If you’ve ever played games in the Street Fighter or Final Fantasy series, you know that each time you win a fight the characters make a little celebratory dance. It's actually not just those two games, but many games old and new have this little quirk. You could argue that games use this animation to communicate emotion with the player. But, you'd be missing most of the story.
It's strange, but in 1974 one event would alter the course of gaming forever. That was when a lightweight boxer named Guts Ishimatsu was crowned champion. His celebration has been imitated ever since in Japan. Since many games come from Japan the move has been put various titles, as well as anime, movies and commercials.
On 11 April, 1974, underdog fighter Guts Ishimatsu pulled off a stunning upset over the then champ, Gato Gonzales, in front of a home crowd in Tokyo, Japan. After the knockout, a celebration ensued and Guts struck a pose that would later be named after him. Due to his sudden popularity, it quickly became imitated and a new buzzword was born.
Japan has a reputation for incorporating English words into its language in unconventional ways, and Guts Pose is no exception. In Japan, the word is universally known and even has its own holiday. However, despite the phrase being two English words, it is not well known in the English speaking world. Play through Mario, Kirby, Splatoon and almost every fighting and sports game though, and you will see the Guts Pose (in various forms) over and over again.
To see the long, strange trip of Guts Ishimatsu and his famous pose, check out the video below. Then go ahead and start calling the victory dance in your favourite game the Guts Pose. That is, after all, the proper name for it.
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Learned something new. So many games and shows in my childhood have this pose, I had no idea!
Arigatou gozaimashita !
When you're running out of content
Seen tons of games with this but never knew about it or thought about it at all
You learn something new every day! Didn't know this until just just now.
Well crap, I do a guts pose about everyday!
I actually have noticed this, but I didn't give it much thought. I just kinda thought it was a pose a lot of people used for whatever reason.
Thanks everyone for liking the story! When I moved to Japan the song Guts wrote was still popular and of course everyone does Guts Poses. I'm happy to share this little bit of info with you. Anyone celebrating next April?
People have done that pose forever, long before Guts Ishimatsu. Maybe it's where Japan got the idea of calling the pose that. But the action for victory like that is so much older and I have a hard time believing all those victory dances – which vary considerably from his pose – are all references to him.
I'm not buyin it.
I don't see any weird movement from Guts himself. Just fist pumping.
And the video examples are all completely different from each other. Apparently any arm movement is a "guts pose" ??? Sounds more like guts pose just means an fist-pump after you win/upset your opponent.
Cuz the only common thread was that some of the animations have a low fist pump (didn't even see Guts do this himself) and that is a normal thing to do anywhere whether you ever heard of guts or learned it or not.
That was interesting.
Here Andy Murray can be seen performing a 'Guts Pose' after winning the 2013 Wimbledon title, which would suggest that either Murray is secretly an Ishimatsu admirer, or the concept of clenching one's fist/s triumphantly upon victory is pretty universal form of celebration.
Given the eclectic range of victory poses demonstrated in the video, we would either be lead to believe that the 'Guts Pose' isn't really a specific pose so much as a generic term for almost any victory celebration, or that some of the celebrations shown weren't truly 'Guts Poses'.
Using the Daijirin Dictionany's definition of 'Guts Pose' as our reference (i.e. "A stance whereby a sportsman (etc.) clenches both fists in front of the chest or raised high above the head to signify victory"), we would assume the latter; that not all the victory celebrations in the video are strictly 'Guts Poses'. For starters, Kirby doesn't really have fists to clench, and the Pit is busy swinging two swords around, making clenching his fists something of a necessity if he doesn't want to throw them away.
An analogus English term for largely the same concept would seem to be the 'fist pump'.
At least, this is what you get when you Google 'Fist Pump':
And this is what you get when you Google 'ガッツポーズ' (Guts Pose):
I'd argue it's overstating things to say that Ishimatsu truly 'invented' the act of clenching one's fists in celebration and holding them aloft/in front of one's chest, or that all of the celebratory poses given are in direct reference to Guts Ishimatsu or the 'Guts Pose' at all. If 'Guts' had never 'posed' in that boxing match, I'm sure we'd still have celebratory fist clenching as a concept, as well as the concept of victory animations in video games.
What is hard to argue against however, is Ishimatsu's role in coining the term 'Guts Pose' to begin with, as well as solidifying its significance in the Japanese national psyche. I don't mean to play down the importance of the 'Guts Pose' with this comment, as it is very much 'A Thing' (I mean, it has its own special day for Pete's sake). I'm sure it has played an enormous role in shaping video game victory animations through the years, and that video games - as well as practically all other Japanese visual media (including numerous election posters) - wouldn't be quite the same without it. I just think it's stretching things to state that such a wide variety of poses as are shown in the video all qualify, or that Guts truly even "invented" the pose to begin with. Perhaps, "popularised it in Japan and helped coined a term that came into common parlance" might be an accurate way of describing things.
I'm old enough to know this did not start in 1974 in Japan. Cool story bro.
Love this kind of story.
Seems like quite a stretch...
I'm an otaku, I already knew this...
I'm so ashamed right now.
I wouldn't be surprised if the creator of JoJo's Bizzare Adventure took inspiration from him for the poses.He said the inspiration came from italian statues but I don't see it,my country's statues have fairly generic poses.
Interesting. Another thing learned.
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