Created By: surgoshan on December 16, 2015 Last Edited By: TheWanderer on 7 hours ago

Attack The Injury

In a fight, going after an existing injury.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
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.


Examples

Anime 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.

Comic Books
  • 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.

Film
  • 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.

Literature
  • 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.

Live-Action TV
  • 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.

Professional Wrestling
  • 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.

Tabletop Games
  • 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.

Video Games
  • 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.

Western Animation
  • 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.
Community Feedback Replies: 60
  • December 16, 2015
    Arivne
    Film
    • 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.
  • December 16, 2015
    Arivne
    • Capitalized the title.
    • Examples section
      • Add the word "Examples".
  • December 16, 2015
    Ominae
    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.
  • December 16, 2015
    Chernoskill
    The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies, when Bard has to hit a spot on Smaug's skin that is not covered by scales with the black arrow.
  • December 16, 2015
    DAN004
    Subtrope of Attack Its Weak Point?

    Compare Untouchable Until Tagged.
    • 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.
  • December 17, 2015
    Snicka
    ^^ The film version definitely applies here, because there the scale is missing due to a previous black arrow hitting Smaug on that spot when he destroyed Dale. In the book it was not an injury, just a (largely unexplained) flaw in Smaug's jewel armor.
  • December 17, 2015
    randomsurfer
    • The Karate Kid 1984 : In the semifinals one of Kreese's students purposely injures Daniel's leg, getting himself disqualified, so that Johnny can have an easier time in the finals.
    • The Simpsons: When Lisa becomes a goalie for a peewee hockey team her agressiveness leads her to tell her team to do this. "Ralph Wiggum lost his shin guard. Hack the bone! Hack the bone!"
  • December 17, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ the first sounds like Game Breaking Injury
  • December 17, 2015
    Chabal2
    • Twilight Princess: When Ganondorf turs 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.
    • "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.
    • Warhammer 40 K: 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.
  • December 18, 2015
    Exxolon
    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.
  • December 18, 2015
    DAN004
  • December 23, 2015
    Chabal2
    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.

  • December 23, 2015
    bitemytail
    • 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.
  • December 25, 2015
    WalterSmith
  • December 26, 2015
    WalterSmith
    • 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.
  • December 26, 2015
    DAN004
    Can this involve non-living things? Such as attacking an opened hole in a spaceship or attacking the damaged joint of a robot...
  • December 26, 2015
    surgoshan
    ^ I don't see why not.
  • December 27, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Comic Books
    • 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.

    Film Live Action
    • Serenity offers an example of this trope backfiring: 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.

    Literature
    • In the final battle in Headhunters, Roger Brown shoots Clas Greve in his badly-damaged groin.
  • December 30, 2015
    Koveras
    In video games, this is usually the implied in-universe justification for Break Meter and Injured Vulnerability gameplay mechanics.
  • January 1, 2016
    erforce
    • During the climactic brawl in Hansel And 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.
  • January 1, 2016
    TheWanderer
    • Another Lethal Weapon example: 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.
  • January 1, 2016
    DrNoPuma
    Video Games:

  • January 2, 2016
    randomsurfer
    Professional Wrestling: 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.
  • January 4, 2016
    TheWanderer
    I put the two Lethal Weapon examples together in the proper formatting.
  • January 4, 2016
    Quatic
    In that James Bond movie where Charlie Sheen's ex-wife plays a physicist named Christmas something-or-other, the bad guy takes advantage of a shoulder wound earlier received by Bond.

    <s>Addendum: is it Golden Eye?</s>

    The World Is Not Enough.
  • January 5, 2016
    HeroGal2347
    This may be done in a case of Crippling The Competition.
  • January 5, 2016
    Ominae
    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.
  • January 6, 2016
    Antigone3
    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.
  • January 6, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ That also overlaps with Untouchable Until Tagged, btw.
  • January 7, 2016
    randomsurfer
    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.
  • January 7, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ that too overlaps with UUT.
  • May 18, 2016
    DAN004
    Injured Vulnerability should be in the description, not examples.
  • May 19, 2016
    Snicka
    Compare Achilles Heel. (Is this a subtrope of that?)
  • May 19, 2016
    FelipeXicao
    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.
  • May 28, 2016
    MajinAkuma
    Dragon Ball: During the finale of the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai, Piccolo blasts a hole through Goku's chest. He later rams his ellbow into hole and hits the flesh around the hole, causing Goku much more pain.
  • May 28, 2016
    DAN004
    Often a Gane Breaking Injury is done for this.
  • June 10, 2016
    TheWanderer
    • 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.
  • June 10, 2016
    rmctagg09
    • During the Galdon boss battle in Star Fox Adventures, after Fox gets Eaten Alive and makes Galdon spit him up by attacking the Spellstone in his stomach, Galdon gets a slit on his throat. Whenever his wound opens wide when he starts breathing in for his fire breath attack it can be blasted with fire from Fox's staff.
  • July 5, 2016
    DAN004
    Bump
  • May 23, 2017
    Ominae
    I think this should be fine for launch.
  • May 23, 2017
    Getta
    • Project Altered Beast: In the Final Boss fight, our hero Luke was caught in the boss' big hands until his comrade/rival Brad slashes at the boss with his Weretiger claws, leaving a huge gash that serves as the boss' weak point for the later part of the fight.
  • May 23, 2017
    Omeganian
    • At the beginning of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2, the Guardians are fighting a beast that has a hide too thick for their weapons. Then Gamora spots a small cut on its neck.
    • In the Supergirl 2015 episode "Survivors", Kara has trouble taking on an Draaga until Mon-El tells her he has an old leg injury.
  • May 23, 2017
    Tuckerscreator
    ^Peter points out the cut, Gamora attacks it.
  • May 24, 2017
    Arivne
  • May 24, 2017
    Getta
    Somebody has to take this over...
  • May 24, 2017
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: Mata Nui defeats Tuma by striking at a back injury Tuma suffered before their battle, which supplementary materials reveal that it was from a Baterra attack.
  • May 25, 2017
    TBTabby
    In Baki The Grappler, Hatanaka Kouhei threatens to do this to Chiharu Shiba after breaking his arm. Shiba responds by smashing his broken arm against a wall to show that he doesn't care about pain, then delivers a No Holds Barred Beat Down to Kouhei.
  • July 2, 2017
    GoldenDarkness
    In the Super Sentai series Choujin Sentai Jetman the giant One Winged Angel form of the villain Radiguet at first glance seems to be Nigh Invulnerable to the attacks of the Jetman's mecha. However, a chance hit on his lower back revealed that he had a weak spot, a stab wound that Radiguet sustained earlier while human size, with the wound not only not having healed, but grown in proportion when Radiguet became his giant monster form. With great difficulty, the Jetman defeat and kill Radiguet by having the Jet Garuda grabbing a hold on him long enough for Jet Icarus to impale him in the wound with the Birdonic Saber.
  • July 2, 2017
    Skylite
    • played with in Escape From New York. The fight is more or less over, but Snake took an arrow above the knee and the Duke of New York has his minions hold Plissken down for questioning. The Duke forces the arrow in deeper when Snake refuses to talk.
  • July 24, 2017
    Ominae
    Is anything else missing?
  • July 25, 2017
    YouFiredtheGraniteGuy
    On The Fosters, Jesus gets punched in the head shortly after recovering from a surgery to remove a nail from his skull. This results in him seizing, his brain swelling, having surgery, and ending up with a TBI.
  • February 21, 2018
    TheWanderer
    Bump. Lets launch this already.
  • February 23, 2018
    darkemyst
    • In Snow White With The Red Hair Touka Bergatt's assassins target his brother Tariga's injured shoulder when trying to kill him. They themselves had injured his shoulder previously to divert suspicion from the family before Touka decided he needed to be killed outright.
  • March 1, 2018
    AndreaTx
    Bump.
  • March 1, 2018
    pepsi97
    In John Wick, the titular character is recovering from being stabbed in the Continental. Another assassin, Perkins, enters Wick's room to kill him. While fighting she punches him in his stab wound.
  • March 13, 2018
    darkemyst
    Web Comics
    • In Girl Genius Zola keeps striking at the stab wound she gave Higgs earlier in their fight as the fight progresses and he catches back up to her in a different room.
  • If Artificial Limbs are considered an injury, this can lead to Fake Arm Disarm.
  • 10 hours ago
    4tell0life4
    One more hat!
  • This entire thing reads like Game Breaking Injury, but more specific.
  • 7 hours ago
    mariovsonic999
    @Indirect Not really, it's more about exploiting the injury.
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