Tryin To Catch Me Fightin Dirty


(permanent link) added: 2008-08-08 21:06:59 sponsor: RadicalTaoist (last reply: 2008-08-10 07:56:13)

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This is a supertrope/index with a number of tropes contained within. I had difficulty finding certain tropes on the page, and others I felt were related enough to make a supertrope for all of them.

Not every character fights like the Knight in Shining Armor. Dirty fighting is a staple of many genres. It's regular appearance marks a work as more serious, 'gritty', and realistic (placing it appropriately on idealism/cynicism scale). There are lots of ways to work more 'resourceful' combatants into scenes and stories, but the key to good dirty fighting is twofold: a willingness on the part of the fighters to use whatever is available to them in combat, and a willingness to use psychological tricks in order to gain the upper hand. Anything goes in a real fight, after all.

Subtropes follow
A Hand(ful) For An Eye
Throwing sand in your opponent's eyes to temporarily blind them; favored by villainous characters. Seen It a Million Times; Do We Have This?

Hit Em While They're Talking
Exactly What It Says on the Tin. We have to include this one simply because of the beauty of the opening quotes available to it.

Hari: And you don't block a groin-kick with your hands, you take it on the thigh. Every time you drop your hands, you're gonna get a whack. You understand?
Kris: Yes, I'm starting to -
Hari: *socks Kris in the solar plexus* Lesson two. Best time to hit someone is when he's off guard. Best time to catch someone off guard is when he's talking. When you talk, you're thinking about what to say next, not-
Kris: *belts Hari across the face*
Hari: ...Y'know, there's just the faintest chance I could start to like you.
-Blade of Tyshalle, by Matthew Woodring Stover

Oh ho ho ho! You sly dog! You caught me monologuing!
-Syndro from The Incredibles

Note: This is a major thing in Blade of Tyshalle. Caine in fact uses this trick in the climax to kill the reascendant Ma'elKoth.

Playing Possum should also be in here. Add to I Surrender, Suckers or split into its own trope?

The Dirty Fighter
A character who not only fights dirty on a reguar basis but is defined by his willingness to do anything in a fight to win. These guys are defined both by extensive knowledge of dirty fighting - they know that kneeing a girl in the crotch works - and by a willingness to use dirty fighting whenever beneficial - they have no compunctions against kneeing a girl there in a real fight. Needs a Better Title.

  • Jason Bourne is a definite and obvious example - hitting foes with everything including the kitchen sink, preparing traps and ambushes MacGyver style in the heat of combat, and lulling foes into a false sense of security whenever possible (see his escape from the customs officials in the second movie).
  • Caine/Hari from Blade of Tyshalle is widely considered the best infighter alive, even after being rendered partially paraplegic. He does not fight fair, ever, and it allows him to win fights where he should have had no chance whatsoever. Illustration: right after the lowest point in the novel, he escapes a dungeon cell by luring a guard in and provoking him to attack, apparently giving up the element of surprise. To recap, this is a naked and malnourished Caine, covered in his own filth, chained to the wall with his legs currently not working. The guard on the other hand is armored in chainmail, upright and well fed, and has the chance to draw his club and attack Hari first. I won't spoil how, but after a few minutes the situation changes to that of a naked and unconscious guard in Caine's shackles while a now armed and armored Caine crawls up the dungeon steps.
  • The newest incarnation of James Bond played by Daniel Craig is particularly appealing due to being this kind of character. Not that the old Bonds were averse to getting a little dirty themselves.
  • Being this kind of character is half the reason the Joker can threaten Batman toe-to-toe; the other half is his enthusiasm in combat. The Dark Knight sees him use a knife hidden in his boot, pull off the now famous 'magic trick' sucker punch, violate Mook Chivalry, and sic dogs on Batman before going in with a lead pipe.

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