literature

Lack of Scars on a Fighter

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Lack of Scars on a Fighter



I get it, but this complaint is still quite condemning in my opinion.  Like all things, there should be exceptions, but this complaint makes it sound like if a person is known as a fighter, he or she has to have a multitude of noticeable scars on their body, but they usually don’t think about the characters themselves, because they don’t know the characters.

Do boxers have scars all over their body?  Maybe light scars on their face, but if they knew ways on how to prevent scaring, then they probably wouldn’t have noticeable scars like this complaint is focusing on.  Why is that?  Because boxers use their fists as weapons, and fists don’t usually break skin.  In addition, boxers usually have their hands covered in padded gloves, or have a light helmet of some sort for protection.

Now if fighters used bladed weapons such as swords, it would still depend on the characters, time period, their training, and a multitude of other factors.  Let’s take Himura Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin (Nobuhiro Watsuki) for example.  Has he gotten hurt fighting?  Yes.  Many times.  Are there any noticeable scars?  Besides the cross-shaped scar on his cheek?  No.  Nothing quite noticeable.  Why?  Probably because he’s gotten hurt enough times to know how to treat wounds and how to prevent a cut from becoming a rough scar.  Does that mean that he doesn’t have scars?  No, it’s just not noticeable enough to draw them in the manga, and probably light enough for other people not to notice them.

Now let’s talk about before Kenshin became a wanderer.  As far as I know, aside from the vertical scar on his cheek, he didn’t get hurt all throughout the time he became an assassin—even though he was fifteen when he joined.  He was found, raised, and taught by Seijiro Hiko when Kenshin was nine.  I noticed during the Shishio arc, that when they trained, they kept their swords in their scabbards, so while it would still hurt, probably still draw blood occasionally, there wouldn’t be enough damage to leave obvious scars (if treated correctly).  So it is possible the Kenshin learned how to fight with swords without scarring up.  Once he felt he was good enough to help people who were suffering, he left with his knowledge and skill and started assassinating people.  He killed politicians, and other swordsmen, of whom, probably no one could match his skill due to being fast in both body (able to run and dodge quickly), and to draw his sword with a speed hardly anyone could see.  The only reason he had gotten the vertical scar on his cheek was due to luck and the assassinated relying on pure self-preservation.  So of all the scars that Kenshin has, why is the cross-shaped scar on his cheek the only one that’s clear to see?  My theory is that he wanted it to scar.  When Kiyosato showed how much he wanted to live for his fiancé, it touched Kenshin, and he didn’t want to forget it, so kept the scar as a reminder.  Then Tomoe’s, Kenshin’s first wife, and the fiancé of Kiyosato, blade had fallen on his cheek, crossing the vertical scar.  Kenshin loved her and didn’t want to forget her either.  That’s why his cross-shaped scar is most important to him and the story.

Overall, it depends on the character’s skill, how they were trained, their opponents and the healing process of every cut received.

Of course that’s manga, and most of us are just writers, so when is it appropriate, and how should we describe the scars?  Of course scars should only be mentioned if they are visible, but it’s not often a guy or girl is seen with their clothes off (unless they are boxers, but I already talked about that).  As for description, where is the scar?  Is it jagged or smooth?  Is the scar lighter or darker than the rest of the skin tone?  What kind of scar is it?  A cut, burns, impalement?  As for how much description should be put in describing the scar, that is completely up to you.  Sometimes scars are missed initially because it’s so light, and are only noticed later in the story.

Other people, besides fighters, also have their own set of scars—people you probably wouldn’t think of having scars.  Next time you go to Starbucks, or any coffee shops, ask the barista how many times him or her, or if any of their co-workers, have gotten scalded by the steam.  Chefs often have nicks, cuts, and burns on their hands while cooking.  Wood carvers may have missing fingers or toes.  I often pet sit, and have quite the collection of cat scratches on my hands and arms.  Of course they’re only noticeable if someone is looking for them.

In conclusion, do all fighters need to have scars?  Most likely, but not all fighters need to have noticeable scars.  Do all fighters need to get hurt?  Yes.  That’s part of the plot.  Fighters want to get stronger so often face tough opponents.  It wouldn’t be realistic if they never got hurt and only kept getting stronger.
If you haven't, please read my Mary-Sue: Who is She? Series first.

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Dieliala's avatar
I myself, only write in (notcible or mentioned) scars when they are of importance.

Otherwise, I'd be listing very single scar my rough and tumble character(s) have.