Wolverine is the best at what he does, but what Wolverine does best isn’t very nice. Wolverine is the best at killing his enemies, often through the bloodiest, most savage means. Wolverine has lived upon the earth for decades. Wolverine was exposed to many fighting styles, as a student or on the receiving end of the blows rained upon him by the practitioner of a particular type of martial art.
Even when being exposed to a martial art as its victim, one can learn something of such a particular martial art’s intricacies and nuances if one survives the encounter. Due to his healing factor, Wolverine always survives the encounter.
Throughout his storied history, Wolverine has been introduced to several martial arts, sometimes in-depth, sometimes in a cursory fashion.
Here are some of those martial art styles.
- World War II Combatives. As a very long-lived individual, Wolverine has participated in several war theatres as a soldier or special forces operative. Wolverine was a soldier in World war II. The primary martial style taught to North American and BritishAlied Soldiers (particularly Special Ops) was a style that emphasizes brutal but simple strikes targeting extremely vulnerable areas intended to kill, developed by Rex Applegate and William Fairbairn. This style of unarmed combat is for disabling an attacker quickly. This combat style is the one taught to the organization that would eventually become the CIA and the British SAS and Canadian Special Forces.
- The Unarmed Combat Techniques of the Samurai. Wolverine has spent portions of his life in Japan. One of his first forays into Japan had him studying the way of the Samurai under the tutelage of his sense Ogun. The main unarmed combat style of the Samurai is often called jujutsu. Samurai were fully armoured in combat; thus, jujutsu tends to forego strikes for throws, joint locks, and pins (grappling) because the opponent’s vital targets are covered by armour. This form of unarmed combat is the precursor to modern-day arts such as judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and sambo. Also, it was common to use the opponent’s force against them by subtly manipulating the direction of that force to make it easier to take them down.
- The Unarmed Combat Techniques of the Ninja. Wolverine sensei Ogun was also familiar with the martial practices of the Ninja. These combat techniques would include the unarmed combat style of the Ninja. This unarmed combat style is often referred to as Taijutsu. Taijutsu seems to be a derivative of the Samrai’s jujutsu but with greater fluidity and softness of motion that would allow for the incapacitation of an enemy without drawing unnecessary attention. This style fits well with the Ninja’s goal of stealth. As an adjunct, the learning and mastering of stealth and the ability to infiltrate a place undetected are part of the Ninja curriculum.
- Swordsmanship. As part and parcel of Wolverine’s Samurai training with Ogun, the kill of swordsmanship would have been developed. The ability to wield a sword skillfully is the purview of all great Samurai. Along with this would be a study of various bladed weapons and their correct ( and deadly) handling, such as multiple knives and even the naginata ( a sizeable bladed weapon on the end of a long wooden staff). Invariably, though, the Samurai’s weapon of choice would be the long sword know as a katana.
- Marksmanship. Wolverine has been involved with different military and espionage organizations throughout much of his life. One of the standard protocols in all of these organizations is the handling and use of firearms. Though Wolverine prefers bladed weapons, he is also killed in the use of firearms. The study of marksmanship also includes the study of sighting and accuracy. The skill of a marksman is measured by how well they can hit a target accurately. The term marksman is now almost exclusively used to discuss a person highly skilled in using firearms. Historically, the term was used to describe archers of great skill who could consistently hit the “mark” with their arrows. Because of his perc sight and keen animal-like senses, and experience in the military and mercenary and spy, Wolverine is a skilled marksman.
- Wolverine has possibly been exposed to every combat art that has originated on earth either as a student, master, or victim of such combat arts. Also, Wolverine has been exposed to combat arts that are not of this world. Most notable, the combat art of the Sh’iar elite military force. In his travels across the globe over decades, Wolverine would have picked up or been exposed to various styles of Shaolin-based Kung fu in China, as well as a few of the more internal styles, such as Bagua Palm, Hsing-i Fist and Tai Chi Fist.
How a healing factor can be a hindrance in fighting prowess.
One has to ask oneself: “How would I fight if I knew I could not die?” When considering the answer to this question, one would need to consider that though one cannot die, one would still feel the pain of every gunshot wound, every knife puncture, every blow, every strike, every broken bone and severed limb. If this were the case and it is the case with Wolverine, one can logically conclude that someone with Wolverine’s healing factor would still learn defensive techniques like blocks and parries and slips to avoid being tagged by a strike or a weapon. Perhaps the emphasis on such tactics of damage avoidance would not be as vital in Wolverine’s training practice as it would be for a human martial artist. Still, it would nonetheless be part of his curriculum and practice. Also, such defensive maneuvers are part and parcel of a number of the martial arts Wolverine has practiced. Therefore, after years of practicing these various arts, habit and muscle memory would ensure that Wolverine would use each skill’s defensive/avoidance aspects in any combat situation. If we also consider Wolverine’s heightened senses, we would realize that these would seriously augment Wolverine’s ability to avoid damage inflicted upon him by his opponents.