Martial Arts in Sci-Fi and Fantasy #3: Size Matters

Discussion in 'The Locker Room Bar & Grill' started by skribs, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. skribs

    skribs 3rd Black Belt

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    They say that size doesn't matter, skill does. This is more true of the softer arts which use an opponent's strength and momentum against them, but still true of striking arts. However, there's a reason why there are weight classes in almost every competitive martial art (wrestling, boxing, Taekwondo, MMA, Judo, Muay Thai, etc). There's also a reason why house cats hunt mice instead of buffalo.

    So, expanding this into fantasy and science fiction, I'm curious what's the point in which you shouldn't even bother? I'm looking mainly into two categories:

    • Monsters with super strength relative to their size
    • Monsters with super size (and by direct result: super strength)

    Super Strength

    This could be simply beings that are more powerful than a normal human of the same size, such as Superman (let's take a really conservative version of him), Terminator, Goku (let's take an early Dragonball version of him), Predator, or Captain America. How well would martial arts work in these cases?

    In the case of a super-strong mortal, particularly someone like Cap, is there a point where the strength gets to be too much to overcome?

    Specifically regarding the Terminator, would Judo or another throwing art work on a cyborg? What about hapkido or another joint control art?

    Super Size

    Let's take a fight between a human and the 2014 Godzilla. Ok, bad example. The human obviously can't do anything. How about a human against something more tame, like a velociraptor from Jurassic Park? I'd have loved to see Jackie Chan or Jet Li kick in the face of one of those things.

    In more seriousness, what is the point at which a monster, which is proprotionally similar to a human, becomes something a human shouldn't even bother fighting? Is it something 8 feet tall? 10 feet? 12? What's the cut-off point where it goes from "ridiculously hard boss fight" to "victory impossible" to "this thing doesn't even feel my punch"?

    Scaling

    Taking the super-size question a step further, does this ratio change as things get bigger or smaller? For example, if we decide that something 10 feet tall is the limit for a 6 foot person, does than mean a 30 foot person can fight a 50 footer? Or does the extra size mean the size difference must be closer, or can it be further apart?

    Going the other way, what about someone who is a third of an inch tall against someone a half inch tall? As you get smaller, how does that affect the ratio (or does it affect it at all)?
     
  2. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Mmm, you don't spend a lot of time watching cats do you? In their minds they are lions and tigers so will hunt things much bigger than them, they like hunting humans too.
     
  3. Martial D

    Martial D Master Black Belt

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    I'm not sure what to make of this.

    Firstly the size doesn't matter thing is just something little people say;nobody really believes that.

    Second, this.

     
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  4. skribs

    skribs 3rd Black Belt

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    I'm going to assume that if super strength exists, then either A) the world supports it, or B) the being with super strength has the capability to withstand their own forces.
     
  5. Martial D

    Martial D Master Black Belt

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    Well, super strength would require the one that has it to be impossibly dense and therefore heavier than iron. You would break your bones hitting him and couldn't possibly move him.
     
  6. skribs

    skribs 3rd Black Belt

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    Depends how super the strength is. For example, Captain America, at least as portrayed in the film, isn't so much stronger than what a human is capable of...it's more that he heals fast enough and has the stamina to sustain maximum strength for significantly longer.
     
  7. Martial D

    Martial D Master Black Belt

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    I guess that's true, but it would still have to scale, or he would be constantly breaking his hands. He'd still be much heavier and denser than normal. Like a 450 pound man that looks 185.
     
  8. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Dues ex machina.
     
  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    A few quick thoughts on my way out the door for muddy fun...

    The size is a huge factor, as it nullifies all grappling. Given even the velociraptor, the anatomy and movement difference nullifies most grappling. The strength (and teeth, in the case of the velociraptor) makes engagement more risky, because they can do damage so easily. Another factor is the ability to "take" an attack. What will knock me out might not even phase a velociraptor (and certainly not Cap). Notice that pretty much all superheroes have super-durability, even if it's not listed among their powers. Given a super-strong type without that durability, striking still has the desired effect. Super-strength, however, does allow easy counter to most grappling unless they are caught in a completely vulnerable position. Think of how most submissions happen - they attack the limb and it takes a few seconds to get position past their opponent's strength. Multiply that strength a few times, and it takes a perfect opportunity to attack the limb to destruction before they can respond with strength.
     
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  10. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    I see absolutely no value to this discussion.

    But it looks like fun and besides I just discovered a copy of Analog Science Fiction and Fact Analog Science Fiction and Fact - Wikipedia at a local book store. I used to be an avid reader, liking the content, especially the editorials of John Campbell in his day. I think I enjoyed the fact articles as much as the fiction stories.

    So, velociraptor? I doubt a human would have the reaction speed of a most animals. We have a part Maltese/part Shitsu. Her ability to stay with my hand is amazing. No matter how much I move in or out, up, down, sideways, her nose does not move more than a micron from where her favorite treat is in my hand. I am unable to move faster nor with more complicated movement to escape her. I suspect a velociraptor, having spent a good pretty much all of its life from the time it hatched, surviving by being fast, accurate, and vicious, would be a hard opponent to survive.

    As to size, something 50 feet tall would have a lot of mass behind any punch or kick it launched, but I suspect just due to the distance, would be slower and easier to evade because of that. So if you are 10 feet tall, be sure you don't let him hit you or make peace before he tries to. :)

    You haven't mentioned weapons. So if your opponent is faster, stronger, and has more mass, how about a weapon? Bulldogging buffalo was not a popular sport for American Indians to my knowledge, but bows and arrows gave standoff, and lethal results more than spears. Rifles worked even better. Maybe that would be the answer to stronger and taller opponents? Given a large enough caliber, the correct bullet, and a knowledge of velocirapto anatomy, a rifle might well save you from a single opponent, or more than one with sufficient distance.
     
  11. skribs

    skribs 3rd Black Belt

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    That's why this is in the locker room instead of general discussion.


    It was intentional that I didn't mention weapons. Weapons can always be an equalizer, and in sci-fi and fantasy, we can have weapons that are great equalizers. That's easy to do.

    I was more curious about the pure physical nature of these fights.
     
  12. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Sorry, I forgot to turn my [facetious/] button on.
     
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  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Velociraptor was only about the size of a large turkey. You could take one down with a .22 or a 12 or 20 guage shotgun.

    The way velociraptor was portrayed in the movies was oversized. That was more like veliciraptor’s larger cousin, Deinonychus. Still, I would expect a .30 rifle or a 12 guage shotgun would take it down with a well-placed shot. Could do it with something smaller as well. Anything effective against a bear or elk or moose or deer would be plenty.
     
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  14. skribs

    skribs 3rd Black Belt

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    While this is technically true, I specifically said "The Velociraptor from Jurassic Park," and the Velociraptors from that movie were NOT the size of a Turkey...more like a 6 foot Turkey :p
     
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  15. Anarax

    Anarax Black Belt

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    Even Cap has his limitations. The strike team almost subdued him with the magnet on the elevator, which is a perfect of example of suspense and relative threats. Meaning, without the magnet would there have been as much suspense in that scene? I recall Cap handling all the guys on the elevator with relative ease. The magnet was more of a plot device for the audience to think that Cap could lose and momentarily took one of his arms out of the fight. The point is the team tried to defeat Cap with technology(magnet, taser, firearms, etc) because they knew they couldn't match him physically.

    Specifically on the Terminator? No. The Terminator possess too much strength and power for a throw to do anything to it. You might be able to get it on the ground with a throw, but then what? Armbars and other joint locks won't work. They're joints would be extremely durable, they don't have nerves so they can't feel pain from the locks either.

    If this is in the same context of you story writing, then I would have to say it's relative to the human. In stories you can make almost anything believable if it's scaled and explained well enough. You have stories were human Knights are able to defeat Dragons, normally done with technology and/or magic. Adding the combat variables(technology, magic, training, etc) to make certain fights believable is exciting.
     
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  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ah, gotcha. I didn’t read all the way through.
     
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