Created By: Koveras on January 30, 2013 Last Edited By: Koveras on August 12, 2013
Troped

Settle It Without Weapons

Two fighters discard their weaponry to beat the crap out of each other with bare fists.

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Page Type:
Trope
Two badasses who have already been established as extremely proficient with their weapons agree to dump them and instead to settle their scores in straight-up hand-to-hand combat. This may be done either out of unwillingness to kill their opponent or because beating the snot out of each other with bare hands is just more satisfying. Or just because both sides run out of ammo. If one of them runs out of ammo or his weapon breaks, the other may similarly discard his to make the fight fair again (which goes to the Medieval chivalry tradition at The Tourneys).

In video games, it may result in a Fisticuffs Boss. May overlap with Combat Breakdown. Not to be confused with Throw-Away Guns, which is a form of Unorthodox Reload.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • At the end of Revy and Roberta's first confrontation in Black Lagoon, they throw away their weapons and settle it with hand-to-hand combat, completely ignoring the on-lookers and the two men trying to pry them apart.
  • Happens briefly in Naruto. Naruto and Gaara are exhausted after battling it out in the Chuunin Exams, and each of them only has the strength for one last punch, but they go for it, anyway. Only Naruto manages to still have the stamina to move afterwards.
  • In Crying Freeman, Yoh faces a Russian sambo wrestling master, who requests they drop their guns and fight bare-handed, which he agrees to.

Comic Books
  • In ElfQuest Hidden Years issue "9.5", Cutter and Rayek agree to a fight with only fists, no Elfin "magic" to be used during the fight (only after, to heal both combatants).
  • In Justice League International, the jerkass Green Lantern Guy Gardner takes off his ring to go mano a mano with Batman, who knocks Guy out with one punch. Guy is out cold on the floor for the next several issues.

Film
  • The first Predator movie ends with the title creature discarding its high-tech weaponry and challenging Dutch to hand-to-hand combat.
  • In Robot Jox, the American and Soviet pilot both get out of their battered machines after a long mechfight and continue their duel on foot amidst the rubble until Achilles convinces Alexander that the match doesn't have to end with a Jockey's death.
  • Towards the end of The Outsiders the Greasers and Socs have a rumble where they agree beforehand on no weaponry. One of the Greaser leaders beats up one of his own guys when the leader discovers that the guy brought a chain to use as a weapon.
  • West Side Story, the Sharks & Jets agree to a rumble without weapons, but Riff brings a switchblade anyway.
  • In Back to the Future III, when Marty is duelling Beauford Tannen, he drops his gun and asks if they can settle it like men. Beauford just shoots him, which Marty was counting on - he'd improvised a bulletproof vest out of an oven door.
  • The Matrix has the "both run out of bullets" version when Neo and Agent Smith are in the subway station. They charge at each other shooting and use up all of the rounds in their pistols, ending up with empty weapons pointed at each other's head. Smith throws away his gun and Neo follows suit. They then engage in a knockdown drag out fight. Of course, given that this is the Matrix, hand-to-hand combat is just as deadly as guns.
  • A "make the fight fair" version is subverted in Blazing Saddles. Sheriff Bart has tracked down the Big Bad Hedley Lamaar at the movie theater and is ready for the final gunfight.
Sheriff Bart: Freeze it! Okay, Lamarr, go for your gun.
Lamarr: Wait, wait, I'm unarmed!
Sheriff Bart: All right, we'll settle it like men. With our fists. [Tosses away his gun]
Lamarr: [pulls out a Derringer] Sorry, I just remembered. I am armed.
Sheriff Bart: [Does a diving roll to grab his gun and shoot Lamaar]
  • In Jack Reacher, Reacher sneaks up on The Dragon, disarms him and then decides to have a fist fight with him because he can.

Literature
  • In The Princess Bride, This is how Fezzik the giant and the Man in Black agree to fight.
Fezzik: We face each other as God intended. Sportsmanlike. No tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone.
Man in Black: You mean, you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try and kill each other like civilized people?

Live-Action TV
  • In Deadwood, Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen do this after Al insults Seth's lover. Al, of course, cheats later and pulls a knife. Note that at the beginning the two divest themselves not only of weapons, but Bullock also removes his sheriff's badge.

Video Games
  • The Final Battle in Assassin's Creed II consists of a part where Ezio and Rodrigo Borgia fight using their considerable arsenals (which include Pieces of Eden), and a part where the just go at each other with bare hands.
  • This is a common occurrence in the Metal Gear series. The first game has a fist fight between brothers on the top of a giant mech, and that fight is echoed in the close of Metal Gear Solid 4.
  • This is a very common occurrence in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Among the Nords, unarmed, magic-less fistfights are "social combat" meant to tell who is badass and who isn't. So your character will enter hand to hand duels not once.

Web Video

Western Animation
  • Subverted in a "Goodfeathers" segment of Animaniacs parodying West Side Story. The two sides agree to "no weapons," then immediately after the Goodfeathers leave: "Get the weapons."
  • In Family Guy, Stewie and his equally cunning and megalomaniac half-brother (a result of Peter Griffin donating sperm) dispense with high-tech weaponry and end up having a slap-fight, then (as two year olds will do) they curl up for a nap...

Will go under This Index Is Ready To Rumble.
Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • January 30, 2013
    McKathlin
    • In The Princess Bride, This is how Fezzik the giant and the Man in Black agree to fight.
      Fezzik: We face each other as God intended. Sportsmanlike. No tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone.
      Man in Black: You mean, you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try and kill each other like civilized people?
  • January 30, 2013
    MokonaZero
    To an extent in Naruto Naruto and Garra get exhausted after battling it out after the Chuunin Exams and each of them only has the strength for one last punch. Naturally, they punch each other. Only Naruto manages to still have the stamina to move afterwards.
  • January 30, 2013
    Chernoskill
    • In Robot Jox, the American and Soviet pilot both get out of their battered machines after a long mechfight and continue their duel on foot amidst the rubble until Achilles convices Alexander that the match doesn't have to end with a Jockey's death.
  • January 30, 2013
    DRCEQ
    From what I'm seeing, This is basically Good Old Fisticuffs combined with Lets Fight Like Gentlemen.
  • January 30, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • Towards the end of The Outsiders the Greasers and Socs have a rumble where they agree beforehand on no weaponry. One of the Greaser leaders beats up one of his own guys when the leader discovers that the guy brought a chain to use as a weapon.
    • West Side Story, the Sharks & Jets agree to a rumble without weapons, but Riff brings a switchblade anyway.
    • Subverted in a "Goodfeathers" segment of Animaniacs parodying West Side Story. The two sides agree to "no weapons," then immediately after the Goodfeathers leave: "Get the weapons."
  • January 31, 2013
    Koveras
    ^^ Yes, essentially a X Meets Y-type subtrope of both.
  • January 31, 2013
    DRCEQ
    Hmm. Well, with enough examples, I see no reason to motion to discard for being too similar to either. Definitely some good potential here.
  • January 31, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Sorry for going all Grammar Nazi here but the Naruto example should say "Gaara", not "Garra".
  • January 31, 2013
    elwoz
    Another thing that happens a lot is when they start fighting with weapons, then one fighter's weapon breaks or runs out of ammo or similar, so the other fighter discards his own weapon because it would be unfair to continue using it. This goes at least as far back as Chivalric Romance, because it was a rule of The Tourney (specifically, in some jousting formats, when one opponent is unhorsed, the other must also dismount, and they continue fighting with swords) so of course the Knight In Shining Armor would always do that.
  • January 31, 2013
    Koveras
    ^^ Fixed.
  • January 31, 2013
    Stratadrake
    The Princess Bride would make an excellent page quote.
  • January 31, 2013
    robinjohnson
    • In Back to the Future III, when Marty is duelling Beauford Tannen, he drops his gun and asks if they can settle it like men. Beauford just shoots him, which Marty was counting on - he'd improvised a bulletproof vest out of an oven door.

    edit: that's "oven door" not "over door" - I took the liberty of editing it in the main trope description too.
  • January 31, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ OK.
  • February 1, 2013
    AgProv
    Western Animation: in Family Guy, Stewie and his equally cunning and megalomaniac half-brother (a result of Peter Griffin donating sperm) dispense with high-tech weaponry and end up having a slap-fight, then as two year olds will do they curl up for a nap...
  • February 1, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • The Matrix has the "both run out of bullets" version when Neo and Agent Smith are in the subway station. They charge at each other shooting and use up all of the rounds in their pistols, ending up with empty weapons pointed at each other's head. Smith throws away his gun and Neo follows suit. They then engage in a knockdown drag out fight.
    Agent Smith: You're empty.
    Neo: So are you.
    • A "make the fight fair" version is subverted in Blazing Saddles. Sheriff Bart has tracked down the Big Bad Hedley Lamaar at the movie theater and is ready for the final gunfight.
    Sheriff Bart: Freeze it! Okay, Lamarr, go for your gun.
    Lamarr: Wait, wait, I'm unarmed!
    Sheriff Bart: All right, we'll settle it like men. With our fists. [Tosses away his gun]
    Lamarr: [pulls out a Derringer] Sorry, I just remembered. I am armed.
    Sheriff Bart: [Does a diving roll to grab his gun and shoot Lamaar]
  • February 2, 2013
    blackfedora81
    Suggested trope rename: Barefisted Brawl
  • February 2, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ That would just invite misuse to include any instance of hand-to-hand combat in stories. This is specifically for cases when combatants discard weapons before going after each other with bare hands.
  • February 5, 2013
    randomsurfer
    You have two Film sections. (And The Outsiders goes under Literature, at least IMNSHO. I don't think that even comes up in The Movie.)
  • February 5, 2013
    1810072342
    Just saying, that quote is already at the top of the page for Lets Fight Like Gentlemen .
  • May 6, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • May 6, 2013
    StarSword
    May overlap with Combat Breakdown.
  • May 6, 2013
    DracMonster
    • In Crying Freeman, Yoh faces a Russian sambo wrestling master, who requests they drop their guns and fight bare-handed, which he agrees to.
  • May 6, 2013
    Jallen
    In Jack Reacher Reacher sneaks up on The Dragon, disarms him and then decides to have a fist fight with him because he can.
  • May 6, 2013
    ohnoesazombie
    This is a common occurrence in Metal Gear Solid. The first game has a fist fight between brothers on the top of a giant mech, and that fight is echoed in the close of Metal Gear Solid 4.
  • May 7, 2013
    Melkior
    Comics:
    • In ElfQuest Hidden Years issue "9.5", Cutter and Rayek agree to a fight with only fists, no Elfin "magic" to be used during the fight (only after, to heal both combatants).
  • May 7, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In Justice League International Jerkass Green Lantern Guy Gardner takes off his ring to go mano a mano with Batman, who knocks Guy out with one punch. Guy is out cold on the floor for the next several issues.
  • May 8, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    In Deadwood Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen do this after Al insults Seth's lover. Al, of course, cheats later and pulls a knife. Note that at the beginning the two divest themselves not only of weapons, but Bullock also removes his sheriff's badge.

    I've seen this trope used both in cases where the fighters don't wish to kill each other (and easily could do so if they used weapons) and also sometimes where they seemed to want the pain of being beaten, perhaps in penance. Related to Dueling and may overlap, although it's more lower class.
  • May 14, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • May 15, 2013
    aurora369
    This is a very common occurence in Skyrim. Among the Nords, unarmed, magic-less fistfights are "social combat" meant to tell who is badass and who isn't. So your character will enter hand to hand duels not once.
  • May 20, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • May 20, 2013
    jatay3
    An incident like that occured during the American Civil War. See the real life examples for Trash Talk.
  • May 20, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ I'm afraid I cannot put that in the example list. :(
  • June 30, 2013
    MrInitialMan
    I think we have enough examples. Just Launch It Already.
  • June 30, 2013
    Koveras
    I just need a couple more hats for launch. :)
  • August 12, 2013
    MiinU
    suggest name change: So it's Come to Fists.
  • August 12, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ That sounds even more like a dialogue line than my original proposition...

    EDIT: Just need one last hat now.
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