Martial artists in DC Comics
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Over time the DC Universe has become home to a large number of distinctive fictional martial artists. These characters range from professional martial artists to vigilantes and career criminals. Some were originally intended to be martial artists, such as Richard Dragon, Bronze Tiger and Lady Shiva whereas others were given their martial arts skills at a later date (as with Oliver Queen), or had their martial arts training added via retroactive continuity.
During the Golden Age of Comics several of the more notable martial artists in the DC Universe were created, although at the time they were likely not intended to be students of Asian martial arts, but of Western arts such as boxing or wrestling. Batman and Robin were DC's first superhero characters to practice Asian martial arts; Batman is first shown using a "jiu-jitsu trick" in Detective Comics #36, and Robin learns jiu-jitsu and boxing from Batman in his first appearance.
Characters created in the 1960s included Judomaster (originally a Charlton Comics hero later incorporated into the DC Universe), and Karate Kid of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The 1970s introduced many of the best known characters with a strict martial arts background, including Richard Dragon, Lady Shiva, Bronze Tiger and others. The 1980s saw the introduction of a new Robin, Tim Drake, Deathstroke, Katana, Cheshire and others. In the 1990s many more martial artists were created, including such well-known characters as Bane, Green Arrow II (Connor Hawke), and Mister Terrific (Michael Holt).
 The DC Universe's martial artists (ordered by instructor)
"Schools" are labeled by their oldest known instructor. All students of that instructor are numbered, and every individual taught by a student is lettered.
Where a character has multiple instructors listed, an attempt has been made to indicate how many other instructors that character has listed.
- 1. Batman (1st of 3 instructors listed)
- 2. Bronze Tiger (1st of 2 instructors listed)
- 3. Various members of the League of Assassins
Although Bruce Wayne studied under many martial arts masters while training to become Batman, Kirigi, a master of ninjutsu, provided one of the prominent foundations to Batman's maritial prowess and approach. Kirigi cares little about who he teaches his skills to, apparently only concerned with what he can gain as an instructor in return. Because of this, Kirigi teaches ninjutsu to several members of Ra's al Ghul's League of Assassins. When Ben Turner seeks out Kirigi for aid in controlling his anger, Kirigi instead attempted to exploit the talented young warrior, driving Turner away.
Batman himself later teaches several others, particularly the four Robins, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Stephanie Brown , as well as providing various levels of instruction to the many Batgirls.
- 1. Richard Dragon
- 2. Bronze Tiger (2nd of 2 instructors listed) 
- 3. Lady Shiva (1st of 3 instructors listed) 
In 1974 Dennis O'Neil and Jim Berry wrote the novel Dragon's Fists, introducing the O-Sensei, and his two students Richard Dragon and Ben Turner. O'Neil later incorporated them into the DC Comics Universe.
In 1895, The O-Sensei, a Japanese Army Captain stationed in Manchuria, takes on an honor debt to devote his life to studying the martial arts. He becomes a "master in many ways", and later teaches the troubled Ben Turner (the Bronze Tiger) and the thief Richard Dragon, helping them find inner peace while turning them into skilled martial artists. Later stories introduce the O'Sensei's god-daughter Lady Shiva, another of his students. Dragon, Turner, and Shiva are considered the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe.
Dragon and Turner become members of a government agency for a time. Dragon eventually retires, and takes up teaching others as a way of pursuing the next stage in his life. His students include both Questions, The Huntress, and Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl.
Turner, on the other hand, is brainwashed by Ra's an Ghul's League of Assassins into becoming The Bronze Tiger. During his time with the League he helps to train Cassandra Cain, the future Batgirl. Turner eventually breaks free of his brainwashing. Shiva's thirst for improving her martial arts skills led to her seeking employment as a mercenary and assassin.
- 1. Batman (2nd of 3 instructors listed)
- 2. Cassandra Cain (4th of 5 instructors listed)
- 3. Lady Shiva (2nd of 3 instructors listed)
- 4. The Mad Dog
David Cain is one of the world's premier assassins. He is one of the people who trained the young Bruce Wayne in the skills that he would use as Batman. A lonely but thoughtful man, and a member of Ra's an Ghul's League of Assassins, Cain came up with the idea of creating a perfect martial artist. Al Ghul, wishing to have a perfect and completely loyal bodyguard, assisted Cain, giving the assassin a number of infants to raise. When the early "experiments" proved unusable, Cain decided that the answer to his problem lay in genetics.
He murders Caroyln Wu-San, one of two exceptionally skilled martial artist sisters he had seen in a tournament. The surviving sister, Sandra Wu-San tracks Cain down for revenge; however, without Caroyln holding her back, Sandra begins to reach new heights of skill. When The League of Assassins defeats her, she agrees to become the mother of Cain's child in return for freedom and training. Sandra renames herself Lady Shiva, and leaves after her daughter is born, traveling the world and honing her skills by any means possible. Shiva and Cain's daughter, Cassandra, is trained from birth to be an unparalleled fighter. She rejects the destiny as a killer that her father had decided for her, and becomes Batgirl. As Batgirl she receives further training from Batman and Lady Shiva.
At an unknown point in his past, Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) is taught assassin techniques by the man known as Natas. Years later, in preparation for combating Deathstroke, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) hires Natas to teach him everything Deathstroke had been taught. Although honoring the terms of the agreement, Natas betrays Queen to Deathstroke as a "final test".
- 1. Black Canary
- 2. Lady Shiva (3rd of 3 instructors listed]] 
In 2004, Richard Dragon was revived by Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel as well as the character revamped, but only to be cancelled after twelve issues. In this short series Richard Dragon's life as a thief are replaced to be that of a bullied school-kid who is eventually taught martial arts by an older Bronze Tiger, rather than O-Sensei. This version of Dragon then went on to train many talented but nameless students most notably, it appears, Batman who then refers his own student, Dick Grayson (Robin I, Nightwing). Nightwing even alludes to this training when he encounters Dragon in Blüdhaven. The second Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) is another student pictured receiving tutelage from Dragon in this storyline. This version of Richard is difficult to reconcile with other characters' canon, especially The Question. The comic book 52 prominently features the version of the Question trained by the earlier version of Richard Dragon, and lists several appearances of the earlier Richard Dragon as "Required Reading".
Ted Grant is an undefeated heavyweight champ in boxing, and the greatest boxer who ever lived. Ted has taught his skill to many prominent super-heroes.
- 1. Paul Kirk (Manhunter)
- 2. Kirk DePaul (Manhunter)
- 3. Soseh Mykros (Nemesis)
- 4. Freeway (metahuman criminal)
- Black Orchid
- Constantine Drakon
- Doctor Mid-Nite
- Green Arrow I (Oliver Queen)
- Green Arrow II (Connor Hawke)
- I Ching
- 1. Batman
- 2. Wonder Woman
- Kana, the Shadow Warrior (WWII hero)
- Karate Kid
- King Snake
- 1. Cassandra Cain (5th of 5 instructors listed)
- Mister Terrific (Michael Holt)
- Nightblade (member of the Blood Pack)
- "Pajamas" (member of the 100)
- Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt
- The Question
- Striker Z
- Terry Sloane
- White Lotus (member of the Supermen of America)
 List of Minor Martial Artists in the DC Universe
 Sensei Otomo
Sensei Otomo first appears in the "Of Like Minds" storyline in Birds of Prey, as Japanese martial artist who has a dojo in Hong Kong where a young Black Canary was a student. The sensei is very affectionate to his young pupil, and gives her the nickname "Siu Jerk Jai" or "Little Bird." Canary feels that the affection is preventing him from giving her the full benefit of his wisdom, and so she reluctantly leaves the dojo. Canary later visits Otomo on his deathbed. Lady Shiva, who had also trained with Otomo (although at a different time from Canary) also pays her old master a final visit, claiming that it was simply because when she learns that one of the world's greatest martial artists is dead or dying she prefers to verify it herself. Having thanked Canary for doing justice to his teachings, and thanking Shiva for not killing him on several occasions, Otomo then asked that Shiva never kill Canary, and asks that Canary never attempt to bring Shiva to justice, to which the two agree. Sensei Otomo is not given the chance to die peacefully, however, and is murdered by Cheshire as part of a complicated scheme for revenge against Black Canary.
 Martial artist groups of the DC Universe
- Order of the Stone
- Renee Montoya
- Brother Flay
- Sister Shard
- ^ a b Batman vol. 1 #431
- ^ Detective Comics #38, 1940
- ^ Batman 410, 1987
- ^ Batman 442, 1989
- ^ Robin #126, 2004
- ^ Batgirl #7, 2004
- ^ Suicide Squad Vol. 1 #38
- ^ Batgirl #67
- ^ Justice League Task Force #0
- ^ a b Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #1, 1975
- ^ Question #1, 1987
- ^ Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood #2, 2000
- ^ The Batman Chronicles 5, 1996
- ^ 52 (comic)
- ^ Detective Comics Annual #1, 1988
- ^ Robin #4, 1991
- ^ Batgirl 9, 2000
- ^ Green Arrow (Vol. 3) #66-68
- ^ Green Arrow (Vol. 3) #71
- ^ a b Birds of Prey vol 1 #62-67
- ^ Catwoman Volume 1 Annual #2
- ^ Robin # 49 (1998)
- ^ Robin: Year One #4
- ^ The Unofficial Asano Nitobe Biography
- ^ Teacher revealed in Batman Family #8 (February 2003)
- ^ Kana first Appears in G.I. Combat #245 (September 1982)
- ^ http://www.angelfire.com/ar/hellUSA/Kana.html
- ^ http://www.supermanartists.comics.org/bronzeage/Kana-GICombat239-21.jpg
- ^ As seen in Black Lightning series 1 #6
- ^ As seen in 52 Aftermath: Crime Bible - Five Lessons of Blood #1 (December 2007)