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In Emerald.

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With the exception of the first gym, yes you can completely skip Brawly and beat the other gym leaders first, then come back to get his badge so you can get to the E4. You can also skip Winona in the same way, in case you have trouble with her gym.

Source: I've done it, and here.

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dayum really? Hidden
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You must defeat Brawly in order to battle Norman (yes, he counts to make sure you have four badges), and you must defeat Norman in order to get to the last three gyms and Ever Grande City.
tldr: No.
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