When it comes to visions of the future, so many of mankind's most creative science fiction authors use their considerable talents to imagine how we may wage war. All the futuristic weaponry in the world would be pointless if there weren't combatants trained in the latest combat systems to wield them.

When it comes to action in any medium, authors love to borrow from real-world martial arts or create absurd nonsense. Mankind has been perfecting the use of our weak bodies in combat since the beginnings of our evolution, but countless years of development in new weaponry and techniques could revolutionize violence.

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Gun kata - Equilibrium

Fans of the combat style of John Wick will know that it pulls from a lot of previous sources. The most central element is the classic John Woo "Heroic Bloodshed" ethos, but other films used similar ideas to great effect before Wick hit the scene. Enter Kurt Wimmer's 2002 sci-fi action cult classic Equilibrium. The film takes place in a dystopian future in which mankind is pacified through the use of emotion-numbing drugs. To enforce their usage, the Grammaton Clerics are tasked with eliminating "sense offenders" who refuse their drugs and destroying all forms of art. Christian Bale stars as an elite Cleric who turns against the order and battles his former peers for freedom. To do this, the Clerics wield modified handguns in a style known as gun kata. This coldly logical combat system posits that the positioning of foes in a gunfight is a statistically predictable variable. To ensure victory, Clerics use two guns as "total weapons", both for melee and projectile fighting. The fight scenes in this movie are some of the best, and it deserves a far higher profile for its contribution to the medium.

The Weirding Way - Dune

Remember that iconic duel at the end of Dune: Part One? Wondering how a fifteen-year-old prince was able to defeat a hardened Fremen warrior in a fair knife fight? The answer isn't just "because he's the chosen one." Paul is trained by his mother in the way of the mystical Bene Gesserit, which entails a great deal of meditation, spiritual growth, spatial awareness, and much more. This regiment also includes the Weirding Ways of Combat, which may seem like simple martial arts, but grant the user incredible capability. The Weirding Way allows the user to move in strange and unpredictable ways with blinding speed. Paul is capable of short-range teleportation, making him unstoppable in the series' trademark knife fights. It'll be a joy to see what Paul pulls off with the Weirding Way in part two.

Anbo-Jyutsu - Star Trek

Fighting isn't the most common activity in the utopian feature of Gene Roddenberry's imagination. While some modern incarnations focus a bit too much on the action, early entries in the franchise preferred to solve problems non-violently or resort to ship combat when necessary. The rare occasions in which Star Trek crew members resort to close-up fighting, it's an event. Anbo-Jyutsu is a martial art in the same way that Olympic Judo is. It's not designed to kill, it's for a ceremonial combat ritual. The competition requires armored foes to fight blind, using proximity sensors to battle with padded staffs. This is the perfect evolution of martial arts for this franchise. It's compelling to watch, settles disagreements, and doesn't cost anyone their life.

Panzer Kunst - Alita: Battle Angel

The world of Yukito Kishiro's iconic 90s manga and Robert Rodriguez's 2019film adaptation is a cyberpunk post-apocalypse adjusting to the influx of cyborgs. The eponymous Alita is an amnesiac cyborg woman found in a scrapyard by a well-meaning doctor. When Alita finds herself forced into a combat situation, the only thing she can remember is her combat training in the lost art of Panzer Kunst. The Way of the Tank is the first of the cyborg martial arts, as well as the first to account for zero gravity combat. It's also the most deadly fighting style designed for machine bodies. Panzer Kunst allows Alita to defeat machines several times her size. It's a full combat system that allows the user to star in an opponent's blind spot, redirect enemy attacks, and deliver killing blows. It's an extremely clever invention of Kishiro's classic.

Teräs Käsi - Star Wars

The Star Wars franchise's modern canon has only mentioned this unusual art once, in the unfortunate 2015 film Solo. Han's love interest Qi'ra demonstrates her proficiency. It has its origins in a sub-par 90s fighting game and its name is somewhat inspired by the Tekken franchise. This martial art is less impressive for what it is than for what it could be. The concept was brought up as one of Star Wars' interminable callbacks to previous content. Rogue One was supposed to mention it, but it got cut. The thing that's interesting about Teräs Käsi is that it's a hand-to-hand combat system specifically designed to beat force users. Imagine a fighting style that could defeat powerful psychics through skill alone. In Solo, it's based on Pencak silat, the Filipino martial art which is used in The Raid franchise. Silat has its origin in using unique skills to defeat much stronger and better-armed opponents, so adapting that concept to a world with superpowers is a genius idea.

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