Created By: KJMackley on April 7, 2012

Taking Your Bruises

Sometimes you need to let yourself get beaten up

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A character is normally pretty tough and can hold their own in a fight, but a real test of meddle comes down how well they can take a hit. They may be working some sort of Batman Gambit or other manipulation, or maybe it is just to prove how tough they are.

Sometimes it is used in combination with Cover-Blowing Superpower and/or Obfuscating Stupidity.

  • The cast of Burn Notice is more than capable of fighting off most any bad guy that comes their way, but the majority of the show is about manipulation. Quite often they need to convince the bad guy that they are the ones in control so that they will make a mistake. Michael once got a dislocated shoulder for it, Fiona let herself get kidnapped (with chloroform rag) so she could work against the kidnappers and Sam provided distraction at a bar to let an asset escape.
  • Trigun: The basic mode of operation for Vash, who is an extreme pacifist and prefers to let himself get humiliated and sometimes beaten up rather than killing everyone around him.
  • Used in a unique way in The Longest Yard, Crewe tries to recruit some members of the black gang at the prison and approaches them. He challenges one of the leaders to a game of basketball to get their help (he's a pro football player) and the guy proceeds to play rough while Crewe refuses to call any fowls on him (including elbows to the face and other things). Crewe was making a point to show how willing he was to take a hit and he even inspired one of the guys to join the team despite him losing the basketball game.
  • A major plot point in A Knight's Tale, William is trying to woo Jocelyn and proclaims that he will win the tournament in her name. She dismissed it as he was planning on winning the tournament anyway, and so tells him to lose to prove his love for her. As his crew recently made an outside bet on William, they are particularly pissed when William is just allowing his opponents to smash into him. Once Jocelyn sees his dedication, she allowed him to win for her.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • April 7, 2012

    Coraline's father doesn't come across as particularly tough, but Coraline tells a story about how the two of them stumbled on a wasp's nest. Her father stood still and let the swarm of wasps sting him in order to give Coraline time to run away.
  • April 7, 2012
    From the pilot episode of Human Target:
    Guerrero: I got to warn you guys, if this gets violent, I'm gonna fight back.
    Alfredo: You think you're gonna fight back?
    Guerrero: All right, maybe fight back's a little misleading. I'll take the beating 'cause that's all you two amateurs are cleared to do. And then one night soon, I'm gonna break into your house and kill each of you in your sleep. Probably start with you, Alfredo. That way Steven here can have a few extra days with Marla and the girls. It's only fair.
  • April 8, 2012
    In the third book of the Dark Jewels books, when Daimon is being a false traitor and is faking raping Surial, she insists that he actually hit and bruise her to add necessary realism. And that totally needs some spoiler thingies.
  • April 8, 2012
    First some spelling corrections:
    • "real test of meddle" -> "real test of their mettle"
    • "Crewe refuses to call any fowls": fouls.

    Anime and Manga
    • Bleach. When Ichigo first meets Chad, Chad was allowing himself to be beat up by bullies because he promised his grandfather that he wouldn't fight except to protect others.

    • Matt Helm novel Murderer's Row. Matt is assigned to beat up a female fellow agent to give her credibility for an undercover role. Before he starts, she drinks a lot of alcohol to kill the pain. During the beating she dies, and Matt goes on the lam when he's suspected of deliberately killing her. At the end it's revealed that she actually died of an alcohol overdose.
  • April 8, 2012
    • The first part of the final showdown with Tong Po in the movie Kickboxer consists of Kurt Sloane having to do this. The reason is that his brother Eric (who is paralyzed from the waist down because of what Po did to him at the start of the movie) is being held hostage by Freddy Li who wants him to throw the fight, and in order to save his brother's life, he has to "go the distance" with him before losing the match. When Xian Chow and Winston rescue Eric, Kurt can finally give Tong Po the asskicking he deserves for everything he did during the movie and win the match.
  • April 8, 2012
    Zig Zagged in an episode of Life. Charlie's Heterosexual Life Partner Ted is framed for a crime and is sent back to prison. He sees a group of inmates approaching him and mentally prepares himself for the beating that he's got coming as a new inmate - but then a couple of big burly inmates step up to protect him. Charlie has paid them to be Ted's bodyguards while in prison. But Ted waves them off - he knows that having bodyguards is the one thing worse than getting beaten up in the first place; any time a bodyguard isn't there to protect him he'll just get beaten even worse, so he might as well get it over with.
  • April 9, 2012
    • Subverted in The Grifters. Lilly messes up on a job for her gangster boss Bobo and fails to tell him about it. He decides to punish her by beating her with a bag of oranges. If he does it properly it will leave her with ugly bruises but not harm her. If he doesn't it could do permanent damage to her intestines. She is clearly terrified of what's about to happen, but has to submit because if she doesn't he'll do something worse to her. He appears about to begin the beating but then decides not to - he was just trying to scare her.
  • April 17, 2012
    Tyler in Fight Club, taking a beating from Lou, while laughing like a maniac.
  • April 17, 2012
    Rin in "Blade of the Immortal" is captured alongside Doa during their attempt to rescue their jailed friends. A particularly perverted official decides to use their unlawful entry as justification for beating them with a wooden sword. Rin knows Doa - who is a much more capable fighter - can't protect her from harm if she's injured and thus asks to take all of Doa's beatings in addition to the ones she is to receive.
  • April 17, 2012
    The Alloy Of Law, Wax takes a beating from Miles in order to distract him so that Marasi could trap him in her slow time bubble so Wayne could go get backup.
  • April 17, 2012

    During Edward's story of how he married his wife in Big Fish, he recalls how he promised her that he wouldn't fight back against her jealous fiancee. The fiancee Don ends up beating him to a pulp, but he keeps his word and she breaks up with Don after being disgusting by his ruthlessness.