In its article, “The Art of Pokémon Battles”, the Pokémon League Weekly magazine defines a pokémon battle as a competition between two trainers, in which their pokémon wrestle each other in an attempt to assert dominance. The practice dates back to prehistoric times, when early hominids let loose their herds on each other to compete for land with other tribes. A pokémon’s nature is to defend its territory, and humans learned to control this instinct and use it to their benefit. To help hunt non-elemental pokémon, they used the help of elemental pokémon, such as the notorious Poison type, to immobilize their prey and quickly kill them. When the first settled civilizations appeared, and hominids utilized the concept of farming, they tamed pokémon and trained them to help plant, plow, and harvest. Later on, each city kept a herd of elemental pokémon, as well as a human army, in preparation for attacks. Groups of pokémon would be paired with a single trainer, whose command they were trained to obey without question. It is this rigid system of discipline, as well as selective breeding, that paved the way for pokémon domestication. Moving closer to modern times, when technology and science rose to prominence, pokémon battles became more of a sporting activity than an act of war. Pokémon Rights movements have hindered its growth, but with the help of recent inventions such as the pokéball and the Automatic Heat Therapy System, battling is on the way to becoming a more humane and efficient practice. Modern trainers can use it for anything from resolving minor conflicts to self-defense. Some have devoted their entire lives to mapping strategies and mechanics of battling, and it is thanks to them that battling enjoys such a worldwide success.
The magazine also lists six basic pointers trainers should consider when they are facing a battle:
1) Speak firmly and concisely, making eye contact with your pokémon.
2) If there are markings that define your battlefield, stand outside the white lines at all times. If there are none, maintain a distance of at least ten feet between you and the battlers. If battling indoors, make sure that there are no fragile or otherwise dangerous objects around you.
3) If battling at night, keep the space illuminated.
4) Trainers may not provide any physical assistance to their pokémon, aside from helping them up when they are seriously injured. Verbal assistance is encouraged.
5) When your pokémon exhibits a sudden weakness and collapses, keeping still for more than five seconds, it is considered fainted and unable to battle. Trainers in this situation should immediately call them back inside their pokéballs and, if applicable, send out their next pokémon.
6) The trainer who is the first to knock out all of their opponent’s pokémon, while having at least one able party member either on hand or on field, wins the battle. A tie is called when both trainers are battling with their last pokémon, and have both faint at the same time. In this case, the match has no winner. In an official Gym battle, the distribution of the badge will be at the leader’s own discretion.