Interesting article that would be useful for Orc RPers.
Found this article about Orcish martial arts/fist fighting and thought folks should have a looksee as its a good read and pritty darn true IMO
he idea of martial arts in fantasy has been bandied around and used for a long time. However, it is usually in relation to the more “civilized” races. But, imagine if a culture such as Orcs had developed an organized fighting art.
In order to imagine this, one has to first define what kind of culture the Orcs in question live in. There seems to be as many different types of Orcs and Orc Cultures as there are fantasy writers willing to write about them. From Tolkien’s hate-filled brutes, to Stan Nicholl’s near-human warriors of honor, to World of Warcraft’s tribal crusaders; the common threads seem to be that Orcs are strong, brutal warriors. So, it would stand to reason that any fighting art developed by Orcs, regardless of culture, would be filled with offensive strikes, debilitating defenses, and the mindset that “anything goes” in a fight.
As an eclectic martial artist myself (though way out of shape and practice), I am drawn to the more direct, non-flashy styles of fighting; boxing, kickboxing, Krav Maga, etc. I think Orcs would feel the same way. In fact, I would wager that your average Orc would get a huge kick (no pun intended) out of MMA. So, in my mind, an Orcish martial art would resemble that. Imagine Randy Couture with green skin and tusks.
For techniques we’re looking at a lot of heavy punches, direct kicks, and maybe some simple joint locks and throws. But Orcs wouldn’t abide by no rules, so head butts, groin shots and rabbit punches would be pretty normal. Hell, even a bite or finger gouge would be called for, should the need arise. Punches and kicks would be heavy, with the aim of crushing flesh and bone. Joint locks would be designed to break limbs, or at least disable them. And throws would preferably involve a solid object to aim your opponent’s body at.
An Orcish martial art would probably operate on the principle of “The best defense is a good offense.” While blocking an attack would be something that would be done, it would most often be done in a way that the blocked appendage would suffer some damage. Basically, an incoming punch makes the arm your new target, etc. And like many Asian arts, defending yourself while making a simultaneous counter-attack would be the norm. Add to this dodging, bobbing, and weaving, and you have all the defense you need.
I always envisioned Orcs who “train” doing so in very strenuous ways. Physical strength and endurance would be paramount, so many of their exercises would involve developing those attributes. Kettle bells are an ancient tool for strength-training, and I envisioned in one story I was writing that Orcs would use something similar. Basically two round stones of equal weight, with rope handles attached. There are tons of exercises one could do with these, not the least of which would be to simply carry them from place to place.
Your average Orc village won’t have access to any kind of gym equipment, so calisthenics would be largely used. Push ups, pull ups, and squats might form the foundation. Then add in running, rope-climbing, and moving around various sizes of logs and stones. For an idea of the kinds of things Orcs might do, watch a Strong Man Competition or Highland Games. Those guys are animals!
As anyone who has ever punched a heavy bag, or even a person, can attest, if your knuckles aren’t either protected or conditioned (or ideally both), you can hurt yourself pretty bad. And that will end your fight or training session real quick. So, how would Orcs condition their knuckles? The answer: Punch a tree. Similar to how Wing Chun artists use a wooden dummy and sand bags, Orcs would practice punching solid objects that, while solid enough to resist their force, would be pliable enough to not break every bone upon impact. A nice, ripe Pine is perfect. The bark is thick, and the trunk is solid. Besides, who cares about trees anyways? They’re an asset. The same could go for kicks, knee strikes, and elbow strikes. You ever see Van Damme’s Kickboxer? That’s some harsh, Orcish training right there.
Most formal martial arts involve choreographed movements done in a specific order, usually referred to as forms or katas. These are designed to develop muscle memory on how the body moves from one technique to the next logical technique, in response to a likely attack or target. However, Orcs would probably eschew such formalities. Rather than performing a “dance” with an imaginary foe, Orcs are more likely to test their knowledge and abilities on live targets. Ideally, each other. Therefore, students in a class would be encouraged to pick fights with one-another. These might be formal challenges, or on-the-spot walking up and punching someone. No hard feelings are usually left after it’s over. And if they are, so what? Are you an Orc or a pansy Elf?
That being said, chances are Orcs would be pragmatic enough to know to pull back a little. Especially when applying joint locks and other wrestling-type moves. Pile-driving your foe’s head into a rock might work when fighting for your life. But in practice, well, it’s just a waste of resources. If you kill your foe in practice, who are you going to practice with next time? And when it comes down to it, if you go to battle, you want as many fighting-worthy mates with you as possible.
So, what do we have now? We have a brutal, no-holds-barred style of fighting that closely resembles a WWE wrestling match combined with the Spartan agoge. Savvy martial artists might come to the conclusion that this martial art could be seen as Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do on steroids. Either way, Orcs who practice this art would be formidable, scary, and downright nasty in a fight. But, it wouldn’t stop there. This unarmed form is just the beginning. Once the Orc learns to deal damage and mayhem with his bare hands (and feet, knees, elbows, head, teeth…) he gets to learn to apply all of that to weapons!
I agree for the most part, minus the WWE reference (god that stuff makes me cringe). I imagine Orcs who posture and fight inefficiently find themselves scrubbing latrines as janitors, or as the implements used by them. Krav Maga and Pankration would definitely be my inspirations for Orcish martial techniques, though their class and personal preferences may determine a number of refinements. A number of points of consideration:
1. What is the Orc's relative size (true really of all races) to those they train with or fight on the battlefield? The smaller you are, the more you are going to have to rely on precision and speed. Bigger guys (like myself) often take hits other people can't simply because we can absorb the blow with little harm done. It's not a matter of lacking skill, it's a matter of saving energy. An Orc Shaman who maybe went to study with the Tauren would have to learn to be more precise and technical, even if he now fights little puny Humans.
2. Why is the Orc (or any character) learning to fight? While fighting is something we consider inherent to Orc culture, there are different reasons for conflict that shape the styles individuals are attracted to or have available. A warrior learning from battle-hardened veterans will learn that throws are far more effective against heavily armored opponents (ala Judo/Jujitsu) whereas a warrior who grew up in the back alleys (canyons?) or Org may learn something a little more like Krav Maga. A Hunter is more likely to use strikes and throws to gain distance, and thusly have a more rudimentary skill set, unless maybe they also grew up in the back alleys and became a hunter to get out of the city. A Shaman on the other hand is more likely to incorporate spiritual practices into their martial arts and practice something more akin to Aikido.
3. I would note that Orc style is likely to be more direct (and perceived as honorable). What would be considered dirty may differ from how we think though. For instance an Orc may consider a knee to the head on a grounded opponent or choking legitimate even in training, though they may not strike the genitals except on the battlefield (or in any other unfriendly encounter). Honor doesn't preclude cunning and deception, particularly when your opponent will not observe such rules.
4. Regardless of occupation, most Orcs probably endure some form of Body Hardening techniques. I would suggest people observe not only the more ceremonial and well-known practices of Kung Fu, but also check out arts like Kyokushin (so many fun filled hours of letting people punch me and strike me with wood and bamboo). Kumite is likely a practice Orcs would employ. Even a number of exercises in pilates and modern yoga derive from Hindu warrior caste exercises (downward facing dog pushups.... shudder).
5. As direct as Orcs are likely to be, a little flourish is going to make it in now and then since Orcish society has such a strong macho undercurrent. Some who are more cunning and violent in nature may take to learning from Forsaken, Blood Elves, and Trolls who are more likely to employ stong use of Atemi (vital points). Your character may also see brutality as a psychological weapon against opponents and therefore utilize less effective, but visually abhorrent techniques at times like causing compound fractures (if you can cause a compund fracture you can usually knock someone out).
Very useful points and comments though and probably very darn true. You have a lot more experience with martial arts than I do and your probably right on with your points. I was thinking about how the Tauren would fight in terms of martial arts and I just kept going back to boxing/throws. Of the playable races the Tauren are arguably physically the strongest, although you can and do get some thin tauren, probably young adults or those who just didn't bulk out, the majority of them are simply massive with absolutely huge upper body strength. That 'hump' between their shoulders, its all muscle and they would use that strength for punches and elbow strikes as well as grabs and throws. A fully grown Tauren male could probably throw a human sized object a dozen feet and outside of manga/anime if you get thrown that far and hard you're not going to be getting up again in a hurry.
A big Tauren would probably be a bit slower in their strikes simply through sheer size and mass but blocking a punch from a Tauren would probably be just as bad as getting hit. Fighting a Tauren unarmed you'd probably have to fight smart and spirits help you if they land a blow or get a hand on you. Of the playable races i'd say only the Draenai would be able to go hoof to hoof with a Tauren in terms of a stand up slugging match but even then the Tauren's got the size and strength advantage 9 times out of 10.
Regarding Tauren Monks I'd picture them as being the more slender ones of the race, getting a kick off a Tauren would probably be crippling or fatal if they caught you right because even a 'small' Tauren's got to be in the 7' tall region and something like 350lbs + of fuzz and muscle.
One of the constant mistakes people make in martial arts is assuming big guys are slow. We aren't. This myth is often perpetuated by hollywood as well as the very true fact that large guys who are not trained often are slow because they have never needed to be fast. Anyone who has trained with big guys knows they can move when they have to, they just have to less often. I jokingly snapped a jab past a coworker once and he didn't even blink until my fist was next to his head. Speed is a major factor in the force delivered in a strike, and all warriors know speed kills.
So with that in Mind, a Tauren may tend to stand ready in a more casual stance, and may have a more calm attitude towards combat. When he does hit you it's gonna be a freight train though and you better be ready to move. Grappling is likely a big plus for the Tauren. They will have a hard time with most traditional throws because their center of gravity is so high. They have excellent leverage for trips and joint locks on the arm/shoulder which benefit grealty from slight shifts of core mass, which they have more than plenty of. Overhand strikes are probably dominant, with some short gut level punches being very efficient and at head height for most races. Their knees may look proportionally small, but are high and massive for delivering devastating muay thai style knees to the head, though they need not reach for the head as much. gut kicks are also very likely and their hooves will likely dent armor easily. A short snap kick for a Tauren would be a devastating blow to a Human.
In short Tauren likely take advantage of their size to deliver short, powerful blows to smaller races with minimal effort, saving energy to move when needed. Manuevering is also goign to be interesting for them as a side step may remove them from an opponent's striking distance. Their full strngth is likely only unleashed once their opponent is on the ropes, and may take the form of a brutal slam or even grabbing the whold head and yanking it violently until the neck snaps. Tauren likely have more spiritual arts than the Orcs, but I wouldn't expect them to be anything less than as brutal as they need to be to finish the fight. They may not move much, but that is because they can absorb far more massive blows, turn slightly to deflect attacks, and generally use less exertion to defend themselves.
Of course when one has horns, unarmored combat offers a number of odd options.
I forgot to add that Draenei are not as strong as the male model appears. Orcs are actually stronger. despite this, the difference is minimal and Orcs are nearly as strong as Tauren, the difference is in leverage and ability to absorb a hit. Draenei are still relatively short compared to Tauren and will have as much trouble as Orcs, particularly with much weaker knees. Shin stomping a Draenei is likely the way to go.
Last edited by Primaliron; 2013-01-07 at 01:20 AM.
Although the original post was basically more a 'what if' from a term of culture etc, its something I like to read about and discuss, we've actually got little information about training, or fighting practice etc and what there is is technically non canon (for some retarded reason) so to broaden out the lore talking about fanon and head canon isn't a bad thing as long as its rational and reasonable.
We can assume that Orcs joining the military have a tough time in training with a lot of emphasis on weapons practice and fighting, whereas Humans for example would practice fighting as formations and squads.
Working such what is basically fanon into wow is kind of needed if you want to pad out your characters and the world they live in. I don't mind folks using and making up fanon/head canon as long as its rational and reasonable (No you are not playing a succbui or san lyn...you'd be stabbed into bits before you could introduce yourself). WoW's lore is very VERY light on the ground when you look at it when it comes in regards to culture, training etc so most RPers tend to make up or at least look at real world stuff and incorperate that into the game, all be it suited to alter the world.
Primal your insight and knowledge is most useful and darn true, I guess regarding the Draenai you look at their art and size and consider them strong, but again this is open to personal interpretation, I've given up counting the number of times i've seen flag RSPs that say their character is 'much larger than the average [insert race here]' or something along those lines but going off the basics i'd have thought the Draienai would have slight advantages in terms of physical strength compaired to the orcs.
The Pandaren are probably just as strong as the Orcs if not stronger, on the males under that pudge is an absolute feckton of muscle, the Mogu used them for physical labour for a darn good reason. Combine that with that you can very much imagine that for the Pandaren their marital arts training is very much a part of their lives regardless of their professions or career they take. So you combine a hell of a lot of physical strength combined with training and you have a dangerious opponent.
I totally agree with your comments about the Tauren in hand to hand, I can also imagine them having a more regulated form of physical training than the Orcs would with any hand to hand fighting between Tauren in training being more like greco-roman wrestling with ephasis on not using strikes but they would be taught how to fight an opponent with hands, elbows, knee, hoof and of course horns, but again in a more controlled enviromnent and style. And re just holding the head and pulling yeah..grab by head, shake hard, throw aside.
I'm always happy to share what I've learned in the last 26 years of martial arts. I'm also happy to learn more because even after so many years I am always finding out more things from people I meet. Martial arts are often wrapped up in cultural perceptions and jargon but often boil down to the simple concept of risk vs reward as governed by physics. Each move carries risk (exertion required, loss of stability, exposure of vital points) and offers rewards (forcing the opponent to exert to block/evade, knocking them off balance, causing physical trauma). The trick is understanding what to use and when, something you can train for all you want, but experience often really teaches.
A note on Greco-Roman wrestling. It may seem useful for a race as large as the Tauren, but the mechanics are not suited to them (except against other large opponents). The primary force from Greco-Roman is created by lowering your center of gravity and getting under the opponent's (or as my coach used to say, get your hips up under him like your gonna f*ck him). Tauren will find themselves more suited to using their legs as a wedge into their opponent's stance, combined with pressing their center of gravity against their opponent's upper body, and then just twisting to generate a rather staggering force, slamming their opponent to the ground. It is amazing how effective such a simple trip is when you are much larger than your opponent. Dwarves though, unlike Tauren, would LOVE Greco-Roman techniques as they are both sizable enough and low enough to make taller opponents fly. Dwarf tossing may be a past-time for some, but Dwarves would probably consider elf-tossing an olympic sport.
On Orcs I would say their culture probably follows a mroe tribal style of passing on martial arts. Humans and most of the other races have a quasi-warrior class that assumes command over much larger armies of non-warriors. Orcs on the other hand likely begin training to hunt and fight at very young ages. Therefore by the time they enter the official military, they already have basic training most of the other races do not have. They do have some formation experience, as experienced in questing, but it is more of a small squad style. In many ways I consider it like every unit trains to become commandoes. Personal skill is highly valued, but I also imagine that they understand very well how to follow orders and cover each other. Being a warrior is a personal and cultural priority, and they likely bond like any tight knit unit.
Just to throw out a few things. If you want to learn more about martial arts for RP purposes one of the best things you can do is just get a general overview of martial arts around the world. East Asia gets most of the pop culture love, with some MMA dominant contributors also getting some press, but a good look around the world will let you understand what techniques arose where and why. Pankration and Sambo are both european arts that saw battlefield use (the Spartan Agoge the OP mentions is a variation of Pankration). India has a number of styles I can never spell, but are fantastic to watch and have interesting similarities to shao-lin (Buddhism came from India so that's no shock). Africa similarly has styles I can't spell off the top of my head, but are interesting to note. Zulu stick fighting in particular is an excellent weapon form with many similarities to Kali. Even the French that everyone likes to call pansies (because they don't know anything about French history) have a history of martial arts ranging from the more modern Savate to their excellent fencing schools. Germans even had a Jujitsu-like style in the renaissance that was used by mercenary groups. Apache knife-fighting techniques would be an excellent source of inspiration for Orcs and Trolls using knives.
I was half expecting you to have a demo with me in it :P I am more familiar with Norse combat techniques than I should be. Oh well at least they were fun hours wasted in life. And fun hours are rarely a waste... although if I bothered to finish my degree that might hold more true. Should have spent more time with the books than the broadsword.