Cruel good guy?

Question: In the book I want to write, the story focuses a lot on martial arts and their philosophies. I'm mostly talking about freestyle fighting and the characters mentalities, since I really couldn't do a real martial arts story justice, as I've never practiced martial arts myself. Anyway, The main character's best friend is meant to be both the antihero and, in some ways, the hero's foil. He believes that the "self-defense only" philosophy behind many martial arts is stupid and takes the "martial" in "martial arts" deeply to heart; he believes that fighting is about domination of the opponents and a fighter is just that, a FIGHTER, not a philosopher. The more I write him out though, the more I wonder whether I could get away with passing somebody so cruel and ruthless as a hero in any way, even an antihero. Any advice? I really like the idea of them being ends as well as complete opposites, but do you think it's a good idea? Thanks!


Answer: I think you just need to ask yourself why your impact character feels a need to attack first and win at all costs. Is he naive about where violence leads? Or is this something experience has taught him to be the best approach? Either way, it should make sense. It should be justifiable, from his point of view anyway.

Incidentally, the better reasons the impact character has for his stance, the better his example will be at forcing your main character to assess what kind of person he wants to be.

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