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A pair of rival schools of martial arts, run by a pair of masters who have probably been at it for years before the series even started. If dojo is applied to non-Japanese martial arts, its use is an example of the Far East trope.

Most often, but not always, the two masters were students of the same martial arts style before branching off to different styles: the protagonist usually (but not always) learning under the benevolent master who teaches wisdom and self defense, while the rival school is run by an Evil Mentor and is characteristically ruthless, aggressive and brutal.

The benevolent master runs the Pacifist Dojo. His staff makes a point of stressing self discipline and peaceful resolution. Nevertheless, it will be made crystal clear that these techniques are not to be used beyond the school walls except in a clear emergency. (Most real-life Eastern martial arts schools will expel the violator when it comes out.) In any proper tournament, they will be Graceful Losers and invoke loopholes only to stop a persistent offender.

The Evil Mentor, on the other hand, runs the Thug Dojo. This school has no issues with dirty conduct or violent tactics, especially outside their walls. Training From Hell and The Spartan Way are common approaches. In a proper tournament, either the instructors or charges may even become Sore Losers on top of trying prohibited moves.

If present, the Sensei for Scoundrels, who likely runs a School of Hard Knocks variant, can substitute for either of these masters.

A subset of this trope comes in the form of "dojo busting," in which members of a rival school (or even an unaffiliated challenger looking to show his prowess) will sit in on lessons and challenge the sensei or top student to a match, usually as an excuse to completely ransack the dojo, maim everyone inside, and steal a memento of his victory (typically the dojo's marquee.)

Very often comes up in Fighting Series. This situation often involves or ends with the main students from both schools eventually becoming friends or at least allies, usually after one of them defeats the other, effectively ending the feud, or turning it into a friendly rivalry (if it wasn't already) instead.

See also Feuding Families.


  • Being the quintessential Fighting Series (at least in Manga), Dragon Ball of course has this, with Goku learning the Turtle Style from Master Roshi, while his rival Crane Hermit's teaches his students styles of brutal assassination. Goku fights two members of the Crane School, Crane's brother Tao and his star pupil, Tien. Tien defeats Goku the first time, but, in a rare occurrence for this trope, his Heel Face Turn begins even before Goku eventually bests him.
  • The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway has a rivalry between a ninja school and a mime school. (Yes, the mimes are martial artists. Don't ask.)
  • Inverted by The Best Of The Best, where the two schools are both honorable and have similar philosophies.
    • Ninja Academy. Oddly enough, one of the students at the Hero ninja academy is a mime.
  • Real Life: Count Dante's Dojo Wars
  • Jade Empire naturally has a variant on this (It's technically the same school, but the two teachers use different styles)
  • Bamboo Blade has rival Kendo schools.
  • Pokémon did an episode about a pair of rival Gyms.
    • The games also featured this with Saffron City's two Gyms, one for the Fighting-type and one for the Psychic-type. Only one got to be the official Gym of the city, and the Psychic-type Gym won due to Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors.
  • In Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger and Power Rangers Ninja Storm, three Rangers are from the Hayate/Wind Ninja Academy and two are from the Ikazuchi/Thunder Academy. They clashed at first with the Thunder ninjas acting as Psycho Rangers to the Wind trio, but eventually pulled together to fight the Big Bad.