The recent question about flying types got me thinking. What about fighting type? How does fighting type make any sense really? Isn’t fighting something that all Pokemon do anyway? And fighting types do not seem to be any better at it than other types…?
I have a long-standing claim that I make about Fighting-types, which is that they are not just Pokémon who fight – which, as you point out, is all of them – but Pokémon who take fighting particularly seriously, and more specifically, approach fighting with similar attitudes to humans, including a preoccupation with recognition and glory. Fighting Pokémon, even in the wild, spend their time training to become better at fighting. Many of them have codes of honour, which often extend to refusing to fight weaker opponents. They desire competition with powerful rivals, whether of their own species or of another. Aesthetically, almost all Fighting Pokémon (and most of their attacks) reference human warriors or martial artists, or more rarely athletes. They are, essentially, Pokémon who fight like humans, both in style and in ethos. I won’t go through all of them (or even claim to be able to), but for some illustrative examples, we have Pokémon based on specific martial arts (e.g. capoeira for Hitmontop, sumo for Hariyama, lucha libre for Hawlucha, karate for Sawk), Pokémon based on historical classes of human warriors (e.g. European knights for Gallade, French musketeers for Cobalion and co., Asian monks for Medicham), and Pokémon based on athletes (e.g. swimmers for Poliwrath, American footballers for Passimian). In the Pokédex, explicit comparisons to the skills of human fighters are common, as are references to the Pokémon’s dedication to training. Fighting-type attacks are regularly based on martial arts moves – Karate Chop, Submission, Reversal, Sky Uppercut, Force Palm, Circle Throw – while the only common special Fighting attack, Focus Blast, references the mastery of 気, ki (spiritual power or life force) supposedly attained by great martial artists (see also: Dragonball). Fighting for them is more than a necessity; it’s a way of life.