Martial Arts advice for a Novel

dtp81390

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I am in the process of writing a Fantasy Novel which incorporates elemental magic.

I was hoping that someone would be willing to help me determine what style of martial arts should go with each element type. I have given my thoughts on the characteristics that I was thinking.

Fire: Aggressive and Powerful
Water: flowing and defensive
Air: unpredicatble but smooth
Earth: Resilient and strong base
Aether: spirtual, enlightening

If someone could point me in the right direction for which martial art would be best suited for each element that would be great.

Thanks in advance
 

Tony Dismukes

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You might want to take a look at the Avatar series. The animators used forms from actual martial arts for the movements of the fire, water, earth, and air-benders. They picked systems which visually matched the feelings they wanted for each element.
 
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dtp81390

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Thanks for the input. I have looked into it, however I do not want to copy exactly what they did. Unless it makes sense.
 
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dtp81390

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According to my research Avatar The Last Airbender uses Tai Chi for water, Hung Ga for earth, Northern Shaolin Kung Fu for Fire, and Baguazhang for air.

I believe that Tai Chi is one of the best depictions for water magic, however I want to see if there are better ones for the other elements.
 

Jenna

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I am in the process of writing a Fantasy Novel which incorporates elemental magic.

I was hoping that someone would be willing to help me determine what style of martial arts should go with each element type. I have given my thoughts on the characteristics that I was thinking.

Fire: Aggressive and Powerful
Water: flowing and defensive
Air: unpredicatble but smooth
Earth: Resilient and strong base
Aether: spirtual, enlightening

If someone could point me in the right direction for which martial art would be best suited for each element that would be great.

Thanks in advance
Wow what an interesting request.. when is your fiction set? Do you have a working title for it? Do your arts need be traditional? since many modern systems incorporate these qualities.. Have a look around the forums here, there are explanations of the mechanics of many arts as sticky posts etc.. best wishes for your work :) xo
 
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dtp81390

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Thanks, there are traditional villages, but also modern metropolises. Title is the The Elementalist. The story is set in the present time, just an alternate world.
 

Flying Crane

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This will be a challenging project. Once you decide on specific systems, you may need to have a knowledgeable consultant for each system, to do it any justice.
 
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dtp81390

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Definitely agree, writing a fight scene is substantially different than a movie, so not as much detail is required but the training philosophies and techniques are definitely important.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I am in the process of writing a Fantasy Novel which incorporates elemental magic.

I was hoping that someone would be willing to help me determine what style of martial arts should go with each element type. I have given my thoughts on the characteristics that I was thinking.

Fire: Aggressive and Powerful
Water: flowing and defensive
Air: unpredicatble but smooth
Earth: Resilient and strong base
Aether: spirtual, enlightening

If someone could point me in the right direction for which martial art would be best suited for each element that would be great.

Thanks in advance

Isshinryu for Earth. Strong base.
Isshinryu for Fire. Powerful.
Isshinryu for Water. Defensive.
Isshinryu for Air. Unpredictable.
Isshinryu for Aether: OK maybe not that one.

;)
 
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dtp81390

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Thanks, I was hoping for different ones so that the styles can be different, but I will definitely look into it
 

clfsean

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Five element theory in fantasy

Avatar ...
Wheel of Time ...
The Draconis Memoria (dragons blood used as a magical reagent rather than elemental forces, but same ideas)
etc...
 

Steve

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Well, it really depends on the flavor you're going for. Are you open to western styles, or do you want this to stay Asian?

Anyway, my first thoughts based on the criteria:

Fire: Aggressive and Powerful: Western Boxing, karate, or Thai Boxing
Water: flowing and defensive: Aikido
Air: unpredicatble but smooth: Judo or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Earth: Resilient and strong base: Sumo.
Aether: spirtual, enlightening: Tai Chi or the romanticized version of Shaolin Kung Fu (think the TV show Kung Fu)

Edit: To add that Brent Weeks did an outstanding job creating a world that is similar. Elemental magic related to color in the Lightbringer series. I recommend reading those through. What impressed me the most is how he created a model for how the magic worked, and then really thought through what that would look like if applied in a "real world" by people trying to get stuff done.
 

Midnight-shadow

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According to my research Avatar The Last Airbender uses Tai Chi for water, Hung Ga for earth, Northern Shaolin Kung Fu for Fire, and Baguazhang for air.

I believe that Tai Chi is one of the best depictions for water magic, however I want to see if there are better ones for the other elements.

One of the things about the Avatar series is that it is set in a world based on Chinese culture, hence why all the bending styles are made from Chinese Martial Arts. I would try and do a similar thing with your novel. Look at the world you are creating and then try and match fighting styles to it.

Also, Steve has brought up an interesting thought. In Avatar they used all striking arts, but of course there is nothing to stop you from using grappling arts as well or instead. The difficulty will come in trying to make believable action scenes when you have a mixture of grappling and striking arts. I personally would stick to all striking arts for the simplicity but it's entirely up to you. If I were doing this here the arts I could consider for each element:

Fire - Muay Thai
Air - Capoeira
Water - Aikido or hapkido
Earth - Karate
Aether - Wudang or Tai Chi
 
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dtp81390

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Thanks for the input. The cultures are different so I am willing to have a mix from across the world and not just Chinese or Asian MA.

I would also like to stick to striking arts as grappling would not bode well with my form of magic.
 

Steve

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LOL. Okay. Well, could you tell us a little more about your form of magic? I think people are interested in helping, but we're a little in the dark. So, not Asian limited but striking only.

Fire: Aggressive and Powerful: Western Boxing, or Thai Boxing
Water: flowing and defensive: Sanshou/Sanda
Air: unpredicatble but smooth: Savate
Earth: Resilient and strong base: Karate.
Aether: spirtual, enlightening: Shaolin Kung Fu
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Well, it really depends on the flavor you're going for. Are you open to western styles, or do you want this to stay Asian?

Anyway, my first thoughts based on the criteria:

Fire: Aggressive and Powerful: Western Boxing, karate, or Thai Boxing
Water: flowing and defensive: Aikido
Air: unpredicatble but smooth: Judo or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Earth: Resilient and strong base: Sumo.
Aether: spirtual, enlightening: Tai Chi or the romanticized version of Shaolin Kung Fu (think the TV show Kung Fu)
I was going to reply almost exactly this. Some changes based on the grappling statement:
Fire: Boxing
Water: Aikido (It's grappling but it fits so perfectly I'm hoping it can work. Maybe be the outlier?)
Air: Capoeira? Maybe wushu? cant come up with a better one.
Earth: Japanese Karate or Kenpo
Aether: Tai Chi, or if there's a style of kung fu that utilizes the 5 animals you can actually get solid info on, go with that.
 

jobo

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I was going to reply almost exactly this. Some changes based on the grappling statement:
Fire: Boxing
Water: Aikido (It's grappling but it fits so perfectly I'm hoping it can work. Maybe be the outlier?)
Air: Capoeira? Maybe wushu? cant come up with a better one.
Earth: Japanese Karate or Kenpo
Aether: Tai Chi, or if there's a style of kung fu that utilizes the 5 animals you can actually get solid info on, go with that.
surely the water one should be jkd
 
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dtp81390

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Thanks for the input guys. I haven't developed the magic system fully because I need to finalize the culture, martial arts etc. It's all in process at the moment.
 

DaveB

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You are setting quite a challenge for yourself since avatar was truly awesome and comparisons are inevitable.

But avatar was based only on Chinese martial arts so the obvious suggestion is to branch outside to other nations.

Air - Taekwondo - mostly kicking but extremely fast and fluid and unpredictable due to a lot of spinning and jumping techniques, such as the "tornado" kick.
Olympic style mostly uses evasive footwork for defence.
Could also work for fire.
Also consider capoera. Mostly kicking, but more circular and more acrobatic.

Water - Taichi is still the best fit for this element.

Fire - western boxing - think high speed flurry's of fists. An art with no special defensive techniques other than weave out of the way and lash out. Get close you get burned and a master, like a flame, can't be touched.
Also consider Thai boxing.

Earth - Grappling arts (wrestling and all Jujitsu/judo) - wrestling like mud covers the opponent and weighs them down to the floor, Japanese jujitsu breaks joints and puts people on the ground mostly with throws now associated with judo and brazillian jujutsu fights on the ground gaining position and control.

Aether - Aikido - the way of harmonious energy. No real offence in this style, only redirection of your opponent's force. The way of aiki is as much a spiritual path as a fighting art.
 
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