Martial Arts in Dragon Ball:
Dragon Ball has some really crazy fighting styles. Throughout the course of the anime, the number of close-combat martial arts techniques has skyrocketed. But some are so damn amazing and powerful they are just in an entire league altogether.
1. Piccolo’s Porunga Fist – Bajiquan
Piccolo’s fighting style is basically short-range moves that combine his explosive strength and incredible agility to render an opponent immobile within seconds. Piccolo uses a fighting technique that he borrows from that of his ancestors from Namek. The style is called the Porunga Faction Warrior Fist of the Porunga Fist for short. The closest relative the Porunga Fist has in the real world is Bajiquan. Literally translating to Open Eight Gates Extremities Fist, Bajiquan is a Chinese Martial Art technique that is famous for its short-range explosive power. The technique uses more elbows and knees for offensive purposes while the defense is taken care of by the limbs. The technique has its roots dating back to the early 18th Century in Medieval China.
2. Yajirobe’s Sword Fighting Technique – Iaido
He may have lost his touch as of now. But when he first showed up, Yajirobe was a force to be reckoned with. His greatest asset was his super-fast swordplay that is almost invisible to the human eye. Yajiroba’s sword fighting technique bears a close resemblance to the Japanese Kenjutsu style called Iaido. Iaido requires the swordsman to be hyper-aware of his entire surroundings. When the Samurai has complete knowledge of what is going on around him, it gets easier for him to anticipate what is going to happen next and using near accurate predictions, neutralize the enemy with the shortest possible movie, and the quickest time available. Iaido also requires the smooth and sleek drawing of the sword, chopping up the enemy’s limbs or disarming them and then quickly drawing it into the scabbard.
3. Yamcha’s Wolf Fang Fist – Northern Wolf Kung Fu
For now, he is a joke. Before he became a running gag in Dragon Ball, Yamcha once used to the primary nemesis of Goku! His fighting technique called the Wolf fang Fist uses open palms that strike the opponent at blistering speeds to immobilize an enemy. The Northern Wolf Kung Fu is what the Wolf Fang Fist draws inspiration from. First developed in China, the art is now extinct in Asia and is taught in Northern America. Northern Wolf Kung Fu is also an open palm technique that relies on upon quickly grappling an enemy, low blow strikes that attack an opponent’s pressure points, and deliver short but swift killing blows that can cause immense pain if done the right way.
4. Crane Hermit’s Tsuru-Sennin-Ryu – Fujian White Crane Technique
The Tsuru-Sennin-Ryu is a martial art technique taught by Master Roshi’s rival the Crane Hermit. The fighting technique involves using smooth movements to redirect an opponent’s attacks and use precisely calculated energy to avoid enemy attacks and return in kind so that there is no wasted movement throughout the process. Tsuru-Sennin-Ryu draws inspiration from the Fujian White Crane technique, an art that was developed in the Southern Chinese Province of Fujian by a female martial artist named Fang Qiniang. While it is mostly used to deliver long-range blows using the legs as the primary method of attack, it can also be used to strike down the enemy at closer ranges if need be. Fujian White Crane is a subsidiary fighting style that takes several leaves from Shaolin Boxing and combine sit with Crane Style Kung Fu. The fighter uses moves that mimic a crane flapping his wings or it’s pecking.
5. Master Roshi – Drunken Boxing
Master Roshi’s fighting style is heavily influenced by Drunken Boxing, a Chinese King Fu Discipline that dates back to the early Daoism era. Roshi once disguised himself as “Jackie Chun”, revealing the Drunken Master movie reference that starred Jackie Chan. Drunken Boxing is a style that focuses on unpredictability. The entire body becomes very fluid and extremely flexible. While other fighting styles require a warrior to remain focused, Drunken Boxing requires the fighter to use the unorthodox method of letting go and losing focus. The attacks become random and volatile, able to change at a moment’s notice. Drunken Boxing is also exceptionally good at hiding primary attacks under the veil of secondary and tertiary moves. The style uses all sorts of fundamental combat techniques like hitting, grappling, locking, dodging, feigning as well as ground-based and aerial fighting.
6. Krillin’s Combat Technique – Wushu
Before Krillin joined Roshi’s Turtle School, he trained in what is evidently Shaolin Combat Techniques. To be precise, his style of highly acrobatic moves that take advantage of his short height and nimble physique are the basic pillars of Chinese Wushu, a traditional Chinese Martial Art technique that was developed and honed to perfection in the year 1949. Wushu has three tenets – hard, soft, and full-contact martial art. Each tenet has disciplines widely dissimilar to the other branches. Wushu involves proper stances followed by the simultaneous use of punches and kicks to destabilize an opponent and then using powerful grappling to pin the opponent down. In the hard Martial Art tenet of Wushu, the fighter must also focus and increase his brute strength.
7. Jiren’s Martial Art – Tai Chi
Jiren was Goku’s strongest adversary during the Tournament of Power. His martial arts prowess was also legendary. When looked from afar, Jiren moved around the battle so gracefully and made it look so easy. Jiren also revealed that the foundation of his power id meditation. Using the power to meditate, Jiren could form energy and mold it with his mind that he could then use for various energy-based attacks. One martial art form, in particular, combines the effects of meditation and fluid movements to create the perfect self-defense technique. Tai Chi has given rise to a hard martial art form called Tajiquan, which is basically using fists and kicks instead of palm strikes.
8. Whis’ Angel Art – Ip Man Wing Chun
Whis is the Angel Attendant of Lord Beerus, the God of Destruction of Universe 7. Ironically Angels are more powerful than the Gods they serve. Whis once showed his fighting style in action. It looks like Whis follows a technique that is very similar to Wing Chun, a Chinese Martial Art Style that focuses on rapid knuckle strikes and heavy uses of joint taps. During the fight, Whis showed that he not only uses the stances of Ip Man Wing Chun, but also the movements and striking techniques. Wing Chun puts heavy emphasis on outright avoiding a strike rather than using your limbs to block it. Moving around the battlefield as water flows around a valley, Whis used this art to take on both Goku and Vegeta simultaneously in a fight.
9. Goku’s Fighting Style – Five Animals Technique
Akira Toriyama created Dragon Ball after being inspired by the amazing martial arts movies of his time. Goku was based on several inspirations that influenced Toriyama. Goku has evolved so much since the first episode of Dragon Ball that aired decades ago. And with him, his fighting style has also changed pace. While he did learn several techniques, the actual core martial art that shaped him as a fighter remains the same. Goku’s fighting style draws heavy inspiration from the Five Animals Martial Art technique developed by the Warrior Monks of the Henan Shaolin Temple. Goku bases off his strikes and attacks in the form of the Tiger, Snake, Leopard, Crane, and Dragon!
10. Goku’s Ultra Instinct – Bruce Lee’s Concept of Self Movement
Ultra Instinct is the latest technique in Goku’s arsenal, something he learned during the Tournament of Power. Although yet to fully master it, Goku showed a tremendous increase in speed and agility while using even an incomplete form of the technique. Even Jiren had no answer for Ultra Instinct. The Ultra Instinct ability is basically letting the body be driven by divine intuition, cutting off the time delay between thought and action, and thus there is no wasted movement and minimal effort to strike down an enemy.
While this does sound a bit too goo dot be real, there is someone who has already mastered a martial art form very similar to it. Bruce Lee was the first person to use a personalized form of Jeet Kune Do in which he chronicles the way of True Flow. The Way of True Flow is the method for a person to initiate both offense and defense simultaneously. Another tenet is called ‘Bridging the Gap’ – where everything within the body moves freely and gracefully without too much effort.