Now if we talking one of the best ninjas to ever do it? The best to ever throw a shuriken? Then we got to be talking about Rock “Young Hurricane” Lee from Naruto. What separates Rock Lee from other ninjas (or shinobi, if you will) in the Naruto universe is that he has no talent whatsoever for Ninjitsu — meaning Rock ain’t in this piece to spit waves of flames, channel lightning, or cast illusions. Nah man, Rock Lee’s technique consists of running straight up in your face and punching it… repeatedly. Das’ it. Rock’s fighting style is like them undergrads in the street with a clipboard for (insert cause here), except instead of a clipboard it’s just his fists. Oh, and you best believe you going hear what the fuck Rock got to say about saving the rainforest, my ninja.

The Beautiful Green Beast of Green Peace
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The Beautiful Green Beast of Green Peace

1) “I Grew Up A Fucking Screw Up”


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We gotta start at the beginning. In the Naruto universe, ninjas are enrolled in an Academy. This is where you learn all the basics to become a strong ninja, rep your village, complete missions, and eventually die an honorable death on the field of battle. Also in the academy, you learn survival skills like Ninjitsu (manipulating chakra into powerful attacks), Genjutsu (illusions), and Taijutsu (hand to hand combat). Having 0 talent in the other skills, all Rock Lee has to get by is his hand-to-hand combat… which wasn’t very good. That’s what makes this kid such a great character. Where Naruto had to work hard to become excellent, he still had the 9 tails demon fox inside him. Anyway you cut it that’s a trump card (he has special healing, the beast would take over for self-preservation, and so on), and he’s also the main character, so he’s going to be fine. For Rock Lee, all he has is his body. Das’ it. Rock Lee has to put his body on the line.

There is no trump card.
There is no fail safe.
*Apollo Creed voice* DAMMIT ROCK! THERE IS NO TOMORROW!

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THERE IS NO TOMORROW!
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THERE IS NO TOMORROW!

So what did Rock do? He decided that since he can only do Taijutsu, he would become a Taijutsu monster. The kid had the hardest physical workout regimen in the game. I’m talking pinky-finger push-ups, pull-ups, and dips 24/7. His hands stayed bruised and taped up because he doesn’t know what the fuck a vacation is. The kid is doing 2,000 sit-ups and 5,000 leg kicks, all to become what he knows he can be: an excellent ninja. He doesn’t want the title of Hokage, all he wants is to be recognized as a good fucking soldier, man. Rock is living and dying by his word that “hard work can surpass a genius’ god-given talent.” That is his ninja way. His word is bond right here… but he still kept hitting that wall.

Sometimes the wall is his teammate Neji (a true genius) demolishing him in sparring while saying, “It’s your fate to be sub-par,” or being on a mission with his legs shaking in the heat of battle. Rock starts to question his own resolve to a point that even after his sensei, Gai, tells him he is on the right path and that he’s really a “Genius of Hard Work,” Rock still has his doubts but Gai tells him like it is.

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2) “…Nobody Is Going To Hit As Hard As Life”


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Sometimes life, man… sometimes life won’t let you live, bruh. Rock Lee reached peak physical conditioning and took his hand-to-hand game to levels of Mike Tyson, Lil’ Mac, and Jet Li rolled into a blunt being smoked by Anderson “The Spider” Silva himself. Yet, at times it’s still not enough. In the Chunin exam, we saw him go against Gaara, who had the ultimate defense with his sand technique. It was easily the hardest match. We saw Rock take his weights off to achieve Mach 5 “Go Speed Racer, Go” speed and become the first person to slip past Gaara’s defense and injure him.Rock used his forbidden technique: The Primary Lotus (Liu Kang bicycle kick into the air followed up by a Kurt Angle/Zangief 360 Belly-to-Back Suplex in the air to the fucking ground) still no cigar

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Fine! Y’ALL WANT THAT 2PAC SHIT TO COME BACK?! IT’S HERE! We find out about all the 8 chakra gates that Gai trained Rock — a Genin ninja, a.k.a. a motherfucking beginner — to activate. They unleash the inhibitors the mind and body place on the usage of muscles and chakra. A forbidden technique that puts a Lincoln-Tunnel-into-New-York toll on his body. Rock, at that time, could open 5 of the gates. Kakashi hears this shit and can’t believe it, even as he sees Rock go the human version of Super Saiyan. When Rock steps it up and unlocks that 4th gate Kakashi basically says, fuck what you heard…

“…this isn’t something that can be done with hard work alone. Is he truly a genius after all?”

My ninja's on point, game tight!
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My ninja’s on point, game tight!

Rock proceeds to give Gaara the air combo to end all air combos before delivering that final blow, with his muscles tearing all the while. Gaara got Wacka Flocka Flamed, but his sand gourd saved him by reducing the damage of his fall. He got the upper hand on Rock as he crushes both his left arm and left leg with his sand, rendering Rock completely unconscious from the pain. Gai jumps in before Gaara is able to deliver a killing strike on the already knocked-out Rock. The referee is about to call the match when all of a sudden behind Gai everyone sees Rock Fucking Lee back on his feet, arm and leg bloodied, in his fighting stance, ready to clock in some overtime WERK! Gai walked over and in tears when he saw Rock wasn’t even conscious anymore. He had to hug da gawd and tell him there ain’t shit else to prove anymore to get him to finally lay back down.

Lemme say that again, the boy is unconscious, my ninjas. Y’all don’t hear me. Stop the track. Turn my mic up. This ninja’s body is all flat tires at this point, his arm is looking like angel hair pasta with the lobster sauce and my dude’s legs are wavering worse than a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man outside of your local car dealerships, but he trained so hard that even when unconscious his will to go on, to keep moving forward, couldn’t be broken. Do you hear me? The ninja is out here fighting for his code, for his pride, for his sensei’s honor, puttin’ the dojo on his back… while unconscious!

I ain't hear no bell...
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I ain’t hear no bell…

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!?! IS THIS NOT WHAT YOU STREAMED ONLINE FOR?!?!!?!?”

Rock then had to deal with bone fragments in his muscle fibers, preventing him from going on as a shinobi. Rock’s only choice was a surgery with a 52% outcome in his favor. This was the biggest “fuck you” life could give the kid, man. Rock realized this wasn’t something he could train through to overcome — this was all up to chance. Once again his sensei, Gai, was there to tell him the real: “Look man, you’re from a simple thoroughbred breed, son. This shinobi life is all you know. Take the surgery. Someone who has worked as hard as you will surely survive… and on the off chance that you don’t, then I’ll end my life as well.”

The fact that his teacher believed in him so much that he is willing to die got Rock’s mind right. It was a great scene that held true as it led to the end of Rock’s 62-episode hiatus with the greatest comeback in the game. Life had been beating Rock Lee down but he kept getting the fuck back up, even unconsciously. Why? CAUSE THAT’S HOW WINNING IS DONE.


3) “I’m a student of the game, not a teacher’s pet”

Rock learned his training regimen & fighting style from the best: Maito Gai, The Hidden Leaf’s “Ip Man in The Hands” himself. Gai is the only one able to understand Rock’s plight since he was in the same predicament. When Kakashi scolded Gai for teaching Rock to open the chakra gates, Gai straight told him “and what the fuck would you know about that boy?!” Rock is willing to die to prove that his fists are good enough; that he is good enough despite his hindrances; that his hard work makes him worthy to be a shinobi. That is something a genius like Kakashi could never understand.

Gai did though, as he was a dropout too, but worked hard as all fuck with his father pushing him all the way. Papa Maito taught Gai how to smile in the face of those that doubt him and have faith that your hard work pays off. In their youth Kakashi rudely dismissed Gai as a loser, but Kakashi’s father, Sakumo Hatake, “The White Fang of Konoha” (someone held in higher regard than the Legendary Sannin: Jiraya, Tsunade & Orochimaru), noticed the bruises from training on Gai’s feet & hands saying, “Nah, you got him fucked up” as he tells Kakashi:

“At this rate he’ll be stronger than you. Remember his name, he’ll be a good rival for you.”

Sure, Gai can come off over-the-top in personality (his name is a pun on the typical macho guy archetype), but his hand-to-hand game? Man, listen… he fought Kakashi so many times that he developed his own fighting method against the Sharingan by just looking at his opponent’s feet and predicting their moves (how they do that there?). Gai came to support Kakashi when Itachi showed up in the village, and Itachi had to tell Kisame “Calm that down, this boy ain’t to be fucked with. We don’t want it with this dude right now.”

Gai later taught Kakashi his style of fighting against the sharingain, and he also took down Kisame, who is as powerful as a tailed beast, and was on the front lines with Kakashi facing off against the controlled tailed beast, and then alongside Kakashi and Naruto against Obito. He did this all straight bare knuckles, b! Let’s not even talk about when them limited edition Shenlong “Twin Fang” Nunchucks (Sōshūga) came out!

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Now, let’s not talk about when that 6th gate Morning Peacock gets left open, let’s not even talk about when he summons the Afternoon Tiger chi tea for that ass out the 7th gate. Before we get into the gateways, we gotta discuss how dope boy fresh Rock and Gai are when it comes to the WWF Tag Team Championship moves, man. Come on, who the fuck more WWF Hardy Boyz than these two, man?! Sun, they got the ninja game looking like ECW’s Eliminators’ Finisher “Total Elimination”

And we gotta talk about how when it came down to the wire and Madara went full-on sage of six paths, where the only two things against him that could work were hand-to-hand and Senjutsu (nature-based attacks). Gai stepped up and did the infamous talking to the squad over his shoulder with his back to them (the international sign that you’re about to sacrifice yourself) and then proceeded to open up the 8th fucking gate. The Death Gate. The All Heart Gate, b. Gai didn’t give Madara that work, he gave’em that pink slip a.k.a. that severance pay a.k.a. “AYE BRUH, THE RENT MONEY IS DUE, NINJA!”

The Evening Elephant technique stampeded Madara’s ass with Kakashi saying, “Gai is this really you, my ninja? It’s just like my father said.” Gai proceeded to close it out with the Night Moth: he made his chakra into a god damn dragon around his leg, then proceeded to kick Madara so hard that he broke dude’s rib cage along with his own fucking leg. HIS OWN FUCKING LEG, PEOPLE! Gai Nancy Kerrigan’d himself and almost ended the war with that move alone, sun. Almost. Even Madara had to recognize game.

“This chakra… I’ll acknowledge you. As far as taijutsu is concerned I’ve never fought anyone else as remotely as good as you”- Madara

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4) “I Can’t Be Bothered With Paying Homage To Forefathers”

You know Rock shares a birthday and is a tribute to the gawd Bruce Lee, right?

Boards don't hit back...ninja.
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Boards don’t hit back… ninja.

5) “Your Boy Is Crayola, Give Me A Track To Go Cray On”


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If you haven’t caught on, I am biased as hell, cause although it’s cool to see summonings and god-like armor cheat codes, my real love in the anime game comes from the hand-to-hand combat scenes, man. The gritty shit, the down-in-the-fucking-trenches shit that Rock Lee is about. Rock’s fighting style is called the Strong Fist. Its whole purpose is to break something upon contact. Straight blunt force trauma hurting bombs to the dome.

One weakness on Rock’s account is that his moves are very direct and linear. If Rock is fighting unconsciously though, his attack pattern is highly unpredictable and unorthodox. Rock also inadvertently knows a fighting style that according to Gai can’t be learned, taught, or refined through practice. It occurs if Rock has a drop of alcohol, and sends him into a fury where he can’t distinguish friend from foe. That’s right, ya’ boy is a natural at the Drunken Fist. Gai gets shook like DBZ’s Piccalo just thinking about this shit.

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Colt 45 Cassius Clay

When intoxicated, Rock becomes even stronger and even faster, but the key element is that he is ten-fold more unpredictable, unorthodox, and unstoppable. The dude can dodge into a headstand and attack with his feet while walking on his hands, basically attacking you with the pose Usher hit in the “you remind me of a girl” video. The more he drinks, the stronger he gets. Personally, this is my favorite fighting style to see animated and it fits as a great contrast to his personality. Rock is always very polite and well-mannered, but once that Henny hits the system ya’ boy starts rapping M.O.P. lyrics and putting the fear of Dionysus into anyone in the vicinity. Now I know what you’re thinking: “well, what would happen if he opened one of the gates while under the influence of that Luda ‘Gnac?”

GAME OVER
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GAME OVER

Let’s not forget that Lee can get down with some weapons as well. He has been able to go the distance wielding a staff, nunchaku, and a chain, which he’s able to switch between instantaneously since (apparently) the weights he carries in his legs are able to transform into said weapons when connected to one another (this was seen in the third Naruto movie Guardians of The Crescent Moon and may not be canon, but the creator Masashi Kishimoto intended Lee to wield an arsenal of weapons SO I AM COUNTING IT, DAMMIT). The boy makes it hail with them weights then connects them like Legos.

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Sun, on everything I love, if y’all don’t let Rock “Shawn Michaels In The Legs” Lee live! He is out here in the battlefield giving you his all, people. Not only that — he’s also giving you a show. He’s giving you that original old school tried-and-true fists of fucking fury. There is no flash to this shit, no fucking razzle-dazzle, my ninja. Just good old-fashion bone-breaking goodness, folks. Rock is out in these streets doing the lawd’s work for the Everyman. For the people that think they can’t. Rock Lee doesn’t know “can’t,” he doesn’t know “quit.” Those ain’t a luxury he can afford. Those are taxes he doesn’t pay. You know what he can afford? Proving that effort and hard work gets you fucking ahead beyond those considered geniuses, beyond those that are talented. Rock Lee is here to prove to y’all that anyone can run the gauntlet if they want it enough. Y’all don’t even hear me though, so I’ma tell you like (deactivated-user) Braveryinabottle told Tumblr…

“Watch Rock Lee fuck everyone up. He coming for Madara, Doflamingo, Juha bach. He gon’ beat the American team in Eyeshield 21. He gon’ leave Shonen Jump and fight the people in Fairy Tail. Then he’s gonna clear out all the Titans and find out what’s in Eren’s basement. My ninja gonna stop the Third Impact. Find the sunflower samurai. He coming for anime’s throat. Then he gon drop a mixtape called “Weights tryna hold a ninja back””

(Cover Art by MRRWN)

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  • Omar Holmon is a content editor that is here to make .gifs, obscure references, and find the correlation between everything Black and Nerdy.

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