Created By: TompaDompa on September 2, 2012 Last Edited By: TompaDompa on December 10, 2012
Nuked

Throat Punch Silencing

One character punches another in the throat in order to silence them.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
In order to silence someone, a Combat Pragmatist may strike against the throat, either aiming for the Adam's apple or the trachea (windpipe). This is usually very effective. It may even kill the one being hit.

Real Life, this can be fatal, and it's very painful and uncomfortable even when it's not fatal.

See also: Choke Holds.

Examples:

Films -- Live Action
  • In Serenity, River punches Simon in the throat to prevent him from saying the implanted trigger phrase that makes her fall asleep.

Literature
  • In one of the Vampire: The Masquerade books, a character in a short interlude does this to the prince. It can't kill him, since he is a vampire, but it does prevent him from using his Compelling Voice.

Live Action Television

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 65
  • September 2, 2012
    TheArbitrageur
    Does it have to be just punches, or is it strikes in general?

    If the latter stands, then the Matrix has one during the subway fight between Neo and Agent Smith, and I'm pretty sure the latest Mortal Kombat has a few X-ray moves that feature this as well.
  • September 2, 2012
    sigh824
  • September 2, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    In The Matrix, one of Neo's punches is blocked by Morpheus Agent Smith (oops :), only for Neo to extend his fingers into a throat jab.
  • September 2, 2012
    TompaDompa
    Tropes Are Flexible, so I guess all blunt force trauma would count.
  • September 2, 2012
    IndirectActiveTransport
    Uh, is this really a story telling tool? I guess we have Groin Attack but are we going to have leg attack, kidney attack, knee capping, calfing, arm attack and chest attack too?
  • September 3, 2012
    TompaDompa
    I thought of it as analogous to Choke Holds or Eye Poke rather than to Groin Attack, to be honest.

    And yes, I think it is a storytelling tool.
  • September 3, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In the final episode of Life Charlie Crews kills Big Bad Roman by striking him in the throat while surrounded by Roman's bodyguards. As Roman slowly chokes to death Crews talks the bodyguards into letting him escape. Dialog also implies that Crews did this more than once while he was in prison.
  • September 4, 2012
    Arivne
    Alice may deliberately punch Bob in the throat to keep him from making a noise - such as calling for help or reinforcements.
  • September 4, 2012
    surgoshan
    • How I Met Your Mother, after Robin learns that Ted went on a date with her excessively cute co-worker. "Later today, a New York architect gets punched in the throat." Gilligan Cut to immediately after that.
  • September 4, 2012
    Quatic
    In the tv movie of the life of Dr. Sam Sheppard, who was acquitted of murdering his wife after spending a decade in prison, Sheppard does this to a bigshot prisoner -- and then saves the bigshost's life by reopening his crushed larynx -- to establish that he's not to be fucked with.
  • September 4, 2012
    TompaDompa
    Would that be My Father's Shadow: The Sam Sheppard Story (1998), Guilty or Innocent: The Sam Sheppard Murder Case (1975), or some other version?
  • September 4, 2012
    SharleeD
    Go For The Throat would be a better title, IMO, if it's not exclusive to punching.
  • September 4, 2012
    Desertopa
    In Danny The Dog, Danny wins his first pit-fight by walking up and punching his opponent repeatedly in the throat, implicitly killing him.
  • September 4, 2012
    Quatic
    @Tompa Dompa -- I have no recollection which one, just that it was Sam Sheppard throat-punching a dude in prison.
  • September 4, 2012
    TompaDompa
    @ SharleeD, while I agree that it may need a better title, it doesn't include (for instance) stabbing someone in the throat, as Go For The Throat would seem to imply.
  • September 5, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    I am not sure its a trope but if it gets a green light...
    • In one Vampire The Masquerade books, a character in a short interlude does this to the prince. It can't kill him, since he is a vampire, but it prevents him from using his Compelling Voice .
  • September 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    The Clones Of Bruce Lee had a woman get karate chopped in the throat, which The Spoony Experiment had it's on Memetic Mutation jokes about.
  • September 7, 2012
    TonyG
    In Looney Tunes Back In Action Dusty Tails karate chops Daffy Duck on the throat.
  • September 8, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Picture suggestion:

    Spoony is not pleased with Yuna's singing.

  • September 9, 2012
    TompaDompa
    I'm not sure this should even have a page image. What do the rest of you think?
  • September 9, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Most pages that shouldn't have an image are usually when a picture would be something too lewd (why Fetish and Bound And Gagged no longer have pictures), or is suffering from Edit Wars. This isn't the most pleasant trope, but it's not over the line, and that other aspect can't be predicted (unfortunately).
  • September 13, 2012
    SonofRojBlake
    In Broken Arrow John Travolta smacks one of his cohorts in the throat with a torch, IIRC. It's fatal.
  • September 13, 2012
    KarjamP
    ^^ And if the nature of the trope would make pictures that aren't Just A Face And A Caption difficult to find and one isn't found yet.
  • September 13, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That too. Fortunately, this isn't one of those.
  • September 13, 2012
    nitrokitty
    In Serenity, River punches Simon in the throat to prevent him from saying the implanted trigger phrase that makes her fall asleep.
  • September 13, 2012
    surgoshan
    • In Sluggy Freelance, Torg at one point confuses Riff's iPodling for a multivitamin and for a few days, the only way to change the song playing on the podling is to punch Torg in the throat.
  • September 16, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    In Batman comics, Cassandra Cain's childhood flashback included that in her first kill. Still a little girl, she was brought before a mafia boss, and by the time her father got there and shot the bodyguards, she had already punched the man... and ripped out his larynx with her bare hand.
  • September 22, 2012
    dvorak
    In Dredd, Judge Dredd does this to a corrupt Judge who is trying to kill him.
  • September 22, 2012
    Drellade
    In How It Should Have Ended version of the second "Sherlock Holmes" film, Holmes punches Moriarty repetedly while exclaiming 'throat punch!'
  • September 28, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    So does anyone else have a comment about my picture suggestion above, or have another suggestion?
  • September 29, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    You could try to cut something out of this one : [1]
  • September 29, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    grr, I wanted a link, not a picture...
  • September 29, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Put four dashes underneath the picture text.
  • September 29, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    To make it a link, surround the URL with double square brackets, like this: [[URL]]
  • September 29, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    And putting a space and text right after the link means you can put a message in the link instead of just a number that the system auto fills in.
  • September 30, 2012
    AFP
    I think a trope for throat attacks in general could work.

    • Star Trek: Kirk has to prove that Spock is emotionally compromised, and so he manages to drive the Vulcan into a blind rage by talking trash about his recently deceased mother. Spock replies by grabbing Kirk by the throat and slamming him down onto a console.
  • September 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That's strangulation, which is distinct from this, despite going for the same area.
  • September 30, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    One episode of the show Malcolm in the Middle had Cynthia, a friend of Malcolm who supposedly knew Israeli Defense Force hand-to-hand fighting techniques, give Reese a quick chop to the throat that put him on the ground, in order to get him to stop hitting on her. IIRC.
  • October 3, 2012
    TBeholder
    >One character punches another in the throat.

    Then one character sits on a chair.
  • October 4, 2012
    TompaDompa
    ^ I'm afraid you lost me.
  • October 4, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Perhaps it's trying to say this is People Sit On Chairs. If that is the case, that's wrong, as getting hit there has a different effect than getting hit in the gut or groin.
  • October 4, 2012
    InvaderMe
    Liam Neeson in Taken is fond of these.
  • October 4, 2012
    FantasyLiver
    Bane does this several times in the Dark Knight Rises
  • October 6, 2012
    Fighteer
    <Moderator Warning>: Documenting every time someone hits someone in a particular spot is People Sit On Chairs. To be tropeworthy, something must have narrative significance. As written, this is not a trope and will be discarded if its problems are not corrected.
  • October 6, 2012
    TompaDompa
    Okay, I changed the description and removed (or rewrote) some examples. Does that suffice, or will more work be needed?
  • October 6, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ In that case, Spoony commenting on getting hit there would count, as he basically went "Holy shit!" seeing it.
  • October 6, 2012
    TompaDompa
    That's an Audience Reaction though, isn't it?
  • October 6, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ In Universe. Being a troper tale would make it not a valid example, but it was in a show.
  • October 8, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Moderator Note>

    This still does not do enough to emphasize what the trope is here and instead appears to still just be a list of people being punched in the throat. None of the examples are linked by any commonality other than throat punching. If this is not remedied shortly, this trope shall be discarded.
  • October 9, 2012
    Arivne
    How about limiting it to situations where someone is punched in the throat to keep them from calling out or talking? Call it Throat Punch Silencing.

    The Vampire The Masquerade book example and the first Serenity example would fit.

    The narrative meaning would be that the puncher doesn't want the punchee to sound the alarm, call for help, blurt out secret information, activate a voice-activated device and so on.
  • October 9, 2012
    DracMonster
    ^That might work

    • World Of Warcraft's monk class has Spear Hand Strike, which punches to the throat to silence spellcasting.
  • October 9, 2012
    TompaDompa
    There, I changed it.

    What makes Groin Attack, Eye Poke, Neck Snap and Choke Holds tropes, if punching someone in the throat is not?

    They're all non-interchangeable disabling attacks.

    It's not The Same But More Specific, as it is quite distinct from all tropes on the Trying To Catch Me Fighting Dirty index, where this would definitely go.

    It's not People Sit On Chairs, since it doesn't happen normally or incidentally.
    Imagine a scene where two characters are fencing. Having one of them punch the other in a throat changes the meaning of the scene. Having one of the characters vomit does, too. Having one of the characters sit on a chair does not. Neither does having one of the characters cough.

    Imagine a scene where a couple is kissing. Again, having one of them punch the other in a throat changes the meaning of the scene. Having one of the characters vomit does, too. Having one of the characters sit on a chair does not. Neither does having one of the characters cough.

    Imagine a scene where a group of characters are discussing the weather. Having one of them punch another in a throat changes the meaning of the scene. Having one of the characters vomit does, too. Having one of the characters sit on a chair does not. Neither does having one of the characters cough.

    Imagine a scene where one character is buying a car from another character. Having one of them punch the other in a throat changes the meaning of the scene. Having one of the characters Vomit does, too. Having one of the characters sit on a chair does not. Neither does having one of the characters cough.
    What does a throat punch convey? Quite a lot, actually.
    • The characters are not on good terms with each other.
    • The character using it is a Combat Pragmatist.
    • The character using it is willing to use potentially lethal force.
    • The fight is invariably over.

    Moreover, your claim that the examples were not "linked by any commonality other than throat punching" is simply counterfactual. Every single example (after the first batch was removed) included the character getting punched being disabled.

    You could, however, make the exact same argument for Groin Attack. There, the examples are just linked by groin attacking. Not even the usual pained reaction links them together, as evidenced by the trope Balls Of Steel.
  • October 16, 2012
    Chernoskill
    An example still has to include the motivation of the throat-puncher to _silence_ his target, not just "disable" them. Thus, the target has to have been speaking or was in the process of saying something before getting punched.
  • October 23, 2012
    TompaDompa
    Not necessarily; it could be done preemptively against someone with a Compelling Voice (or something similar).
  • October 24, 2012
    atheist723
    Huntress does this to Black Canary in Justice League (animation) to prevent her from using her canary cry.
  • October 24, 2012
    Chernoskill
    On a related note, in various works (primarily set in one of the AD&D settings), magic users who rely on spoken... spells will be silenced by a magic spell or just a piece of cloth in their mouth if they are captured. Happens in at least one Dragonlance novel.

    Just thought I'd mention it. Move along!
  • October 24, 2012
    FastEddie
    I think Silencing Blow covers the narrative intent. You can silence someone by knocking them out with other blows. Silencing Blow releases this from being too narrow.
  • October 24, 2012
    DracMonster
    Or Silencing Strike. Alliteration FTW! Also, "blow" makes it sounds like the Dope Slap version of Be Quiet Nudge, "strike" makes it more clear its "combative".
  • October 24, 2012
    LOAD
    ^ Not always.
  • October 24, 2012
    shimaspawn
    I'm in favour of making this about silencing attacks in general rather than trying to make this a very narrow combo. It puts the focus on the narrative purpose rather than a specific movement. That lowers misuse chance.
  • October 24, 2012
    TompaDompa
    While there are indeed other ways of silencing people, knocking someone out entirely has a whole another narrative meaning. Surely, drugging someone is (very) far removed from duct taping their mouth?
  • October 24, 2012
    shimaspawn
    I think the purpose has to be specifically silencing them so that they can't make noise.
  • October 27, 2012
    TompaDompa
    As opposed to silencing them so they can't cast spells/hypnotize you/whatever?
  • October 27, 2012
    shimaspawn
    No, that's good too. The purpose there is still stopping them from making noise. The noises in those cases just have other powers as well.
  • December 10, 2012
    Ironeye
    I'm in favor of switching to some variant on Silencing Strike--a strike designed to stop someone from speaking or otherwise using powers based on voice or noise.

    The human body has all sorts of vulnerable places, and a given kung fu movie will probably have blows towards most of them with no significance with regards to which ones are targeted one--it's just which targets worked best with the fight choreography at that instant. In Tompa Dompa's hypothetical examples above, it's the targeting of the throat that adds significance, it's the act of punching.

    Now, yes, going for the throat in a fight can show that someone is a Combat Pragmatist...as does targeting most of the aforementioned vulnerable place. Targeting the throat isn't special in that regard.

    And, finally, Groin Attack is not an example of a trope where targeting a spot has no meaning. The trope is actually about the reaction of doubling over in pain as an immediate result of a groin attack. It could use an example clean-up, and probably a more specific name, too.
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