I'm less familiar with Enterprise and Voyager, but in TOS, TNG, and DS9 I have repeatedly seen Star Fleet officers engaged in melee combat perform this awkward and slow-looking attack where they clasp both hands together and swing at their opponent. At times it looks like they are trying to chop wood with no axe, hitting the opponent from the side. Other times, it looks like they are playing volleyball extra vigorously, uppercutting their enemy with both hands.

If this were just in TOS, I would assume it was just the choreography of the day. However, it is still present in the more modern incarnations of the show. Is this part of a fictional martial art that is used by Star Fleet (and possibly others? I can't recall if, for example, I have ever seen klingons use this technique), or is it part of a real martial art? If there is no canon explanation (i.e. this move is not part of either a real or a fictional martial art), then why did they continue to use such awkward choreography in the more modern series?

  • You might poke around in the Caporei skill set. It's conceivable they found a use for it, though as applied it is probably a lot more subtle than the Star Trek version. Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 15:16
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    The fight scenes are choreographed by people who don't know how to fight and are performed by people who don't know how to fight to impress viewers who don't know how to fight.
    – Morgan
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 15:26
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    It's clearly Kirk-Fu
    – BBlake
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:17
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    @Morgan: Although humorous, your answer is just speculation without sources. Although here's an argument in your favor: imgur.com/gallery/YGgY0
    – indiv
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:22
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    @indiv - Fair enough, no worries. That was a non-canon answer. Though I've helped train stuntmen and non-fighters for on-camera fighting, I enjoy my privacy so I'll only claim 'speculation' for the basis of my answer. I am correct though.
    – Morgan
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


I believe the maneuver you are referring to is the Double Axe Handle Strike. While in professional wrestling it's typically done as a jumping or falling move it can be done, as in Star Trek, while standing or running. As you've pointed out it's not very practical in real combat, it's highly telegraphed, and easily avoided. Also, lacing your fingers together in that fashion will almost undoubtedly do more damage to your own hands than your opponent.

I believe the out of universe reason is that the more bombastic a fight scene was depicted the more the public would enjoy it. While Star Trek has always had social commentary at its core, it is still a television show dependent on ratings. During TOS era the American public's exposure to martial arts was predominantly limited to Kung Fu movies. As exposure to more "realistic" fighting styles became prevalent TV fights became more "realistic" as well. Trek being a franchise with a hardcore fan base held on to some aspects of TOS all through its run, either for nostalgia or kitsch, which is why you still see the fighting move in TNG and other Trek series.

  • Double Axe Handle Strike definitely seems to be the correct attack, although in Trek they are less consistent with how they use it (e.g. sometimes they use an upward motion, sometimes it appears they make contact with the back of their hand, etc)
    – PeterL
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 14:57
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    The (for the viewer) most enjoyable fight techniques was of course the neck pinch and that is anything but bombastic. Then again, its elegance becomes even more impressive when dramaturgically contrasted to others doing double axe strikes ... Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:26
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    The fact that the only RL example you can find is pro wrestling says it all... Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 19:34
  • The double hand strike with knitted fingers has had some play in the comics, too. Superheroes at least have the excuse that it probably wouldn't break their fingers like it would ours.
    – Kyle Jones
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 21:32

The non-canon answer is that the fight scenes are choreographed by people who don't know how to fight and are performed by people who don't know how to fight to impress viewers who don't know how to fight.

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    It looks like this is a relatively 'safe' move, as you can hit the fellow with the paired forearms and spread the blow out. So looks cool, easy to pull punch, less chance of hurting either side.
    – Oldcat
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 22:22
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    Even in the eyes of someone who doesn't know how to fight (me), it always looked a rather ineffective technique.
    – Anthony X
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 1:20

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