7 Tips to Fighting with Strength

There are many ways to fight.  Possibly as many as there are protagonists since everyone is a little different.  Yet, there are three schools that can be focused on.  As long as you don’t include magic and range weapons, which is why Nyx has been sent on vacation for the next three posts.  Although, she does get her picture here since her non-magic fighting style is strength-based.  So, what are some tips to fighting with a focus on strength?

  1. The character needs muscles or a reason why they’re slender with the power of a heavyweight boxer.  Body type is always something to consider to make the style seem believable.  Timoran destroying enemies with his axe doesn’t really work if he’s 5 feet tall and 90 lbs.  Now, I did mention that Nyx uses a style like this because she has been trained by Timoran.  She has a toned physique and uses a different strength style that involves multiple full-power blows instead of one.  So, you can already tell there will be exceptions to these rules if you’re creative with them.
  2. Training and body maintenance should be considered as well.  A muscular character should have something in their background to explain their physique even if it’s a life of hard labor.  They also can’t subsist on a diet of cake and beer unless they have a bizarre metabolism.  Have them work out a bit or watch what they eat.  Constant battles and sparring can help here, which is how Timoran stays in shape.
  3. Always remember that with great strength comes a greater ability to break fragile things.  Sometimes it’s on purpose and other times it’s an accident, but it should be a factor on the battlefield.  Armor dents, weapons nick, and shields can crack when repeatedly struck by a powerful opponent.  This goes for the character’s gear as well since a mundane weapon in the hands of a power fighter needs to be able to handle their force.  These are not always gentle battlers, so equipment (and bones) should show this.
  4. Big muscles do not always mean small brain.  A strong character can still use tactics that fit their abilities.  They could have even studied while working out.  Just put a book on the treadmill or have a friend read to you.  In Timoran’s case, his training included discussing barbarian tactics and philosophy while he worked on his body.
  5. Strong characters that aren’t powered by magic, tech, or inhuman abilities tend to be larger targets.  Going back to the need for muscles, those don’t make a person small when trained for power.  So, you have to factor in that these characters have a higher risk of getting hit or seen.  Not only you realizing this, but they have to be aware of this problem.  Their tactics should include some level of defense because veterans would know that you don’t always get the first strike.
  6. Brute force is a useful tool, but it’s like a lump of steel.  You need to refine it and think about how the character will use this power.  Just like a sword needing to be forged from that steel, a technique should be formed from the brute force.  Perhaps the character focuses on breaking bones or stays on the defense until they can deliver a stunning blow to the head.  Yes, you can have a bashing, smashing, crashing powerhouse running into battle.  It’s just that I said big muscles don’t always mean small brain.  Smart warriors have strategies and techniques.
  7. Just because a character is really strong doesn’t mean he or she has to carry enough gear to stock a Home Depot.  Yes, they can carry more and might do so to help the rest of the group.  This does come with a cost.  If ambushed or drawn into a fight while holding everything, the strength hero will be a lot slower than normal.  Speed might already be limited, so this is a deadly situation.  Adding the big target problem and you better pray the strong hero can drop the extra weight quickly because they’ll be overrun faster than the others.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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26 Responses to 7 Tips to Fighting with Strength

  1. L. Marie says:

    Great post! So often I have rolled my eyes when a woman weighing approximately 100 pounds is the winner of a fist fight with a man twice her size. No explanation of how she’s able to best him, other than prowess. I can only suspend disbelief so much. And I’m also tired of the brainless but strong dude.

    A friend of mine told me about the training a boxer goes through. So much training! I couldn’t help thinking about that as I read #5.

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    • I mean, there are ways to do it. Hitting in the right place, but as you said there needs to be an explanation. The brainless muscle guy will probably never go away. They work for minions and villains always need those. It’s funny, but I see uproar over the ‘dumb bimbo’ cliches, but never the ‘dumb muscle’ one.

      I can only imagine the training for boxing and wrestling. That’s another reason the champions take long breaks between temples. It helps to explain a few differences in power and combat style. At least with Nyx.

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      • L. Marie says:

        Good point. It can be funny. But let’s give equal time to smart strong guys.
        Nyx is strong in a believable way. I can’t help thinking of a little girl in the karate class of two of my friends’ sons. She beats all of the boys in combat. It really does depend on the training.

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      • Think I’d settle for any time to the smart strong guys. Maybe people think that’s too much for one character, so they feel giving up brain for brawn is fair.

        Nyx is also an experienced bar-fighter, so she can throw and take a punch. This became evident in the first book when she tackled an enemy dwarf and began pounding on his head. Timoran’s training has given her more refinement, but she still needs her magic to survive. Facing anyone with even one year of intense training would make Nyx the underdog.

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  2. Some really nice tips here, Charles. You are so right, it needs to hang together and be believable. Although I suppose that sometimes blind rage can give a smaller person additional strength but no enough to best a real huge and trained person.

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    • Blind rage can up the strength, but it always makes a person sloppier. So they can hit hard with a higher chance of either missing or delivering a blow that doesn’t make much of a difference.

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  3. I’m glad you cleared up the brain muscle thing. I always thought there was an inverse relationship. 🙂

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  4. Good refresher. Some of us don’t write a fight scene everyday. I also like the idea that all musclebound guys aren’t stupid.

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  5. Personally I think every hero need to carry about a dozen large weapons, you never know when you might need a certain weapon! Just kidding…

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  6. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here are some great tips from Charles Yallowitz on fighting with strength from his Legends of Windemere blog

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  7. I remember this one movie where a blind wrestler was being trained by a girl who had grown up around wrestling. She showed him that the wrestling was almost like a dance in that you feel the rhythm of your opponent’s movement and can anticipate his next actions. After a lot of experience, some warriors probably develop a similar sense of where their body is in relation to the opponent.

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  8. Useful information!

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  9. Pingback: Writing Links 5/15/17 – Where Genres Collide

  10. Pingback: The Thinking Hero: Brains Over Guts | Legends of Windemere

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