The Elements of fighting -UNDERSTANDING STRENGTH
Written by Lawrence Mayfield
- Strength is NOT a defining factor for victory in a fight despite how fans are claiming it to be.
- The overuse of strength leads to a lackluster arsenal
- The four important elements of fighting Strength, Speed, Power, Skill
- Strength can be easily beaten
In this section of THE ELEMENTS OF FIGHTING, we are going to focus on Strength.
In my experience when two very strong characters are pit against one another, it is easy to forget that there are other elements in the mix that could tip the scale in either direction. In turn, what really happens is that fans look to strength as the defining factor to who would be the ultimate winner. Which it is not in my opinion, a wise assessment.
In the normal situations where a fan would have to judge a victor and also use strength as the deciding factor, would be in certain cases like Goku vs. Superman, The Incredible Hulk vs. Vegeta and Solomon Grundy vs. The Juggernaut and so on.
While in other high contrast situations, strength in turn gets tossed out of the equation. For example, Batman vs. Superman, Spiderman vs. The Juggernaut, The Incredible Hulk vs. Wolverine. All of these examples lead logical debaters to exclude strength as the defining factor. The reason being is that no one would expect Batman, Spiderman or Wolverine to actually use their lower compared strength against their foes as the absolute means to victory. Batman has tools, is a genius and would have to use his wits to win. Spiderman has agility, speed and mobility in his corner. Wolverine has an Adamantium skeleton and claws backed up with an incredible mutant ability to heal. Not to mention that Wolverine has been alive much longer and has seen more battles, which gives him a tactical advantage experience wise.
So why is it that when it comes to characters with an exceptional level of strength, we some how seem to go straight to that element (strength)?
Lets look at a few examples of a poor reliance of strength. The following examples are not meant to insinuate that these characters are bad. The purpose here is to show that there could have been more done to improve upon what they are commonly known for.
In this previous article "Superman is horrible with power efficiency"I talk about how Superman does a very poor job at getting the most out of his abilities.
To make a long story short, Superman is known very well for being strong , but never recognized by how well he uses it. Don't get me wrong, when a plane is falling from the sky or a train is about to go off a cliff, you don't need to be too creative when being a hero.
But we aren't talking about being a Hero. We are talking about fighting. And in my previous article, you will see how Superman suffers with properly utilizing his strength in fights.
The Incredible Hulk
Now we know that the Hulk has but one job when fighting. To Smash. We get that depending on which time period in comics, this monstrous being is a rage filled ball of flesh with the mental complicity of a child. So obviously we can't expect him to know much.
The problems I see with Hulk are in the cases where Bruce Banner has more control. In situations like this, it would be wise for Bruce to no only learn how to fight, but also defend himself better. Imagine how amazing Hulk would be if he defended himself as well as all the characters do in DragonBall Z. Instead, Hulk is fine with tanking all damage. Sure it plays into his strength when it comes to regeneration and rage, which increases his power. The problem with this is covered in this article called "Maybe the Hulks Regeneration isn't so great". This covers how best one might defeat the Hulk quickly.
If by chance Bruce Banner was able to learn to skillfully use Hulks strength, he could avoid wasteful time and energy. Although in World War Hulk, it would seem that everything I am saying wouldn't make much of a difference.
Let me clarify, I say not much of a difference against other "Marvel" characters.
Depending on which version of the Juggernaut you are talking about, be it the mystical powered unstoppable force in which no one can stop once he gets moving, only being vulnerable to mystics and mental. Or the less mystical version, where he was stripped of his magical benefits, but yet still retains an unknown amount of power.
The one thing that he had in any case was a high level of strength. No matter what version of the Juggernaut you want to embrace, in the end, this guy knows his size and strength are his bread and butter. But does he use it well? In his past, it was said that he possessed the ability to manipulate the Mystics to his will, but was also stripped from him. In his current state, it would be wise for the Juggernaut to make some kind of attempt to learn, control and utilize the one thing he would consider a weakness. In this case, he only depends on his strength. It is a great thing to be able to tank all damage. But it is a foolish thing to make no attempt to approve upon your skills. Because in the end, when you meet an opponent to can easily break your defense, you are not only a worthless tank, you are also worthless.
The chart above is a generalization of the basic elements needed to be a great fighter (according to Nerdargufy). The likely hood of one fighter having more of these elements over another, puts that particular fighter at an advantage. This is of course a crude generalization, some powers are unstoppable no matter how many of the other elements your opponent has.
Strength can be described in may ways, but for now we are going to just look at how it is used in a fight.
The first way is how much sustainable resistance could the fighter put out. Meaning if they were being pushed, crushed, lifted, grabbed, restrained, resisted and so on.
The next being the level of energy exertion and the impact it has. This means throwing, attacking (punch, kick, etc), crushing or any other forceful impact.
Without enough force generated by strength, one could not deliver a significant impact/blow or generate the proper amount of resistance needed to win a fight. In another situation, strength is needed to counteract a forceful approach.
In this article called "The Super Saiyan Ability you forgot about" it talks about how the Super Saiyan can reach incredible levels in terms of pure strength. Goku and Cell both go on to say how worthless the ability is because though they have increased their strength, they did not increase their speed.
To quote Gokus
"But these bulky muscles make it hard to move fast. And if I'm going to beat Cell, I can't have anything slowing me down. I may have great power, but what good is it if I can't catch my enemy? It takes more than brute strength to win a fight"
Speed is the defining factor of how fast one reacts and attacks first. If you are about to be attacked, you have to be either fast enough to defend, or fast enough to evade. If you are on the offensive, you have to be fast enough to hit your target before they evade or they hit you. Speed along with Strength are on the same level of importance.
Power is an ambiguous terms when referenced in a fight. Power could mean strength, it could me an ability, it could be an energy level. For this topic, we are going to generalize any and every ability (other than speed, skill and strength) as power.
This would include Superman's Heat Vision, Hulks regeneration, Professor X's telepathy, Goku's Kamahamaha and Instant Transmission and Green Lantern's ring abilities, Broly's transformation and invulnerability and so on.
In some cases, having an amazing power in itself is all you need to finish the job. But those are rare cases. In "fictional" reality, power alone absolutely must be accompanied with any of the other two abilities at least. Why do I say two and not just one? Because a balanced out fighter must have a good triangle of these elements in order to even compare to any opponent may excel at any of the two, three or four.
Says who? Me I guess. My article, my rules.
But to be fair, Batman and others like him do not posses the triangle of abilities. But what he lacks, he makes up with Skill.
Skill could also be used in so many ambiguous ways. Again, this definition of skill will only be in reference to fighting. Skill, it is one key factor that allows the older, tired and broken to beat the young, talented and energetic. It is the thing that lets the little guy be able to beat the bigger stronger guy. It is how Mohammad Ali beat George Foreman. It is what lets the thinner, less muscular MMA fighters beat the bigger opponents. And it is the very reason why a conclusion to the debate of Batman vs. Superman is still not as obviously concluded as Venom vs. Aunt May. If you combine a high level of Skill with any of the other abilities, the fighter is hands down already dangerous.
In the end all of these abilities are dependent on one another. At any point in time if you put one of these elements as superior to the others, there is a high chance that an opponent having the other three would come out on top. This is of course excluding certain amazing powers possessed by certain characters like Q (Star Trek), Dark Pheonix, Mr. Mxyzptlk and Franklin Richards and more.
I know I left a lot out about magic, though considered a "power" magic is something that is worthy of an entire discussion itself. it doesn't have to abide by any rules other than it's own.
Hopefully from this point on, Strength will not me the single defining factor in a victorious fight.
Or maybe you think that there is something I am missing? Let's talk about it.