Martial arts in Sci-Fi and Fantasy #7: Goro / Machamp / 4-armed humanoids

Discussion in 'The Locker Room Bar & Grill' started by skribs, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I don't know about y'all, but I'm having a fun time with these threads. One of the recent ones brought up Centaurs, which went pretty horrible for me as I apparently don't know much about horses. Turns out they're more dangerous than I realized.

    Centaurs are like people with extra legs. But what about people with extra arms? I grew up on video games in the 90s and 2000s, and two characters that immediately spring to mind are Goro from Mortal Kombat, and Machamp from Pokemon.

    What's interesting about these two is that they present two slightly different styles on how a four-armed person would work: Goro has his arms where a human would have their ribs, and Machamp has an extra pair of shoulders on top of his humanoid shoulders. However, the effect is relatively the same, for the sake of this discussion.

    The Creatures
    Let's assume that a 4-armed individual:
    • Has a slightly taller torso to accommodate the extra arms. This also means shorter legs relative to their height, which may affect balance. It means more back muscles (giving similar strength to each arm as a human) and more core strength.

    • Is either: the same size as a normal human, with the arms slightly weaker (i.e. around 5'6 - 6' tall, or about 165-180 cm); or is a bit taller than a normal human, with the arms roughly the same (i.e. around 6'6-7' tall, or 200-215 cm).

      Now, when I say "slightly weaker", that's per arm. The four total would be stronger. For example, if you expect the average man to curl 35 pounds with a barbell, then a human-sized 4-armed man would curl 25 pounds (less per arm, but together it would be 50).

    • The individual is as dexterous with each hand as a human would be. (There is no "penalty" for dividing attention, because the 4-armed person has been using all 4 arms their entire life). However, complex movements may be more difficult.

      For example, a human patting their head and rubbing their belly takes a little bit of practice. It would be more difficult for a 4-armed person to do this, but also scratch a cat and roll dice, because it's extra conflicting moves. But they should be able to do the first two the same as a human would.

    • In all other areas, the being is essentially humanoid. Their leg strength/body weight ratio is similar to a human's, their speed (both running speed and dextrous speed) similar to a human's, intelligence, flexibility, stamina, etc.
    For the sake of the discussion, let's go with a human-sized creature. where each arm is a little bit weaker, but the combined strength of the arms is stronger than a human. 5'8", 190 pounds (due to thicker legs, longer trunk, and extra arms).

    Their Fighting Skills
    We've presented positives and negatives so far, but mostly in the form of strength. When fighting, they have these advantages:
    • Quicker strikes due to having double the punching arms
    • A hand grab only takes away 25% of their punches instead of 50% (either if their hand is grabbed or if they're grabbing)
    • A two-hand grab still leaves them with the ability to pummel you, and a human is out of hands. Alternatively, they can pin your arms and choke you and still have a free hand.
    • If you grab their right arm and circle to their right side, you still have their other right arm to deal with, whereas a human in this situation is at a severe disadvantage
    • They can keep two hands in front of their face while throwing combos
    • Shorter legs and more arms makes them better balanced on all sixes, which may have an advantage in take-downs and the ground game
    They also have these disadvantages:
    • Punches are weaker due to muscle distribution
    • Combos cannot be twice as fast and maintain power, because you're not doubling the work done by your core and feet to generate the power
    • Shorter legs means less balance and less powerful stances
    • Shorter legs means you can't kick high (although all things considered it's not as big of a deal)
    I imagine that this would lead to their striking style being more similar to Wing Chun than to boxing, and for them to make significant use of arm grabs to establish an even more dominant position (4-on-2 vs. 3-on-1 or 2-on-0).

    Their grappling style I imagine would quite often feature going low. Even if they don't have the leverage in the take-down, once they go to the ground they would have a significant advantage. It would be kind of like a spider using all 8 legs to subdue its prey.

    Fighting Against Them
    How would you fight against someone like this?

    1. When they punch, how do you defend or counter in a way that can give you an advantage?
    2. When they grab your arms, how do you turn that against them?
    3. When you take them down, how do you keep the advantage in order to pin them?
    4. You can kick from a longer range, but what's to stop them from grabbing your leg and attacking the one leg with all 4 arms?

     
  2. Christopher Adamchek

    Christopher Adamchek Orange Belt

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    Another great discussion, thank you for posting
    1. Blocking, parrying, splitting, bursting, all represent major issues. I would have to use limb destruction, primarily elbows into their striking fists. You would have to try and take the limbs out as quickly as possible causing major damage to their limbs.
    2. They have both of my arms, i would have to make quick use of my kicks to the groin and knees before i feel the wrath of their extra arms.
    3. I have taken them down, imediately have to get my body/knees/shins on 1 or 2 of the limbs so that i would have any hope fully submitting them.
    4. I would use kicks only when they have already grabbed me with multiple arms as it would be a major risk. If i had a stick that would make a good longer range advantage.
     
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  3. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    And then I wish for more wishes and use one to wish for extra arms and then Superman flys down and I'm like what's up Superman then he fights the hulk and Bam..time freezes and the entire cast of friends start doing karate kata.

    That's what your post sounds like to me.
     
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  4. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Then ignore it and move on.
     
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  5. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    There would be a lot of cool options with 4 arms.

    Body/head shots at the same time.
    Thai grapple and underhooks.
    Covering and striking.
    Ground and pound where they could pin with two arms, pin with their body weight and still bang with two arms would be a challenge.
     
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  6. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm thinking about the ground stuff. Two more arms means it's more likely one will get stuck in something, but also more likely you'll be able to do something to submit the other person. I imagine if both people have two arms, it'll go to the ground more often and end in a lot of submissions.
     
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  7. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Where I'm most curious is grappling. For example: would it be easy or hard for them to use both arms on one side to do submissions? Or would it be easy to tangle their arms against each other?

    A lot of the Hapkido moves we do end with us standing next to them, and if they have a free arm on that side, that could end badly for you.
     
  8. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    Is there a point to this? Since there are no creatures like this in reality, there's really nothing to get to here. This is pretty much Beavis and butthead level discussion.
     
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  9. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah. I was trying to think of submissions that would take the arms to do.
     
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  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    This is the FSF section. Weird stuff belongs here, and the OP is a reasonably well thought out exploration of the idea. Not sure what you're on about.
     
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  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Knee-on-belly might be harder for them to execute (balance from that heavy torso), but could hurt more (again more weight) and be harder to escape (knee on belly, head control, arm control, and a hand to base out with, all at the same time).
     
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  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm wondering what new escapes there might be from arm bars, assuming the structure of the shoulder (at least the top one) allows the same technique as is used on us. That bottom arm could reach up and fight one of the gripping arms, and that might be enough to change the entire dynamic. Plus, two hands on the off-side available to fight against the feet locking the opposite end of the technique.
     
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  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, let's think of how they'd have evolved. Dogs don't generally have a harder time controlling 4 legs than we do with 2. They do more complex gaits and scrambles, with the same effort we exert. A species with 4 arms would evolve more robust brain structure to support the coordination of those limbs, so tangling themselves would be unlikely. There might be a few things in our knowledge they'd find simply don't work well - either because there's a shoulder in the way where we don't have one, or because it doesn't make sense to do it our way when you have another arm to help out. I'm thinking how much more useful wrist locks would be for them, for example. They can defend/attack while doing one, where I can't, and have more opportunities to get the grip they want (grab an elbow with the right lower hand, feed the attached wrist up to the right upper hand, exposing a wrist lock I couldn't get to). And their control in any arm/wrist attack would be phenomenal. Think of a basic Z-lock, with two hands being used to break structure and control the arm, one doing the lock, and the other just hanging out to punch or block as needed.

    For the sake of simplicity, I'm assuming they have no better attention/spacial awareness than a human, though that enhancement might be a natural result of more hands, too.

    On the down side, they'd be significantly more top-heavy (more proportional upper body weight), and unable to move in as decisively (shorter legs). I'd expect wider stances and a different tactical approach that forces the opponent to try to pierce their defense...which kind of makes sense with all those damned arms.
     
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  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Why are you complaining about reality in the FSF section?????
     
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  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I expect they'd have some entirely new stuff to do to us - stuff we currently dismiss because there's just no way to control the person from that position...unless you happen to have a second set of arms handy.
     
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  16. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I write sci-fi and fantasy. Plus I think its a fun thought exercise on how body mechanics work.

    Everyone else in the thread seems to be enjoying it.
     
  17. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    One other thing to consider is the orientation of the hands. Some things we do a certain way because we reach across our body with one arm, or because our hands close together. Two hands next two each other would have different grips and different leverage points.
     
  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. I'm sitting here thinking of same-side and cross-hand grips, and how those change some techniques. Some of those changes are because of the supporting hand (the non-gripped hand), and you'd have (ignoring vertical angle and how different the mid-body shoulder structure might be) equal opportunities on both sides of the body for that supporting hand, which could open up a range of options you and I don't have.

    And if you add in weapons, it's an entirely other story. Imagine this person trained in FMA stick use.
     
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  19. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Thinking about it, my assumption is the real advantage when it comes to grappling would be control. You would have two arms to try and get a kimura or at least make the other person weary that way you can use your other arms and body to focus on positioning. And if you need a break, you could use all four arms to pin the person as you maintain/rest in a position and they have to exert themselves trying to escape.
     
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  20. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I've watched a lot of the Monster Bug Wars videos on YouTube, and extra legs seems to really help things like Spiders and Centipedes completely control their prey.
     

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