Book Review: ‘Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual – A Guide to Starfleet’s Most Feared Martial Art’

Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual – A Guide to Starfleet’s Most Feared Martial Art

Written by Dayton Ward

Illustrations by Christian Cornia

How many times have you thought to yourself, “Gee, I wish I knew how to execute some slick fake martial arts moves like Jim Kirk?” Well, now you can learn! The Kirk Fu Manual, A Guide to Starfleet’s Most Feared Martial Art will soon have you karate chopping like a Starship Captain—and you’ll have some fun along the way.

Written in the voice of James T. Kirk, this manual is a guide to the famous captain’s hand-to-hand combat moves. Kirk’s advice to new cadets is sprinkled throughout, as well as excerpts from his personal log.

There are 12 sections, each describing a specific Kirk Fu move, with an example of when Captain Kirk used the move effectively. They all have cool names, such as the Slippery Eel or the Box Lunch, and the instantly recognizable Flying Drop Kirk.

Reviewed and approved by Admiral Nogura!

Each section begins with a description of a situation in which a particular skill might be useful. Kirk imparts his experience and wisdom on the student, cautioning that “reality only rarely unfolds in accordance with training scenarios.” The student must learn to be quick and decisive.

Illustrations are provided with step-by-step instructions for each of the twelve Kirk Fu moves. Each move is concluded by returning to the basic defensive stance—with a torn shirt. Do not skip that step! Each of these instructional illustrations is also accompanied by a disclaimer of sorts, often stating that results will vary in low- or null-gravity environments. One of my favorites:

If your adversary has more than two arms, tuck your hand under their lowest extremity. Results may vary if your opponent is a shapeshifter.

At first glance, I wasn’t too sure about the illustration style, but after going through all of the sections, I think it’s perfect. The exaggerated poses combined with the step-by-step instructions ensure you will be able to master these moves in no time,  and they always end in the torn shirt, which I found very humorous.

The Lateral Body Block. Kirk’s shirt ends up torn… of course.

The excerpts from Captain Kirk’s Personal Log are honest and introspective. He muses about the Prime Directive (he does take it seriously), instinctive biases, and the unbelievable situations he and his crew have been in. There is an entry from Stardate 3026.3, just after the Enterprise departed the Omicron Delta region (“Shore Leave”) in which he shares his feelings about fighting his old nemesis Finnegan and reuniting with his old flame Ruth.

The Slippery Eel

After the study and practice of the twelve Kirk Fu moves an assessment is offered in multiple-choice format. Upon completion of the manual, a Certificate of Training is issued by Starfleet Academy. The official-looking page could be copied and filled in with your own name, suitable for framing. What better way to show off your accomplishment at finishing the course, and warn off any aggressors that may enter your quarters?

A special bonus Spock Fu section completes the course, so you no longer have to wonder how to facilitate the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.

The book is a lighthearted yet loving homage to Shatner’s Kirk — the dedication page reads “Dedicated with sincere respect to the one and only William Shatner.Ward’s sharp wit and vast Star Trek knowledge combined with Cornia’s illustrations make for a quick and entertaining read.

If you choose to practice Kirk Fu your results may vary in low- or no-gravity situations, and remember to stretch!


Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual – A Guide to Starfleet’s Most Feared Martial Art by Dayton Ward

The Kirk Fu Manual is a 7″ x 7″ hardcover 64-page book and is due to be released on March 3. You can pre-order it from the link below.

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Ha ha Do they have Kirk Fu classes?!?
Also love the reference to Admiral Nogura. They should have him come aboard the Enterprise with Pike / Number One / Spock, maybe a Captain at the time?
Why they didn’t use him in Discovery (maybe have him have to take command of the Starfleet after the battle of Starbase One) is beyond me (though loved Admiral Cornwell, wish she had taken command a few times)

Que the Amok Time music ;)

Good fun, there.

Sort of related: Is there a clause in Shatner’s contract that says illustrations of him can *never* look like him? I have yet to see any depiction of Captain Kirk; book cover, poster, action figure etc, that even slightly resembles 1966 William Shatner.

Generally speaking, using an exact likeness of a celebrity involves paying money for the rights to use it. That’s why a lot of merch artwork for any big franchise ends up sorta kinda looking like who it’s meant to be without looking exactly right. I doubt this book’s budget would have had those kind of deep pockets.


Not to nitpick, but couldn’t they have actually PAID Pond5 for the music in the trailer? :-)

As ridiculous as the fights come off in TOS they are still a lot of fun to watch lol. As a kid, that’s the REAL reason I started watching Star Trek originally, all the wild fighting in it. Watching Kirk karate chop his way through Klingons while his shirts rips more and more is worth the price of admission alone.

Yeah seriously, if it was that easy to knock people out, we’d all probably do it a lot more. I recall trying ‘Kirk-style’ fighting when I was in a schoolyard bullying brawl back in the day. It did not turn out well. And you know, as the Trek fan, I was on the receiving end. :)

Somewhere, William Shatner is sitting back in his chair, chuckling.

My favorite fights in Star Trek are in ‘Friday’s Child’, and ‘Arena’. As a kid, I used to run around like I was being chased by the Gorn, and a squad of Sleestaks from ‘Lost In Space’. I would fashion my weapon on the go. Light-colored sand would be the sulfur, lol.
I can remember being near to frostbite having laid in a snowbank one winter afternoon. I had a cave carved out with Spock, McCoy, and my sister’s Barbie (filling in for Zarabeth). Ah, those days were much simpler.

I will, certainly grab this for my grand kids, for our story time.

Not finding the link, Christine

Wow. This is literally the stupidest thing I have ever seen to bear the official Star Trek name.

This is satire, sir.

Uzani, his army with fists closed

Now can anyone make a kirk fu beat em up game?