I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman!
We star off our article with one of the most iconic quotes in the history of pop-culture. Whether you love him or not, Batman is undoubtedly one of the most iconic characters of Western culture and the main representative of a franchise that spans over several comic books series, films, television series, video games and many more. The Caped Crusader fights crime in Gotham City and because he has no inherent superpowers like many of his peers, Batman has to rely on his human qualities to defeat members of his Rogues Gallery. Along with the gadgets, Batman relies heavily on his knowledge of martial arts, which is why we have decided to discuss that in today’s article. So, if you ever wondered how many and which martial arts Batman knows, keep reading our article to find out.
Batman knows 127 different martial arts with some of them being boxing, Aikido, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, BJJ, judo, and Krav Maga.
Below, we will walk you through the more complete list of the martial arts that Batman knows and uses.
Who Is the Batman?
Batman is actually the superhero alias of one Bruce Wayne from Gotham City. The character of Batman first appeared in May 1939 in Detective Comics #27, in a story called “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate”. This was a very early story that did not feature much of the modern Batman mythos, which means that the character developed strongly as the years passed. The authors of Batman were Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Here you can find out more about the greatest Batman detective stories.
Batman is a superhero, but does not have superpowers. As a young boy, Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, by Joe Chill, a local criminal. Chill spared Wayne’s life, but the young boy lost his parents and was cared for by his family’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth. The Waynes have been an important family in Gotham City and also one of the wealthiest families in the city, so young Bruce was taken care of in the financial sense.
As a child, he had an incident where he fell into a pit full of bats; the incident traumatised him as a child, but helped him chose his superhero name – Batman. Namely, Wayne considered criminals to be a “cowardly and superstitious lot”, meaning that the best way to fight them was to make them be afraid of their enemy. Deciding to face his own fears, he created the persona of Batman, which has been terrifying and combating the criminals of Gotham City since 1939.
The Batman stories evolved throughout the years. Some important characters were added – like several incarnations of Robin, James Gordon, Lucius Fox, other members of the so-called Bat-Family – and the Rogues Gallery was significantly expanded.
The comics led to the production of several television shows (both feature and animated), several films and film series, video games and much more, thus becoming one of the most lucrative and recognisable franchises in the history of modern pop-culture.
Batman’s Skills and Powers
As we’ve said, Batman has no inherent superpowers. Unlike Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash or Green Lantern, Batman is, well – just a man. And while he did push his body to its limits, he did not achieve anything extraordinary or – to be more precise – superhuman. So, how is he so effective and feared among the criminals?
To fight crime, Batman uses three main things – his intelligence, his gadgets and his combat skills. He is extremely intelligent and his deduction skills match the best detectives in history; one of his greatest enemies, Ra’s al-Ghul, gave him the well-respected nickname “The Detective”.
Still, Batman has to rely heavily on his gadgets and his technology; some of those he designed and invented himself, while the others were created by Lucius Fox and the technological division of his company, Wayne Enterprises. The third aspect – martial arts – is also very important for Batman’s career as a vigilante and we are going to analyse that aspect in more detail in the paragraphs that follow.
How Many and Which Martial Arts Does Batman Know?
Batman is an absolute martial arts master. In fact, he has such a reputation that even Superman once described him as the “most dangerous man on Earth”. He is very disciplined, unusually powerful and so strong-willed that he can resist most forms of mind control, which is unusual for non-superhuman characters.
According to online sources, Batman has mastered an incredible 127(!!!) martial arts, which would make him one of the best martial artists in the world. He is often compared to DC Comics’ best fighters like Lady Shiva, Bronze Tiger and Richard Dragon, which means that Batman truly is one of the best. Now, let us see a shortened list of the confirmed martial arts Batman knows:
- Ba Gua
- Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
- Chin Na
- Hung Gar
- Jeet Kune Do
- Krav Maga
- Kung Fu
- Muay Thai
- Shorin Ryu
- Tai Chi
- Varma Ati
- Wing Chun
As we have said, this is just a short list, but DC Comics never released a full list of all the 127 martial arts Batman knows, so we have to work with what we have. Now that we’ve seen which martial arts Batman knows, let us see the ten martial arts that could be considered as core arts in his fighting style:
|Karate||Open hand strikes|
|Krav Maga||Headbutts and disarming techniques|
|Kung Fu styles||Defensive skills|
|Muay Thai||Elbow strikes and knee strikes|
|Ninjutsu||Weapons throwing techniques and stealth techniques|
How Did Batman Master These Martial Arts?
Well, the answer to this question is not that simple. Why? Well, there have been a lot of Batman stories since 1939 and a lot of them are part of different narrative continuities so it’s quite difficult to organise and tell a coherent, unified story on Batman and his martial arts.
What we know is that Batman trained both alone and with martial arts masters, such as Richard Dragon. He also extensively studies his opponents – those who are goof fighters like, for example, Deathstroke or members of the League of Assassins – and uses his knowledge and his intelligence to create a counter tactics to fight them if necessary. Batman is very good at analysing his opponents, their movements and their weak spots, which he regularly uses to his advantage in combat.
There is also a well-known episode from his youth – before he actually became Batman – when he spent a period of time in Asia (usually Tibet), preparing for a crime-fighting career and mastering different martial arts. Although present in both comics and video games, this narrative line is most famous for being presented in Christopher Nolan’s movie Batman Begins, which shows a young Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale) training with Ra’s al-Ghul’s (played by Liam Neeson) League of Assassins; Wayne learned a lot while in Asia and it is certain that a lot of his martial arts skills stem from this episode in his life.
And that’s it for today, guys. We’ve covered all you need to know about Batman and martial arts, and we hope you’ll find our information useful. See you next time!