I Know Kung Faux

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"I must warn you that I am an expert in Cockadoodle-Fu."

The Big Bad has arrived. The Cavalry is nowhere to be seen. The Redshirt Army just got trampled on. No need to fear, because the hero is a master of an ancient martial art.

Only the martial art is something ridiculous, that nobody in his right mind would ever invent. Hilarity Ensues, and either the Big Bad finds out the hard way that the art really is real, or the hero gets smacked right back to earth.

I Know Kung Faux is the trope for silly fictional martial arts of all types. While Kung Faux techniques are often played for comedy, they can also have more serious uses. Fictional martial arts styles intended to be taken seriously are a Fantastic Fighting Style.

Inventing a Kung-Faux fictional fighting technique is simplicity itself: Just pick a name ending in "-fu" or "-ito" (or name it after an exotic animal), shroud it in near-legendary mysticism, and then have your actors flail at each other in haphazard fashion.

Related to Foo Fu, What the Fu Are You Doing? and Martial Arts and Crafts.

Can be a Secret Art if very few people know it.

Examples of I Know Kung Faux include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Almost every significant character in Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo.
  • Shinogi Kanno of Baki the Grappler practices a "cord-cutting" style of karate which allows him to sever his opponent's nerves and tendons, crippling or even blinding them with a single blow.
  • This is Ranma ½'s bread and butter. The number of martial arts styles that aren't a ridiculously weaponized version of something completely unthreatening (dinner parties, for example) could be counted on one hand.


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • Wimp Lo from Kung Pow was deliberately trained wrong as a joke.

"My-Face-to-Your-Foot style, how'd ya like it?!"

  • Choda Boy and his Hamster style kung fu.
    • They made it up, aside from the more... hamstery aspects, by combining aspects of Monkey and Crane styles of kung fu.
  • Featured in Kung Fu Hustle, with techniques like the Buddhist Palm style, the Frog style, and the Musical Assassins.
  • From Ella Enchanted:

Ella: Look, I think it's only fair to warn you that I'm practiced in the ancient art... of origami.
Thug: Paper folding?
Ella: I was hoping you wouldn't know what that was.

  • The Jackie Chan movie Snake in the Eagle's Shadow has him as a bullied janitor who gets taught Snake Fist by an old master. When the old man is menaced by a master of the rival school Eagle Claw, Jackie steps in but gets his butt kicked. He ends up inventing his own martial art by mimicking a cat fighting a snake, complete with meowing and washing his face. At the end of the film the old master asks what he plans on calling his style and he responds with a Title Drop.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Played with in Thief of Time, where Lobsang asks Lu-Tze about his renowned mastery of several martial arts, including Okidoki, Upsi-Dasi, and Deja-Fu. Lu-Tze mocks them all and says that "none of the monks here know Deja-Fu". As it turns out, that's because he never taught them, and he himself isn't a monk. From the name and the fact the monks can manipulate time, it seems likely that Deja-Fu involves making people feel the sensation of being punched just before you actually hit them while they're reeling from the blow you're about to deliver. The book does mention that the literal translation of "Deja-Fu" is "the sensation of having been kicked in the head like this before".


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Goodies had Ecky-Thump, the ancient Lancastrian art of self-defence. It involved the use of black puddings as weapons.
  • Joe Garelli from News Radio is an expert in "Joe-jitsu".
  • Zack from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers added dance moves to his martial arts training to make "Hip-Hop-Kido".
  • In Dollhouse, Topher warns an intruder that he has uploaded himself with many deadly martial arts skills. Said intruder then punches him in the face and knocks him out cold.

Topher: I have imprinted myself with MANY USEFUL SKILLS - *gets knocked out*


Radio[edit | hide]

  • The CBC radio sketch comedy group The Frantics made the famous "Tae Kwon Leep" routine. The fake martial art consists primarily of two things: Boot to the head, and getting the first shot.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Parodied in the Munchkin card game supplement Munchkin Fu, with Drunken Monkey Kung Fu, Fee Fi Fo Fu, and Stomach Fu.


Toys[edit | hide]

  • The LEGO "Ninjago" toy line has characters mastering Spinjitzu, where characters spin and become tornadoes to fight enemies.
  • Occurs often in the various Transformers series, most notably with Metallikato, Crystalocution, and Circuit-su.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Spy Fox: See page quote. Sometimes it works.
  • The Lego Universe fanon has Spatula-Fu, an ancient order of Jedi-like warriors who wield large pizza spatulas.
  • Earthbound has cpt. Strong, who uses Super Ultra Mambo-Tango-Foxtrot Martial Arts.
  • Team Fortress 2 has "Jarate, the jar-based karate" (that is, throwing a jar of your urine at an opponent).
    • The advertisment for Jarate does make a point of mentioning that Jarate is neither affiliated with, nor a substitute, for actual Karate, though.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Order of the Stick: When Elan attempts to dethrone the evil general Tarquin, his father, he is criticized for his lack of combat skills. He then reveals himself to have been studying the fine art...of pun dueling! He then gets his puns handed to him as Tarquin reveals, in the silliest duel ever, that he also has trained in that art.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Darkwing Duck also knew Quack Fu.
  • Kim Possible features Monkey Kung-Fu, as practised by the villain Monkey Fist and Kim's sidekick Ron Stoppable.
    • Though this is actually real, it still counts for the trope, mostly due to the 'mystical monkey power' aspect.
  • In Toy Story 2, Hamm says, "You know Kung Fu? Well, get ready for "Pork Chop!"
  • In Danger Mouse, Penfold is very keen on "Kung Moggy".
  • In Earthworm Jim the titular Earthworm Jim knows the ancient art of Lip-gitzu and regularly uses it to dispatch minions.