponents than it is one-on-one, as evidenced by Akane's nearly instant wins against throngs of her school's sports and martial arts club members, but this may also be due to the attackers' comparatively low skill level.

  • Founding School of Anything Goes Martial Arts , The Creative Indiscriminate Martial Arts, sometimes translated as the Founding School of Anything Goes Martial Arts, Ganso Anything Goes Martial Arts is Happosai's variant of Musabetsu Kakutō. This variant mostly involves chi manipulation as well as stealth and trickery. Whether or not this is the original school of Anything Goes Martial Arts, or whether Happosai developed it as a response to his advancing age, is unknown. It seems different enough from the Tendo and Saotome schools that it can be considered a later development. However, both the Tendo and Saotome schools have themselves evolved further with the appropriation of new techniques.

Movies and television

  • Anbo-Jitsu — from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Icarus Factor"; involves wearing helmets that don't let you see and using large pugil sticks that signal when they're aimed at the opponent. Practiced by William Riker and his father Kyle.
  • Ecky-Thump — a Lancastrian martial art from The Goodies, which uses the black pudding as a weapon
  • Fa Kyu— a Scottish martial art from So I Married An Axe Murderer, which consists mostly of headbutting and kicking the opponent when they are on the ground.
  • Echani— from Star Wars, It is a martial art developed by Echani people and is used across the galaxy by many people and security organizations. In echani fighters use strikes which come from their hips, they pivot their body and hips to make their strikes stronger and use many nerve strikes and pressure points. They turn to the side to present smaller target area, and for defense they intercept enemy attacks by striking the limb that carries the attack. The art has three circles or forms and higher levels are performed with weapons, though use of the Force is forbidden.
  • Gun Kata — practiced by Tetragrammaton Clerics in the movie Equilibrium. Focusing on firearms, especially handguns, Gun Kata practitioners use rote memorization of martial arts-style forms based on probability models to shoot where the enemy is most likely to be and position their bodies to avoid return fire. Gun Kata was also practiced in the movie Ultraviolet. (Also see Gun fu.)
  • Jūken — A form of kenpō practiced in the Japanese Super Sentai Series Juken Sentai Gekiranger with techniques based on different animals. In its film Juken Sentai Gekiranger: Nei-Nei! Hou-Hou! Hong Kong Decisive Battle, the main characters face off against users of the similar style of Mechung Fu.
  • Kosho, a martial art practised in the live action television series, The Prisoner. Two combatants dressed in long coats, helmets and reinforced gloves face off on opposing trampolines separated by a pool of water, all of which is surrounded by an elevated ledge and railing. All surfaces are open to use, and the art includes striking and grappling skills, as well as acrobatic manouvres. The goal is to force one's opponent into the pool.
  • Kumite (tournament) — The name of an alleged freestyle single-elimination full-contact fighting tournament, held in secret every five years, to which only the world's finest martial artists are invited. The event was originally portrayed in the 1988 Jean-Claude Van Damme film Bloodsport.
  • Lightsaber combat — from Star Wars, consisting of seven distinct sword combat styles incorporating various skills using the Force.
  • Meyraiyuth — also known as "drunken Muay Thai," it is featured in the 2009 Thai film Raging Phoenix. It is primarily a combination of Muay Thai and breakdancing, but also features athletic skills from other disciplines, such as parkour and gymnastics, along with cooperative techniques that often resemble figure skating or swing dancing. This style derives much of its effectiveness from the unpredictability of the fighters, who often rely on punctuated movements, as well as exotic postures and unintuitive maneuvers. While Meyraiyuth may superficially resemble Capoeira, it is distinguishable by its lack of the Ginga "stance," and by its intentionally confusing movements, which may be punctuated and irrythmic.
  • Mok'bara — a Klingon martial art seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which includes both an unarmed form similar to taijiquan and forms using traditional Klingon weapons such as the bat'leth. Worf is shown teaching mok'bara classes to the Enterprise crew.
  • Mosh-ti — A martial art used in the 23rd century in the TV series Time Trax. Said to be an occidental improvement of the martial arts.
  • Rex Kwon Do — Martial art featured in the film Napoleon Dynamite
  • Teräs Käsi — a martial art in the Star Wars extended universe that makes use of some properties of The Force.
  • Tsunkatse — from the Star Trek: Voyager episode of the same name, in which Seven of Nine joined a tournament.
  • Venusian Aikido — from Doctor Who, practiced by the Third Doctor.
  • Jim-Jam-Ya-HA— a rare form of Eastern Martial art that focuses on combat without contact. Practiced by Bornean Mystics shown frequently in the children's TV show Roger and the Rottentrolls, Practiced by Commander Harris (a sheep) and the human characters Roger Beckett and his stepsister Kate Beckett. Whilst Roger can only knock a tin can at 10 Yards his stepsister is the "Chosen One", who has a huge amount of power. In the episode "The First Rottentroll Revolt" the character Blacksyke may have an innate talent for it (as she accidentally used it to knock a book case on herself.) There are also other variations of it, mainly "Jim-Jam-Yo-Ho" a delayed one that takes 30 seconds to work; "Jim-Jam-Yo-Who" makes people walk in a straight line; "Jim-Jam-Yo-Ho-Bu" that falsely makes people believe they are all old friends and finally "Jim-Jam-Ya-Shimi" makes the victim idolise the user. Out of universe the Narrator (Martin Clunes) constantly reminds viewers not to imitate Jim-Jam-Ya-Ha as in the wrong hands it can be deadly and illegal.
  • The bending arts in "Avatar: The Last Airbender" are martial arts based on the four elements air, water, earth and fire. However the arts are based on real kung fu, hung gar, t'ai chi, ba gua, and northern shaolin kung fu.
  • Wuxi Finger Hold - A martial arts move used in Kung Fu Panda. It involves holding an opponent's finger and flexing one's pinky finger.
  • Cobra Kai — An extremely violent and powerful hybrid karate art in the Karate Kid films based on military freestyle karate and violence innuendo studied in the shaolin disciplinary element of fire. The arts are actually based on Shoshin Nagamines writings and ancient martial personalized imperialism of the code of No Mercy, No Pain, No Fear, No Losing. The lead characters are Terry Silver and John Kreese, who pick on Daniel Larusso in the film. Terry is the founder of the Quicksilver method, A Man Can't Stand A Man Can't Fight "How To Kill A Man In Two Seconds By Infringing Back", and Sweep The Leg "You Got A Problem With That?", a John Kreese patented tactic for Vietnam Super Soldiers in the line of duty.


  • Ti Kwan Leep is a parody martial art used by sketch group The Frantics. The signature move in Ti Kwan Leep is a "boot to the head".
  • Ansatsuken is a term in Japanese fiction used to describe any martial art style developed with the capability of mortally wounding an opponent.

See also


  1. ^ "A sneak preview of the next class up date!". Valve. April 1, 2009. Retrieved 20097-8-25. 
  2. ^ Capcom. Super Street Fighter II (in Japanese). Arcade. Level/area: Fei-Long's ending.

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