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Who was Bruce Wayne's primary martial arts trainer? (e.g. a person who took a guy who was able to fight as well or worse as an average human fighter, and turned him into a guy able to defeat numerous opponents hand to hand in the same combat).

In Nolan's films, it's Ra's al Ghul (in the guise of Henri Ducard, who seems to be a separate character in comics).

I'd prefer an answer which spans all main continuities (initial Batman, pre-crisis, post-crisis, New52, and any non-comics and smaller where the answer is different as well).

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Recent New 52 writings (Detective #0) have revealed at least one of his martial arts teachers named, Shihan Matsuda. His base of operations inconveniently located in the Himalayan Mountains.

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  • From Shihan Matsuda, Bruce wanted to learn to further his martial art skills but also to control his body with complete mastery and precision.

  • In addition, this training would purge love and joy from his life to make himself an instrument of protection and justice.

  • Bruce's training did include weapons skill as he is shown slicing through coconuts, hard shell and all with a sword.

  • The only other person officially referenced as a trainer of Bruce in his early years in the New 52 is Henri Ducard. According to Batman & Robin #4 he taught the uses of brutality, deception and cunning against the criminal element. It was his training with Morgan Ducard aka Nobody which causes the rift between Bruce and Henri. Nobody is later killed by Damien Wayne.

Also See: Who were the 6 people who originally trained Batman in the New 52? for other continuity references and characters.

  • It doesn't seem that Ducard would count - he trained Batman but not in martial arts. What about Pre/Post crisis and original Batman? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 3 '13 at 0:28
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    He did train him in physical confrontation, intimidation, and dirty fighting techniques, so they should count, perhaps as a form of martial intimidation. As far as other continuities, Wildcat, David Cain and Kirigi are referenced. – Thaddeus Howze Mar 3 '13 at 0:37
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Wildcat and Shiva are probably your best answers.

Wildcat is the first major teacher, teaching him for a short while when he is an adolescent.

Lady Shiva teaches him for a short while after he breaks his back.

One could also assume he studied under Richard Dragon as well, like others in the Bat-family, but I don't think that it would be significant.

The reality is, Batman is generally portrayed as having several or dozens of masters, for short periods. However, Batman isn't really a physical character and fighting was not the point of his training.

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