Created By: KZN02 on August 21, 2013 Last Edited By: KZN02 on September 14, 2013
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Primal Chest Pound

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One way of demonstrating a being's wildness is for them to beat their chest while yelling. This might be combined with a Mighty Roar.

This is most often done by gorillas (killer or otherwise). When a character that is not a gorilla does it, it is usually either to show that he feels as strong and mighty as a gorilla, or that he is as brutish and uncultured as an ape.

Two Stock Shout Outs often include chest pounding. One is a literal Shout Out to Tarzan, where the character lets out the ape-man's Signature Roar while beating his chest; the other "King Kong" Climb, where the creature on top of the building pounds his chest to recreate the iconic scene from King Kong.

In reality, Gorillas may pound their chest for different purposes: as a display of dominance, as a release of stress, to warn neighbouring gorilla groups about their presence, and most notably, it is one of the nine phases of the ritualized fight between Silverbacks. Juvenile gorillas also beat their chest playfully. Also, it is usually inaccurately portrayed in media: real gorillas more often do it with open or cupped hands rather than clenched fists.

Examples:

Comic Books
  • One Spirou and Fantasio story had the marsupilami encounter a gorilla, who proceeds to do the typical chest-beating and tree-ripping intimidation display. Subverted in that the gorilla ends up too exhausted to fight back.

Film
  • Tarzan is sometimes shown doing this while performing the "Tarzan Yell", as the title character does in Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), as seen here.
  • King Kong, being a giant gorilla, does this from time to time, and often, during a "King Kong" Climb, so does the creature that replaces Kong.
  • A monkey (named Little Monkey) does it in George of the Jungle. See the scene here.
  • The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: The eponymous beast does this in the forest—while howling like a wolf—which incites all the normal garden bunnies to imitate him.
  • Dian Fossey does this in Gorillas in the Mist when she imitates the gorillas' behaviour to blend in with the group. The scene is a bit of a Fridge Logic, considering that chest-beating often means a display of dominance or a challenge to fight - probably not the best idea when you are trying to earn the trust of a 300-pound silverback.

Live-Action TV

Newspaper Comics

Video Games
  • Donkey Kong: Done by the eponymous character, such as in his Idle Animation in Donkey Kong Country.
  • Variation: The Pokémon move Belly Drum causes the user to damage itself but greatly increases attack.
  • The first gorilla enemies in Golden Sun are called chestbeaters for this reason.
  • The roar animation of the male draenei in World of Warcraft is like this.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Mutons and related units (Berserkers and Elites) do this whenever they take damage in an attempt to intimidate the attackers (which can actually induce panic in them). As explained much later by the Big Bad, the "Muton" species is considered savages by their masters, who gave them advanced weaponry and armor solely to serve as Cannon Fodder.
  • Barret Wallace of Final Fantasy VII does this when he's worked up.
  • The Fomoire folk in Folklore, found in Hellrealm can often be seen doing this in the midst of battle.

Western Animation
  • Tom and Jerry both do it when caught up in the throes of their latest crush. Usually a variation of Post-Kiss Catatonia. A kiss makes them feel mighty.
  • Looney Tunes: in Bugs Bunny short "Rebel Rabbit", after the U.S. government puts a bounty of one million dollars on him, Bugs is overjoyed. He calls himself "Bugs Bunny, king of the beasts" and gives out a Tarzan yell while pounding his chest.
  • The gorilla in Spongebob Squarepants episode "I Had an Accident" likes to do this in-between his beatings of Sandy and Patrick.

Rolling Updates

Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • August 22, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Tarzan is sometimes shown doing this while performing the "Tarzan Yell", as the title character does in Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), as seen here.

    Western Animation
    • Bugs Bunny short "Rebel Rabbit". After the U.S. government puts a bounty of one million dollars on him, Bugs is overjoyed. He calls himself "Bugs Bunny, king of the beasts" and gives out a Tarzan yell while pounding his chest.
  • August 22, 2013
    Snicka
    King Kong, being a giant gorilla, does this from time to time, and often, during a King Kong Climb, so does the creature that replaces Kong.
  • August 22, 2013
    Snicka
    The roar animation of the male draenei in World Of Warcraft is like this.
  • August 25, 2013
    DAN004
    • The gorilla in Spongebob Squarepants episode "I Had an Accident" likes to do this in-between his beatings of Sandy and Patrick.
  • August 25, 2013
    Chabal2
    • One of DK's taunts in Super Smash Bros Brawl as well.
    • One Spirou And Fantasio story had the marsupilami encounter a gorilla, who proceeds to do the typical chest-beating and tree-ripping intimidation display. Subverted in that the gorilla ends up too exhausted to fight back.
    • Variation: The Pokemon move Belly Drum causes the user to damage itself but greatly increases attack.
    • The first gorilla enemies in Golden Sun are called chestbeaters for this reason.
  • August 25, 2013
    Skylite
  • August 26, 2013
    Snicka
    Real Life: Gorillas may pound their chest for different purposes: as a display of dominance, as a release of stress, to warn neighbouring gorilla groups about their presence, and most notably, it is one of the nine phases of the ritualized fight between Silverbacks. Juvenile gorillas also beat their chest playfully. Also, it is usually inaccurately portrayed in media: real gorillas more often do it with open or cupped hands rather than clenched fists.
  • August 26, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ That fits more in the description section than the examples. :P
  • August 26, 2013
    Snicka
    ^I agree. However, the description is pretty short now, so it may be expanded with the above.

    Also, an example for the Comic Strip section:
  • August 26, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The Jack Benny Program (the TV version): Benny does a very wimpy, pathetic version in a sketch where he plays Tarzan. Jane (played by Guest Star Carol Burnett) fares much better minus the chest pound - her doing the Tarzan yell later became a Running Gag during the audience Q&A segment of The Carol Burnett Show.
  • August 26, 2013
    Snicka
    A monkey (named Little Monkey) does it in George Of The Jungle. See the scene here.
  • August 28, 2013
    Snicka
    Spirou And Fantasio is, apparently, a comic book rather than a video game.
  • August 29, 2013
    Snicka
    This might be combined with a Mighty Roar.
  • September 2, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    since there is already Primal Stance. why not call this Primal Chest Pound? the former usually comes with the latter eitherway.
  • September 4, 2013
    Snicka
    There are three main reasons why a character in fiction does this:

    1. The character is a gorilla.

    2. A Shout Out (no pun intended) to Tarzan and his yell.

    3. A Shout Out to King Kong (especially King Kong Climb).
  • September 7, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ A fourth reason might be to show that the character is as brutish and uncultured as an ape.
  • September 8, 2013
    Koveras
    • In XCOM Enemy Unknown, Mutons and related units (Berserkers and Elites) do this whenever they take damage in an attempt to intimidate the attackers (which can actually induce panic in them). As explained much later by the Big Bad, the "Muton" species is considered savages by their masters, who gave them advanced weaponry and armor solely to serve as Cannon Fodder.
  • September 8, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    @snicka -- huh?

    1. isn't that People Sit On Chairs?

    2. eh, it's more likely to show the fourth reason mentioned by Paradisesnake than be a shout out to Tarzan. the usual shout out to Tarzan would be Vine Swing accompanied by his iconic call and the occasional "Me bob, You Alice" conversation with the chest touching.

    3... then a character roaring a lot would be a shoutout to godzilla? King Kong Climb is unique to him. chest pounding is not.
  • September 9, 2013
    Snicka
    ^ I was too laconic, and a bit exaggerating by calling them "main reasons". Let me rephrase it to be clear what I meant.

    "This is most often done by gorillas (killer or otherwise). When a character that is not a gorilla does it, it is usually either to show that he feels as strong and mighty as a gorilla, or that he is as brutish and uncultured as an ape.

    Two Stock Shout Outs often include chest pounding. One is a literal Shout Out to Tarzan, where the character lets out the ape-man's Signature Roar while beating his chest; the other King Kong Climb, where the creature on top of the building pounds his chest to recreate the iconic scene from King Kong."

    Is it better this way?
  • September 9, 2013
    eowynjedi
    Video Games:

    Film:
    • The Curse Of The Were Rabbit: The eponymous beast does this in the forest--while howling like a wolf--which incites all the normal garden bunnies to imitate him.
  • September 9, 2013
    Snicka
    ^^^ By the way, on an unrelated note: isn't Vine Swing a trope yet? Somebody should create that YKTTW...
  • September 9, 2013
    Snicka
    Film:
    • Dian Fossey does this in Gorillas In The Mist when she imitates the gorillas' behaviour to blend in with the group. The scene is a bit of a Fridge Logic, considering that chest-beating often means a display of dominance or a challenge to fight - probably not the best idea when you are trying to earn the trust of a 300-pound silverback.
  • September 13, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    have a hat. this one's good to go I think.
  • September 13, 2013
    Koveras
  • September 13, 2013
    Alucard
    The Fomoire folk in Folklore, found in Hellrealm can often be seen doing this in the midst of battle.

    Maybe it should be mentioned that most Smash Mooks will tend towards this trope.
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