Ansatsuken (暗殺拳? lit. "Assassination Fist") is a Japanese linguistic neologism used to describe the assassination arts, which consist of any martial art developed with the intention of slaying an opponent.
In the Street Fighter universe, the term has been used to describe the martial arts used by Akuma (Gouki in Japan), as well as Gen's. The term Satsujinken (殺人拳? lit. "Murderous Fist") is synonymous with Ansatsuken, and the two terms are used interchangeably.
The term Ansatsuken originated from Fist of the North Star (北斗の拳 Hokuto no Ken) in 1983, where in the first chapter they describe Kenshiro's martial art as the Fearsome assassin's fist (恐るべき暗殺拳 Osorubeki ansatsu ken). In the original Street Fighter, Gen was the only character to have his fighting style described as Ansatsuken. Ryu on the other hand was called a Master of fighting karate (ケンカ空手の達人 Kenka karate no tatsujin) in the introduction video for Fighting Street (1988). It wasn't until Super Street Fighter II Turbo where Ansatsuken was used to describe the origin's of Hadoken, Shoryuken and Tatsumaki.
Ansatsuken and Shotokan
The fighting style used by Ryu, Ken, and Gouken is listed in their Japanese Street Fighter IV: Master's Guide bios as a "martial art rooted as an art of assassination" (暗殺拳をルーツとした格闘術 Ansatsuken o rūtsu toshita kakutō jutsu?); Capcom USA originally referred to Ryu's fighting style as "Shotokan", despite bearing little resemblance to the real-life discipline. Because of this, Ryu and other characters who use similar styles (such as Ken and Akuma) are still called "shoto-clones" or "shotos" by fans.
The martial art styles used by Gen are known as the assassin arts of the Mourning Style (暗殺拳・喪流 Ansatsuken Sō Ryū?) and the Hateful Style (暗殺拳・忌流 Ansatsuken Ki Ryū?); both are personal styles which Gen developed based on his training in various Chinese kung-fu martial arts. They are more commonly known as the Mantis and Crane styles, respectively.
Other Assassination Arts
- The term Ansatsuken dates back to Hokuto no Ken in 1983, where the martial art practiced by Kenshiro in the series is described in the very 1st chapter as the 恐るべき暗殺拳 (Fearsome assassin's fist), a phrase which is also mentioned in the 2nd opening of the anime series. 8/8 from Arc Hound twitter.
- Fighting Street introduction video archived from the original.
- Street Fighter IV: Master's Guide (pg. 6-7, 24) ISBN 4757745133
- All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000 (pg. 31, 311) ISBN 4885546761
- All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000, Encyclopedia entry on Sōbi Sasoriken on page 323, ISBN 4885546761