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One Piece is a Japanese animation created by Eiichiro Oda and follows the adventurous journey of Monkey D. Luffy, a young ambitious pirate that aims to become the King of Pirates and discover the mysterious treasure known as One Piece. As he ventures off into the grand world, he encounters one dream-driven individual after another, eventually forming a diverse crew of friends called the Straw Hat Pirates. Together, they hop from one island to another, running into friends and foes, slowly learning more about a concealed truth of the world’s history.

Filled with a mix of comedy, action, adventure, and drama, One Piece has continued to surprise and captivate readers week after week. even after all these years, one of the appealing factors to this grand story has been the array of various combat styles introduced.

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While some of the techniques seen directly resemble moves performed in the real world, others simply borrow the names of famous martial art styles and put a twist to it. Regardless of how Oda has incorporated the world of martial arts into his anime, one undeniable fact remains: the world of One Piece wouldn’t be what it is without the element of combat contained within. Below are a few examples of how Eiichiro Oda included real martial art styles into the picture of his great adventure story.

Various Combat Styles within One Piece

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Savate

Savate: The kick-centric martial art style is one of the primary fighting styles by a main character of the story named Vinsmoke Sanji. However, in the world of One Piece, it goes by the name ‘Black Leg Style,’ and blends elements of acrobatics to help the practitioner move seamlessly over his opponents. From round house to axe kicks, many of the techniques of the ‘Black Leg Style’ seem to pay homage to Savate, as all the names are in French. From roundhouse to axe kicks, it is hard not to ignore the blatant inspiration from Savate when watching the character Sanji fight his opponents.

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Karate

Karate: In the world of One Piece, there are many variations of Karate that a plethora of characters use. From mermen to humans, Oda has based many of the wild and strange fighting combat style off of the techniques learnt in Karate. One of the most notable examples of Karate being incorporated into the world of One Piece is in the early chapters/episodes, where some mermen antagonists demonstrate a fighting style known as Fishman Karate. Here, they pull of heel drops, thrust kicks, and straight punches that resemble the poses of many actual Karate moves.

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Kenjutsu

Kenjutsu: For an anime considered to be filled with action and adventure, it is almost impossible not to include the swordsmanship. With kenjutsu being a definitive martial art of Japan due to the samurai, not adding this combat style would be rather bizarre. There are more than a several characters that practice the art of the sword, with one of the main protagonists, Roronoa Zoro being one of them. Heavily inspired by kenjutsu, Oda takes it up a notch by making this character a three-sword wielder, famously known as Santoryu.

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Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do: In the anime, the character that utilizes a style resembling Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do names the style ‘Jao Kun Do.’ The name is an obvious pun to the legendary martial artist’ style and the way the practitioner fights take on some similarity to the poses made by Lee himself. Focused heavily on speedy kicks, a lot of Jao Kun Do techniques seem to be centered around Lee’s signature trait in punching and kicking so quickly, it is impossible to predict.

Growth of One Piece & Martial Arts Influence

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Spanning for 20 years, One Piece has grown to become a world-wide, cultural phenomenon with fans from all over the world reading and watching the manga and anime every week. Over the period of two decades, audiences have been introduced to an entire world of characters, storylines, and islands, each with their own backstories and special characteristics.

Although many of these fighting styles are contained in the fictional world, exaggerated and sometimes, seemingly farfetched, the fact that Oda drew a lot of his inspiration for these combat styles from real world of martial arts is proof that the influence of MA has remained strong throughout his storytelling career.

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As One Piece celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, the story of friendship and adventure has resonated with more and more people every passing year. And with the increasing interest into this universe of pirates, people are beginning to realize the absolute genius writing and storytelling ability of the creator himself, Oda.

From such curiosity of how his imagination flows so wildly, the inspiration of martial arts depicted through the combative aspect of the anime, is pushing people from all ages – young and old – to uncover a whole world of martial arts that they would’ve otherwise, never known before.

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