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What Martial Arts Does Batman Know?

The DC comic book superhero Batman is known for being one of the few superheroes without any actual powers. However, he makes up for it with his genius-level intellect, being able to learn many things quickly, including martial arts. Which leads us to today’s question:

What martial arts does Batman know?

According to the Batman Fandom and comic lore, Batman has mastered and perfected every single form of hand-to-hand combat known to man. However, his most commonly used martial arts include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo, Judo, Muay Thai, Savate, Karate, Kung Fu, Boxing, Capoeira, Krav Maga, Aikido, and Ninjutsu.

Chances are that if you’re reading this post, it’s because you want to fight like Batman. If that’s the case, then Batman’s fictional biographies won’t be of much help, as he has been said to know 127 different martial arts.

However, in the rest of the post, I will detail the martial arts most often used by Batman, so that you can get a realistic idea of how his training could be replicated in real life.

So here’s a breakdown of real-life techniques used by Batman, and how to become equally skilled in combat.

Batman’s Base Martial Art: Boxing

In order for this post to be useful for you in some way, I have to limit the number of martial arts covered. So I’m only going to cover the handful of martial arts that Batman uses the most often. Each section will take a martial art, examine Batman’s techniques, and compare their effectiveness to the real-life counterpart.

The left panel shows a young Bruce Wayne learning to hit the speed bag, a common training tool in boxing.
The left panel shows a young Bruce Wayne learning to hit the speed bag, a common training tool in boxing.

So the first martial art in Batman’s arsenal may not be the most mysterious or exciting, as it is the well-known martial art of Boxing.

“What, no Ninjutsu?”

Don’t worry, we’ll cover the more interesting techniques later (including Batman’s spinning back-kick). But for now, you should know that Boxing is probably Batman’s most-used fighting style, and with good reason.

As a young kid living in a major city in the U.S., boxing was readily available when Bruce Wayne went looking for combat training. There isn’t too much to see here in terms of technique, as basically any punch Batman ever throws could be attributed to boxing.

Here we see pro boxer Floyd Mayweather hitting the speed bag, just as Bruce Wayne was in the previous image.
Here we see pro boxer Floyd Mayweather hitting the speed bag, just as Bruce Wayne was in the previous image.

Boxing makes sense as Batman’s base art for several reasons. Firstly, it is one of the most effective arts, noted by its continued use in MMA, where participants can choose from a variety of other fighting styles.

Secondly, it is more effective for dealing with multiple combatants, as is often the case for Batman. A martial art that is focused on contact (like wrestling for example) can be effective against one attacker, but leaves you vulnerable when facing more than one.

And lastly, it is a very basic martial art, which is surprising when considering its effectiveness. Just about every martial arts gym ever will show you how to throw a punch on your first day. A person’s hands are their most readily available weapons, and expertise in punching has more value than spending time learning some obscure and complex martial art.

Batman defeats a high-ranked heavyweight boxer.
Batman defeats a high-ranked heavyweight boxer.

There’s not much else to say here due to boxing’s simplicity. Batman has been seen using all the basic combinations: jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts. The last thing I’ll note is that Batman’s pugilistic ability was enough to beat a high-ranked heavyweight boxer by first-round knockout, as seen above.

Next, let’s take a look at another, more interesting martial art commonly used by Batman: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Batman’s Grappling Skills: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Batman’s most-often used fighting style is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and with good reason. Jiu-jitsu is often regarded as one of the most effective martial arts in the world. The primary example of jiu-jitsu’s effectiveness is the UFC 1 tournament, where BJJ expert Royce Gracie dominated the competition, despite being the smallest fighter in the tournament.

BJJ is a grappling-based martial art, meaning there are no punches involved. The art is more focused on advancing to a favorable position (from which you can strike your opponent) as well as submitting an opponent through the use of chokes and locks.

Below you can see Batman has his opponent in Full Mount position, one of the most favorable positions in BJJ.

Batman has fully mounted his opponent, which is favorable because he can strike and control his opponent with little risk.
Batman has fully mounted his opponent, which is favorable because he can strike and control his opponent with little risk.

The position Batman is in is textbook BJJ. Full mount is a position in which your legs are wrapped around the opponent’s waist, as shown above. This position is favorable for several reasons.

For one, the opponent’s legs are almost useless, as they can no longer attack or push you off with their legs. Secondly, Batman’s full weight is on his opponent, making it harder for them to move. And lastly, Batman can control the opponent’s wrists in this position, and pretty much strike him at will.

Below you can see a fight in which Conor McGregor has mounted Dennis Siver, in almost the exact same position as Batman.

McGregor has mounted his opponent in the same way Batman did in the previous image.
McGregor has mounted his opponent in the same way Batman did in the previous image.

The image of McGregor in mount above shows that Batman’s techniques are not simply made up for the sake of the comics, but real techniques that have actually been used in competition.

There are two major things we should note here. First, both Conor and Batman are loading up on a strike to their opponent. Second, both of them are using wrist control to strike more cleanly, and prevent their opponent from fighting back.

So now we know that Batman knows how to advance position in BJJ, but what about submissions? Well in the image below, you’ll see Batman pulling off what seems to be a Guillotine Choke.

Batman pulling off what looks like a guillotine choke.
Batman pulling off what looks like a guillotine choke.

A guillotine choke is a common submission hold in which one arm is wrapped around the opponent’s neck to choke him. The other hand is used to pull on the choking arm, tightening the choke.

This demonstrates Batman’s submission ability, although this scenario is not as realistic as the first one. Typically a guillotine choke is achieved with one arm wrapped completely around the opponent’s neck. However, in this case, it seems that Batman also has the opponent’s right arm wrapped, since we can’t see it in the frame.

Now, that’s not to say it is impossible to choke someone from this position, as there is such thing as an Arm-In Guillotine Choke. However, an arm in guillotine is usually applied while on your back, with your legs wrapped around your opponent (not standing, as Batman is).

Below you can see a standing traditional guillotine, which is more similar to the one Batman is using.

Robert Whiteford submits Nam Phan using a standing guillotine choke.
Robert Whiteford submits Nam Phan using a standing guillotine choke.

Aside from the small detail of the opponent’s arm not being inside the choke, this image is almost identical to the depiction of Batman’s choke, albeit from a different angle. Besides the arm being inside the choke, everything about Batman’s submission is very realistic and well depicted in the comic.

So we now know that Batman is trained in Boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the very least. But what other fighting styles does he know? Let’s take a look at other fighting skills he has used.

Karate, Taekwondo, Muay Thai

This section will be a quick overview of other martial arts that Batman has been seen using. I’ll share an image of a technique Batman uses, and follow it up with a description of the best style that describes it.

We’ll start with Batman’s front kick technique.

Front Kick

Batman lands a Karate-style front kick.
Batman lands a Karate-style front kick.

The front kick is often used in both Taekwondo and Karate, and since the styles are so similar, it can’t really be attributed to either one exclusively. All I can say is that this is a very traditional type of martial arts technique, and one that has been proven to still be effective in MMA.

Below is an image of UFC fighter Lyoto Machida knocking out Randy Couture with a similar kick.

Lyoto Machida knocks out Randy Couture with a front kick.
Lyoto Machida knocks out Randy Couture with a front kick.

Spinning Back Kick

Now we’ll look at another traditional martial arts technique known as the spinning back kick.

Batman throwing a spinning back kick during his fight with Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Batman throwing a spinning back kick during his fight with Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Now again, this technique is not exclusive to one style, as it is commonly seen in both Taekwondo and Karate. This is a powerful technique in which the user spins, generating momentum, and then thrusts their rear leg into their opponent’s abdomen.

Although the image above is a bit hard to see, Batman is facing almost completely away from Superman, with his left foot pointing the same way. His right foot is lifted behind him and thrusted towards Superman.

Below is an image of the same technique being used in Glory Kickboxing.

Spinning back kick used in a Glory kickboxing match.
Spinning back kick used in a Glory kickboxing match.

Elbow Strikes

Lastly, Batman used elbow strikes during an encounter with Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, which you can see below.

Batman lands a Muay Thai-style elbow on Bane.
Batman lands a Muay Thai-style elbow on Bane.

Elbow strikes are pretty much exclusive to the style of Muay Thai, a type of kickboxing that teaches knee and elbow strikes in addition to punches and kicks. For this reason, Muay Thai is also known as The Art of Eight Limbs.

Below you can see UFC light-heavyweight Jon Jones land an almost identical strike, and he is well known for using them.

Jon Jones lands an elbow on Daniel Cormier.
Jon Jones lands an elbow on Daniel Cormier.

That pretty much sums up examples of real-life martial arts techniques used by Batman. I’m sure there are a lot more examples, but this covered the most popular styles that have also been proven to be effective in real life.

I hope this post gave you some insight into the real-life fighting styles used by Batman. If you enjoyed this post, consider checking out similar posts on the Fan Questions page. Thanks for reading!

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