Many martial arts have their roots in the movements of fierce predators. It makes sense, seeing how in the wild, predators literally have to fight every day to survive. Hence it’s not surprising that some of the greatest martial artists in film are, in fact, animals!

Think about it – while most of us make a living by writing funny movie-related articles or punching data into an endless spreadsheet, animals don’t have that luxury. Either they kill their food and other creatures who want to take their food, or they go hungry for another night. It’s not like they can get a busking permit or some such.

So here are eight great martial artists in films that were decidedly non-human!

1. The Condor from Little Dragon Maiden (杨过与小龙女)

The Condor and Yang Guo (Leslie Chung) in Little Dragon Maiden (杨过与小龙女). Credit: Wild Realm Reviews

The Condor and Yang Guo (Leslie Chung) in Little Dragon Maiden (杨过与小龙女). Credit: Wild Realm Reviews

Say what you want about this adaptation of Jin Yong’s martial arts saga “The Condor Heroes” but at least it gave us a giant condor pugilist! Being an adaptation, the film could only cram so much of the original tale in the film, and it could have easily left the Condor out. Besides, the title of the film didn’t have any mention of the Condor. But it still soldiered on and did its best in giving us a giant feathered sword-fighting bird.

The Condor was a companion of the legendary swordsman Dugu Qiubai, who was so powerful that he eventually developed a form of swordplay that did not require a sword. The Condor later taught Dugu Qiubai’s techniques to the protagonist Yang Guo, and then accompanied the heartbroken hero for 16 years when his love, the Little Dragon Maiden, was lost in a secret underground cavern.

2. Shen Long (Dragonball Evolution)

Shen Long in Dragonball Evolution. Credit: Top10HQ

Shen Long in Dragonball Evolution. Credit: Top10HQ

What happens when you gather all the seven Dragon Balls? You summon the mighty dragon Shen Long, who will grant you one wish (and after his upgrade, three wishes, just like a genie). For all his power though, he’s not omnipotent, with other dimensions being beyond his reach. He also fears Gods of Destruction.

He only appears briefly in Dragonball Evolution, which was sadly, very bad. Maybe they should have used their wish to make the movie better instead.

3. Blanka from Street Fighter

Blanka (Robert Mammone) from Street Fighter. Credit: Aveleyman

Blanka (Robert Mammone) from Street Fighter. Credit: AveleymanBlanka (Robert Mammone) from Street Fighter. Credit: Aveleyman

I’m cheating a little here – Blanka’s not so much an animal as he is the result of a horrible experiment that gave him electrical powers. His trademark skill is to curl up into a ball and launch himself at opponents while being electrified, resulting in the electrocution of his opponents.

Blanka doesn’t play a huge role in the Street Fighter film, but he’s one of the most popular characters in the Street Fighter series of video games. Who wouldn’t love this giant green lug with flaming red hair?

4, 5, 6, 7. Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Credit: Sky Movies

Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Credit: Sky Movies

They’re four lean mean green fighting machines! Remember that the Ninja Turtles are ninjas, which means they’re just as good with their fists as they are with their signature weapons! The film series rebooted in 2014, and we’re going to see the sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows later this year too! That means by the end of 2016, there’ll be more movies about the Ninja Turtles (5) than there are actual Ninja Turtles (4).

And for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, we’ll be seeing the return of classic villains like Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang! They may not be ninjas, but they’ll certainly be posing a lot of trouble for our heroes.

8. Po from Kung Fu Panda 3

Po (voiced by Jack Black) and his relatives in Kung Fu Panda 3. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Po (voiced by Jack Black) and his relatives in Kung Fu Panda 3. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Po is, undoubtedly, the most powerful character in the Kung Fu Panda series, and even Master Shifu was shown to be somewhat peeved at how Po managed to master a skill in a fraction of the time that Master Shifu did. Though he uses his great bulk to good effect while fighting, he’s also surprisingly agile for a creature of that size.

Po’s signature move is his Wuxi Finger Hold, but nobody really knows the full power of that skill. Still, he’ll have his hands full when he meets his panda relatives in Kung Fu Panda 3, who are the target of villainous spirit warrior Kai!

Poster for Kung Fu Panda 3. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Poster for Kung Fu Panda 3. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Will Po be able to defeat Kai in Kung Fu Panda 3? Just what does that Wuxi Finger Hold do? And how many uncles and cousins does Po have? Only one film has the answer, and that’s Kung Fu Panda 3, out in cinemas now!

Credits: Wild Realm Reviews, Top10HQ, Aveleyman, Sky Movies, Golden Village Cinemas