In any canon, do we ever see or find out if The Joker is or has trained in any sort of martial art or fighting style?

I've seen him go toe-to-toe with Batman before, I can't remember which animated movie it was but The Joker was armed with a flick knife and put up a good fight. I think they were in an abandoned building...

The following two scenes don't really show off his fighting skills, but they at least demonstrate his quick reflexes and strength across multiple canons. I suppose these attributes could be attributed to his hard life, as opposed to any training.

Generally he seems to be able to take a beating from Batman, but again, his endurance could be down to regular old insanity and not professional training.

  • 1
    Not exactly an answer, but the joker's back story has never really been nailed down other than that he fell in a vat of chemicals. In some stories he's a washed up comedian, in others he has mob history, and in others it just isn't explained at all. Due to this, it's hard to pin down anything he may have had training in.
    – Sidney
    Aug 14, 2015 at 0:18
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    @Sidney you're right... it's not an answer. Also you'll note in Jack B Nimble's answer there are several references made to his fighting skills across different canons.
    – Ingu Shama
    Aug 14, 2015 at 6:35
  • meta response thus far seems to be opposed to the need for a character tag for the joker. that's why the tag was removed.
    – phantom42
    Aug 14, 2015 at 14:05
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    He doesn't have enough skill or training to kill you... just enough to hurt you really, really badly.
    – Omegacron
    Aug 14, 2015 at 16:02
  • Maybe he's just really well trained in magic tricks.
    – Misha R
    Feb 6, 2018 at 6:49

3 Answers 3


The general consensus is that given his ability to fight Batman in various situations across universes, he must have at least basic hand-to-hand combat skills. His quick reflexes and agility also allow him to compensate for his lack of refined martial skills.

The DC wiki has this to say

In addition to being a deadly and unpredictable physical combatant, he is a brilliant and ruthless criminal mastermind.

The DCAU, Joker has his roots in the Mob, working as a chauffeur, and later as a hitman. His mob connections may have included him learning to fight.

Originally, the Joker possessed little more than average physical strength, albeit enough to regularly hold his own against the original Batman.

Basically nothing is known about the Joker in the Nolan films prior to him appearing on screen. Although as noted, he has quick reflexes.

The New Earth wiki says he has basic hand-to-hand combat skills. While Batman is stronger, the Joker is faster, more agile, and his chaotic fighting style makes him difficult to predict.

However, this skill in fighting can also be questioned, due to different artists having different reincarnations of the Joker. In some cases, he is so weak, that Batman can take him down with a single punch, whilst in other cases, he has proven to be more than a match for the Dark Knight.

Yet another [wiki] also says

Experience in hand to hand combat

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    It's worth noting that in some universes, the Joker can't fight at all. The DCAU, and as I recall even the Arkham games, portray Jokers whose fighting skills basically amount to "shoot him with a gun, or jump on his back and slap him a whole bunch."
    – Nerrolken
    Aug 13, 2015 at 21:22
  • ... and it's been a while since I've seen the 70's Batman show, but I mainly remember Joker spending the fight scenes mostly standing around reacting to his henchmen getting beat up.
    – user12616
    Aug 14, 2015 at 6:39

No, he is not trained in martial arts, but remains a significant challenge because

  • first and foremost he is absolutely ruthless and a combat pragmatist. He will use weapons, if you take that from him, he will use hidden weapons, if you disarm him, he will use improvised weapons and if you are still not dead, he will use hand-to-hand combat. With every dirty trick (eye gouging etc.) possible and always searching for a way to cancel advantages (hostage taking, dropping a grenade...). Not someone you want to spar with.

  • second he is mentally unstable giving him improved strength and durability. He is not easy to take out fast. He is also a person who has a relatively good physique.

  • third he is fearless which allows him to attack without fearing physical punishment. A normal person will sooner or later succumb and give up because they are in too much pain or fear to be striked again. Not so with the Joker, you never can trust him or risk to let him out of your eyes.

Both Batman and Bane are seriously outclassing the Joker, but both are constantly aware of the dangers above and therefore cannot take down the Joker as fast as possible because they must be always on their guard.

  • 1
    Batman and Bane?? Has Bane fought the Joker?
    – Daft
    Aug 17, 2015 at 12:11
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    @ThorstenS., those images are so small even Ant-Man can't read them. Aug 17, 2015 at 12:17
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    @ThorstenS. What is this?? An answer for ants??
    – Daft
    Aug 17, 2015 at 13:22
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    @PointlessSpike Here is a higher resolution image: i.imgur.com/TziGr.jpg
    – TylerH
    Aug 17, 2015 at 14:53
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    @TylerH- Yay, stompage. Aug 17, 2015 at 14:59

At least in Injustice 2, in many of his clash lines he says the following:

And they say I can't fight!

Joker vs. Red Hood from Injustice 2

This likely proves that the Joker, because he is crazy, is actually very dangerous going hand-to-hand. People continuously underestimate his fighting ability, and as such, are in for a shock when they do fight him.

  • I think a very good scene was when the Joker goaded the cop into fighting him (presumably unhandcuffing him to do so) -- the Joker correctly reckoned that the middle-aged cop who was also sort of pudgy would imagine he could administer a beating to an arch criminal. He counted on being underestimated but that cop should really have known better, should have had info about the Joker that would have at least made him hesitate before getting into an altercation with him...
    – releseabe
    Nov 22, 2019 at 19:01

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