Training from Hell

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
And this is just a warm up.[1]
"It can be inferred that we've been too soft on Kenichi. Therefore, I've designed a training program especially for him. It's called... 'Making His Whole Life About Fighting Even If He Dies!'"

Characters in fighting, sports, and other My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours series have a tendency to go to extremes when doing their training. Whether it's a regimen concocted by a harsh (or just sadistic) mentor, or self-inflicted, expect to see our heroes go through training that would incapacitate or even kill an ordinary human. When played straight it's always worth it.

The consequence is usually a Charles Atlas Superpower.

Hey, no pain, no gain. Ergo, according to this trope, a lot of pain, a lot of gain.

Frequently occurs in a Deadly Training Area. For Training From Hell for a whole army, see The Spartan Way. For the parental or parental figure version see Tough Love. May result in Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training if done from childhood. See also Improvised Training, when they have no equipment or money with which to train. See Look What I Can Do Now! for the aftermath.

Examples of Training from Hell include:


  • Currently[when?] used in a series of commercials for an auto parts store in the US. Ads so far have included employees changing a battery in a car while in freefall; and running through the savannah carrying a muffler, with raw meat tied to them and lions chasing them.

Anime and Manga

  • Very often played straight in manga and anime, where the trainee stands for hours under the weight of a raging waterfall. Very often subverted as well, where the trainee has something bad happen to him due to this (such as in the anime adaptation decay of Akazukin Chacha, where the joke vampire villain catches a cold that he hasn't shaken off by the time he tries to take revenge on the protagonists).
  • Subverted in Fairy Tail, where Team Erza goes to the beach to train for 3 months, but end up partying. They then get a free instant powerup from Ultear's Time Arc magic
  • Train Heartnet, from Black Cat, underwent hellish training, including one-arm pushups on his thumb, to prepare for pistols.
  • Pretty much all sports anime/manga features characters who go through training from hell one way or another. Examples:
    • The Ur Example in anime is Kyojin no Hoshi (Star of the Giants): protagonist Hyuuma Hoshi was put through hellish training as a baseball player since childhood by his father, a former player. The most iconic part of the training was a special spring-loaded harness Hyuuma wore beneath his , which made even daily tasks part of Training From Hell.
    • Eyeshield 21 featured torturous training schemes such as Hiruma's "Tower From Hell", where potential new recruits to the Devil Bats had to carry ice to the upper observatory of Tokyo Tower... on a hot day... with a trip through a room full of space heaters turned on full-blast along the way and many MANY other traps. Later, the team gets introduced to Kurita and Hiruma's sensei Doburoku, who puts them through "Indian running" where the last person in line gets doused with hot water if they don't hurry to the front, and the "Death March", where the entire team ran from Houston to Las Vegas in 40 days, with the linemen pushing a truck, the receivers getting chased by Hiruma yelling out passing formations and shooting his gun at them> Sena kicking a rock in a variety of patterns (straight, zigzag, two rocks, etc.).
      • The Death March, by the way, is an example of training that is an active danger to the athletes partaking in it; a previous attempt by mentor Doburoku resulted in a career-ending injury.
      • Banba of the Taiyo Sphinx underwent some harsh training of his own in preparation for the Kanto tournament. While the details are never revealed, it left him with scars all over his body.
      • This series takes the name of this trope quite seriously, as nearly every training the team endures is said to be "from Hell" in the dialog. This is in keeping with the team's "Devil" theme (and the demonic appearance and mannerisms of team captain Hiruma.)
    • Lampshaded in Slam Dunk, when just before their game with Kainan, Ryonan's coach Taoka tells his boys to take a moment to remember all the training they have done so far. Needless to say, the team (from the plucky assistant Hikoichi to the powerful captain Uozumi and star sub-captain Sendoh) is utterly revulsed by the mere memory of the sheer horror they went through, and are all but grateful when Taoka awakens them from their reverie.
    • In RRR, the protagonist, Rikitarou, has to make it from beer bellied slacker to sculpted rock star in one month, and then into a pro boxer in another three.
    • Parodied in The Prince of Tennis: the training methods devised by Ryuzaki and temporary manager Sadaharu Inui apparently look normal, but if one or more of the players fail to accomplish them, they're forced to drink repulsive concoctions prepared by Inui as punishment. Actually, his "juices" are so infamous that everyone in the Seigaku team are terrified of failure because of them.
    • Hajime no Ippo features loads and loads of training sequences (most featuring a shouting Coach Kamogawa). However, the most difficult training that characters seem to go through is their weight training, which can leave them as shells of their former selves. Special mention goes to Takamura before his match against Bryan Hawk, where he keeps himself 5 classes underweight. It has to be seen to understand just how hard it was. He damn near went insane.
      • It should be noted that the normal training the characters go through is fairly realistic and never taken to ridiculous levels, so it might not actually count as Training From Hell.
      • Except when young Kamogawa hammers tree trunks into a side of a hill. With his fists. And even then it becomes a Deconstruction, with the damage inflicted on his hands catching up to him in the aftermath of his next boxing match, ending his career as a boxer.
    • Tiger Mask, both the manga (1968) and the anime series (1969) involved cruel methods of training used by the inherently evil "Tigers' Cave".
    • Captain Tsubasa, Attack No.1, Attacker You, and many other sport anime since the late '60s feature extensive use of this trope!
    • Initial D has Takumi's tofu delivery runs up Mount Akina, which he must do every single 4 in the monring...without spilling a cup of water in the cup holder...even if it's raining or snowing. The latter bit pays off when he is pitted against the Redsuns' rain specialist Kenta in the rain, who Takumi smokes so badly that Kenta completely loses sight of him.
    • The aforementioned Attack No. 1 makes great use of this trope, as does another early shoujo Gaming and Sports Anime And Manga Aim for The Ace. The coach in Aim for the Ace has his own reasons for trying to strengthen the girls, though.
    • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Hayato goes through this in order to improve his racing skills, including participating in non-sanctioned races where racers crash other racers' cars.
  • Many increasingly ridiculous examples on Dragon Ball, from the use of weighted to the gravity chamber introduced in Dragonball Z.
    • Piccolo begins Gohan's training by throwing him at a mountain.

Find the power quickly, boy... or turn to jelly against those rocks!

    • When Gohan receives his powerup from the Elder Kaiohshin, he has to remain perfectly still for 25 hours. Have you tried to be perfectly still for a long time? It is just as hellish as many other examples here.
    • Vegeta occasionally hints that he does almost nothing but train, continuously, whenever he is not on-screen. How he had time to conceive Trunks remains a mystery. He'd probably refer to it as "stamina training".
    • In Dragonball Z, Goku, and later Yamcha, Piccolo, Tien, and Chaozu, are killed and sent to the underworld, where they train in 10x Earth's gravity. They are later brought to life with the dragonballs. Goku also trains in 100x Earth Gravity in preparation to fight Freiza. At high levels of gravity the pressure would make your blood crystallize, which would be fatal. King Kai explained their great strength of the Saiyans partly derives from the fact that their home planet had the exact gravity as his own planet. Saiyans have proved time and again to be very durable race. As for humans, not so sure.
    • Additionally, while training to fight the Saiyans, Yamcha, Tien, Krillin, and Chaozu are trained in the room of time and space similar to the X-Men's "Danger Room", wherein they are forced to fight Saiyans that are vastly overpowered and utterly decimate them with energy blasts that shoot through their bodies and are actually painful.
    • And just when poor Gohan gets out of training, Chi-Chi forces him to study with the same mindset.
    • Even in the early Dragon Ball manga and anime, there was PLENTY of this. Kame-senin gave Kuririn/Krillin and Goku all sorts of tasks, ranging from toughening their hands by making them PLOW A FIELD with THEIR BARE HANDS, to wearing something like 100-pound turtle shells for endurance, to evasion/speed training by tying them to a tree near an angry hornet's nest.
      • Dragon Ball Abridged has fun with this, with both Mr. Popo and Piccolo. Team Four Star's Dragonball Z Abridged, also depicts Mr. Popo as a sadistic sociopath who legitimately enjoys sending the heroes to experience death.

Piccolo: Anyway, I figure, in order to unleash your hidden potential, I'd have to put you in immense physical danger. So I'm gonna throw you at that mountain.
Popo: [when asked where his "students" were] I'll tell you where they're not. Safe.

    • Ironically, when the villains go to Hell, they receive no special training, and are later beaten easily by Goku and others, who eventually surpass them.
  • Daisuke Niwa's family did this to him in D.N.Angel, although it doesn't seem to be as physically demanding as other cases of this trope. His training was mainly in basic agility and dexterity, not much different than a fairly athletic human adult. His alter ego, on the other hand...
  • Several characters in Naruto go through this.
    • The titular character himself has basically learned every single skill he's ever performed through this method. In fact, a grand total of three years of offscreen training taught him virtually nothing (pretty much just one new move, and it was just a slightly bigger Rasengan), aside from a slight power boost to let him keep up speed and strength-wise. He only ever seems to learn anything if the manga actually devotes attention to it.
      • He was actually trying to learn to control the Nine Tails´chakra. It failed.
    • It is also heavily implied that Sakura's training with Tsunade was this, which is reinforced by occasional flash backs and Sakura cringing in fear whenever someone doesn't realize how crazy Tsunade actually is.
    • Rock Lee's training procedures consist of setting ridiculous goals for exercises which lead to more unrealistic goals upon failing (ex. "If I can't do 500 push-ups I have to do 1000 sit-ups"). This gets more insane when its pointed out he usually fails his training, but only by a slim margin (usually by only 1 or 2), then barely fails the next one, leading to a ridiculous cycle of him barely failing one objective, then going on to the next, that repeats almost all day. Also, wearing impossibly heavy weights around his ankles during training and, for that matter, actual combat.
      • A flashback actually revealed this was the entire point of his training strategy. He would set himself a goal he could not reach so he would push himself to his limits, with his punishment for failing to surpass those limits being to push a different limit. If he succeeds in his challenges, he's not improving nearly as much as he wants.
  • Most of Ichigo's training in Bleach needed to be this brutal in order to become strong enough in the time he had. Being beaten to a pulp by Zangetsu and almost turned into a hollow in training with Urahara resulted in him becoming one of the most powerful beings in existence in the space of a month.
    • Later, during the Bount arc, Ichigo and friends are tormented by three powerful strangers who force them to participate in sadistic "games." It turns out that the strangers are Mod Souls working for Urahara, and the games are training exercises designed by Urahara to force Ichigo and company to work together as a team.
    • Also partially subverted in the case of Uryuu. To help him regain his Quincy powers, his father (also a Quincy) takes him to a secret room and attacks him. To a savvy viewer, Uryuu's comments about being almost out of energy from avoiding his father's arrows suggest that by pushing himself to the limit, he can regain his powers. Then his father hits him near the heart...and it is revealed that that is exactly how to regain one's Quincy powers, and Uryuu actually prolonged the process by needlessly exhausting himself.
      • It was actually played straight. Ryuken says that he can only accomplish this by shooting Uryuu after he has completely exhausted himself, so Uryu's running around was part of the training.
      • Also Ikkaku's intense training of the kendo team during a filler arc. (It also backfires, mostly, as he ends up severely injuring most of the kendo team. The one person who makes it through intact wins the kendo tournament. Unfortunately, this means Ikkaku is not allowed to fight in the tournament since it ends there, which leads to him losing it and beating the ever-loving shit out of the entire opposing team.)
    • Ichigo's month-long Vizard training definitely counts as well.
    • Not hard to imagine Yamamoto inflicted this upon his students. He's certainly harsh enough.
  • Virtually all of the advanced training methods seen in Ranma ½, such as those for the Bakusai Tenketsu (in which one has huge boulders swung at him from ropes), the Kacchu Tenchin Amaguriken (in which the trainee must snatch chestnuts out of a raging fire with his bare hands or, in Ranma's case, piranha from a tank of water). Futhermore, there is the infamous Neko-ken (in which a young child is wrapped in fish products and thrown into a pit of starving cats), which occurred only because Ranma's father didn't turn the page in the training manual and read that this is a stupid training method that no one should use.
    • And possibly the strangest method: in order to train for the Parley du Foie Gras (a technique which involves force-feeding opponents so that there's too much food coming in at once and clogging up the works; the book that describes the technique notes that people who rely on it invariably die of starvation, because they're giving all their food to the other guy), Ranma-chan hangs dozens and dozens of buckets of cold water, and kettles of hot water, from the ceiling, then sits in the middle. Upon release, they all swing with great force towards her—and she must pierce only the buckets with knife and fork, as she's wearing an iron corset that hurts her badly if she resumes male form. This technique is designed to hone the speed and precision of her Amaguriken technique. Note that she devised this training method herself, which probably makes her at least as crazy as Cologne (Bakusai Tenketsu, Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken) and Genma (Neko-ken.)
      • It should be noted that the series actually does treat these with a mild dose of realism, which can often go unnoticed. With the exception of the Neko-ken (and, frankly, the fact that the method of "training" didn't set alarm bells ringing in Genma's head proves what a Sink or Swim Mentor he is), all of these training regimes were undertaken with supervision, so the trainee had someone to jump in and pull them to safety if things got out of hand. Cologne was watching Ryoga while he trained in the Bakusai Tenketsu, Soun and Genma were with Ranma when s/he learned the Parley du Foi Gras, and Ranma underwent the normal Amaguriken training in the Tendo's garden, where people could keep an eye on him/her.
    • Parodied in the series itself in "The Date Monster of Watermelon Island". Kuno seemingly turns the Smashing Watermelons game into Training From Hell, giving himself Identity Amnesia when he hits one melon at just the right angle to smash it onto his head and knock himself out cold. However, it turns out that, once his amnesia is cured (and his delusions are restored) the training is nearly useless in combat; it conditions the trainee to attack watermelons with extra strength, so it's only dangerous to others if there's a watermelon around to "power up" the trainee. However, Kuno reveals it isn't intended for combat, and that he knew it was useless in that regard all along: Kuno went through the training because he wanted to improve his skills at slicing watermelons in order to impress girls.
    • Also, when Ukyo is first explaining all that Ranma & Genma did to her (without actually saying she is a she (because obviously she doesn't know that Ranma doesn't know), she says she had practiced her cooking against the raging sea. One student standing there asks "Why against the ocean? Isn't that kinda pointless?" to which another one replies "That's the whole point! Don't you watch samurai movies?".
    • Ranma's training for the Hiryuu Shoten Ha, due to its psychological component, required him to provoke Ryoga into being angry enough to kill him. Which normally is a bad idea.
      • Ryoga was always trying to kill him.Attacking when Ranma sleeping(worst showing).Trying to kill him with one touch after the breaking point training.Trying to kill him throwing sharpen handband(by ki) and using one as a weapon(also by ki).Manga Ryoga is seriously not a threat to him in a fight most of the time,ignored by Ranma half of the time while talking to Akane.Anime Ryoga on the other hand is far closer (also debatable more talented) to Anime Ranma,and probably can beat him in a fair fight.
  • The titular freedom-fighting gunslinging warriors of Samurai Gun undergo this when they are recruited into the "project" as children. In many cases, they were first traumatized by having family members brutally killed in front of them by a secret agent of the mysterious Council they take orders from, a man named Rekkai. Even if they weren't, they were then subjected to deadly training exercises that included repeated poisonings (to build immunity), electric shocks and live ammo courses. The anime states that failure in any one of these exercises resulted in the death of the failing trainee.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Seto Kaiba's Backstory in the original anime. In order to make him a suitable heir to Kaibacorp, his adoptive father Gozaburo put him through a brutally intense period of schooling from age 10 onward. Judging from what is shown in the manga, it involved leashing him to a desk and the occasional beating with a switch. Gozaburo specifically told him he should trust nobody, including himself. It worlked only too well.
    • No wonder he fired his parents.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Yuya's friend Gong trains as a "Steadfast" duelist at his father's dojo, which makes him big, strong, and tough. In one episode, he shows up at Declan's meeting covered with band-aids, causing Yuya to ask if he's been wrestling rhinos again. Gong replies in the affirmative, claiming it's "just another Tuesday at the dojo."
  • Jan Akiyama of Iron Wok Jan was brutally trained since childhood by his grandfather to become a Chinese-cuisine chef. For example, basic training included flipping a wok full of stones, one handed, thousands of times in a row—and if he slowed down at all, he'd be beaten until his back was bloody. Later on in the series, the audience discovers that one of Jan's opponents in a cooking competition had undergone the same training—in the rain, while balancing barefoot on the blade of a giant sword.
  • The eponymous Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha subjects herself to this even while sleeping or doing her homework. She herself gives this out to the new recruits as an adult in the third season. Her students learn almost immediately that Nanoha deserves her "White Devil" nickname. There is an ironic paradox here, Nanoha does this to prevent them from "overextending themselves" (theoretically under the idea that a gradually growing Training From Hell would allow them to reach more and more power without turning themselves into cripples by overdoing it suddenly, like she almost did)
  • Sara from Soukou no Strain dedicates herself to her training in the portion of the series where she is a Gambee pilot.
  • Glass Mask (Garasu no Kamen) contains a few examples from the field of stage acting. I.e.: Previous to playing the role of the blind and deaf Helen Keller, Maya spends several days blindfolded.
  • Subverted and parodied, like virtually everything else, in Excel Saga, when Nabeshin trains Excel how to bowl in a bathroom.
    • It was over so quickly Excel's not even sure if she underwent the promised training.
  • Many of the cast of Yu Yu Hakusho (especially Yusuke) go through this at one point or another. A sample of Genkai's training regime includes sleeping with a pitful of poisonous snakes, meditating on a bonfire for a week and defending yourself correctly against a near-fatal energy blast until you get it right.
    • Kurama puts some of his former Dark Tournament rivals through this (Genkai's training regime) in order to get six fighters with 100,000 demon power or more to satisfy Yomi.
      • "How did you get them to be so powerful in such a short time?"

Genkai: "Oh, just moderate exercise and healthy food."
Trainees: "That hell training and horrible medicines is considered moderate exercise and healthy food?!!"

  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Izumi Curtis has put Alphonse and Edward through quite a bit of Training From Hell, to the point that they're genuinely terrified of her. The manga's volume 6 even includes a part where she states she has "Training from hell plan B" scheduled for the afternoon, and therefore should cook a lunch high in calories. (This is from the Viz media release, while other translators' exact phrasing may be different, it'll probably include the 'training' and 'hell' bits.)
    • Izumi herself went through training from hell herself. She was left for one month with no supplies in the middle of a perpetual blizzard. She had to fight bears bare-handed.
      • What makes it funny is how Olivier tells the Elrics that once, a strange woman broke into Briggs and stole food and supplies for a whole month.
    • Turns out it was all a misunderstanding, and the guy who gave her the assignment was the martial arts master, not his (dead) brother the alchemist. Hilarity Ensues.
  • One Piece:
    • Vice-Admiral Garp took Coby and Helmeppo under his wing, teaching two previously pathetic characters Charles Atlas Superpowers, as well as the confidence to use them. Much of his training seems to involve hitting them a lot and yelling at them, with the intent of getting them to snap and fight back against him. As a result, they are able to put in a good showing (though not beat) his grandson Luffy, who he also raised with such brutal training.
    • Like Rock Lee, Zoro trains with almost absurdly heavy weights for almost impossibly long durations.
    • "Almost" absurdly? To practice swinging his sword, he uses one half of a dumbbell with weights almost as big as he is! (And almost assuredly many times heavier)
    • One Piece also subverts this trope, though, in that almost all the training happens offscreen. The Straw Hats always seem to come up with cool new attacks at the start of new storylines, mainly because it's implied that they put themselves through rigorous training during the long stretches of otherwise uneventful sailing between islands. This is supposedly because Oda dislikes training arcs. The only Straw Hat we ever actually see training is Zoro, mainly because he never seems to do anything except eat, train, and sleep.
    • All the main crew went through some training during the Time Skip to better themselves at their jobs, all with varying degrees of hellishness.
      • Luffy: Was put on an island full of the most terrifying beasts known to man where everything was out to kill him all while Silvers Rayleigh was forcing him to learn Haki.
      • Zoro: Trained under the Warlord of the Sea Dracule Mihawk, after being able to defeat all of the war-loving gorillas already residing on that island. Not yet explained, but he ended up losing an eye during this training.
      • Nami: Learned "knots" and Weather Balls on the Sky Island Weatheria to better her navigation skills under the training of the Weather Wizards. Looks to have further improved her Clima-Tact, as she seems to be the only pirate alive who can predict the storms in the Grand Line with accuracy.
      • Usopp: Landed on an island full of man-eating plants which trick giant Sea Kings and other monsters to them. Learned about "Pop Greens" under the guidance of Heracles, the ultimate survivalist. Also beefed up physically.
      • Sanji: Landed in an Ironic Hell full of transvestites ruled by Emporio Ivankov. He learned "attack cooking" that will supply nutritional boosts to the crew, while having to fight all the okama fighters of the island to get the recipes.
      • Chopper: Studied the ancient technology and medicines of an island that was locked in war with the giant hawks.
      • Robin: Trained under Dragon the Revolutionary and his organization after spending some time as a prisoner/slave.
      • Franky: Researched in Dr. Vegapunk's old lab, and managed to rebuild himself into a bigger, tougher cyborg with tons of features.
      • Brook: Fought the "long arms," who then kidnapped him to be an exhibit. During that time he attained world-wide fame as "Soul King" Brook as he traveled the world doing concerts to improve his music. Also learned to astrally project his own soul.
  • Allen Walker in D.Gray-man underwent this under General Cross, who- aside from making Allen fight and practical things like that- also tended to drop his debts on the boy, among other things. For a while, every time anyone mentions the general around Allen, he goes catatonic at the mere memory.
    • As a side-effect, he now has insanely awesome poker cheating skills, as well as a scary evil side that pops up whenever cards are around. * shiver*
  • History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi. The entire anime is Training From Hell for the main character Kenichi, like doing sit-ups while hanging from a bar, and a fire underneath which would burn him if he'd stop, or jumping off a 100m high cliff, or sometimes basically just getting smacked around. The very first thing they made him do was horse stance over a fire, holding fifty pound weights in his outstretched arms, with blades attached to his inner arms that will stab him if he lets them down. When he needs a break, Akisame attaches a rope to a tire, sits on it, and tells him to drag it to the store.

Kenichi: But that's three stops away! Do you expect me to walk there?
Akisame: No, no, of course not. I expect you to run.

    • The training is Lampshaded gloriously when Kenichi's Dad shows up to gauge his training. The Masters, fearful of what he might do if they saw his actual training decide to take it easy on him while his Father is there, the catch? Their version of easy is still insanely hard, so much so that Kenichi's Dad is still vehemently against said training and wants him home now...
      • Actually, what happens in that instance is that the masters' "going easy" on Kenichi is interpreted by his father as them putting on a show for his benefit, since he had felt Kenichi was slacking off at Ryozanpaku. Then Akisame apologizes for the facade, orders the other masters to drop the pretense and show Papa-san their usual brand of training...and that's when Papa-san pulls out his Big Freaking Gun to save Kenichi. Hilarity Ensues.
    • It's even worse in the manga; where it's humorously implied that he occasionally dies and has to be brought back with Kensei Ma's potions.
    • A humorous aversion occurs in the manga. When Ryozanpaku needs money badly, Miu has some of the masters take up teaching young children for a little while for the income. Kenichi initially freaks at the idea, fearing his masters will give these kids the same training he gets. However, despite some initial difficulty for Sakaki and Shigure trying to give out actual kunai, the masters train them quite normally.
    • When his former-opponent-turned-friend Takeda the Puncher eventually finds himself a good boxing master to catch up with Kenichi, the said master (James Shiba) gives him a Training From Hell as well. When doing the (now already) usual training routine of Kenichi running through the park towing his master Akisame, they encounter Shiba and Takeda doing a similar training routine. Then Hilarity Ensues as the two masters (who are personally friendly rivals) compete who of them will make his disciple run faster.
  • The first story arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure mentions "the Seventy-Seven Rings", an ancient training challenge for knights. It involves climbing a giant mountain in heavy armor, defeating seventy-seven opponents along the way. When you defeat one, you must don an iron ring that they were wearing. By the seventy-seventh, those rings equal about 300 extra pounds of weight. Only five men ever completed it. Two of them battle Jonathan at once.
    • The second part gives us the Pillar of Hell, which both Joseph and Caesar are forced to do at the beginning of their training. They're tossed into a twenty-four-kilometer-deep pit, the only way out of which is to climb a stone pillar. The pillar continually coats itself with vegetable oil, and any attempts to improvise a rope are prevented by the pillar shooting out a knife and cutting it. The only way out is to use the Ripple to cling to the pillar and claw your way up. To add insult to injury, there's a crack partway up to trick people into trying to rest by using it as a handhold... but it's actually a switch that causes a massive field of high-pressure oil to spray out near the top, making things even harder. And Joseph has to climb it wearing a mask that suffocates him unless he can keep up the proper breathing rhythm. And this is the first step to the training.
  • Yoh of Shaman King has to go through this for his entire summer vacation. And he's put through it by his fiancee. Just judging by what we see in a montage panel, Anna's "special training course" includes slapping and scratching Yoh if he screws up, forcing him to climb a smooth tree and hold his position (lest he fall into a pile of crap), chasing him on a bike with a poleaxe, and forcing him to do homework. During Summer Break.
    • Later on, Yoh, Ren, Chocolove, and Horo Horo go through training from hell LITERALLY
  • In Samurai Girl Real Bout High School, Megumi Momoi puts herself through Training From Hell, using a pitching machine. No, she wasn't dodging the balls, she was letting them hit her, so she'd be able to take hits from her opponent at Dragon Land (who she would be facing the next day).
  • To be qualified enough to compete with the most seasoned performers in the Kaleido Stage, Sora Naegino from Kaleido Star is just too often subjected to several variants of this. And she's not the only one: Layla Hamilton, Sophie and Leon Oswald, Mia Guillem, Anna Heart, May Wong and Rosetta Passel and others also have to go through it. In the first season, Layla almost develops an eating disorder and injures her shoulder very seriously during her and Sora's training for the Amazing Maneuver that would let them take the Stage back from Yuri Killian...
  • Cornet puts Flute through this kind of training in Violinist of Hameln, ostensibly in order to teach her magic. The training includes doing 5000 squats, walking across a tightrope with a weight on her back (which breaks the rope) and getting pelted with baseballs. Of course, Cornet's just trying to get rid of Flute so she can get together with Hamel.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, a lot of Evangeline's training techniques are like this. A notable one consisted of her effectively dumping Asuna in the middle of the Himalayas, with nothing but the clothes on her back. If she doesn't die or give up for a week, she passes. It's also said that Negi and Kotaro went through it at one point too.
    • At least in Asuna's case, this was not part of the training as such. This was the admissions test, and Asuna making it though meant that Evangeline would actually start bothering to train her for real.
      • Worse. Originally Evangeline intended for Asuna to do it naked, with no available shelter, and with no source of food (Negi and Kotaro had just been there and had left some behind). But she likes Asuna (or would if Asuna didn't want training), and decided to go easy on her.
    • Even Eva's "normal" training is terrible, such as making Negi fight herself, Chachamaru, and Chachazero simultaneously. He passes if he can survive for a minute. Keep in mind that at the point the training began, any one of them could have kicked Negi's ass with no trouble. Especially Eva, who's one of the most powerful beings alive, to the point that she actually forced the Big Bad to retreat just by being present. The fact that she sucks Negi's blood as "payment" for the training doesn't make it any easier.
    • Judging by Asuna's words, Negi trains himself dangerously past the brink of exhaustion a lot, and possibly has been doing so since he was four.
    • It's also parodied by Ku Fei, who attempts to teach Negi martial arts this way and fails miserably, because she took all of her methods from movies and manga.
    • In chapter 285 Training From Hell takes new meaning when it involves Negi Actually turning into a demon.
  • Every single Saint in Saint Seiya endured hellish training to earn his or her Sacred Cloth—doing finger-stands (as in, standing on the tip of your index finger) during rain and snow, punching glaciers or mountains thousands of years old and not giving up until they crumbled, doing upside-down pullups while hanging from your feet above a chasm, being chained between two rocks and being forced to push back the ocean tide with your Battle Aura before you drown, that sort of thing. And even then, the characters that endured these trials gasp in horror at the one who came back from Death Queen Island, considered the worst ordeal of them all.
  • The beach volleyball episode of Dirty Pair Flash is basically composed of skimpy bikinis and parodies of this trope.
  • In Slayers, protagonist Lina Inverse puts Amelia through this kind of hellish training (including pulling a huge cart of groceries for Lina to eat) in order to have her give up on learning the Dragon Slave.
  • Parodied in Mr. Fullswing, where Sawamatsu trains Amakuni for the baseball team tryouts. He proves extremely Genre Savvy; "When you talk about baseball manga, it's all about the river scene..." Except once they get there, Sawamatsu just wants Amakuni to readd a rulebook. When Amakuni complains, he grudgingly decides that they could do some "sports manga-ish training" instead. So, naturally, Sawamatsu starts mean-spiritedly smacking him around with the bat and hitting balls directly into his face. Throughout the rest of the week, he put Amakuni through a brutal regimen of training that he knew he wouldn't be able to keep up with, just for fun. And, while both of the initial stages of the training were subversions, he eventually plays it straight by making Amakuni field by the riverside; Since it's covered with rocks, he'd only get irregular bounces, and if he could field there, he could field anywhere.
    • And note that unlike a lot of these, Sawamatsu makes Amakuni work on something he actually isn't good at, fielding, because he's already a master at bat.
  • Baki Hanma's entire life is essentially Training From Hell, initiated by his mother so that he could someday defeat his father. He's almost there, and seems to be glad, as he apparently has gotten a little tired of it.
  • Kirika and Chloe of Noir both went through this, being trained from near-infancy by Altena to be the perfect assassins. Both girls' training involved copious amounts of Mind Rape and Break the Cutie as well, the better to render them into utterly emotionless killers. Mireille managed to deprogram Kirika; Chloe simply went Ax Crazy.
  • Biscuit's Kruger training from Hunter X Hunter. Also Killua's heavy endurance is due to his family's very harsh assassin training straight from birth.
  • Played as straight as can be in Chirin no Suzu. Chirin trains under the Big Bad and goes from dainty little white cartoon sheep to black murderous hell ram after two years of training. The wolf even tells Chirin that his life will be hell from then on out. Interestingly enough, things don't end well for him either.
  • Seiji "Mad Dog" Sawamura in Midori no Hibi was a nice, peaceful child, and picked on for it...until Cool Big Sis Rin forced him through this with sadistic glee, forging him into an unstoppable fighter...with a fear of dogs. Being chased, with meat tied to you, does that... She also used fire, and sees to have tried hypnosis. Partially subverted, as his first fight, after a week of training, he lost', though he never gave up the fight, and no one was able to beat him since then. Save for Rin.
  • Soul Eater has its resident Highly-Visible Ninja Black Star put himself through this in an attempt to surpass God.
    • Although a subversion (?) because where you'd expect a Hot Blooded Idiot Hero such as him to succeed by putting himself through endless fights and one thorough Curb Stomping, Black Star's turning point is not a fight but a conversation with the Nakatsukasa spirit inside Tsubaki.
  • In My Hero Academia, the training regime that veteran hero All-Might puts Izuku through is described - by Izuku himself - as "ten months of pure hell" where the hero instructs him to clear a beach that has become strewn with decades worth of junk, along with the usual calisthenics and special diet. However, Izuku is so determined to succeed he actually does more than the hero demands, pushing himself to a point that surprises his mentor.
  • Chinmi of Tekken Chinmi (aka Ironfist Chinmi) does this with nearly every issue. One scene that stands out: when captured by the enemy and told he'll be executed at dawn, he spends the night training a particular move in the hopes it will save his life. By the end, he's accomplishing handstands with his forefingers.
  • Paul did this to Chimchar—and most of his Pokémon—in the Diamond and Pearl series of the Pokémon anime.
    • Ash's Charmander was put through this by its former trainer leaving it out in a rainstorm. Did we mention the Char evolution line die if their tail flame goes out? Brock, and pretty much everyone else, was pissed when he found out.
    • A trainer from the first season named AJ put all his Pokemon through rather harsh training which included retraining devices, which did get Ash and company worked up. However, unlike Paul, AJ treated his Pokemon rather well when he wasn't training them and was proud of them.
  • Most of the cast from Katekyo Hitman Reborn are put through some form of hellish training during the course of the series, but Tsuna, main character and future Mafia boss, definitely wins first place. Some of the more memorable trials he has suffered at the hands of his tutor Reborn include being set on fire, repeatedly shot at with heavy artillery, thrown off a cliff with a whirlpool beneath it, made to stand one-legged on a rock in the middle of a mine field, beaten to within an inch of his life on a daily basis, and habitually taking a bullet to the head. Though it does eventually pay off, you can't help but feel sorry for the kid...
  • Motoko Gettou from Change 123 does this from when she was five. When her mother died, three "fathers" (in truth only her mother's acquaintances) came to pick her up: one was a karate master who killed a tiger with his bare hands; one is a master swordsman, tactician and firearms expert; and one is a grand master of jujitsu. Naturally, they taught her everything they know.
    • With the little side effect of making her develop three split personalities, one for each of her fathers' specialty, to cope with the training and a Super-Powered Evil Side that nearly killed two out of three fathers in the three minutes before passing out. She was 11 at that time.
  • Parodied in Kamen no Maid Guy, when Kogarashi trains Naeka for an upcoming high school Kendo tournament. Some of his training methods include having her fight a bear, and dropping a log on her from on top of a waterfall. She fails most of the more ridiculous exercises, but Kogarashi gives her a pass anyway for her effort
  • Years before The Bride took up Training From Hell from Pai Mei, the title character of Lady Snowblood, Oyuki, prepared for her Roaring Rampage of Revenge against her mother's rapists by undergoing Training From Hell as an assassin from a priest.
  • Takeda Shingen from Sengoku Basara holds "Hot-Blooded Manly Training Festivals" which basically involve his soldiers beating each other to a pulp until he is satisfied with their progress. His idea of being a mentor also seems to be making his ward Yukimura stronger by punching him through walls on a daily basis.
  • Kamina briefly adopts this in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann when he attempt to teach Simon to combine in a more awesome throwing 40-ton boulders at him. Without giving Simon time to get into Lagann. Fortunately for everyone concerned, this was an isolated incident.
  • In Marchen Awakens Romance, Ginta, Jack, Snow and Dorothy get trapped in the Gate of Training for 180 days. Ginta spends about twelve hours trying to break but not destroy a wall by synchronizing with his arm. And Jack and Dorothy's Guardian ARM is an ugly, cranky cat lady who hates Jack. And just being stuck in another dimension with Jack is hell for Dorothy. We don't get to see much of the training after that, but in one montage, Ginta does appear to be coughing up blood, and he comes out with a scar on his face, so something that the viewer didn't see also had to happen that would qualify this as Training From Hell. So Yeah.
    • Ginta and Jack actually go through this TWICE- Gaira puts them through more unseen Training From Hell, they come back tired and beaten up with their reflexes increased. Since we didn't actually see what happened, I'm not sure if this counts.
  • In Gokusen, a business CEO offers the students "masculinity training." It's a series of grueling physical tasks (and such "masculine" tasks as drinking), with each successive training series guaranteeing a minimum wash-out, and making cheating not only easily possible, but not punishing it even when the proctors see it. Of course, it's all part of a Secret Test of Character - those who both pass AND refuse to cheat do better than those who pass and cheat; those who pass and help others do even better.
  • Minami-ke parodies it with Chiaki teaching Kana how to properly blow bubbles with gum.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin's daily training consisted of getting the snot beaten out of him by an adult easily twice his size, first by Technique A until he figured out how to use it, then Technique B (which happens to be the perfect counter for A) until he figured that out and so forth.
  • Berserk: Guts's training as a mercenary began at the tender age of six, where his brute adoptive father Gambino would make Guts train with a sword twice his size, saying that they didn't make swords for little kids. Guts continues the tradition of wielding swords that are as big as he to this day.
  • Given three days to get Leina from "novice" to "ready to fight Risty", Echidna decides to do so by coating both of them with a sap that prevents injury... and then spending those three days actively attempting to kill Leina. Die or Fly at its best.
  • Lina put Amelia through this in an early episode of Slayers. Subverted in that Lina wasn't really trying to teach Amelia anything, she was just putting the other girl through the most brutal regimen she could think of in the hopes of making her give up and go away.
  • Hanaukyo Maid Tai.
    • In episode 14 Konoe takes Taro into the mountains and puts him through training worthy of a martial arts movie. Running, standing under a waterfall, etc.
    • La Verite
      • Episode 5. Ryuuka joins the household as a maid and takes over the division that serves Taro personally, putting them through a harsh workout.
      • Episode 6. Most of the maid departments go through vigorous physical training to prepare for a softball tournament.
  • Fitting for a man who can fight hand to hand with dinosaurs, Ryoma of Getter Robo had a father who trained him since early childhood in the harsh art of karate until his hands "swelled so badly they looked like they had gloves on them." This included making him fight dogs, as seen here.
  • In chapter 358 of Hayate the Combat Butler, Ruka needs to learn how to ride a bike in four hours. Hayate offers her a choice between kind lessons and harsh lessons. She chooses harsh, so he gives her the same training he gave himself.

Hayate: Don't worry. People can do anything when they think they're going to die.
Ruka: I really will die before that happens!

Comic Books

  • Martial arts training in comics, particularly from Lady Shiva, often seems to consist of brutally attacking someone with negligible experience until this somehow causes them to develop proper form and build. In reality of course, being beaten up by an immensely more skilled opponent is not a very good way to learn to fight.
    • Justified when she trained Batman in Knightsend, but only because he was an already experienced fighter trying to recover his abilities after months out of commission. Robin, when he trained briefly under Shiva, didn't get as much out of it.
  • Batgirl III (Cassandra Cain) was brought up under Training From Hell so over-the-top it entered the realm of self-parody at times. Her workout program was said to have killed or driven insane all others who tried it. Of course since it included never learning to read or speak and only having contact with one person, social maladjustment at the very least would be expected.
    • When Cass trained Stephanie Brown in turn, the training mostly consisted of her being knocked down with one punch, over and over again, although this may be because at the time Cass was more interested in moping than sparring.
  • Similiar to Cassandra Cain, X-23 was brought up under Training From Hell for the purpose of becoming an assassin for hire. Unlike Cassandra she was given an extensive education, although only because her handlers wanted her to be able to blend in with "normal" people to carry out missions.
  • Deconstructed in Wanted. The main character's inital training consists of being tied to a chair and having a guy twice his size pummel him for a few hours every day. It turns out the point was not to make him able to fight but willing to kill someone.
    • This has some basis in Real Life military training programs; primarily it builds up a person's ability to handle pain and exhaustion, but it also builds up a lot of repressed anger.
  • The Danger Room from the various incarnations of X-Men.
  • Empowered goes through a workout session at the hands of her friend Ninjette that involves tree-hopping, swimming across a shark-infested bay, and shooting toys out of the air.
  • Fairly subverted in The Middleman when Wendy begins her training with Sensei Ping. After a long sequence with Ida and The Middleman telling her how strict and ruthless a teacher Sensei Ping is and how unlikely she is to survive the first day, she bounces out of the training room, out of breath but mostly unhurt, yelling, "That was AWESOME!"
  • In Bowling King, this sort of training is somehow necessary to be a successful bowler; Details aren't exactly forthcoming as to, like, why (other than bowling being seriously Serious Business), but on his first day of training Shautieh is forced to run for over three hours straight as a warmup. Later, he's made to mime sitting down while playing mahjong with ugly women, with the stipulation that if he loses or falls down they get to kiss him.
  • Very controversial example in the current Dark Horse Conan the Barbarian comic series, which introduced a female warrior called Janissa whose "training" by her female Evil Mentor involved being repeatedly thrown into a pit full of demons and gang-raped by them until she learned to fight back.
  • During Dark Reign Norman Osborn ordered Ares, Greek god of war, to train a special squad of soldiers. The speech Ares gave potential members of his team had him mentioning the possiblity they can end as "bags of broken bones and blood" and that he will choose those who are worthy...or those he just wants to see in pain. Later he proved he wasn't kidding - his first lesson was "I will be shooting at you from a Big Freaking Gun, try to survive."
  • Justified in the French comic series Requiem Vampire Knight. The training to become a Vampire Knight is hellish, and conveniently located in Hell. Of course, you will be fighting hellcreatures in Hell so...
  • G.I. Joe, of course. This applies both to the Joes and Cobra. Most of this is merely hinted at in the character profiles, but one issue of the Marvel comic focused entirely on the training of new Joes. In addition to some grueling-but-expected training, it included having to watch a horribly boring training video about traffic safety for several hours without falling asleep.
    • Falling asleep was punishable by being made to watch it again. And falling asleep again? Watching it yet again. Some recruits went over 18 continuous hours of having to watch it before they mentally collapsed and washed out of GI Joe selection, weeping for their mothers.
  • The Valiant one-shot Ultimate Warrior's Workout featured the titular wrestler revealing how he maintains maximum Destrucity. His regimen consists of lifting a giant statue, flinging cinderblocks in a stadium with enough force to wreck the place, dodging logs rolling down a steep hill, withstanding the waves of a stormy sea, and finally lifting a table covered in junk which he adds something to every time so it's heaver with every lift.

Fan Works


  • The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei
  • In Star Wars, Yoda forces Luke to perform inhuman feats of strength, dexterity and stamina as part of his Jedi training. (The novelization/written version of the stories mentions he had to do a thumbstand, i.e. a handstand on one thumb.) The implication, however, is that Luke is being forced to rely on the Force - Yoda is making him perform superhuman feats that, as a human, he is not capable of performing - but as a Jedi, with the Force flowing through him, he is.
    • Sith lords usually got Training From Hell, in order to make them desperate and angry enough to turn to The Dark Side. Several ended their training by killing their masters.
    • After Bane sets up the Rule of Two, the only way for a Sith to graduate is to kill their master.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Po gets abused by a dummy that knocks out a tooth, gets ensnared and cooked by the training devices ("There is now a level zero"), and gets beat on by four of the Furious Five and Master Shifu. (Although it could have been worse—if Shifu had had Tigress face Po, she would have probably killed him).
    • This is actually a subversion at first. Shifu doesn't want Po to actually complete the training, he wants Po to give up and go home. After Po refuses to give up and Shifu changes his mind, the training gets less hellish but still rather difficult.
    • Let's not forget Kung Fu Panda 2 which reveals that Tigress punched ironwood trees for TWENTY YEARS and now feels absolutely nothing on her whole body. Keep in mind she doesn't just not feel pain, but ANYTHING. Would really suck if she wanted to get a massage, or if she and Po got together. There's also Tai Lung who was pushed by Shifu to train until his bones cracked. Ouch.
  • The hero of the So Bad It's Good B-Movie The King Of The Kickboxers underwent some of this to prepare for his battle against the unstoppable Scary Black Man Khan. Besides working out with an impressive array of Bamboo Technology gym equipment, and being tied up, seemingly accomplishing nothing the highlight was the set up designed specifically to prepare him against Khan's lethal Finishing Move which consisted of swinging logs meant to be blocked by various body parts, including his wrists. As in, "catching a log between your wrists."
  • The main character in Wanted goes through all kinds of physical abuse as he is trained by the Fraternity to be a sort of super-assassin, including being kicked, punched (similar to the comic example, but only until he finds a reason to why he's there), sliced open by various sharp objects, and smashed into a wall from the top of a moving train. Owie.
  • The title character in G.I. Jane experiences Navy SEAL training, including actual tortures like waterboarding (so they can learn to withstand torture if they fall into enemy hands).
  • 36 Chambers Of Shaolin has the protagonist subjected to such training alongside other trainees at the temple, including carrying heavy buckets of water with hands held straight to the side (with blades preventing trainees from lowering their arms) and having to ring a bell with a heavy, long-handled hammer. With one arm, as long as one's wrists can take it.
  • This describes poor Officer Jake Hoyt's Training Day to a t. Forced to smoke weed at gunpoint, beat up by two homeless guys, shot at by gang-bangers in Crenshaw.....
    • And it's all part of Harris' scheme to frame Hoyt for corruption so that Harris can steal the drug money he needs to pay off the Russian mob.
  • Jackie Chan's training scene in the Drunken Master films, where he has to do such things as sit-ups while hanging upside down to scoop up water in tiny teacups to fill a bucket at the top of his feet, and doing a 90-degree sitting stance for hours as punishment from his dad. He often tries to trick or cheat his way out of these, but is usually caught (filling the bucket from the well just graduates him to emptying it with the same motions as before, putting a bench behind his legs gets it kicked out from under him). Based on Jackie's real life training to be part of an acrobatic troupe.
  • Patches O'Houlihan in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story trains the 'Average Joe's' dodgeball team by tossing wrenches at them, making them run through traffic, and even having a contraption which continuously shoots dodgeballs toward them at high speed.

Patches: If you can dodge traffic, you can dodge a ball!

Narrator: "A guy who came to Fight Club for the first time, his ass was a wad of cookie dough. After a few weeks, he was carved out of wood."

    • This prepares them quite nicely for "Project Mayhem". The induction for Project Mayhem is standing on the porch for three days while the leaders occasionally come out to insult you and tell you that don't make the grade and should leave.
  • Ninja Assassin contains quite some examples. Orphans, including the protagonist, are trained in martial arts and stealth skills and are brutally maimed, punished or killed for breaking the rules or failing. On one occasion, the protagonist has to walk on a wooden floor in front of his master without making any sound; when he does, his master beats the soles of his feet with a whip, so the protagonist has to do his training while bleeding from the wounds. On another occasion, his love interest refuses to cut a student whom she defeated in combat, and is subsequently scarred with a knife and locked in a wooden cage. However, the arguably most gruesome part of the training is when the protagonist is wounded in a sparring fight, and his master uses some kind of Forbidden Technique on him, which leaves him screaming on the floor; the master then tells him that his next challenge is to survive for a night. Oh, and students that try to escape are captured and executed.
    • What distincts this example from many others is the fact that, in the end, the master gets killed for being a child abusing son of a bitch, whereas, in many examples, the protagonist actually thanks the guy for beating him and turning him into an antisocial killing machine.
  • Apocalypse Now. Willard is shocked to read that Kurtz underwent US Airborne training at the age of 38. Willard went through the same training and it almost killed him.
  • Par for the course for the German team, and self-inflicted for the American team in Broken Lizard's Beerfest. How intense could it be? Among other things, they drink ram's piss.

Great Gam-Gam: If you can drink ram's piss... fuck you can drink anything!

  • In Batman Begins Bruce Wayne is interned in a Thai prison where he beats up the other prisoners, often by taking on large numbers simultaneously.
  • Bloodsport - Dux suffers a few insane training moments including having his legs stretched out in the air while hanging on rope from the limbs.
  • The Coast Guard rescue swimmer school in The Guardian.
  • G.I. Jane depicts the training regime of sailors who want to become part of a Navy SEA Llike unit. The movie goes so far as to show how one of them is tortured during SERE training by applying pressure on his broken leg as well as physically assaulting Jordan, busting up her lips, and threatening to rape her in front of her comrades.
  • Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass; her training involved her instructor (her father, by the way) shooting at her with live ammo while she wore a bulletproof vest. Oh, and she's ten years old. Course, she's also a ten-year-old who slaughters a small army of crooks by herself...


  • Roland Deschain and the rest of his original Ka-Tet from The Dark Tower series get put through training from hell by their hard-as-nails instructor, Cort. Borders on The Spartan Way as it is hinted ALL males born to the line of Eld go through this, but falls short of The Spartan Way as the Gunslingers do not represent the army of Gilead, but are in fact ambassadors, leaders and lawmen.
    • The Gunslingers like generals in Gilead's army of militiamen. The books made it clear that the original gunslingers were from the families of the Knights of Arthur Eld, they were never numerous to be an army in their own respect.
  • In order to increase their numbers as fast as possible, the Asha'man in The Wheel of Time force their trainees to use their powers constantly, for everything from common chores to extremely dangerous attacks. And that's when they're not busy training to be blademasters. This naturally incurs heavy losses to death, burnout, and insanity.
    • The training Aes Sedai put their novices through isn't far from this either. The learning to wield your power -part is, theoretically, strictly controlled for safety and the novices are not allowed to channel except during lessons, but nevertheless they'll have to practise secretly just to keep up. And let's not forget that the lessons and the chores the girls have to accomplish exhaust them so that, as one character puts it, "After one month you'll want to run off with the Traveling Folk." (paraphrased) Oh, and when the novice becomes Accepted, it gets worse. Also, the training Aiel warriors go through probably qualifies.
    • Perrin's training to master the Wolf Dream in the thirteenth book. Since he's in a hurry, he accelerates his advancement of dreamwalking skills by literally diving into random peoples' dreams and beating the crap out of their nightmares. But when he's done, he can pull off ridiculous Matrix stunts in the World of Dreams, up to and including blocking the unblockable balefire.
    • The prevalance of this type of training in his writing probably stems from Robert Jordan's experience with the military, boot camp, and his time at The Citadel.
  • In The Pendragon Adventure series, Bobby goes through this ("Warrior Hell 101" is how he puts it) during the sixth book (The Rivers of Zadaa) from Loor, her acolyte, and Alder. Though he willingly admits that he's definitely not the best fighter around, his skills improve immensely (and pay off at the end of the book).
  • In Amelia Atwater Rhodes' Nyeusigrube books, the Triste witches have several methods of training. Some go slowly, cultivating power in generations. Then there is Pandora. Her training yields the strongest Tristes with the quickest results, but her method also has the highest fatality rate.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Warriors of Ultramar, Learchus puts soldiers from the planet through severe training. (Including intentionally showing off that as a Space Marine, his skills are superior; then, that was so that when he told them that he was So Proud of You, it would have more impact.)
  • Harry Dresden, from The Dresden Files, mentions having gone through this. In Small Favor, he trains his apprentice in shieldwork by having her family throw snowballs at her. Her mother asks Harry if he went through something similar. The answer? Yes, but his mentor used baseballs.
    • When Morgan chides Dresden's training of Molly in Turn Coat, Dresden asks about when he was taught shields; Morgan says his mentor used stones.
      • Worse in hindsight when you remember who his mentor is. Apparently using baseballs wasn't just a matter of Justin being evil if Luccio did it too.
    • In Ghost Story Lea is training Molly and has upgraded to rock hard chunks of ice, and informs her that next time she'll be using knives. Harry objects, and Lea argues that given that people are trying to kill her with bullets and worse and she's currently incapable of blocking any of them, Harry didn't do her any favors by being nice. The magical community at large seems fairly keen on the concept of pain as a motivator.
  • Jim Butcher also used this training in the Codex Alera series, but mostly off-screen between the fifth and sixth book. Tavi has great potential power with furies (elemental spirits) because of who his father was, but his power came in years later than most people. By the end of the fifth book he has mastered some internal magic and a little brute-force stuff, but is still way behind most people of his caliber. So starting after the end of the fifth book he gets a crash course in furycrafting from a Spirit Advisor. Most of the injuries we see are self-inflicted from his attempts at learning to fly.
  • In Dune the Imperium sends its elite Sardaukar troopers to the hell world of Salusa Secundus for training - thus arguably been Training In Hell. Interestingly, Salusa used to be the capital, having been ruined in an attack, and is therefore kept inhabited purely for this. In the course of the novel, Paul figures out that the Fremen of equally hellish Arrakis are the only people who can match the Sardaukar's skill.
    • In truth, Paul verified it, but it was his father, Duke Leto Atreides, that first suspected and realized the nature of Arrakis and the Fremen. And even he only saw the tip of the iceberg—the Bene Gesserit were guilty of the same oversight when they sent their Missionaria Protectiva agents to seed legend into Fremen culture and wound up providing the basis for the desert people to have their own Reverend Mothers.
  • In Pride and Prejudice And Zombies, Elizabeth Bennett went through this kind of training in China so she could fight the zombie menace. It included things like having to do a handstand for six days.
  • In The Chosen by Chaim Potek, Danny Saunders is destined to be the rabbi (actually rebbe - yes, some philo-semitic goyim do know the difference, but rabbi is good enough for the momment) of a New York congregation of Russian Jews. Danny is shunned by his own father because "A rebbe must know what it is to suffer". At the end Danny passes the test and receives a "Well Done, Son" Guy.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The training of the Faceless Men involves being temporarily blinded, then made deaf, then crippled - and learning to fight and survive with disabilities.
    • The training of the Unsullied is definitely this, beginning with the removal of their sexual organs, and continuing with a training that combines extreme physical stress with deliberate attempts to strip them of any personal identity. They are left without family or names, and are considered some of the finest soldiers in the world.
  • Ender's Game: Ender Wiggin does not have it easy, especially being 6 years old or so at the beginning of the story... After enlisting him in Battle School, the military changed the rules of the school multiple times to make his life as hard as possible in order to bring out the best of his abilities. After this training has finished, he went through another Training From Hell in Command School which turned out to be the real thing: he thought he was trained to be a commander in the umpcoming war, but in fact he was already commanding the human fleet against the Buggers. And won.
  • A Mord-Sith trainee in Sword of Truth is captured at a young age, tortured mercilessly with a handheld Agony Beam, forced to watch her mother die, and finally forced to torture her father to death. It's said that the candidates for this treatment are selected based on their sweet-little-girl properties: the more gentle and caring she is to begin with, the more ruthless and sadistic she'll be after the training.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, members of Compforce Assault, the armed wing of COMPNOR, use the motto "Two die for every one that gets through" in reference to the large number of trainees killed in live-fire excercises.
  • Sethra Lavode seems to put those she trains through this in the Dragaera series. In the prequel books, there are references to a number of her apprentices trying to kill her in response to the training, and she puts the future Empress through severe training to enable her to cross into the Paths of the Dead and retrieve the Orb and be able to come back alive. In the Vlad series set in the present, Vlad meets the character Telnan in the novel Dzur, who is being trained as a future Lavode (basically an expert fighter/sorcerer). Telnan cheerfully tells Vlad that he has only recently been allowed to leave the dungeons.
  • Bones from the Night Huntress books puts Cat through this, regularly beating her unconscious and chasing her through dark forests at breakneck speeds. It helps that he can use his vampire blood to heal her injuries.
  • Kate Daniels receives this from her stepfather for her entire childhood, beginning from the day she took her first step. Early training included leaving her in the woods with nothing but a knife, and forcing her to run wearing a backpack full of rocks. At the age of twelve he left her in the ghetto for a month and she was almost raped twice. At the age of thirteen he entered her in a gladitorial arena to fight in multiple consecutive death matches.
  • In the first Empire From the Ashes book, Colin has to undergo training from hell to master all of the radical enhancements Dahak wrought on his body.
  • Alex Rider. Most notably the first book where MI 6 send a 14 year old boy through SAS training. That's training which starts out with 200 trained soldiers and only about 30 make it. Not to mention the unit he's put with don't make it easy on him.
  • All agents in CHERUB undergo three months of basic training at the age of 10 to 11- an experience which is explicitly designed to make anything they go through on missions later seem easy. Trainers get away with doing things to preteens that would get instructors on adult training courses punished for hazing. The job of running the training requires so much sadism, in fact, that when Mr Large breaches the code of conduct in a major way, he still can't be fired because the CHERUB bosses can't find anyone else willing to do his job.
  • The H.I.V.E. Series: From what information we're given, Raven seems to have spent her childhood in this kind of training, the basic rule being, try not to get killed.
  • The Fourth Year at Brakebills in The Magicians. Up until now, the students have been obliged to merely study the circumstances that effect how their spells are cast in books; here, they have to learn how to act on them without even thinking through a gruelling training process that begins with the Fourth Year students being transformed into geese and sent on a journey from New York to Antarctica. There, at Brakebills' southern campus, they are returned to human form and promptly put under the tutelage of Professor Mayakovsky, who renders them mute for the duration of their stay to ensure that they can't be distracted by friendly communication. In between mind-numbing bouts of magical training, they are taught how to transform into polar bears and arctic foxes and endure the embarrassment that results from combining an animal's instincts with several months without sex. And at the end of the year, there's an exam that forces the participants to walk to the South Pole- naked, with only their magic to protect them from the elements. (The last part is seemingly optional, although they're not informed of that. All but two students flat out refuse to do it, and suffer no apparent consequences.)
  • Margo views her training to be a Time Scout as this, though it's fairly benign studying and training. However, when she gets lost in Ancient Rome, it definitely qualifies.
    • Skeeter Jackson's childhood was a particular kind of hell. From a benign, uncaring limbo to an incredibly harsh and abusive love.
  • In Helm, Dulan de Laal subjects his son Leland to this for seven months after he wears the Helm—Leland is forced to undergo every kind of manual labor Dulan can come up with while being attacked without warning several times a day with bamboo sticks by his brothers.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, the training in the Dark Forest involves fighting with claws unsheathed, and all situations could very easily result in a fatal injury. Bonus points because it literally is Training From Hell - the Dark Forest is the feline version of Hell.
  • Labyrinths of Echo had kings following a special magic tradition which allows them to ensure the land's prosperity. Thus each crown prince is trained on an assumption that in such circumstances few people are insane enough to attempt regicide, but everyone and their dog will try to influence them. The monarch may look affable, melancholic, nice and rustic, or fatalistic—but if necessary, an unflappable badass with steel self-control and Compelling Voice emerges in an eyeblink. So the explaination why an old-time king born with Arbiter power managed to avoid accidentally killing himself or even messing up the world around too much (which the protagonist barely avoids despite several near-crippling safeguards) was simple: "he was a crown prince".

Live-Action TV

  • In Heroes, Peter's training to control his powers under the tutelage of Claude involves him being framed for robbery, beaten repeatedly in the face with a stick, and thrown off a skyscaper to his (temporary) death.
    • Also, in ancient Japan, Hiro made Adam/Kensai fight ninety angry ronin and (in the graphic novels) leaving Adam to fight a very large, angry, mother bear as part of the 'be a samurai' montage.
      • As is pointed out above, beating someone up with overwhelming force is not usually a good way to train but since Adam can regenerate, and Hiro can pluck him out of trouble, they get away with it.
  • Part of training to be a Peacekeeper in Farscape, in that the final Prowler pilot training "simulation" kills you if you fail.
    • Also the whole point of "Mental As Anything" is meant to be this, although compared to what the characters involved have suffered on various past occasions at the hands of their enemies, it's positively gentle.
  • Connor from Angel. Training From Hell in a very literal sense - he was raised in a hell dimension by a vengeful vampire hunter who was training him to kill his vampire father.
    • One thing that's specifically mentioned is tying 7 year old Connor to a tree and leaving, expecting the child to free himself and then track his adopted father across said hell-dimension until he caught up with him. Angel is undersatndable horrified when he hears about this.
  • In Psych, Shawn's father Henry subjected him to a child-friendly version of this in order to develop his observational and deductive skills, with the intention that Shawn would follow in Henry's footsteps and join the police force. Naturally, seeing as he was just a kid at the time, Shawn grew up to resent this and rebel against Henry's teaching; unfortunately, Henry is a "Well Done, Son" Guy, and their relationship wasn't exactly cordial as a result.
    • Actually, in the flashbacks, it looks like Shawn wasn't nearly as resentful of his father as one might expect until Shawn's mother left and Shawn mistakenly assumed it was his father's fault.
    • Henry considered Easter Egg hunts 'training', and did so by burying the eggs three feet underground. With sharp rocks and broken glass over their burial place. And forced Shawn to search three weeks for the eggs. And is still keeping tabs on how many eggs are still buried (2). Oh, and Shawn was 8 at the time.
    • Henry also 'locked Shawn in the trunk of the car when he was around eight years old, just so he could learn how to get out of one. The neighbors watching at the time were understandably disturbed.
  • It is strongly implied that Firefly's River Tam was put through something like this during her time at the eAcademy, in conjunction with brain-wrecking mental violation.
  • UFO. Not an example of training, but more the Psychological Assessment From Hell—after witnessing a Flying Saucer incident Paul Foster is subject to numerous forms of intimidation from SHADO operatives. It later turns out that they were evaluating him for recruitment into their organisation.
  • In Ultraman Leo, Dan Moroboshi puts Gen Otori throught this to make him learn new techniques and defend the Earth better.
  • House plays this straight at the beginning of Season four where several applicants are subjected to various (often cruel, degrading, or downright ridiculous) tasks in order to seize one spot in House's diagnostic team. Moreover, House arguably does this all the time with the members of his team—training and pushing them constantly, to be their best at all times. Basically, he teaches them how to be a doctor—only, he teaches them how to be a doctor like him. Deciding if this is a good or a bad thing is up to the viewer. Cuddy most certainly doesn't like it.
  • Supernatural: After the murder of his wife by demonic forces, John Winchester raises his sons to be hunters, relentlessly running his boys through safety drills and weapons training, and punishing them severely for failure. It is mentioned that Dean sawed off his first shotgun while in the sixth grade, and the Sam was given a handgun to keep under his pillow.
  • Smallville's Lana Lang goes through this between her departure in season seven and return in season eight.
  • Discovery Channel's Surviving The Cut, about real-life special forces training. The most harrowing lesson (in season two's Special Operations Aircraft Rescue episode) wasn't about killing people or overcoming stress but the consequences of losing track of your teammates: The two "captured" men had to stand in front of the unit's MIA-POW monument while the rest of the squad dictated condolence letters to their parents, then lay in a "plank" position to think about how their buddies lives were over.
  • No Reservations: Tony and his crew had to go through training with ex-special forces guys to prepare for whatever awaited them in Kurdistan. The fun included how to look for mines with a knitting needle, random first aid "quizzes" with people suddenly screaming in the parking lot, and seeing how useless cinderblock walls are against automatic weapons.

Professional Wrestling


  • Back stage footage of Gackt and his band preparing for concert is nothing but this. Gackt and his back up dancers "training" includes lifting each other as weights and taking turns punching and kicking each other in the stomach over extended periods of time.
  • Classical musicians sometimes go through this, especially at the famous schools like Juilliard. Overuse injuries are very common, and nervous breakdowns aren't exactly unheard of.
    • This is an unusual example, in that most people going through the training wouldn't complain at all. They're all passionately in love with music, which is why they're studying music instead of something that pays better.

Tabletop Games

  • In Cthulhu Tech this is how Tagers are prepared to bind with their symbiont. First, they're practically tortured and emotionally manipulated by their instructors for at least six months, in order to learn how to maintain complete control over their bodies and minds. Then, they undergo the Rite of the Sacred Union, a three-day ritual in which they can't eat, drink, or sleep, having to remain focused the entire time. If everything goes correctly, they permanently fuse with a monster from beyond space and time. If something goes wrong, well...
  • The Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000 are the masters of military Training From Hell. A typical recruit is about 10 years old when he endures his first trial. These trials are various but always potentially lethal: on a Feral World, the recruit could need to hunt and slay the fiercest predator on the planet, or survive in the outlands for an extended period; he could find himself in a duel with a real battle brother (a hulking monstrosity, eight feet and 800 lbs of carbon hardened bones and pure muscle mass); or the psykers of the Chapter could simply decide to Mind Rape him and see if he survives. If the young boy passes the trial, for years he will be gruelingly trained, cut open and stuffed with additional organs (some Chapters shun painkillers and assistance; if he dies from the wounds, he's not a good Neophyte), pumped full of drugs and conditioned by the Chapter Librarian. If he survives since his 18th birthday, he will become a full fledged Space Marine. Most of the recruits die; the unlucky ones are crippled for life, their mind is shattered and their planet will look at them as the living epithome of failure. The real unlucky ones are stripped of their free will and become Servitors to the Chapter officers: Fate Worse Than Death, indeed...

Video Games

  • Sean's Ending in Street Fighter III: First Strike and Second Impact. Ken instructs Sean of the only training possible to beat him: By properly defeating Ryu.
  • In Jade Empire, it is possible to purchase some training techniques that the Big Bad's Lotus Assassin army uses. One such technique, Deadened Nerves, is apparently taught to a student by beating him until he no longer feels it. First knotted rope is used, then bamboo rods, and finally iron staffs. Not that any of this actually happens in-game...
    • Note that your character never goes through the indoctrination, general training or even gets the Lotus uniform... honestly, they need better quality control. Not surprisingly you get to betray them, free or kill their slaves and just wreak havoc. The villains are holding the Idiot Ball then...
  • The only reason The Kid from I Wanna Be the Guy had any chance of success is because he went through particularly harsh Training From Hell prior to the game's start, though the whole of I Wanna Be The Guy could be seen as the Training From Hell The Guy must go through, Klingon Promotion style.
    • And for those who play platformers, IWBTG is Training From Platform Hell.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, spirit medium and Phoenix's sidekick Maya Fey searches for a freezing waterfall to stand under for eight hours as part of her training. After failed attempts with Phoenix's shower and the local fire station, one of the characters during the ending sequence says that Maya did find a freezing waterfall...and caught a cold.
    • Taken to an even greater extreme in Trials and Tribulations; the initial premise of the fifth case is a trip to a Hazakura Temple, a training temple for spirit mediums. One of the training courses Hazakura offers is the "Special Course," in which the trainee sits on a block of ice while being doused in "spirit water" and chanting a spell 30,000 times.
    • Also, a mini-manga released in Japan with the DS remake of the first game shows a training montage the night before Phoenix's first court case. If Phoenix gets so much as a small detail wrong, Mia hits him with a shinai so hard, it breaks. The title approximates as "Phoenix's Special Training From Hell"
      • Makes you wonder why he's so nervous during his first trial. Must be the concussion.
  • The premise of the Windows PC game Chip's Challenge consists of Chip solving 144 Nintendo Hard puzzles to get into a club.
  • The freeware PC game YGS2000 is more or less Training From Hell for Bullet Hell Shoot'Em Ups.
    • It's subverted when you realize that it's training for bullet hells.
  • In order to cure herself of her crippling (and painful to watch) Fear of Thunder, Genki Girl Rikku from Final Fantasy X spent a solid week in the Thunder Plains, a region with endless rain and lethal thunderstorms that are barely kept in check by a few lightning rods here and there.
    • Truth in Television: G. Gordon Liddy, best known for his role in the Watergate scandal, also had astraphobia and cured it by climbing a tree during a severe thunderstorm.
  • No More Heroes has a rather vanilla "training" in Thunder Ryu's gym, which is just dumbbells, bench pressing and squats (although Thunder Ryu is kind of predatory...). But it also has training from Hell when you give Lovikov the Lovikov balls. Judging by the sound effects, he teaches Travis his techniques by beating the crap out of him.
  • EarthBound's Poo has to undergo "Mu Training" before he even joins the team, consisting of having his legs, arms, ears, eyes and mind broken by "the spirit of his ancient lineage."
  • An interesting inversion occurs in Breath of Fire 3. This time, you aren't on the receiving end of the Training From Hell. You get to train nebbish, cowardly bookworm Beyd so that he can take on Zig. Meeting in the town square, training consists of ten rounds (or less) of beating Beyd silly in order to increase his core physical stats (HP, Defense, Strength). If the player is as obsessive about it as this guy always is (partly because he could never count on Zig to land a critical and spend a turn bragging so that he could heal Beyd), nebbish, cowardly bookworm Beyd becomes confident, Physical God Badass Bookworm Beyd! (Seriously, if you train him enough, it's possible for him to wipe out Zig in one attack, as well as one party member per turn).
  • Inverted in The Misadventures of Tron Bonne where the player as Tron is the one putting the Servbots through their paces. The attack training consists of the Servbot catching live bombs and then throwing them back at cardboard cutouts of the game's citizens, the speed training is three days of kitchen duty where you have to serve meals to the other Servbots under increasingly harsh time limits, and slothfulness is cured in the torture room using spikes, flames, and a 10 ton weight.
  • Master Zen's training in Tony Hawk's American Wasteland; Even though you're pretty capable of winning AMJAM before you meet him, it's still necessary to learn his secrets. And, while the fact that you never see him on a skateboard himself might seem a little suspect, he's just a little nutty and forces you to Die or Fly by stalling on a freeway sign, facing certain death if you fall. He also sees if you are "strong of body" by having you hurl yourself into a wooden tower until it breaks, and tests your "mind" by making you bash through a roof with your head. Of course, his training has its benefits; No other skating instructor gives you freaking superpowers like the Special system or the strength of ten men, after all.
  • Basically all of Portal.
  • The Combat School mode in some Metal Slug games is like this; in Metal Slug 7, your "training" missions start out fairly simple, but playing through the main campaign unlocks a series of progressively more insane challenges, such as keeping balls in the air while being continuously attacked, jumping as much as possible while fighting off enemy troops, playing a game of Chicken with a giant sled, replaying the giant mech duel boss without your giant mech, trying to beat the final boss with no special weapons or extra lives as fast as possible, and fighting off a platoon of giant maneating plants with only a combat knife.
  • Corporate-run "Biotic Acclimation and Temperance training" is part of Kaidan Alenko's backstory in Mass Effect, and he describes it as Training From Hell: "you either came out a superman or a wreck. A lot of kids snapped. Some died." Operating in the early days of human biotics, before the study and training of them was regulated, BAaT involved rounding up teenagers who manifested biotic abilities and sending them to a barren space station at the edge of the solar system, with no access to the extranet, to be trained by turian (as in, "our enemies from the recent First Contact War") mercenaries. One of them, Commander Vyrnnus, liked to tell his students "I was at the helm of the dreadnought that killed your father," and his teaching methods included breaking one student's arm because she tried to get a drink of water without using her biotics.
  • The academy in Mario Tennis: Power Tour has training machines that allow senior and varsity players to gain experience for learning Power Shots. These include a treadmill run, where banana peels and barrels are tossed at you every few seconds; a devices where you spin around to collect coins while dodging jets of fire; and the "Duck Walk", an obstacle course where you mostly hop on one foot and try to avoid stepping on an electrified floor.
    • The "sumo robot" requires repeated tackles to destroy, and comes equipped with a rocket punch that knocks your character senseless if it's not defended against. The trope itself is lampshaded by the numerous NPCs (and a few coaches) in the training area who are seen either recovering from the training or wondering aloud how performing these tasks could possibly help their tennis play.
  • The live-action commercial for Halo 3: ODST depicts Tarkov and the other ODST trainees going through this.
    • The SPARTAN training is known to be even more grueling.
      • To elaborate, the children—and they are children—are finished with standard military training before they're ten years old. Before they hit they teen years they're being trained with live fire simulations with trainers who are really trying to maim and kill them. They're instructed to do the same.
  • The ending of the first loop of Don Pachi reveals that the events of the game were training for the DonPachi Squadron, an elite troop of super-soldiers. It's hellish both physically and emotionally, because the enemy is in reality the player's allies, who are all posing as the enemy in order to allow this training regimen to happen.
  • Although there's not a Training From Hell sequence per se, Final Fantasy VIII's Balamb Garden military academy has a "Training Center" which consists of an area where live monsters (including T-Rexes) roam. The Training Center is the only Garden facility open to students at all hours; the infirmary, meanwhile, closes at curfew. It's also worth noting that the prerequisite for Garden's final exam involves traveling to a monster-infested cave to do battle with an elemental spirit; the field exam itself involves squads of teenagers being turned loose on an actual battlefield.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Barthandelus sends the party to Gran Pulse to force them to become strong enough to kill Orphan -- an act that would destroy Cocoon and everybody on it.
  • Level Grinding in any game is essentially the players forcing their characters to go through Training From Hell. A few hours of this will feel like hell for the player as well.
  • In relation to the above, Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman has basically all of the dungeons justified as training for the actual battle against the titular Big Bad.
  • In Dwarf Fortress you can build a Danger Room, a barracks with tons of spear traps inside that your soldiers have to dodge and block. It's the most efficient way to train combat skills, and also keeps your doctors busy in case someone gets injured. If done with training weapons and fully armored squad, it's no more dangerous than practice with the same weapons. But then, players get bored and set up a trap with giant spiked ball made of balsa or something.
  • Inazuma Eleven: In the anime version, other than the daily push-ups, and practicing with tires, there are the Flash and Naniwa Training Facilities, which unlike in the games, they provide outright unnatural and painful training programs.
  • In the remake of Syndicate, Agent training includes taking No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and live-fire courses with gunships.
  • Marching Flame Scouts from Mousehunt are trained by getting chucked into the first wave of battle on the front lines to fight against deadly mousetraps. And they don't get any prior combat training or experience.
  • In many Pokémon games, you will encounter trainers who use Fighting Type Pokémon and claim they train their Mons by sparring with them - given how strong some Fighting Mons are, this may well be far more of a Hell to the trainers.

Visual Novels

  • Subverted in Fate/stay night. Shirou goes through training every night in magic that nearly kills him and terrifies anyone who sees it. This is, in fact, because he is really bad at practicing. It does essentially nothing for him. Another subversion comes in his sparring with Saber, where she points out that there's no way he can really hope to learn anything in such a short time so she'll just teach him to sense killing intent and get used to battle so he reacts better.
    • Played straight, though, with our favorite Badass Grandpa Zelretch. He's notorious for periodically showing up at the Clock Tower and choosing out a few trainees. On the one hand, training under one of the few living practitioners of true magic, the man who killed an Eldritch Abomination bare handed? Sounds great! On the other hand, well, pretty much everyone he's ever chosen is currently either dead or insane.
  • In Yo Jin Bo, Tatsunami Ittosai eventually reveals that as a child he was put through Training From Hell by his father, who believed that A Real Man Is a Killer. Ittosai is the only one of the guys who is completely unfazed when Kasumimaru uses a ninja technique to blind him, commenting that his father used to blindfold him and attack him until he learned to defend himself without being able to see.

Web Comics

Ten: You'll run or we can do the bee training again!

  • The T-Girls of Jet Dream undergo extensive training in "Combat Femininity," with the purpose of acclimating themselves to their new bodies and defying Different for Girls with extreme prejudice.
  • Collar 6. Mistress Sixx whips Laura severely to train her for pain tolerance.
  • Subverted in Fite!, where Gorgado's harsh training seems to make Lucco weaker rather than stronger, and is more like a strange form of torture.
  • In Demon Eater, the main character Saturno is going through this at the hands of the members of the Human Club.

Web Original

  • The RPG Fanatic: At the end of the Castlevania: Curse of Darkness review the Student Sword forces the Fanatic to fight zombies as part of his ongoing "hero training".
  • Sharon Kulikov from Survival of the Fittest was apparently put through this - by her own father, no less. Ironically the training doesn't help much when she gets into a confrontation and takes an axe to the back of the head, though her training didn't really involve combat techniques. Barry Coleson High's baseball and football teams also apparently went through an extremely rigorous training regime - described as military-esque - that would've cost their coach his job if it weren't for the fact that they're very highly skilled teams because of said training. The baseball team's practices apparently involve three miles' worth of laps around the entire campus at the start, hundreds of the same drills over and over, physical workouts, and being forced to do eighty pushups every time the player makes a mistake.
  • YouTube's Billy MC went through this when his very first LP was Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. It took him a year in real time to beat it. However, he's since proven to be very good at easier—still fairly difficult—Mario games, like Super Mario Bros 3.
    • He's also proven to be very good at games mostly considered Nintendo Hard since, having beaten The Karate Kid in only two Let's Play videos, Castlevania in four, and Ninja Gaiden in just five videos .
  • Training for PPC agents is inconsistent at best, and can range from this (if you're lucky enough to get a thorough agent trainer) to being thrown into your first mission without any instruction whatsoever.
  • In season 2 of Stupid Mario Brothers, Link trains the Mario Bros. to prepare for thir fight against Nox Decious. It is however subverted when the training turns out to be a round of Super Smash Bros. which the Mario Bros. take seriously.
  • Agents of the Organization from LIS DEAD are put through extreme training pretty much from birth
  • RWBY; Chapter 4 has the students launched into the monster-infested forest at high speed (told specifically to expect lethal force from the Grimm and to respond with the same) unsupervised, with the instruction to gain an "artifact" from the temple and return. And that is just the initiation rite. Later chapters show them sparring with actual weapons and a field trip to a destroyed city infested with more Grimm. Clearly, Huntsmen are not in a business that is taken lightly.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph psychologically trains Aang to Earthbend by doing things such as verbally abusing him, stealing his nuts and staff (literally his staff and bag of nuts), and not helping him protect his friend. Her physical training involves such tasks as running an obstacle course while carrying a boulder on his back, jabbing his hands through solid stone, and sending a giant boulder crashing towards him while blind-folded.
    • Aang also goes through a short episode of self-inflicted Training From Hell when completely stressed out in preparation for the invasion.
      • The training itself wasn't particularly brutal (they're even ones people do in real life) as the worst thing he did was punch a tree a bunch of times, rather the fact that he did this after not sleeping over a day was the cause.
  • Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego had an episode that showed what went on in a V.I.L.E training program, which includes rappelling up the side of a life-sized mockup of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (or perhaps the real deal - Carmen did like to steal oddball stuff like national monuments).
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents, Cosmo and Wanda retreat to Fairy World to renew their fairy licenses; Jorgen von Strangle sets up a hellish training regimen as part of the renewal process, which includes doing 10 million push-ups.
  • Some parts of Mulan's training montage qualify as Training From Hell - particularly climbing the pole to retrieve the arrow, cutting through concrete with their heads, and hopping across several poles planted above a river.
  • Turned on its head for Disney's Hercules where the training is more of an antagonizing experience for the trainer rather than the trainee. For instance;

Phil: (whilst standing next to a bullseye) Rule number 95 kid; concentrate!
(Hercules throws several knives which all very nearly impale Phil in the next shot)
Phil: Rule number 96; AIM!!

  • In Boondocks, Colonel Stinkmeaner goes through a literal version of this after Granddad accidentally kills him, and Stinkmeaner's taught kung fu by the devil himself so he can return to Earth and have his revenge.
    • Stinkmeaner apparently doesn't think its so bad as he claims he's having the time of his life. He also called the devil a "B&%$h ass N&#%a!" to his face
  • Wolf Den base in Galaxy Rangers. A bunch of Artificial Humans designed as living weapons put through grueling training like fighting giant mecha while being shot at with live ammo, being drugged with experimental substances, and casually being used as guinea pigs by their creators. The other students were happy to "weed out the weak" from their numbers, and didn't particularly care about little things like "casualties." That's before the Jerkass Corrupt Bureaucrat dosed all but the youngest with Psycho Serum.
  • Providence recruits go through 'Pain Week' during basic training - five days, one-hundred and twenty hours, of solid drills and exercises, with no breaks to eat or sleep. The trainer outright says that the goal of Pain Week is to force any recruit who couldn't handle fighting deadly monsters on a regular basis to quit early ... then walk down the long stairs from Providence's apparantly cliff-top base and somehow get across a freaking desert to the nearest city. That's right, even the washouts get a little extra hell.
  • This becomes an unintended case in the episode "Failsafe" of Young Justice when Miss Martian was overwhelmed by Artemis's "death" and her telepathic powers overroded hers and the rest of the team's conscious knowledge that the scenerio was fake.
  • Interviewer: "Which animation show was the most rewarding and why?"

Chris Reccardi: I would have to say Ren and Stimpy. But rewarding like getting ten root canals, and then growing new super-teeth later.

  • The Tomato Scout camp in Camp Lazlo is supposedly this. Commander Hoo-Ha selects recruits for this program personally from Bean Scouts who gain the most merit badges, claiming it hardens a camper and prepares him for the cruel, cold world, also claiming "Tomato Scouts never leave the war zone!" Of course, Scouts who cheat to gain the required merit badges (as Edward does, only to learn to his horror how tough the Tomato Scout camp is) are sent to Camp Skull Crush, which is even worse.

Real Life

United States Military

  • Air Force Pararescue is two straight years of Training From Hell, going through every course on diver training, parachuting, recovery training and survival training. The school has a drop-out rate of approximately 90%, this is out of a class as large as 100 Airmen. Their Motto "That Others May Live" is exemplified in that, of the 22 Air Force Cross' that have been awarded since the inception of the Air Force, 12 of them have gone to PJs. Note that this team actually rescues other special forces units occasionally and often acts as medics for those teams.
  • The SEALs. Two words. Hell Week: 132 hours of continuous physical activity. No, that is not an exaggeration. During Week 4 of SEAL training, applicants get only 3 to 4 hours of sleep. No, not 3 to 4 hours a day, but in that whole 132 hour period. In addition, they are beaten by their instructors and undergo surf torture (a full body workout after being forced to lie in 65 degree water). Still, these are the guys who managed to take out Osama Bin Laden. You can't argue with success.
  • US Army Special Forces Selection isn't a walk in the park. SFAS, the first part, is the qualification exam for the actual Qualification Course, and attrits a minimum of 40%, and like Ranger School, you have a good chance of not being selected anyway. Some of that is deliberate, as the instructors will sometimes fail you to see if you will come back and try again. Then comes the fabled Q course, which can basically be considered Basic Training for the Special Forces, with a similar attrition rate. Only after that, do you actually go through the actual training for your job, which knocks out even more candidates.
  • Fort Irwin National Training Center is home to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, widely recognized as the best mechanized formation in the US Army, which is used almost exclusively for training other groups. Visiting "Blue" forces can expect to be outnumbered and outgunned, all the while fighting on the Op For's home terrain.
  • SERE School is a notorious training regimen for all special operations infantry and combat pilots in the US military. It stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, and you get to do all of those. The survival portion is being dumped in generally inhospitable terrain with maybe a knife, and you have a set amount of time (which you are not aware of) to endure the elements. You are then tracked by your instructors, with the stated purpose of evading capture. Of course, without exception, you will be captured; you have to be, so that you can endure the next part, where you have to resist the torture inflicted on you by your captors. This is genuine torture, things that would be war crimes if done to prisoners of war... but its legal to do it to your own troops, because they knew what they were volunteering for and signed waivers. The only thing the students know for certain is that the instructors will not kill them, sexually assault them (note, that's "assault", not "harass"), or deliberately cripple them (although a few students have accidentally been given lifelong injuries during the training, and everyone knows this too): anything and everything else is fair game. Sleep deprivation, waterboarding, physical violence, anything. Then, finally, you are expected to escape when the opportunity presents itself. You do not want to fail the course, as if you do, you get to do it again.
    • Contrary to the impression just given, however, its not intended to be a pointless sadism exercise. The training was designed on the factual basis that the vast majority of enemies the US has recently faced or will face in combat in the future have zero respect for the Geneva Conventions and won't obey them, which means anybody captured by them is going to suffer horrible, horrible things. And you cannot psychologically condition yourself to survive those kind of things in a harmless simulation; you have to actually know something about what it's really like.

Other Military

  • The Royal Marines Young Officer training course is the longest infantry training course in the world at 15 months. It is also widely considered to be amongst the most grueling, being designed to take its trainees from civilian to fully qualified officer capable of commanding a troop of elite commandos. It is is estimated that for every fifty people who begin the application process, one will finish training.
  • The Royal Navy's Submarine Command School is also known as "Perisher" for its 30% dropout rate. If you fail, the submarine immediately surfaces and a helicopter takes you back to shore and you are never allowed to serve on another submarine, ever.
  • 1st SFOD-D, SAS, JTF2, DEVGRU, KSK and many more legendary strike teams not only endure a selection process that eliminates around 20% of the applicants, they go through training that often has only 5-10% pass. And then, they constantly train every single day for that one mission where they will be needed. No rest for the best.
    • The top classified German GSG 9 inspired a certain SpecOps team.
    • The British SAS selection process culminates in a week long exercise where the surviving applicants are given a basic set of survival equipment and a movement restricting greatcoat and then told to evade capture from trained special forces teams. And even if you get through this you're finally subjected to a 36 hour enhanced interrogation. It's said that only 15% of applicants ever go the whole way and join the SAS.
  • Russian Spetznaz deserve mention here, known for such things as swimming through blood to toughen soldiers and brutal close combat regiments. Furthermore, unlike the other special forces units whose training is mentioned here, Spetznaz training was at one time and may yet still be conducted with very slim or no safety precautions. For example, both the US Navy SEALs and the Naval Infantry Spetznaz had a "if you drown, you fail" test where the recruits had to swim a set distance while wearing full field gear and carrying their rifle—but the US Navy had lifeguards on the training course, and the Spetznaz didn't. The policy was explicitly 'if the recruit dies, he was no good for Spetznaz'. They applied this philosophy to most of their other field exercises as well.
  • Paratrooper units feature these by necessity. Not only is parachute training an inherently stressful and risky activity in itself, but the role of paratroopers in a major conflict is to be dropped far ahead of friendly forces to conduct reconnaissance and hit-and-run attacks, usually going for extended periods without resupply or backup.


  • The famous Shaolin Temple is known to put its initiates through training that most people cannot comprehend. The methods employed have been well-documented by many researchers, and they include striking piles of leaves repeatedly with the hands to deaden nerves, hitting oneself on the head to harden the skull, running up the stairs of Mount Shaosang, then 'crawling' back down; and that is only for the physical conditioning that the Temple requires to learn Shaolin Kung Fu. It only gets worse.
  • As shown in the Brazilian movie Tropa de Elite / The Elite Squad, the grueling course for entry into the elite Dirty Harry-style unit of the Rio de Janeiro police, BOPE. Designed to fail over 95% of applicants. Includes being fed nothing but dog food, massive violence, endurance tests, being continually shouted at, verbally and physically lambasted by the course instructors.
  • The (In)famous senshusai aikido course. Takes 1 year, half of the pupils are Japanese SWAT-guys, the other half are MMA freaks. Main attraction is walking on your knees even while the blood is running down your trousers. There is a book called Angry White Pyjamas about a geeky guy who took the course.
  • Ken Shamrock's gym, the Lion's Den, was legendary for it's insane training regiment. Being beaten and choked into unconsciousness was a daily norm and, that was if you got in. To get in you had to to make it through an eight hour tryout that made the most 'badass' fighters cry home to their mommas. The Lion's Den made you into a monster, but the training destroyed your body and consequently the fighters had much shorter fighting careers than the average mixed martial artist. Most of the fighters still have injures that never healed properly because of their extreme training.
  • Transcendentalist writer Margaret Fuller was put through the intellectual equivalent of a Training From Hell by her overambitious father. She knew six languages, two ancient, four modern, and was one of the leading minds of her generation; unfortunately, having had to study hard and go without essential rest from the age of six left her with life-long nervous conditions which almost killed her.
    • The economist/philosopher John Stuart Mill went through much the same thing in childhood. He started learning ancient Greek at the age of three, and at the age of ten wrote a sequel to the Iliad. Unsurprisingly, he had a nervous breakdown by the age of twenty (though unlike Fuller, he recovered.)
  • The fitness tests that open training camp for National Hockey League teams are typically very tough, as they're designed to determine just how hard each player is able to push himself.
    • New York Rangers coach John Tortorella's fitness test is considered the hardest in the league. Players have been known to call it "Camp Torturella".
  • Bruce Lee. Not only could he do one-finger pushups, he spent hours punching a stool to toughen up his fists.
  • Dick Wei, an actor/martial artist who played a string of memorable villains in 1980s Hong Kong action cinema, also trained many Action Girl stars during the heydey of Hong Kong's "girls with guns" movies (Michelle Yeoh, Moon Lee and Cynthia Khan among them). A former Army man and founder of his own martial arts studio, Wei was a legendary believer in hitting and kicking people for real when training, staging and filming fight sequences so that they would be realistic. And he made no exemption for female opponents; in keeping with this philosophy, he is reported to have accidentally broken Cynthia Rothrock's jaw. Supposedly, apart from this he was an extremely nice guy, and in fact he had no problem "losing" on-screen fights to many of the people he had trained.
  • Crossfit, arguably. Many crossfitters are intimately familiar with "Pukey the Clown".
  1. Source is Ultimate Adventures