Fight sequences are one of the most exciting parts of any superhero movie. Watching the hero flip, jump, kick, and punch the bad guy into submission is a sight to behold. Especially when it’s a superhero like Spider-Man. So, how many martial arts does Spider-Man use?
Spider-Man uses Kung Fu, Capoeira, Krav Maga, and grappling. He combines these martial arts into a style called the Way of the Spider. This is first explained in The Amazing Spider-Man #654. From there, we see his fighting style evolve and turn into what we see today in movies and video games.
This article will examine the martial arts used by Spider-Man and the influence they have on his fighting style. We’ll break down and examine the Way of the Spider. Spidey fans, get ready to learn how to fight like your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!
Breaking Down What Martial Arts Spider-Man Uses
The Way of the Spider combines several fighting styles. But how does he incorporate them into his fighting style? Does The Way of the Spider have any resemblance to real-life fighting? Let’s look at each component in more detail.
Kung Fu Fighting
Spider-Man learns Kung Fu from Shang-Chi after losing his Spider-Senses. During this story arc, Spider-Man used Kung Fu as his fighting style. We have all seen Kung Fu used in other forms of media, but what exactly is Kung Fu?
You might be surprised to hear this, but Kung Fu is not a martial arts style at all. Though Kung Fu has been an umbrella term for Chinese martial arts for some time, this usage is incorrect. Kung Fu‘s true definition means acquired skill, with other meanings being strength, ability, self-discipline, etc.
So if you have mastered a sport, a musical instrument, etc., you are doing Kung Fu. If you have achieved a college degree, become a doctor, published a novel, etc., you are doing Kung Fu.
Regarding The Way of the Spider, Kung Fu allowed Peter to master fighting without the use of his Spider-Senses. When he regains his Spider-Senses, they are that much stronger because of learning Kung Fu.
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that enslaved Africans developed sometime in the 16th century. This style of martial arts combines acrobatics, dance, and self-defense. It can also be disguised as a form of dancing when paired with musical accompaniment.
While we never find out if Spider-Man learned Capoeira, we see its influence in how he fights. For example, he often uses Capoeira kicks. He spins mid-air and lands his kicks with significant effect. Spider-Man also takes moves from Capoeira to dodge attacks, which pairs well with his speed.
Krav Maga is a form of self-defense and strike fighting first developed in the 1950s. Originally taught to the Israeli Army, this form of fighting increases awareness and instinctive reflexes. Krav Maga is still used today by the military, law enforcement, and civilians.
As with Capoeira, it is unknown if Spider-Man formally learned Krav Maga. However, we see Spider-Man use it frequently while disarming weaker enemies. He also uses Krav Maga against The Green Goblin in a few comics when Green Goblin used a pistol.
Though Spider-Man has superpowers, disarming opponents of their guns or knives is beneficial. This form of self-defense is very grounded in reality, but it has likely saved his life more than once.
Grappling is used in several martial arts, like Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and wrestling. It can be used for various purposes, like gaining a physical advantage, escaping your opponent, or forcing your opponent into submission.
Spider-Man has used grappling to get out of difficult situations, especially against powerful opponents. We see that he would rather fight at a distance and use strikes from Capoeira and Kung Fu. This also helps him avoid getting grappled by opponents.
However, as we have seen in the movies and the comic books, he can handle himself in close-range fighting. Soon after acquiring his superhero powers, he enters a wrestling competition to win money. He uses a wrestling takedown during the match and manages to throw his opponent to the floor.
Spider-Man is perfectly capable of taking down opponents using grappling but prefers to use strikes. Strike fighting seems to be a better choice for a scrawny, speedy guy like Spider-Man, so his preference makes sense.
If you want a more in-depth breakdown of Spider-Man’s fighting style, here is a YouTube video breaking it down:
Seeing it broken down this way can make it easier to understand how he combines these martial art forms.
Comic Book Beginnings
When breaking down any character’s fighting style, it always seems best to start with where it all began. Spider-Man’s beginning started in August 1962 in The Amazing Fantasy #15. From there, he went on to have his comic series, The Amazing Spider-Man.
During The Amazing Spider-Man #654, Spider-Man’s disruption device on his wrist sustains damage during a fight with Scorpion. Spider-Man presses the device’s button at close range, resulting in Spider-Man and all insect villains losing their Spider-Sense abilities.
The loss of his Spider-Senses causes many problems for Spider-Man, and it is well-noticed by Shang-Chi, a Kung-Fu Master. Spider-Man asks Shang-Chi to train him in Kung-Fu. Shang-Chi agrees, and thus Spider-Man’s fighting style, The Way of the Spider, was born.
The Way of the Spider
The Way of the Spider, or Spider-Fu as Peter calls it, is Spider-Man’s specialized fight style, and it’s key to answering what martial arts Spider-Man uses. This martial arts style combines bullying experiences and a variety of fighting styles.
Peter combined his bullying experiences, superhuman capabilities, mastery of acrobatics, and training from Captain America and Shang-Chi to create Spider-Fu. With the later return of his Spider-Senses, his fighting style grew more potent, and he became able to counter all types of combatants.
Can You Fight Like Spider-Man?
You can’t fight exactly like Spider-Man. His fighting style relies on his superpowers. However, you can learn the martial arts that make up the Way of the Spider.
Unless you have been bitten by a radioactive spider, there are apparent limitations to fighting like him. And unless you have web technology that lets you get around, your feet will remain on the ground. I know that sounds boring, but there is an upside to this.
All the martial arts that Spider-Man uses, anyone can learn. So this means that in theory, with practice and dedication, you too can fight like Spider-Man. And yes, you can wear a costume if you wish. We will not judge if you do.
Summing up, the four martial arts Spider-Man uses are:
- Kung Fu
- Krav Maga
These martial arts styles are still taught today and used by law enforcement and the military. These everyday superheroes help keep us safe as Spider-Man does in the comics and movies.
Spider-Man has taught generations of comic lovers everywhere that even the scrawniest guy can make a significant impact. Yes, he has superpowers, but anyone can learn his fighting style. With his relatability, it is easy to see why to this day Spider-Man remains one of the most popular superheroes in the MCU.