In Man of Steel, it was made clear that Zod was born to be a great warrior, while Jor-El was the planet's foremost scientist. How then did Jor-El completely demolish Zod in hand-to-hand combat in the opening sequence during the birth of Kal-El?
Just because Jor-El was a nerd doesn't mean he is a weakling. Jor-El is a skilled fighter and pilot in the comics.
It doesn't matter what skills they possess, because in that scene you can see that Zod was surprised to see Jor-El do something so drastic. Zod was naive, in my opinion, even until the climax. He actually thought Kal-El would somehow give up on the earthlings. He says during the climax fights that his entire race is all gone, quite emotionally.
My point is, when he sees that Jor-El is ready to go the distance, he is surprised and that's when Jor-El gets him - while Zod is off-balance. He wouldn't be able to do that in an open situation, granted.
And what about the other scene when Jor-El escaped while being captive. He takes three guys using only a flash as the distraction. Jor-El is pretty bad-ass and this scene was kept for a reason - to clear your specific doubt. Jor-El was very skilled at fighting but not as good as Zod.
I don't agree with you, he did not completely demolish Zod. Zod was just down for a minute and the launch was done. It was unfair really. Two against one. One working the launch and one fighting Zod.
Agreed, Zod was born and raised to be a warrior. While Jor-El was an intellectual. No matter what one is born to be, a drastic situation creates a warrior out of every being. Jor-El required drastic measures to evade capture and fight the general. While Zod was reluctant and more focused on the retrieval of the codex. He had respect for Jor-El and did not want to defeat or kill him. His purpose was to try and persuade Jor-El to agree with his vision. At the end, when the codex was sent to Earth, Zod finally killed Jor-El. Just because Zod was beaten a few times, it does not make him weak. Zod could easily have sent a few soldiers to retrieve, or taken some support with him. But he went in alone knowing the risk and the requirement of the situation for some tact.