One of the most beloved characters in all of the Naruto Universe is Rock Lee. With a haircut that seems to be inspired by the Beatles, and a bright green outfit so tight and comical that he looks more like a gym instructor than a ninja.
At first glance it’s hard to imagine how he would become so loved by the fanbase.
Through courageous actions, and some of the most impressive displays of will in the early story of Naruto, Rock Lee cements himself as an important character that embodies the ‘will of fire’ – a central theme of Naruto.
But there’s more to his character than just this! Rock Lee is courageous despite his lack of power. Unlike almost all of the other ninjas in Naruto, Rock Lee has absolutely no ability in either Ninjutsu or Genjutsu.
That means no flashy magic, no over-powered Jutsu to throw around in battles, no inherited powers like the Uchiha Clan’s infamous Sharingan.
All Rock Lee has is Taijutsu – hand-to-hand combat – and a willingness to fight until his body gives out.
But why is it that Rock Lee can only use Taijutsu? After all, magical powers are one of the main selling points of the Naruto franchise – the idea of Ninjas that can also do magic.
If you’re wondering why Rock Lee has no innate abilities that allow him to use Jutsu, then this article is for you!
We’ll take you through some of his story, how the events of his past made him become the Taijutsu specialist he is in the present day of Naruto.
Rock Lee’s History
Rock Lee is one of the most famous Ninjas in the Hidden Leaf Village. He is a member of Team Guy, which is in the year above Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura.
Rock Lee is typical in more or less every way, other than that he has no skills in Ninjutsu or Genjutsu. Despite this, Rock Lee was determined from a young age to forge a name for himself.
To understand why Rock Lee doesn’t have any innate abilities in Ninjutsu or Genjutsu, first, we need to understand a little more about the existence of chakra in Naruto.
Chakra is basically magic – a source of power or energy that flows through people. When honed and trained, Ninja are able to unleash this power and manifest it in thousands of different forms that are called Jutsu.
Some family lines, such as the Uchiha Clan, have such innate chakra and control, that they are able to manifest it into devastating abilities. But even though chakra is innate within all humans, that’s not to say that all can become a ninja.
There are some who are far removed from the natural prowess of the Uchiha or Hyuga – some very regular individuals who have no control of their chakra.
This is Rock Lee. It’s not that Rock Lee doesn’t have chakra within him – simply he has no skill in harnessing it and using it to form Jutsu.
Despite this, Rock Lee had an intense desire to become a Ninja, leading to much turmoil in his early life as he was unable to keep up with his classmates.
After enrolling at the academy, Rock Lee soon came into contact with a teacher known as Might Guy. Feeling sorry for him and seeing something in his tenacity, Might Guy decided to teach Rock Lee.
When it became clear that the boy had no aptitude for Genjutsu or Ninjutsu, he decided to morph Lee into a great Taijutsu specialist.
We are introduced to Rock Lee after this intense training, and in his first appearance, he is able to easily defeat Sasuke and Naruto in casual sparring.
His Taijutsu is extremely impressive and allows him to be faster, stronger, and more skilled than any of his peers in hand-to-hand combat.
But that’s not all that Taijutsu allows Lee to unlock in power – and soon Might Guy teaches him more dangerous and impressive techniques.
Rock Lee’s Abilities
First off, it’s important to understand the level of Rock Lee’s physical prowess. Not only can he move at speeds that verge on teleportation, but he also has a complete understanding of all physical kinds of fighting.
This makes him easily defeat his peers when fighting hand to hand, without Jutsu. It also makes him fast enough to avoid a lot of powerful Jutsu – for example in his fight with Gaara of the Desert during the Chunin Exam Arc.
Now that we have a base understanding of Rock Lee’s power, let’s take a look at what makes Lee even more powerful.
The eight gates are a technique in which the user unleashes the latent chakra power within their bodies to gain temporary massive gains to strength and speed.
Each gate that is opened makes the user more powerful and comes with a price. By the time Rock Lee was thirteen years old, Might Guy had taught him to open five of the eight gates available to ninja.
Opening the gates comes at a terrible price, however. Any ninja who opens the eighth gate – the gate of death – will become god-like in their powers, but at the cost of their own life.
Being able to open the eight gates, plus his innate physical prowess makes Rock Lee extremely powerful when he needs to be – even if this power does come with great danger.
We hope that this article has allowed you to understand why Rock Lee is only able to use Taijutsu. One of the great things about Naruto as a story is its insistence that the underdog can win.
Rock Lee is one of these classic underdog characters – a magic-less ninja in a world where all ninja are able to use magic.
With hard work and determination, Rock Lee transforms himself from helpless to powerful. It’s because of this that he is so beloved by fans.
Well, also because of his goofy outfit and overly-earnest way of speaking. Rock Lee’s character shows that you can achieve whatever you want in life, providing you put the correct effort in!