The Immortal Iron Fist
The Cricket Minister
- MCU Danny Rand
- Standard Gear
- They start 10 ft apart
- Takes place in an empty Dojo
- No Iron Fist
".. This mantis that I give to you was one of 300 nymphs, babies about this big. Imagine that, 300. The strongest among them kill the weakest among them until the very best are left. A mere handful. Now, this mantis will leave this life within 10 months of today. You must take this time as an opportunity to learn everything you can. To study, to practice, to absorb all the lessons of the mantis, for there are many. Patience, speed, adaptability, ruthlessness .."
".. What kind of monk is able to kill, by himself, 25 Mongol soldiers? Is it a form of dark magic practiced at your temple? .."
Tamam. It is absolutely crucial to establish his skill level since Jia Sidao's best skill showings are his encounters with blind monk. Hundred Eyes is unquestionably one of the most recognizable characters in the series as well as brilliant fighter. He was ordered to train Khan's son and other subjects, a task he carried out with astonishing efficiency and devotion. During the training, he was often seen toying with his students:
If a smile isn't enough to suggest that he is doing it with negligent ease, then you also have Marco's question:
" .. How long have you been toying with them .."
Just to summirize, he is fighting five trained men at once and defeats them with ease in a matter of seconds with utter ease. I won't go as far as to claim that their skill is somehow considerable, but taking out so many people at once in such short time, is impressive even if they are only average fighters. There is also the fact that he bested them simultaneously, each attack coming from different angle, with different speed and tempo. It is not just fodderizing one person and moving to another one.
As seen above Hundred Eyes is capable of targeting vital points of human body. He is well known for his masterful usage of pressure points and incredible track record against armed opponents:
I always stress the fact that both spear and sword provide huge range advantage, making such showings even more valuable when one wants to highlight skill of a given character:
As seen above, he has absolutely no issue with taking down armed men with his bare hands, even Chancellor's guard. Hundred Eyes and by extend Jia Sidao is what you would call a grandmaster tier of Marco Polo verse. They can fight multiply men at the same time or take several in rapid succession, making a mockery of trained armed soldiers. I do not think that his showings with weapons are relevant to hand to hand combat and I would prefer to avoid an argument that is based on halo effect. But well, killing twenty five men is not too shabby either.
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
Sidao's first and one of the most well known feats is murdering Whirlwind Tiger, man who mastered all five of the traditional Animal Styes of Chinese martial arts—Crane, Snake, Leopard, Dragon, and Tiger.
Being the best figher in Song's dynasty army would already be impressive. Now add five styles and the fact that he was renown fighter, acclaimed as a most supreme warrior, renown in Shan-Tung province. Jia Sidao didn't really fight him, he simply made an example. Negligently dodged all his strikes as seen above, before finishing him in two moves:
Continuing, Cricket Minister is often branded as a guy who made famous Hundred Eyes try, which is outright insulting. Jia Sidao didn't just push Hundred Eyes to his limit, he displayed consistent superiority:
He outfought Hundred Eyes, putting him on the ground for considerable amount of time. Frankly, it seems like he literally allowed him to recover. It's not the only instance though, he replicated the same thing in their first fight:
In the end Hundred Eyes used praying mantis style and managed to kill Sidao, but that's how a fight between comparable opponents looks like, it can go either way. Still, Sidao is very much capable of fighting the blind monk on equal footing and outfought him more often than not. You also have an impressive, often overlooked showing like defending himself from both Hundred Eyes and Fang Zhen simultaneusly:
He gets overpowered in the end, but those are still several seconds of parrying and dodging strikes from two extremely talented fighters (Fang was fighting evenly with both Sidao and Hundred Eyes). Two masters that use different fighting styles and have different tempo. It is extremely impressive and at the end of the day Sidao was simply overpowered with pure force of incoming kick. Now, before moving on, it's also leave here showing against armed Marco.
I skip the part in which Sidao stomps him in unarmed combat. This fight is often overlooked, simply because Marco himself is one of the most obscure and underrated characters when it comes to live-action. Jia Sidao not only effortlessly dodges incoming strikes but disarms Marco with very few negligent moves. Latin is not just your average fodder. Polo is the one that fodderizes. It should suffice to say that he stalemated Prince Jingim in a sparring match. The very same Jingim that one season later could slaughter over nine men in rapid succession. Marco might not be on that level yet, but even before season two he was seen slaughtering chinese soldiers one after another and could arguably kill even more if we take into account his fight with Chinese Prince (Jingim). Jia Sidao made Marco look like a weakling, despite the fact that Latin is a deadly fencer at that point. Do not get me wrong, it's not even close to being his best showing. Sidao's greatest accomplishment is still his battle with Hundred Eyes, but he also has all kind of different feats and accolades.
We learn by observation, imitation and repetition. Jia Sidao is a master and highly devoted practitioner of praying mantis kung fu style, an agressive and stunningly effective form of martial arts. He achieved his current finesse and knowledge by contemplating and watching mantises, the strongest and the most deadly out of three hundred nymphs.
As seen in the quote below opening photo, during ten months of insect's lifetime, one must learn everything he can, one must practice relentlessly in order to absorb all the lessons. Jia Sidao has showings to prove that he is an incredibly formidable martial artist, but it is also important to understand where does this skill come from. It's a fruit of dedication, practice and preparation, endless repetition. Cricket Minister learned it all from the most fundamental source and inspiration of his style, praying mantis. He wasn't taught by a second rate sensei, nor he acquired his abilities in a dojo. It's his own genius and dedication that lead him to his supreme mastery.
It is also worth addressing, how Sidao fared against different fighting style. First and foremost you have his fight against Hundred Eyes, master of scrolls from Wudang Taoist Temple and one of the most prominent fighters in the entire series. The very same men that displayed casual usage of pressure points and utter mastery and knowledge of kung fu.
The most obvious example is also his fight (although one could call it an execution ) against Whirlwind Tiger. Best soldier in the entire army and famous master of five animalistic styles of Shaolin. Despite this diversity of styles, Sidao still stomped him into oblivion and while his vastly superior skill played major factor here, fact that he had to face various different systems still suggests that he had little to no trouble adapting to new fighting style, despite his fondness of mantis kung fu. It is especially easy to notice when he simultaneously fights both Hundred Eyes and Red Lotus Chief, having no issue with answering to two different forms of martial arts at once.
Jia Sidao is willing to kill his foes, much like the animal he so devoutly study. It's not just about the fact that he has no respect for human life and sent his own sister to murder Khan's wife. Anyone can use others to do the dirty job. Sidao can do it himself:
Daniel is willing to break bones and strike hard enough to leave his poor victims lying on the floor, but he is not a cold blooded killer. Jia didn't hesitate to stab Fang Zhen or execute Whirlwind Tiger just to make an example. It might not be an enormous factor, but very often a fight can be lost simply because opponent is willing to go further than you do. While Rand might use non-lethal strike, Sidao will be eager to cripple his opponent even in brutal way.
"..All walls are built by men’s hands and they crumble by them as well.
Mantis is a lethal predator. Patient, yet terrifyingly brutal during an attack. Similarly to this animal, Jia Sidao is capable of launching devastating strikes that can paralyze and incapacitate an adult in an instant:
Waiting for a proper time to strike is a fundamental part of his fighting style and is also reflected in his battle tactics and strategy used throught the series. Still, what's the most important here, is that a proper strike can pretty much result in OHKO attack as seen during his encounter with Marco:
It's a deadly trait. Even though Praying Mantis Kung Fu offers long range kicking, middle range hand techniques, trapping skills, pressure point/pressure strikes and joint locks or throws among various other techniques, it's pressure point usage that makes Sidao such a deadly foe. Using sufficient blunt force attack can result in a knockout just like a well placed nerve strike, but let's not forget that the opponent is actively trying to prevent your effort of landing a strike and very often it's quite hard to land a blow that delivers the full intended force, part of it is often dispersed due to your opponent movement or other last-resort counter measure like desperate body twist. Not to mention that there is blunt force durability. Sidao's can attack in a way that would be ridiculously ineffective if he would try to use blunt force trauma, due to lack of kinetic energy. Still it becomes destructive to his foes once nerve strikes are exploited. Take a look at Hundred Eyes again a knight or Jia Sidao putting down Whirlwind Tiger/Marco. Those strikes would do very little damage if they weren't targeting pressure points. He is patient and devilishly skilled, waiting for that one proper strike that will end it all. For an opportunity that cannot be wasted. Minister's hits are devastating and could either leave Marco paralyzed on the floor, or deal serious damage to Tiger who is a huge man himself:
That's the greatest advantage of Jia's nerve strikes, they require less force than normal attack and they are more effective than your standard blow. Not to mention that they use short movement without any kind of wind up, just short, precise blow. For example, most devastating kicks are very telegraphic unlike this kind of attack. Praying Mantis style requires dedication and enormous precision but once you achieve it, it truly rewards the user and both Sidao and Hundred Eyes nerve strikes are a testament of its efficiency.
".. Cruelty must be met with cruelty .."
Sidao's speed is highlighted through two aspects, scaling and feats. First one obviously his close proximity to Hundred Eyes, whom he managed to succefully tag and counter during their duels. The very same monk could in SE01E01 catch a cobra, most likely spitting one:
One of the fastest snakes can move at even 100 meters per second square, but to be more fair and clear let's use an average result of 44 to 70miliseconds. For comparison, human needs ~200 to blink. In another instance, he appeared out of nowhere next to Marco and catches Hassashin weapon that is already mid-air:
Given how Sidao's encounter with him went down, he should be able to replicate those feats to an extend. Not to mention that he has his own nice bag of speed showings. First and foremost you have him clowning top notch fighters like Whirlwind Tiger. Second, you have Sidao moving far too quick for Marco to react, even though the latter is ready to fight and has drawn his sword:
Polo might not be as fast as Hundred Eyes but he is still capable of reacting to a thrown knife, which can achieve considerable speed when used by professional:
Long story short, Sidao is capable of outpacing characters with very decent reaction time and matching those with top notch reflexes like Hundred Eyes. Some of elite mongol warrior were capable of rather low-level arrow timing, although they were killed by them as well so take it with a grain of salt for now. Then again both Hundred Eyes and Sidao are quite far above them ..
".. Better to master one mountain that a thousand foothills .."
Skill and masterful usage of deadly pressure points. Jia Sidao greatest advantages are his superior skill and damage output. Matching and surpassing Hundred Eyes on two different ocassions, is something very few martial artists can do. It was almost disturbing to see the monk actually lose ground, given all of his ridiculous showings. It's an important factor, since skill pretty much dictates how effectively one can use his own resources (strength, speed etc.) and allows to counter opponent's attempt to properly utilize his, as well as achieve control over the fight or its tempo. Skill advantage becomes even more important when you add capability to end the fight with one move or at the very least cause serious pain with pressure strikes. Daniel cannot allow himself for even single misstep and it's certain that Sidao will not hesitate to exploit any possible opening, even if it requires crippling or attacking Danny in a very brutal manner.
Danny Rand is the Iron Fist, the protector of Kun'Lun and enemy of the Hand. He has been trained for fifteen years by the formidable Lei Kung, who has transformed him into a great warrior. I'm going to cover three main areas:
-Speed & Agility
Danny is kind of underrated here, because his fighting style isn't really based around exploiting his physicals in an overt manner. However, he has some pretty good feats that will allow him to both hurt Jia Sidao and take his blows.
These feats should allow Danny to both receive and dish out considerable damage. I think this is the single most important factor in this fight. These are both highly skilled fighters, so I think Danny's physical attributes would let him outlast and outhit Jia Sidao.
I think Danny really excels here. He has the flexibility and acrobatic ability to supplement his speed, which makes him a very mobile opponent.
I'd say that the last feat is the most impressive one here. Bakuto is one of the leaders of the Hand, so his skill is pretty high. In addition to that, he is portrayed as the clearly superior swordsman to Colleen, who herself can defeat Hand ninja easily. For reference, one Hand ninja can do this:
Danny managing to keep out of Bakuto's grasp so efficiently speaks volumes about his maneuverability in combat. It is this maneuverability which will allow him to capitalize on his skill and physicals here.
This is Danny's forte. I think he has a noticeable (though not massive) edge over Jia Sidao here, which seals his victory.
First, let's look at training: Danny practiced and learned for 15 years in the mystical city of Kun'Lun. He was taught by the master Lei Kung to be a weapon, the protector of Kun'Lun and Destroyer of the Hand. While I'd definitely say that Jia Sidao is a superior specialist (given his total and complete mastery of the Praying Mantis Kung Fu style), I'd argue that Danny is the superior generalist (focusing on multiple Kung Fu based martial arts and not devoting his entire life to any single one). We've seen that Jia Sidao can adapt to other fighting styles, but can he do so to Danny's?
Let's see some feats:
Attacking & defending simultaneously against two of the Hand's elite fighters, the Veznikov brothers
While countering Bakuto, counters one of his guards (one of these guards was capable of nearly beating Davos and Colleen...they are both skilled fighters themselves)
I'll elaborate on the Skill Counters section on why I think these feats allow Danny to overcome Jia Sidao in skill.
- Sidao does have good feats against this master combatant. Though I think Davos has better skill in unarmed combat on account of his feats against Hand students. Granted, they may not be super skilled compared to standard Hand ninja, but at the very least they should be comparable to the students faced by Hundred Eyes for all intents and purposes. I think the only main difference is that Davos fought more, who were actively trying to subdue or kill him. Danny ended up being a clear (though not decisive) superior over Davos in their unarmed encounter. I think Jia Sidao's feat against Fang Zhen and Hundred Eyes at the same time is actually really really good, and I don't know if I have a clear cut answer to that for Danny. But via scaling, I could definitely see him doing the same to say, Davos and Colleen - given their respective performances against enemies in relation to Danny (which I covered above).
Hundred Eyes is definitely a great fodder wrecker against trained soldiers, but we've seen Colleen do fairly well in that area:
I'd say that her feats aren't quite as impressive as Hundred Eyes' against armed soldiers, but that's balanced out by the fact that Hundred Eyes is a respectable opponent for Jia Sidao while Colleen is nowhere near a peer to Danny.
- That's a great feat. I actually place a high value on accolades, and while I don't think Danny has a directly relatable feat, he does have his showing against two elite Hand fighters (the Veznikov brothers). While it's difficult to say who is better between an exceptional fighter of the Song dynasty and an elite Hand martial artist (I might even give the Song fighter a better reputation), Danny took on two of them and did pretty well. Though this is balanced out by the fact that Jia Sidao was practically effortless in his dispatching of Whirlwind Tiger. I'd say the feats are roughly even on that basis.
- I think Danny's more or less outdone this by practically stomping Colleen in a spar, and I also don't think it's Jia Sidao's best showing. (like you said)
- I think Jia Sidao has a very good grasp of striking and leverage, as well as how to effectively use weak points to subdue an opponent. However, given Danny's plethora of striking feats, I wouldn't be comfortable in claiming that Jia Sidao has any sort of edge there. Yes, he is a superior practitioner of pressure points than Danny. But Danny has the speed and the training to recognize and react to these techniques. Once he realizes that Jia Sidao is attempting to utilize dangerous pressure points, he'll counter and use his striking power to land significant hits. Given Danny's standalone striking feats, he doesn't necessarily need to target specific weak points on Jia Sidao's body to make him hurt badly. And I think that's the main difference between their respective damage output capabilities.
- I think Jia Sidao's speed is extremely impressive, so I'm not going to knock it much. Scaling is just as important a tool as standalone feats for measuring capabilities imo, so I'd be inclined to say that he is around the same level of Danny as far as speed is concerned. They both have some amazing feats in this arena. What I do think is that Danny is more maneuverable and evasive. His feat of evading a sword-wielding Bakuto should be enough to say that his overall evasive capabilities are higher than Jia Sidao's. It's also more directly applicable to close quarters combat than the feats that Hundred Eyes performed. While being significantly faster than Marco Polo is pretty awesome, I think Danny could replicate that based on his aim-dodging feats.
- I think one area where Jia Sidao lacks notable feats compared to Danny is durability. While they are both impressive strikers and extremely fast martial artists, Danny has the far superior damage soak. If this comes down to who can outlast the other, it's Danny's game to lose. The massive disparity in durability also means that Jia Sidao would have difficulty keeping him down for the count without targeting specific weak points. Meanwhile, Danny would have a much easier time putting Jia Sidao down than vice versa.
I actually agree that this is Jia Sidao's advantage, and I thought about that when we first started talking about this CaV. As you said, Danny is not a killer. But I don't think that he'll necessarily need that factor working in his favor to win this match-up.
I also think that Jia Sidao has an edge in overall discipline, going by his years of learning from the praying mantis and retaining his techniques by constant repetition. Danny does have a similar dedication to training, but Jia Sidao's calmness and patience really show when he fights.
As far as mindset goes, I do think Jia Sidao outdoes Danny.
Danny has a skill edge and a physical edge. Speed is roughly even. Training wise, they are both the best of the best and masters in their craft. Mindset is Jia Sidao's advantage. Ultimately, I think these are Danny's main advantages:
I think Jia Sidao definitely compares in quality of training (due to his dedication and years of practice) as well as raw speed. However, Danny's edges that I mentioned above are more than enough to give him the win at-least 7 times out of 10. It would be a great battle in my opinion, but the Iron Fist has what it takes to defeat the Cricket Minister for a majority.
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