Shang-Chi’s Combat Training Was Far More Extreme Than The MCU Admits

As bad as young Shang-Chi had in the MCU, he had it ten times worse in the comics, where his training was much closer to a form of torture.

The Master of Kung Fu, Shang Chi, went through rigorous and cruel training when he debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, his trials have been even more brutal in the comics.

Similar to the MCU, Shang-Chi was trained under the supervision of his father. One main difference, however, is that in the comics, her father directly handled her training and teachings rather than someone else. Educating his son in a private retreat in the Chinese province of Hunan, Shang-Chi’s father hoped that his son would not only become a Kung Fu master, but also a skilled assassin. He named his son Shang-Chi, which means “Rise of the SpiritBut the training needed to raise his son’s morale was rigorous and torturous.

Related: The Punisher Could Take Out Shang-Chi With His Highest R-Rated Attack

This training was detailed in a fictional diary of Shang-Chi, published as “The Tao of the Warrior: From Novice to Lo Fu Zai” by Robin Furth and Paul Gulacy in Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu vol. 2 #1. The diary reveals that Shang-Chi was subjected to what any decent human being would call torture. His flesh was roasted and he had to walk on blades, all in an effort to harden his body into a living weapon. One such practice involved Shang-Chi dipping his hand into a bucket of sand. At first he was bleeding, until his hand became hard and calloused. Then his father added pebbles to it to make it stronger. When Shang-Chi mastered this, his father put sharp stones in and forced his son to stick his hands into them until Shang-Chi felt no pain.

As a Disney movie meant to be watched by the whole family, the Master of Kung Fu’s first MCU movie toned down much of Shang-Chi’s training. Some of it remains, however, such as when shown being struck by a bamboo stick. Most of it, however, is toned down for a wide audience. But the comic was designed to be as realistic as possible. In fact, at the end of the diary, numerous sources are quoted indicating that this account was based on actual Kung Fu training.

Although there is a supernatural element to Shang-Chi in the film, in the comics he is completely human. Unlike a skilled human like Hawkeye, Shang-Chi does not have particularly heightened abilities. But this training sheds a lot of light on how and why he’s able to compete and fight against Avengers-level threats. He didn’t just take Kung Fu lessons as a kid. His body and mind, which Shang-Chi believes are one as opposed to two different forces, were pushed to the extreme limits of human capability by very realistic means, not by supernatural or even fringe science. He was basically tortured to the point of being a “super” human. So fans should never despise Shang Chi to just be a martial arts guy because he’s so much more.

Next: The MCU’s Ten Rings Come From Kang – Shang-Chi Theory Explained

Gala Wolverine Hellfire

Wolverine’s Hellfire Gala Costume Puts A Stunning Spin On Logan’s Legacy


About the Author

Kristen T. Prall