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As indicated in the movies, Tony Stark is a "Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist", with no background in combat training. In the comics and cartoon series it has been shown that Tony was trained under Steve Rogers, and a few others, to learn how to fight. He is a genius, great inventor but in the cinematic universe there was no such indication that he ever learned to fight or defend, other than his suit of armor.

But in Captain America: Civil War (2016) we can see that Tony can fight. When Bucky went rogue, Natasha, Sharon Carter, Tony and T'challa attack him. It shows that although Tony only hand armor on his hand, he actually knew how to fight and defend. His fighting style is somewhat similar to mixed martial arts, but I'm not so sure about that.

  1. When did Tony Stark learn to fight?

  2. From whom has he learned it? Is it from Steve Rogers or from somebody else?

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    For anyone who is creating a full answer, one thing I recall is the boxing lessons he was getting in Iron Man 2 (also as comic relief to show Black Widow kicking ass). – Philbo Nov 1 '17 at 10:18
  • I think that we can assume that he started training when he built the first suit. He's smart enough to realize that he would need training to use it effectively and since it's meant for combat, that would include combat training. – Phlegon_of_Tralles Nov 1 '17 at 11:49
  • Those who watch Friends will know that his personal bodyguard Happy had his own octagon ring designed to help himself become a MMA champion. – GendoIkari Mar 21 '18 at 15:22
  • @GendoIkari Those who really watched friends should know that was Happy's father and he died in his next fight soon after Monica left him. ;) – Vishwa Mar 22 '18 at 5:49
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...no such indication that he ever learned to fight or defend...

Are you sure? Iron Man 2 features a protracted sequence wherein Tony is doing just that.

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    ^ those aren't boxing gloves. – John Smith Optional Nov 1 '17 at 15:08
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    this isn't a good answer, at best it's a sarcastic comment with an image. please add more to this. – DForck42 Nov 1 '17 at 16:41
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    Brought to you by Dick's Sporting Goods – KSmarts Nov 1 '17 at 17:01
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    @DForck42, lol @ downvotes to pad your own. There's no need to expand an answer more than that picture. Sometimes, a picture paints a thousand words; especially when it so summarily dismisses a factual oversight which the question hinges upon. – John Smith Optional Nov 1 '17 at 21:05
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    @JohnSmithOptional I don't really care to down vote other answers to "pad" my own answer, whatever that means in this context. no, rather I worry more about an answer that's sarcastic in nature driving away users to this site by making it seem antagonistic, rather than providing clear and analytical answers to the question. It's not a competition, I'm here to help. – DForck42 Nov 1 '17 at 21:15
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I believe that it's safe to assume that Tony has had significant off-screen combat training since well before Iron Man 1. There is significant evidence in the movies to support this.

In Iron Man 1, after he creates the prototype, he's able to clear the cave (or at least his route), achieve a tactical goal, and bug out. This wasn't easy, and someone without training most likely wouldn't have been able to do this as aptly as he did. Also, just having armor with weapons attached to it doesn't make you good at using said weapons. You have to have training in order to know when to use certain weapons and how to use them. Tony demonstrates this through all the movies he's in.

In Iron Man 3, Tony is more than proficient with normal firearms and even home-made weapons/tools when he is without his armor.

In Captain America - Civil War, we really get to see the extent of Tony's hand to hand combat, with him fighting both Steve Rogers and Bucky. He's not that great, as he relies on his armor to take a lot of hits for him. But, because he knows how to use his armor, he is able to take over the fight in several occasions.

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    Is there a reason you've neglected to mention the second IM film? – T.J.L. Nov 1 '17 at 22:36
  • In Iron Man 1, you mentioned clearing the cave. its battle strategy. he is a genius, so he can easily figure that out by give it a little thinking. every bit of offence is taken on by his armor. mostly he used better timing and chance, I guess. there was no training in that. remember he almost got stuck by hitting his arm on a wall? Also I think there was some kind of guidance system for weapons were built into his armor. Yes, I agree. he knows how to fight now, but when and from whom? best I've seen his abilities is in civil war. how did he become that stark, its what I'd like to know – Vishwa Nov 2 '17 at 7:13
  • @T.J.L. I couldn't think of any good examples off the top of my head where he fights someone hand to hand or had to make very tactical decisions. – DForck42 Nov 2 '17 at 13:11
  • @Vishwa he is a genius, yes. but intelligence <> tactical ability. and I'm not arguing that he pulled it off flawlessly, far from it. however, what he was able to do was definitely more than I would expect from anyone, genius or not, without at least some sort of training. – DForck42 Nov 2 '17 at 13:13
  • @DForck42 I watched IM1 again, im not saying you're completely wrong. but as it seems to me, Tony just learns the way out from Yinsen (something like 10to right, 15 to left, im not ) then he gives all the hard work, all his defense and offense to the suit. I agree with you. " intelligence <> tactical ability" , But let's re-think. before his capture by ten-rings, Tony never needed a training, neither ever thought about a iron man suit. everything happens after that event, right? He was playboy and righ kid/guy before his capture and meet Yinsen. I don't think he ever considered training then. – Vishwa Nov 6 '17 at 6:08
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When did Tony learn to fight?

After the events of Iron Man, he began training in martial arts. By the time we get to Iron Man 3, we see that Tony seems to be practicing at least Wing Chun, as he interacts with a Wing Chun wooden dummy in his lab.

From whom has he learned it? Is it from Steve Rogers or from somebody else?

In Iron Man 2, we see him sparing with Happy Hogan.

After that is anyone's guess. It does not appear that Steve Rogers and Tony Stark spend a lot of their downtime together, so I would be surprised if that were the case. In both Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3, Tony's primary residence is still Malibu. And, if he regularly trained with Steve Rogers, he probably would have been a little better prepared for their showdown in Civil War.

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When did Tony Stark learn to fight?

Some time between the end of Iron Man and the beginning of Iron Man 2, Tony began learning to fight.

In Iron Man 2, Tony is shown sneaking in an MMA move during a boxing session with Happy.

HAPPY: What the hell was that?

TONY: It's called mixed martial arts. It's been around for three weeks.

HAPPY: It's called dirty boxing. There's nothing new about it.

Notice that Tony mentioned he'd been learning MMA for only three weeks at that point. Given this statement, and that only six months stands between the events of I.M. and I.M. 2, Tony most likely had begun learning to fight just a few months prior to the events of Iron Man 2, not too long after Iron Man.


From whom has he learned it? Is it from Steve Rogers or from somebody else?

Tony is never shown learning any combat skills/techniques from anyone, nor has it been hinted at at any point in the films so far.

In fact, as far as the boxing/sparring scene goes in Iron Man 2, there's really no indication that Happy was teaching Tony anything. Instead, it perhaps seems that Tony was taking lessons elsewhere, and then trying his newly learned moves out on Happy.

With Tony Stark being as wealthy as he is, it wouldn't surprise me the least if he had just hired a professional to give him lessons at his own convenience.


His fighting style is somewhat similar to mixed martial arts, but I'm not so sure about that.

  • Iron Man 2 - Tony mentions learning MMA.
  • Iron Man 3 - Tony is shown with a Wing Chun wooden dummy, suggesting that he's continued to broaden his combat knowledge/experience/training since Iron Man 2.
  • Captain America: Civil War - During his fight with Captain America, Tony instructs his suit to analyze Captain America's moves, and to assist in fighting.

    So, perhaps Tony's fighting style is also a blend of the fighting algorithm/software belonging to whichever suit he's wearing at the time.

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    But in the scene at Civil War, with Tony and Bucky, he didn't wear any suits, but shows incredible talent in hand-to-hand combat. Thanks for the clear answer @Charles – Vishwa Apr 11 '18 at 6:57
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    @Vishwa For sure.. during that time, he was probably using a combination of Wing Chun and MMA. I was just saying, overall, those three influences have been shown so far. Also, as a side note, the inclusion of Wing Chun specifically could be a reference to how RDJ practices Wing Chun IRL (he actually started doing so well before Iron Man), and how far he's come since then (he did Wing Chun to help overcome substance abuse, and was actually in a pretty rough place a bit of time before Iron Man). – Charles Apr 11 '18 at 7:08
  • yeah, I read about those incidents before IM. and it seems more like most of the time it was pure wing chun. less genarally used MMA moves to me. – Vishwa Apr 11 '18 at 8:09

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