Doctor Strange Is Secretly One of Marvel's Best Hand-To-Hand Fighters
Marvel's Doctor Strange has honed his body and mind into the perfect weapon, displaying some surprisingly powerful martial arts abilities.
Doctor Strange is the most skilled and powerful wizard in Marvel, his magical abilities are almost unrivaled, but his hand-to-hand combat ability is not appreciated as it should be. While the Sorcerer Supreme is primarily in the business of magic, he does learn to be an all-around hero. He can't always rely on magic, so he has a backup ability in case he needs it.
Stephen Strange's mentorship at Kamar-Taj was so successful that they trained him to overcome every possible situation, including losing his magic. He is unable to use his magic on many occasions, and often has to resort to his wits and knowledge to survive. But that doesn't make Strange completely defenseless, as he's trained by the best of the best to become an extremely skilled hand-to-hand combat fighter.
Steve Engelhardt, Sal Buscema, Frank McLaren and Roy Thomas in The Defenders #9, 1973, one of Doctor Strange's greatest combat performances can be seen One, that he fights T'Challa and Mantis without magic. In this issue, Mantis and T'Challa go on the offensive to save the world from the wizard after being manipulated by the trickster god Loki, Against the Defenders, of which Doctor Strange is a member. Stephen's decision to give up his magic forces him into hand-to-hand combat with the two. Ultimately, Strange emerges victorious through the use of magic, but he cannot achieve victory without first using his skills in battle.
Doctor Strange's Combat Ability Is Better Than Most
When Mantis went on the attack, she used the famous move of knocking her enemies down and rendering them utterly useless long enough for her to declare victory. She used this trick on Thor himself once, and won the battle against Thor. She is considered one of the most famous and skilled martial arts masters, which is considered one of her strongest abilities and the reason she is so dangerous in combat. When Mantis went after Doctor Strange in Defenders #9, she had an element of surprise and tried to do the same to Doctor Strange, but he quickly dodged it. She even claims that only three of them were able to dodge the trick, but thanks to his training, Strange is very good at fighting on many levels and wins by successfully avoiding her attack.
Doctor Strange's Martial arts prowess has been showcased a few times, but the clearest references to his training days took place with Doctor Strange: Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, Javier Rodriguez, and Alvaro Lowe Pace's Oath #5. He gave up magic again, took up arms against the enemy, and described his experience of learning martial arts. Strange has honed his mind and body into the perfect weapon for any occasion, and he's able to use those abilities in times of crisis. While he admits that he might not be able to defeat the likes of Iron Fist, he can at least fight very strong enemies and take out his friends if need be. In his words, it really "gets the job done".
Considering Stephen Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme, not many people would realize that his abilities far exceed the magic he uses every day. He is truly prepared for any situation and continues to learn and grow to push his mind and body to be at their best. Doctor Strange is Marvel's best wizard and one of their strongest martial artists, and hopefully he'll be fighting again soon.