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Tifa from Final Fantasy VII, a recurring Monk figure in the series.

The Monk (モンク, Monku?), also known as Black Belt and abbreviated as MNK (, Mo?), is a job class in many Final Fantasy games. Being one of the first jobs introduced in the series, Monks serve a damage-dealing role in combat, opting to attack foes bare-handed.

The Monk almost always serves as one of the first jobs players unlock, with the Master and Black Belt being some of its upgraded forms in several titles. Lesser forms of the job have also appeared, such as the White Monk and the Pugilist.

Profile[]

A martial artist whose highly-trained body is his most deadly weapon. The monk's high attack power and stamina make him an excellent front-line warrior.

Description from Final Fantasy Record Keeper.
Refia from Final Fantasy III as a Monk.

Monks often fight bare-handed and the few weapons they use consist of claws and knuckles that strap onto their hands. Having studied to use their own body as their weapon, Monks can deal as much damage in battle as other physical classes, like Warriors and Dragoons, thanks to their massive physical strength, and in some cases, bear an ability that allows them to fight barehanded on par with other weapon-wielding jobs.

Monks wear light clothing consisting of robes and hats, and cannot equip heavy armor. To make up for this lack of protection, Monks have high HP. Due to the minimal use of armor and weaponry, Monks are one of the cheapest classes to maintain.

A Monk from Final Fantasy XIV utilizing combo attacks on their foes.

At the start of the series, Monks were primarily damage-dealing units with no unique abilities. With the 16-bit generation of games, their arsenals were expanded to include finesse- and potential-based abilities, such as Kick, which damages all enemies; Chakra, which heals the Monk and/or their allies; and they can increase their attack strength with Focus. Monks counter physical attacks, and in later games have individual skillsets of various special techniques.

Influenced by series's Monk-inspired characters, such as Sabin Rene Figaro, Tifa Lockhart, and Zell Dincht, the Monk's gameplay would be revamped into a job that focuses on combo actions in entries like Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV, with several abilities even being borrowed from the characters that inspired the new style.

Appearances[]

Final Fantasy[]

The Monk (also called Black Belt) is a physical attacker available at the beginning at the game. Eventually, the class can be upgraded to Master. Monks can equip nunchaku, making it one of the few times Monks use weapons besides claws and knuckles.

Final Fantasy III[]

The Monk is a job gained from the Wind Crystal. Monks are proficient in the martial arts, and though only able to equip claws and knuckles, they are highly adept at using their bare hands in combat. Their armor selection is limited. The amount of damage dealt to the target depends on the type of enemy.

Final Fantasy IV[]

Yang Fang Leiden is the first named Monk. He hails from Fabul, a nation renowned for their ranks of warrior monks. Several NPCs in Fabul appear as monks, and Yang is fought as a boss under the name "Monk" (2D and 3D).

In the Lunar Ruins, a dungeon exclusive to the Advance and The Complete Collection releases, three monks are fought during Yang's trial: the Drillmasters, Soldier Monks, and Super Monks.

Final Fantasy IV -Interlude-[]

Yang is a Monk and retains his skills. Two other Monks also join the party as temporary party members, called Monk A and Monk B.

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years[]

Yang is a Monk, and is joined by his daughter Ursula. Three other monks are also temporary party members—Monk A, Monk B, and Monk C—who share the same abilities.

Final Fantasy V[]

The Monk is a job class obtained from a shard of the Wind Crystal. It specializes in barehanded combat and has high Attack power. Monks can attack twice for each selected Attack command.

Final Fantasy VI[]

Sabin Rene Figaro's job is a Monk, being a student to the martial arts master Duncan Harcourt, who also trained his son, Vargas. Sabin uses the Blitz, which lets him perform various attacks if the player inputs the proper button commands.

Sabin's job was not listed in the North American Super Nintendo version, but the Final Fantasy III Nintendo Player's Guide listed his job as Blackbelt. The English Game Boy Advance version retained the job titles.

Final Fantasy VII[]

Tifa in monk dress in Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Tifa Lockhart is a monk trained by Zangan. Tifa's Limit Breaks consist of various physical attacks that strengthen if the player properly stops a series of slot wheels. Tifa is notable for being the first female monk in the series.

In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Tifa returns as a playable character who uses martial arts techniques together in a combo. She is a brawler whose core mechanic is Unbridled Strength, increasing her normal attack damage and also giving her a unique technique, which can increase stagger bonus damage. Tifa retains two of her limit breaks, though she does not use slot reels to activate them, and her default Beat Rush is instead renamed Rise and Fall and used as an Unbridled Strength technique.

Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier[]

Monk is a Style in The First Soldier usable by SOLDIER Candidates, who's weapon are either their bare hands or fists and claws. Their melee combo is fast hitting and quickly staggers enemy combatants. The style is able to use Manawall to protect themselves and allies, as well as Chakra Field to dispel poison and heal their team.

Final Fantasy VIII[]

Zell using the Dolphin Blow Limit Break.

Zell Dincht is a SeeD monk trained in Balamb Garden who uses his fists in battle, wielding gloves as weapons. Zell's Limit Break, Duel, allows him to perform a sequence of attacks depending on which button combinations the player inputs within a time limit.

The Combat King magazines mention that the Duel techniques are utilized by Fighters (格闘家, Kakutouka?, lit. Martial Artists), which would appear as an alternate job of the Monk in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings.

Final Fantasy XI[]

The Monk (MNK) is a basic job, and is given four ranks depending on the player's level, beginning with White Belt. All mandragora and some beastmen are classified as Monks.

Final Fantasy XII[]

Monks appear only in the Zodiac versions. They use bare-handed attacks, but can also wield poles and White Magicks, as well as a number of Technicks. Their License Board has sixteen Battle Lores and twelve HP Lores, more than any other job.

Final Fantasy XIV[]

Icon.

The Monk (MNK) is the job form of the Pugilist class. It functions as a Discipline of War melee role, focusing on hand-to-hand combat. Monks utilize claws, fists, and gauntlets in combat. Unlike Pugilists, Monks utilize upgraded stances and spiritual techniques that unleash powerful energy-based melee attacks on targets.

Important characters who use this job include Widargelt Beake from the city-state of Ala Mhigo.

Final Fantasy Type-0[]

Mogri icon 06 l.png

Class Fifth is attributed to the monk class. Ryid Uruk is a member of Class Fifth, and their class moogle also represents the class.

Eight's fighting style is also similar to that of a monk.

Final Fantasy Tactics[]

Monk is available as an off-shoot from a level 3 Knight. They gain access to numerous abilities that range from healing and reviving to damaging and debuffing enemies.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance[]

White Monk (MNK) is a job available to bangaa. White Monks prefer using their fists in combat and are one of two jobs that can ward off the undead for good, the other being the Archer. However, they are the only job that cannot equip headgear.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift[]

White Monk is a starting job class for the bangaa. They use knuckles for weapons and cannot wear caps or helmets. They have several healing abilities that can allow the unit to substitute for a White Mage.

Master Monk is an upgrade of the White Monk. Its main skillset is Martial Arts, and it can perform various up-front actions, such as bypassing an enemy's counterattack with Cross-counter while dealing massive damage and attacking twice in one turn with Pummel.

Final Fantasy Tactics S[]

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Crystal Defenders[]

While weaker than soldiers, White Monks deal blows which damage multiple foes, but cannot reach aerial targets.

Online description
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Final Fantasy Dimensions[]

The Monk serves as one of the first jobs available for players to use. Monks focus on dealing heavy damage to enemies, while also having access to multi-hitting techniques.

Final Fantasy Dimensions II[]

The Monk signet from Final Fantasy Dimensions II.

The Monk is an earth-elemental Eidolon for Maina. Its signet artwork depicts a female Monk inspired by Ursula from Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. The Monk teaches her the Raging Fist I - III abilities and can be obtained from the Babil Tower exchange shop.

In addition, Monk-themed costumes for Aemo, Jornee, and Maina can also be obtained from the exchange shop.

Dissidia Final Fantasy (2008)[]

In the Duel Colosseum, when selected, the Monk Job Card will cause the next battle cards that arrive to the selection area to be weaker.

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy[]

The Monk job card appears in the new Labyrinth mode, and as before reduces the next batch of battle cards to be at minimum strength.

The Monk is also a job that can be selected for a character in the player's Party for Quick Battle, Friend Cards, or wireless matches. It grants +50% physical damage, and unlocks the advanced jobs Berserker and Ninja.

Pictlogica Final Fantasy[]

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Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade[]

FFAB Monk Male.png

The Monk is a job available from the start. The preferred weapons for the job are fists and staves. The job specializes in strength abilities. The job is involved in the requirements to unlock the Paladin and Ninja jobs.

Final Fantasy Artniks[]

The Monk appears as a character card.

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Final Fantasy Artniks Dive[]

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Final Fantasy All the Bravest[]

These ascetic pugilists seek no more in life than to pound their enemies to bloody pulps.

Description

The Monk is a character available to the party, he uses the Iron Fist ability during battle. It unlocks at level 8.

Final Fantasy Record Keeper[]

Monk's sprite.

Monk appears as a Core character. It can be recruited as the First Time Reward for completing Istory Falls on Classic difficulty in FF V track of the Core Dungeons.

Final Fantasy Explorers[]

Monk is a job 1★ Tutorial Quest, "Ability Mutations Exam". A damager-type job, it has high HP and Strength, but low physical defense. It is suited for the fast-paced strength of fighting with knuckles.

Final Fantasy Explorers-Force[]

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Mobius Final Fantasy[]

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Final Fantasy Trading Card Game[]

Monk [5-099C] Chapter series card.

The Monk and other related jobs, White Monk, and Master Monk, appear in Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as Earth-elemental Backup and Forward cards.

Triple Triad[]

Final Fantasy NES

Monks from the series appear on Triple Triad cards in the version playable via Final Fantasy Portal App.

Allusions in series entries[]

Several titles have featured characters who have served as references or were inspired by the Monk job.

Final Fantasy IX[]

Amarant using the Chakra Flair ability on himself.

Amarant Coral is a combination of a monk and a ninja. His Flair skillset allows him to use special techniques at the cost of MP.

Final Fantasy XIII[]

Snow utilizing his fist when performing his unique skill, Sovereign Fist.

Snow Villiers fights bare-handed in the style of a monk and has high HP. He does not equip claws or knuckles; instead, he equips coats whose emblems augment his strength.

Related jobs[]

Fighter[]

Brandt as a Fighter.

The Fighter (武道家, Budouka?, lit. Martial Artist) is a crown from Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light. Like the Monk, it excels in bare-handed damage and holds the Chakra ability.

Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances[]

Trials of Mana[]

The Monk job class is the Light intermediate job class path of Kevin. Its focus is geared more towards technical versatility, including access to abilities such as Pressure Point, Whirlwind Kick, and Tornado Throw.

The Monk can progress either into the Light-Dark job class of the Warrior Monk, which specializes in maintaining the strategic advantage of the party, or the Light-Light Divine Fist, a very versatile class that can provide more direct means of support. In the 2020 remake, choosing the Monk will lock Kevin into the Beast King class, an exclusive Class 4 intended for post-game content.

Bravely series[]

Tiz and Agnès as Monks in Bravely Default.

The Monk is one of the basic jobs. It is obtained alongside the White Mage by defeating Barras Lehr and Holly Whyte.

The Monk specializes in fighting unarmed and with knuckle-type weapons, and all other aptitudes are medium to low. The Monk's HP and physical attack are its best stats, with abilities that can further increase HP and/or attack damage. The Monk's main skillset is Martial Arts.

Defunct Square Enix titles[]

The Monk card from Knights of the Crystals.

The Monk and White Monk were classes in the now defunct browser game, Knights of the Crystals, with both male and female versions appearing. The Monk also appeared as a job in Samurai Rising, being a job that specialized in short-range attacks.

In addition, the Monk from Final Fantasy XI appeared as a card in the browser game, Square Enix Legend World.

Gallery[]

Etymology and origin[]

A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decided to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

Monks being martial arts fighters in RPGs is largely inspired by the monks of the Chinese Buddhist Shaolin Monastery whose practice of martial arts with vows to Buddhism was said to have started with the famous ascetic Boddhidharma who included physical fitness and martial arts for health and safety of the monks upon witnessing their poor health. Alternately, inspiration may have come from the close ties of martial arts with religious teachings throughout history, such as Buddhism and Taoism, as their tenets of mercy and justified force, along with spiritual development and internal self discovery to apply into the everyday world, allowed for mental clarity for warriors to enter the battlefield without hesitation.

In martial arts, the black belt is a way to describe a graduate of a field where a practitioner's level is often marked by the color of the belt. The black belt is commonly the highest belt color used and denotes a degree of competence. It is often associated with a teaching grade though frequently not the highest grade or the "expert" of public perception.

Karate is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom. It developed from the indigenous Ryukyuan martial arts under the influence of Chinese Kung Fu, particularly Fujian White Crane.

Design and wardrobe traits of females wearing white boots or shoes in their outfits for Monk classes, from Reifa and Agnès Oblige, draws inspiration from the Capcom fighting video game Street Fighter series character Chun-Li, who is considered among the most famous of female characters within video games.

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