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"I am a fully rounded human being, with a degree from the university of life, a diploma from the school of hard knocks, and three gold stars from the kindergarten of getting the shit kicked out of me."
Captain Edmund Blackadder

School violence tends to not be accepted, but in a School of Hard Knocks, students are not only allowed to settle their differences with their fists but actually encouraged, complete with official rules. If these brawls get too out of hand, one can expect the faculty to step in themselves to kick some ass.

In order to qualify, the entire school needs to be in on and tolerant of the action. An isolated incident or individual does not count.

Examples of School of Hard Knocks include:


Anime and Manga

  • The school in Blazing Transfer Student allowed students to challenge each other to official boxing matches as a means to resolving their arguments.
  • Tenjho Tenge had a high school founded by martial arts masters, and as a result even the teachers will fight against their pupils if things get too rowdy. Every year they host a huge battle royal in their school between all of their martial arts clubs.
  • Shibusen Acadamy in Soul Eater specifically states that all fights between students on campus must be moderated by a member of the faculty.
  • Various schools in Ikki Tousen are in open war Because Destiny Says So.
  • Real Bout High School. School-sponsored K-Fights are used to solve every possible dispute, including "too many K-Fights". Eventually, it's made so that students don't even have to be on campus or fighting a schoolmate for it to be an official K-Fight, with play-by-play and color commentary from the principal himself.
  • Kanokon, somewhat. Fights between Youkai aren't encouraged, but the teachers don't seem to have a problem with these fights and they do observe/referee the matches. Fights between regular students aren't mentioned.
  • The school in Veritas, is one such example. They even have an area just for fighting and training.
  • The Tenchi Gakuen in Hayate X Blade not only encourages fighting, actually all students are part of an in-school kendô championship with great monetary prizes for the winning teams.
  • One of the main plotlines in Aiki is students attending one School of Hard Knocks trying to become skilled enough to earn admission at a University of Hard Knocks when they graduate.
  • The Pokémon school The Pokémon Technical Institue which appeared in episode 9, The School of Hard Knocks.
  • Freezing. Apparently the staff doesn't care if their students beat each other nearly to death or even sexually molest the losers. Unless it's the heroine doing the curb stomping. Oh, then they step in.

Film

  • My Schoolmate the Barbarian has a place where students brawl in an elaborate ringout fight.

Literature

  • The Swedish novel/movie Evil (Ondskan) has a very serious version of this, as a private boarding school essentially allows students to fight each other to settle disputes.
    • This is sadly a real life example. The boarding school, Solbacka, was closed down because of the violence that went on there. The fighting was not actually encouraged in order to solve disputes, but to maintain a hierarchy among the students. It was supposed to 'harden' the boys.
  • In Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, students at Dudley's new school, Smeltings, are given "knobbly sticks used for hitting each other while the teachers weren't looking. This was supposed to be good training for later life."
    • Hogwarts is not much better, what with the Beaters in Quidditch matches who are supposed to hit their opponents with heavy balls, and the (very short-lived) dueling club.
  • Various Discworld examples including, but not limited to:
    • The Assassins' Guild School. It is first referenced in Wyrd Sisters as a place which less fortunate scholars at the Fools' Guild School next door look at in helpless envy and longing. The Fools are tormented by the happy piping voices of young people at a school they love drifting over the dividing wall. However, as the Assassins value competitive examination, the number of happy piping voices grows considerably less towards the end of each term.
      • The Assassins' School is expanded upon in the opening quarter or so of Pyramids. Terry Pratchett noted that to create the school, all he had to do was to take a typical British boarding (fee-paying) school with a long pedigree, and turn all the knobs up past eleven. "Especially the one marked "violence".
    • By the time of Thud, the Assassins' School has gone co-educational. As the female of the species is, if not more deadly than the male, then at least nastier, the new generation of women teachers, such as Miss Alice Band, are capable of sending students out on potentially kamikaze assignments, such as targeting Commander Sam Vimes. A student called Jocasta Wiggs learns to her cost and the loss of personal dignity that Sam is well-protected.
    • In The Truth we learn of a more conventional boys' school, Hugglestone Academy, a dour grey granite edifice out on the bleak moorlands where boys are sent to be turned into men. This process is accepted to entail a certain degree of wastage, among the fat, lame, lazy and effeminate.
    • The Quirm Academy for Young Ladies, which appears in Soul Music, might be its female equivalent. It employs a sports mistress nicknamed Iron Ronnie, who is as tough and uncompromising as any male equivalent in Gym Class Hell. Sybil Ramkin was a pupil here and ruefully remembers that a closed community of girls can be as unsympathetic and prone to bullying as a male school. Only the weapons used are not physical. Oh no, nothing so trivial. Women are nastier.
    • The Unseen University, from the various Wizard books, also leans towards the hard knocks style of education, particularly in teaching the difference between Monkeys and Apes.

Music

Video Games

  • The plot of Rival Schools involves teams of students visiting other campuses and fighting their representatives in order to uncover clues about a string of mysterious disappearances. The characters include a language teacher, a school nurse, school principal and a Hot-Blooded PE instructor.
  • Bully. 'Nuff said.

Visual Novels

  • Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai is largely set in Kawakami High School, where official duels are sanctioned and all manners of replica weaponry are kept in every classroom for such occasions. Duels scale from simple betting to the Kawakami War, which involves the school with some extra hired troops, divided into two armies.

Web Original

  • Whateley Universe has several variants of this. The Combat Final is required and students can take part in simulations or arena duels. Given the treatment of mutants in the setting learning how to fight is a very important real world skill.

Western Animation

  • The Foremost World-Renowned International School of Lucha in Mucha Lucha, naturally, seeing as everyone in the show is a Masked Luchador.

Real Life

  • Sadly, all too often badly or ineptly led schools, especially single gender schools, tend to be this way. Violence is not only tolerated but actually encouraged. Occasionally given some sort of formal sanction in the days when boxing was still considered a suitable Phys. Ed activity and much less was understood about its potential risks. Two students with a particularly nasty feud to settle would be provided with gloves and a referee and allowed to settle their differences and work out their aggression in a way that minimised the risk of lasting injury. By some accounts it was actually a good way to clear the air.
  • Boot camps in military. Recruits are encouraged to settle their disputes with a fight.
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