Gif from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Bones.
You ever wish you had a killer kick? Something powerful enough to send a body flying or, at least, crumple your opponent over as they gasp for air? As it turns out, that type of kick requires the proper form, posture and concentration to pull off. Even if you did develop such a kick, there’s a good chance that some of its potential power would be lost due to improper training.
This is where martial arts masters come in. They mastered the art of punching, kicking, and sometimes even supernatural means of punishment, and every so often they accept pupils. For every exceptionally strong kicker out there, there was probably somebody who bothered to teach them the proper way to do so. So let’s celebrate these masters of martial styles by ranking from best to best-est
5. Izumi Curtis
Screenshot from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Bones.
She’s a housewife!
Izumi Curtis came into the lives of the Elric brothers just when their curious minds needed her. She gave the boys structure and training in both martial and alchemical arts. More than a mentor, she eventually became the motherly vaccine for their seriously bad case of dead-anime-parent-disease. Coincidentally, she also benefitted from treating the two boys as her surrogate children.
Though she only regards herself as a simple housewife, she is by far one of the scariest characters in the series. Even Edward and his brother dare not mess with her and few can contend with her surprising amount of physical strength and her mastery of alchemy. If only she didn’t have a bad case of anime-blood-coughing-disease, she’d be unstoppable.
4. Master Asia
Screenshot from Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Sunrise.
The Undefeated in the East and the co-owner of one of the best bro-fists in anime history. The man that trained Domon Kashu is as unparalleled as his title suggests. A master of martial arts, and by that extension also an excellent mech pilot… at least following the logic of the G Gundam Universe. Master Asia has a laundry list of qualifications, but all I should really need to tell you is that he once forced a falling building back up into the air by the sheer force of his strike. Beyond that, I only have one other thing to say:
“The School of the Undefeated of the East!”
“The Winds of the Kings!”
“The East is Burning Red!”
From Yu Yu Hakusho
Screenshot from Yu Yu Hakusho. Studio Pierrot.
Genkai’s hard-ass is the perfect counter to Yusuke‘s smart mouth. Despite her sometimes crabby nature, she truly cares about her students and offers Yusuke not only introspection on his abilities, but also on himself. This helps him power through one of anime’s most celebrated tournament arcs, the Dark Tournament Saga.
She can still pack a wallop even at an elderly age. A master of the Spirit Wave (or the Spirit Light Wave Fist for those that didn’t watch the excellent dub), she is a formidable force when it comes to the Spirit Arts the anime is so well known for. She can even out pour enough spirit energy to return her to her prime and regain a youthful appearance that even Yusuke admits is hot.
2. Master Roshi
From Dragon Ball
Screenshot from Dragon Ball. Toei Animation.
The Turtle Hermit and overt pervert himself. He’s not exactly a zen master that lives on top of a hill, free of all desire for material or carnal gain – especially not that carnal part – but I would probably need to relinquish my otaku card if I didn’t mention him on here. The first human to ever wield the powerful Kamehameha wave, he passed on this technique to his greatest pupil, who went on to make it one of his signature techniques which he has used to save the day on multiple occasions.
Like Genkai, just because he has a great student doesn’t mean he lets old age allow him to rest on his laurels. Currently, he is participating in a tournament to help decide the fate of his and several universes.
Honorable mention goes to Jackie Chun for giving Goku something to strive for by defeating him in the first World Martial Arts Tournament he entered.
1. Every Master at Ryōzanpaku
Screenshot from History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi. TMS Entertainment.
I’d be remiss to mention one master over any other at this dojo. Every person there played a part in turning Kenichi from a talentless scaredy cat that can’t throw a punch into a talentless scaredy cat that can overcome his fears and knows the basics of several styles of martial arts.
Each master specializes in a different type of martial practice.
- Akisame Koetsuji is a philosophical and multi-talented master that is willing to run Kenichi ragged so he could learn Jujitsu.
- He’s pervy but Kensei Ma lends his talents as “The Master of All Chinese Kenpo” to aid his student Kenichi in his training.
- Apachai Hopachai might be childlike, but he trains Kenichi in Muay Thai… as long as he survives.
- Shio Sakaki is rough around the edges but he too eventually budges to teach Kenichi Mutenkendoku-style Karate.
- An endearingly odd bird, Shigure Kousaka is a master of all weapons and instructs Kenichi on how to fight against them on several occasions.
- Last and certainly not least is Hayato Fuurinji who earns his name as the “Invincible Superman” of Ryōzanpaku by being the strongest fighter, and head master at the dojo, though this hardly stops him from giving Kenichi “special” training from time to time.
- Honorary mention goes to Garyuu X who despite being 20 years old is a disciple who is capable of helping out Kenichi on several occasions.
Ryōzanpaku as a whole claims the number one spot because unlike the rest that trained a gifted student, Kenichi had no aptitude for martial arts. So instead of building upon a great foundation, they first had to build a foundation and then reinforce it until it could resist the storms of battle. They may have nearly killed him (and sometimes did) but through vigorous training they turned Kenichi into quite the martial artist.