Teach Me How to Fight

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

This is a point in a story where one of the protagonists, usually an Action Survivor, feels a need to take action against the Big Bad.

The problem is, they can't fight.

Cue the protagonist going to a trusted friend who can, and asking to be taught. They agree, but although the two are on friendly terms, the training is anything but easy. It's sometimes even Training from Hell. But the protagonist takes a level in badass by the end of it.

Note that they actually have to ask for the training themselves.

Examples of Teach Me How to Fight include:

Anime and Manga

  • Oh god poor Shirahama Kenichi in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple . As the show goes on, one starts to wonder if he would´ve been better if he just lost the match to Daimonji.
  • In Madlax, after Vanessa shoots a person for the first time (it's to protect the eponymous heroine and she only grazes her target, but she angsts nonetheless), she eventually asks Madlax to teach her to shoot. It doesn't end well, as she dies when protecting Madlax again.
  • Shakugan no Shana. Yuji is sort of a Non-Action Guy, but his insistence on keeping up with Shana's demon-hunting lifestyle led him to receive Training from Hell from several different sources, eventually taking several levels in Badass. Most striking is when he's being pushed around by a minor demon, who intends to use him as bait to draw out Shana. He suddenly realizes that this guy is well below his current power-level, and proceeds to kick his ass. Yep, Yuji's all grown up now...
  • Mahou Sensei Negima. Negi is already quite good at the start of the manga (it's suspected that he's been training from age four), but it really gets serious when he asks Evangeline to teach him.
    • Several of Negi's students (especially Asuna) also begin training, if they weren't competent fighters already.
  • Change 123 uses this trope twice, both times a boy asks a girl to teach him... well, not actually how to fight, since both boys do indeed have some confidence and experience in fighting (one of them is a black belt in judo and another one a fearless street brawler), but rather how to take their fighting skills to a higher level.

Comic Books

  • In the comic Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, Ali teaches Superman to box.
    • This is, of course, to create a non-superpowered "fair fight" between the two.


  • In Leon, known in some areas as Léon: The Professional, a young girl asks to be taught a hitman's skills in order avenge her brother's death.
  • With a name like Karate Kid, you can probably guess that this happens without seeing the movie.
    • In fact, this is pretty much universal in kung fu movies not starring Jet Li, Bruce Lee, or Chuck Norris. Taken to extremes when the "teacher" is so completely non-badass that the suspension of disbelief is completely broken, e.g. Billy Blanks, Pat Morita, Mako, etc.
  • Also happens in The Forbidden Kingdom with the protagonist and Jackie Chan's character.


  • Pendragon: After nearly being beaten to death by Saint Dane, Bobby asks Loor to do this. His training is very much Training from Hell.
  • Harry Potter: Ron and Hermione ask Harry to do this, and Dumbledore's Army is born.
    • Previously, Harry asks Lupin how to fight off dementors, and Lupin teaches him the Patronus Charm.
  • Jason Marshall, in Rogue of Gor, devises a plan to defeat the pirates who are terrorising the peaceful river-ports along the Vosk. But first he must learn to fight with a sword. He wins the gratitude of the broken-down alcoholic Callimachus, who when sober is an excellent swordsman, levels up as per the plan and does indeed defeat the mean old pirates over the course of the remainder of the book and the next one.
  • Richard Cypher of the Sword of Truth spends a good portion of the first book doing this, until he takes up the mantle of the Seeker and starts calling the shots. He's a woodsman who doesn't even let himself be angry because his mother was killed by a fire caused by an angry outburst. He knows questing, and killing, from nothing.

Live Action TV

  • Heroes: Claire asks Noah to teach her to fight. She is reluctant to actually do this until he tells her to "Just hit me!" with a plank of wood.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess gets asked this by Gabrielle.
  • Done in Community episode "Comparative Religion" when Troy and Pierce have to teach Jeff how to fight a bully.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons adventure OA5 Mad Monkey vs. The Dragon Claw. During the sea journey NPC Ko La Ko approaches one of the PCs and asks the PC to teach him kung fu so he won't be so useless in a fight.

Video Games

  • Shirou from Fate/stay night. Saber starts training him just to shut him up and convince him that he's out of his league fighting Servants.