GURPS Martial Art: Python Strike Thesis Defense Kung Fu [GURPS 4E]

Blame this.

Python Strike Thesis Defense Kung Fu [8/11 pt]

In that room, in that place, it is either you, or it is the snake.  The snake knows its purpose. Do you? – Pat Whittaker, PhD. (Botany)

It was perhaps inevitable that the venerable Western practice of requiring PhD. candidates to wrestle a snake as part of their doctoral thesis defense would eventually spawn its own martial art. Python Strike Thesis Defense Kung Fu is a fairly brutal discipline, in its way: much like graduate school, it is uncompromising about – and uncaring of – weakness.  Adepts in the art obviously prefer to train on snakes, but the hard truth of the matter is that snakes are expensive.  Anonymous brawling in campus bars and illegal tournaments in the steam tunnels are typically cheaper… or, at least the costs don’t come out of department budgets, which is really the important thing.

There is a rumored cinematic version that is supposedly used to endure the legendary Actinic Marriage of Pain ritual (and thus obtain tenure), but few hard details exist.

Skills: Acrobatics, Fast-Talk, Knot-Tying, Public Speaking, Research, Savoir-Faire (Academia*) Wrestling

Maneuvers: Breakfall, Choke Hold, Evade, Head Lock, Knee Drop, Leg Lock, Neck Snap, Wrench Spine.  (GMs are encouraged to be gentle on the rules here, and allow these techniques to be used on actual snakes.)

Cinematic Skills: Body Control, Mental Strength, Sensitivity

Cinematic Maneuvers: Fighting While Seated, Timed Defense

Optional Skills: Fast-Draw (Knife), Holdout, Knife, Throwing (Knife)
*Replaces Savoir-Faire (Dojo).


  • acat says:

    Did you ever read Lee & Miller’s “Liad” series, Moe?
    This .. reminds me of Cantra’s experience in thesis defense, found conveniently enough in this book:
    This isn’t, though, the best entry point to the series ..
    If your genre of choice is action, start with “Agent of Change”. If you like coming-of-age tales, start with “Fledgling”. There’s an entry recommended by those who prefer romance, but I forget which one it is.

  • Luke says:

    Read the source you pointed out.
    It was the first time grad school sounded even remotely interesting.

    • Luke says:

      One small change I’d recommend. If you’re going to be messing with poisonous snakes, a forked stick is invaluable.
      One you pin the neck with the stick, it’s just a matter of chopping off the head.

      • Moe_Lane says:

        True, but remember: this martial art is taught by academics. If you didn’t do your bibliography properly, you maybe don’t DESERVE to be trained to use a forked stick.

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