Cracked Knuckles: The True Meaning of T-Rex Arms

DinoWeekHeaderThere’s a stereotype of boxers, with their elbows held in tight and hands squeezed close at face level, that they have “T-Rex arms.” Alluding to the diminutive upper limbs of that most famous of cretaceous carnivores, the label pokes fun, but also highlights one of boxing’s greatest strengths. With that high guard, it’s difficult to sneak a punch in and strike the head and, since the elbows remain in close to the body, it’s easy to shift them enough to cover the ribs and abdomen from blows (Muay Thai, in contrast, tends to maintain an even higher guard. The legs can be used in conjunction with the elbows to form a “wall” against strikes to the body).

Katsuhiro Harada, the man behind the Tekken series, decided to take the saying a bit more literally. And so we have Alex, a boxing dinosaur.

To be totally fair, Alex isn’t a Tyrannosaurus. He’s a nondescript Dromaeosaurid, a family of dinosaurs that comes from the suborder Theropoda, making it a relative of sorts to my personal favorite dinosaur, the Troodon.

He’s also a re-skin of Roger, a boxing kangaroo character, and so shares his move set. His arms are long enough that he can throw actual hooks and straights with decent reach, but he still maintains a tight guard throughout.

This is par for the course in Tekken. When the developers pull from a real martial art (which is most of the time) they tend to go all out in making sure that the fighter’s motions are practically textbook, and so Alex bobs and weaves, displaying terrific footwork despite his bird-like legs. He uses lateral movement both for evasion and to attack from unexpected angles and, while this translates to a primarily visual flourish in the game itself, he’s actually quite good about mixing his body shots with his head shots.

Too often boxers in fiction spend all of their time head-hunting.

It’s worth noting that Alex’s move list isn’t entirely Marquis of Queensberry legal. There are throws and kicks, even techniques that involve using his sizable tail in surprisingly acrobatic ways. But the core of Alex’s fighting is the Sweet Science, and the T-Rex arms of this Dromaeosaurid are a force to be reckoned with.

Seriously. You don't want a piece of any of that.

Seriously. You don’t want a piece of any of that.