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I'm posting this in the Grimm Community because a Grimm fanfic is what got me thinking about this, but it applies to any show with any old-school (i.e. not with guns) fighting for people's lives.

I'm going to do this in several polls, because I don't know how to do a single "rank these things" poll. The goal is to have a ranking of the most important attributes by the end. :)

I can think of 5 important attributes for a fighter-hero to have, just when it comes to fight scenes. Those attributes are (in alphabetical order):
  • Agile (self-explanatory)
  • Fast (self-explanatory)
  • Skilled (trained and knowledgeable in martial arts)
  • Smart (able to think on your feet)
  • Strong (self-explanatory)
What's the MOST important of these to have?

Edit for clarification: I think I phrased my post header badly yesterday. I should never have used the term, "martial artist" - I should have just said, "fighter." When I wrote this, I had a lot more in mind than just bare-handed fighting. (and, actually, even many "martial arts" involve weapons. Jiu Jutsu comes to mind).

To my mind, if it is something done with the goal of either knocking out, maiming, or killing your enemy, and is done for defensive or offensive purposes, and it requires more physical coordination than I have, it qualifies as a "martial art," at least for the purposes of this poll. :)
Karate? Martial art.
Swordplay? Martial art.
Taking a gun out and shooting somebody? Not a martial art.

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Dude, by your definition, gun-play is a martial art. Yes, it's less physically demanding in many ways than fisticuffs, but so is sword-play, because that's the whole point of a weapon: reducing the benefits gained by brute strength and expanding those gained by intelligence and training.

However, that doesn't mean raw athleticism is useless for gunfighters. All five attributes you list are useful for gun-play, just as they are for ye olde martial arts: strength for recoil management, speed for maneuvering, and agility (by which I assume you mean gross motor skills, not fine/hand-eye coordination) for maintaining accuracy while shooting on the move.

So yeah, almost anyone can pull a trigger, but almost anyone can swing a sword or throw a punch, too. Gunfighters like Jelly Bryce or Simo Hayha are no less remarkable than swordsmen like Miyamoto Musashi or hand-to-hand experts like Bruce Lee. Not just anyone can snipe a man 2475m away or double-tap four targets in 1.06sec, and if you think different, you're out of your freaking mind.
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i think its important to have a bit of humanity in a martial artist. if he doesn't have a moral compass he'd just be a robot and will be puppetted or controlled by someone else.
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As someone who actually has experience in martial arts, I ranked the most important attributes as follows:

1) Skill - if you don't have any, the only way you'll survive a fight is by being insanely lucky.

2) Smart - good skills combined with smarts will take you far in any fight, especially if you're out-matched in other attributes such as speed, strength, etc.

3) Speed - if you combine speed with skill, or with smarts, you'll also do well in a fight. But if you have all 3, you're way ahead of the game in any fight, regardless of strength, agility, etc.

Since I'm an older person who's not as strong or has as much endurance as some of the other fighters, I've had to rely on these 3 attributes in all of my fighting.

If I see a character in a show use martial arts with some skill (even if its a fx body double), then I really appreciate the whole scene set-up.
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I forgot to mention that in #1, you can also win without skill if you have other means, such as a weapon or someone helping you against the skilled attacker.
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I once saw a film demonstrating that a smaller man with a black belt is no opponent to a bigger and stronger guy with a yellow belt. I've practised a few of those arts in my youth and found that demonstration so clarifying for others as it tackled one of the big misconceptions. If all contestants were the same build (as in most films and competition), it might be smart or skilled, but in reality it is strength and endurance.
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I think at the moment most tv shows rely on weapon ( guns, swords etc) and I miss that old school hand to hand combat with no weapons but the ones you have firmly attached to your arms. There are some brilliant fight scenes in Grimm and arrow but both Nick and Ollie have the back up of there weapons the bow and the gun.
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I think I should put this in an edit. I phrased my post header badly (wrote it in a hurry). I should never have used the term, "martial artist" - I should have just said, "fighter." When I wrote the poll, I really had a lot more in mind than just bare-handed fighting. (and, actually, even many "martial arts" involve weapons. Jiu Jutsu comes to mind).

To my mind, if it is something done with the goal of either knocking out, maiming, or killing your enemy, and is done for defensive or offensive purposes, and it requires more physical coordination than I have, it qualifies as a "martial art," at least for the purposes of this poll. :)
Karate? Martial art.
Swordplay? Martial art.
Taking a gun out and shooting somebody? Not a martial art.
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The one guy who embodies all 5 attributes and took martial arts to new levels and was great in the Green Hornet TV series is this guy....

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Bruce Lee is history himelf, Albert Einstein of Martial Arts! Totally agree with you.
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I would also have to add that undefinable something. Grit, determination, the ability to endure a lot of shots and pain. The best person that encompasses this would be Lucas Hood from Banshee. This is what allows him to beat people that are more skilled and smarter fighters.
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I think Lucas Hood is also equal parts ruthlessness. In his book, a "fair" fight is just something the loser can claim didn't happen.
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Great post! We've promoted it to the homepage to get some votes coming in. As a quick heads up for the future, we do also have a General TV Discussion community, or you could kickstart activity in another topic based Community like Martial Arts.

Here is the full list of Topic Communities if you want to peruse. Thanks for posting!
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Question: Let's say this post didn't exist, and I knew there was a General TV Discussion community out there... somewhere. Starting from the homepage, how would I find it?
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