The news of a planned MCU film franchise for Shang-Chi, Marvel’s Master of Kung-Fu, got our readers thinking–who would win in a Shang-Chi vs Iron Fist ultimate fight? We’re curious too so let’s come up with a definitive answer with our tale of the tape.
We touched on Shang-Chi’s abilities to kick ass in our recent post. To review, Shang-Chi is one of the greatest martial artists in the world, or at least Marvel’s Earth-616. He’s skilled in various martial arts with a specialization in Chinese Kung Fu. (Take a moment to research the distinct origins of the various martial arts disciplines.) The mastery of his chi fortifies his blows to inhuman levels. Shang-Chi’s strikes can destroy concrete, bricks and iron. He can also withstand physical impacts almost to a superhuman degree, and ease pain and discomfort, but originally he was conceived by his writers without any superhuman abilities.
In 2015, Shang-Chi got an upgrade. He traveled to Kobe, Japan and communed with the Origin Bomb site. After the incident, Shang-Chi can currently create numerous copies of himself, ala the mutant, Multiple Man. Each copy is just as skilled in the combat arts as the original. Shang-Chi is a skilled gymnast, marksman, proficient in multiple weapons, and can lift double his weight, approximately 350 lbs. His fighting ability is 7 according to Marvel.com and Marvel wiki pages.
On a journey to Tibet with his family, nine-year-old Danny Rand lost his parents and was brought to the mythical city of K’un-Lun. There he was apprenticed to the martial arts master Lei Kung the Thunderer. By 19, Rand had gained the mantle King of the Vipers and sent to battle a fire-breathing serpent called Shou-Lao the Undying. Rand defeated Shou-Lao and plunged his hands into the creature’s molten heart, absorbing the serpent’s chi. Thus Rand had earned the title “Iron Fist.” Rand could now summon superhuman energy to reinforce the power of blows. His fist is strong enough to destroy an entire S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and he’s also destroyed a nuclear train with one punch.
Each Iron Fist throughout history has utilized the chi of Shou-Lao in different ways. Rand’s abilities include an augmented chi, the Iron Fist punch, energy absorption and transference, interdimensional travel, and heightened speed and reflexes. Danny possesses the strength of an Olympic-level athlete. Rand is a master of K’un-Lun’s martial arts and is proficient in other martial arts, including Judo, Aikido, Wing Chun, Ninjutsu, Muay Thai, Karate, and Boxing. He is able to lift (press) approximately 300 pounds. However, by harnessing the chi of Shou-Lao, Iron Fist could initially increase his strength to a maximum of lifting 800 lbs.
This is a close battle. Iron Fist and Shang-Chi have fought to a stalemate as recently as Iron Fist #7 (2017). Shang-Chi does rank higher than Rand in fighting skills according to Marvel. Ultimately the Master of Kung-Fun is the purer martial artist and would win in combat. Let’s elaborate.
Captain America and the Black Panther, two of Marvel’s best hand to hand combatants conclude Shang-Chi is the more proficient martial artist and a “Master.” Captain America, who’s been enhanced to the peak of human performance, studies under Shang-Chi. T’Challa, the Black Panther, who single-handedly can take down the Fantastic Four, told Luke Cage that Shang-Chi is more formidable than his long-time partner Daniel Rand.
Shang-Chi is a not the son of a billionaire who found his path in the East. He’s a proud Chinese warrior who was groomed since birth to be the ultimate martial arts weapon. Even before his recent upgrade, Shang-Chi mastered his chi to nearly superhuman levels.
Iron Fist acquired the power of the fist later in life. Yes, he’s trained his mind, body, and soul to harness the chi of a mythical serpent, but it’s still a learned skill. It’s not natural and one of the reasons why Rand occasionally loses the power of the Iron Fist. When Rand is in complete control of his chi, his power levels exceed Shang-Chi. But on fighting skills alone, Shang-Chi has the advantage.
So there you have it, our tale of tape concludes Shang-Chi is the master and would defeat the Iron Fist.