A martial artist refined both in body and mind, the Monk specializes in barehanded fighting techniques.
The Monk, also known as the Black Belt (空手家, Karateka?), is a skilled martial artist class in the original Final Fantasy that specializes in fisticuffs over weapons and magic. It is the only class that never gets to use magic; this, coupled with the Monk's general lack of equipment, make it the least expensive class to maintain, albeit with the cost of leaving the Monk somewhat fragile thanks to a dearth of armor options. In the NES version, Monks have a blue headband and gi, with shoulder-length brown hair. The job's WonderSwan Color design change the color of the headband to red, but it was reverted to blue for the Monk's PlayStation portable sprites. The WSC also gives the Monk a messy hairstyle tied back into a ponytail.
The Monk gets damage bonuses for fighting barehanded, and also a defense bonus based on Stamina. Barehanded damage surpasses claws and, with enough Stamina, equipment (except for status/elemental protection) is also unneeded. Like the Thief, the Monk is something of another "investment" class, though the Monk's potential is reached purely by increases in Level rather than class change. At high enough levels, a Monk or Master will have the highest potential damage output in the game, eclipsing even that of well-armed Warriors.
In the Final Fantasy manga, one of the Warriors of Light is a Monk named Fritz (フリッツ, Furittsu?). An original character that does not appear in the game, he is the youngest of the Warriors and helps Puffy, Matoya and Bahamut to restore the power of the Crystals.
After completing the Citadel of Trials, Bahamut, the Dragon King, upgrades all Monk party members to the rank of Master (スーパー モンク, Sūpā Monku?). Originally, the Master's attack speed and power was increased, but at the expense of its Magic Defense growth, which went from +4 to a mere +1 per level up. The job was otherwise similar, and its Magic Defense shortcoming could be mitigated by equipping a Ribbon. As a result of this difference in stat growth, in the NES version, the Master receiving the benefits of the Haste spell could deal over 2,000 damage with one Attack command, sufficient to strike down even Chaos with a single action, while the base Monk job was incapable of doing so, even with the benefit of Haste and at the max level of 50. In Dawn of Souls and following versions, the stat growth formula for promoted classes is altered, so the Master instead gains higher multipliers for its bonuses and gets more Magic Defense (2 instead of 1) at level up than the Monk.
In the Dawn of Souls version and subsequent versions, there are ten optional auto-names for the different character classes. Each name refers to another character or location's name in the Final Fantasy series.
The ten names for the Monk class are:
- Arvis - Character in Final Fantasy VI.
- Cinna - Character in Final Fantasy IX.
- Drogan - Character in Final Fantasy V.
- Duncan - Character in Final Fantasy VI.
- Gorn - Character in Final Fantasy III.
- Maduin - Character in Final Fantasy VI.
- Marcus - Character in Final Fantasy IX.
- Owain - Character in Final Fantasy VI.
- Owzer - Character in Final Fantasy VI.
- Walz - Character in Final Fantasy V.
Monk appears on a Triple Triad card in the version playable via Final Fantasy Portal App.
- The Monk's hairstyle in the WonderSwan Color remake may be based on the hairstyle of Sabin Rene Figaro, a Monk from Final Fantasy VI.
- In the original NES version, at the party selection screen, the Monk appears along with the Warrior, the Thief, and the Red Mage—the first four jobs as listed in the game's internal ordering system—as the default party, making them the first characters to be seen in the Final Fantasy series. Later releases would include the White Mage and Black Mage as the third and fourth members of the default party, replacing the Monk and Red Mage respectively.