Indices: Combat Tropes, Injury Tropes. The Combat Pragmatist uses any tools at his disposal. This means going after any weak points. Everyone has a groin, a weak spot built in. Some people get new ones. It's like following fashion trends! This years hats have narrower brims and are more tapered on the crown, and that asshole over there is holding his arm funny so if you punch him in the shoulder you'll probably make him scream like a tiny child. It's not just the Pragmatist who does this, however. Sometimes it's more a move of desperation by someone who prefers to fight fair, but this is the only way out of a predicament. In any event, you can usually expect this to come up precisely once in a fight. After all, doing the same thing over and over is boring, no matter how effective it might be. You can also expect this to show up during Cold-Blooded Torture. Why make a new wound when you can take advantage of one that already exists? Bonus points in that it lets the victim (and audience) cringe in anticipation as your weapon of choice inches closer to a spot that already hurts like the dickens. In video games, this is usually the implied in-universe justification for Injured Vulnerability gameplay mechanics. Related tropes: Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty, Combat Pragmatist, Attack Its Weak Point, Untouchable Until Tagged, Flaw Exploitation.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- One Piece: In the earlier chapters, Zoro is fighting Cabaji of Buggy Pirates, where the latter always aims at the wound on the stomach that Buggy inflicted earlier on Zoro. Zoro, getting pissed off, decides to cut the wound deeper just to prove that he'll win even with that big wound - and he does.
- Subverted in Samurai Deeper Kyo: the one-eyed Bontenmaru claims that so many people have tried to attack his eyepatch that he might actually be better at parrying from that side.
- In Rurouni Kenshin Saitou attacks Sanosuke's wound in order to incapacitate him. It's later subverted when they actually fight, as Sanosuke notices that Saitou actually avoided hitting the wound, proving that he is not ready for the battles he is about to face.
- In Identity Crisis, several Justice League reservists are getting their asses kicked by Deathstroke, until Green Arrow jabs Deathstroke in his previously-wounded eye with an arrow, which throws him off and allows the Leaguers to pile onto him.
- In Onslaught during the final battle with Onslaught the Hulk manages to crack Onslaught's armor, which up until then was impervious, allowing him, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four to enter Onslaught's non-corporeal form in order to defeat him/it.
- Lethal Weapon:
- When Murtagh is tortured in the first movie, not only is he beaten until he's a bloody mess, but salt is poured in his wounds. Literally. They upended a carton of salt into the bullet hole in his shoulder.
- In the final fight of the fourth film, Jet Li's character dislocates Riggs' shoulder and then repeatedly punches Riggs right in that same shoulder.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark. During the sequence where Indiana Jones hijacks the truck carrying the Ark, one German soldier shoots him in the left arm and a few seconds later another soldier repeatedly punches him in the bullet wound.
- In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, when Bard has to hit a spot on Smaug's skin that is not covered by scales with the black arrow. Whereas in the book, this is an unexplained flaw, in the movie it's caused by an arrow during the destruction of the Dale.
- In the hypothetical fight played out in the minds of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty at the climax of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Moriarty wins due to his ruthless exploitation of Holmes' existing shoulder injury.
- Serenity offers an inversion: in the final battle between Mal and the Operative, the Operative tries to disable Mal by attacking a pressure point that would normally cause temporarily paralysis - only for Mal to reveal that he previously took some shrapnel there during the war, so the pressure point doesn't work.
- During the climactic brawl in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Hansel delivers several punches to Muriel's gut wound that he had caused with his gun at start of the fight as he tries to hang her with a chain.
- James Bond receives a shoulder injury during The World Is Not Enough. Later, the villain gets a Bond One-Liner to torture Bond: "I knew you couldn't shoulder the responsibility". After that pun, the actual attack on the injury must have been inconsequential.
- In the original The Karate Kid movie, one member of the Cobra-Kai was Ordered to Cheat and to deliberately injure Daniel's leg in order to knock him out of the tournament. When Daniel is able to participate in the final match after all due to Mr. Miyagi's Healing Hands, his opponent in the finals is ordered to attack Daniel's injured leg, and turns the match in his favor by doing so.
- Ciaphas Cain
- "Caves Of Ice": When the ork gargant is going through the facility wall, Ciaphas notices a relatively small hole in its armor and orders all heavy weapons to fire at it, successfully disabling it by exploding an ammo dump inside.
- During "The Last Ditch", a tervigon is hit with two anti-tank missiles and Cain immediately orders the troopers with him to target the wound. Justified in that nothing the troopers were carrying could have punched through the tervigon's armor before the missiles opened it up for them. Overlaps with Untouchable Until Tagged.
- In the final battle in Headhunters, Roger Brown shoots Clas Greve in his badly-damaged groin.
- One episode of Castle has Javier Esposito extract information from an injured criminal by sticking the hot barrel of a gun in the hole that gun just made in the man's shoulder.
- In the second season of Gotham, Alfred escapes being pinned by the Tabitha by attacking her arm, wounded a few episodes previously in a gunfight.
- In Quantico, Vernon James of the High-Value Interrogation Group authorizes the brutal torture of FBI Special Agent Ryan Booth by having his gunshot wound punched several times in addition to the risk of being infected in order to get Alex Parrish to talk about the possibility of another bomb in New York. When the rest of the FBI finds out about this, they're pissed off.
- In Agent X, John Case engages Volker in a fist fight during a terrorist attack in Paris. During the fight, Volker takes advantage of Case's gunshot wound near the stomach by punching it a few times to give him the advantage.
- Discussed during an interview with Chris Adams in UWF shortly before he and Terry Taylor break up. Adams tells their opponents from a recent match that everyone knew Taylor's leg was injured, so they should have focused on his leg rather than the general brawling style that they had used. Taylor gets upset with this.
- Warhammer 40K: This is the in-game explanation for Knight Commander Pask's increased ballistic ability: he looks for weak spots like repair seams and aims for them, even on alien tanks.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: When Ganondorf turns into his beast form, the scar from when he ripped the Sages' sword from his body is not only still there but much bigger. But as it's on his underside, you have to toss him aside first.
- In Watch_Dogs, when Aidan sees Damien shortly after the start of the game, Aidan immediately takes a cheap shot at the brace on Damien's leg. Sure enough, Damien is dropped to the ground in pain.
- God Of War 3: During his spectacular battle with Cronos, Kratos has to slash a pimple on the big fella's arm, rip off his usured fingernail and hit a wound opened by an undead cyclops.
- In Splatoon, each boss' weak point is indicated by an X-shaped scar with a Sickly Green Glow.
- In Bigby's fight with Gren, during the first episode of The Wolf Among Us, Bigby focuses some of his attacks on Gren's previously injured right arm.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Azula utilizes this tactic when planing her strategy for a friendly game of volleyball. She recognizes from the way a member of the other team moves that the girl must have suffered an injury in the past, and looks to exploit it.
Azula: See that girl with the silly pigtails? When she runs toward the ball there's just the slightest hesitation in her left foot. I'm willing to bet a childhood injury has weakened her. Keep serving the ball to her left and we'll destroy her and the rest of her team.
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.