[[quoteright:244:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Pugilist.jpg]]

->"''He's [[{{Badass}} tough as hell]], but you don't see him doing any sort of [[IKnowKarate fancy-pants martial arts or judo flips or anything]]. When somebody pisses him off, he just reaches back and slugs the guy in the face like a real man. None of that [[CombatParkour crazy acrobatic bullshit]]."''
-->-- ''[[http://www.badassoftheweek.com/indianajones.html Badass of the Week: Indiana Jones]]''

Ah, the FightScene: Noble sport and elegant artform that elevates two fictional combatants through ritualized combat, proving their prowess by savagely beating each other upside the head with [[ImprovisedWeapon 2x4's or whatever else they can get their grubby little paws on]].

Cue the entrance of Kung Fu, ''Savate'', and other more choreograph-able fighting styles. What? So now, only monks and French dudes can kick ass? (don't even ''mention'' GunKata). What's a fighter who trained on the mean streets of the CityWithNoName to do? Punch 'em with GoodOldFisticuffs, [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer of course!]]

Some films ''insist'' that their Average Joe, didn't-train-in-Tibet-or-live-in-a-French-ghetto hero can upstage and beat ''any'' fighting style because his rough and tumble streetwise fisticuffs is either more resourceful, more tenacious or less "frilly" than the competition. If any explanation is given for why this disparity always goes in the hero's favor, it's because the hero has [[TechnicianVersusPerformer "heart" while his opponent is more obsessed with good form,]] or is all flash and no substance.

While it may seem at first sight to be only about fighting with your fists, this trope is about learning to fight in the "hard way", by pure, [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown brutal]] and constant brawling for your life in dirty streets. It is emphasized that the person had to go through a life that served as TrainingFromHell. Do not confuse with BareFistedMonk, which is a character type that only uses melee but does not have the styleless street brawling connotation.

See TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty and CombatPragmatist. If the hero (or the villain) is a threat not because of technique but innate [[TheGift Gifts]] like [[MadeOfIron unnatural damage-soaking abilities]], he is probably UnskilledButStrong.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'': Berserker is noted to have never taken any formal training: his raw talent is so good that he can routinely beat even highly skilled martial artists with his street fighting skills. He is eventually defeated by Tanimoto, who claims that HardWorkHardlyWorks is a big, fat lie upon winning.
* Subverted in ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', where Sanosuke, a brawler who gets by with CharlesAtlasSuperpower and MadeOfIron challenges Saito to a fist fight. [[WeakButSkilled Saito creams him with far better boxing technique.]]
** And played straight many, many times as well such as when he goes against opponent using strikes to the vital points. In so many words Sanosuke tells him to stop messing about and [[JustHitHim just give him a good hard slug already]]. When the opponent fails to comply, Sano obligingly demonstrates how it is done.
* Much like Berserker, Touma Kamijou from ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' never took any kind of formal training: his raw talent as a fighter is so good that he can routinely beat armed, multiple, or even highly skilled martial artists by utilizing his own brutal band of street fighting.
* Jet Black from ''CowboyBebop'' is able to regularly defeat armed, multiple or better trained opponents by utilizing his own brutal brand of pugilism. In one instance he is able to overcome a ruthless and feared Syndicate assassin with a well timed [[CombatPragmatist head-butt to the face]].
** There's also Andy, who was able to stand up to Spike without any apparent martial arts training.
* Digimon's [[Anime/DigimonSavers fifth season]] plays with this. It turns out the most effective fighters are the ones with the greatest understanding of their abilities. Whether they figured it out for themselves the hard way or needed to go through rigorous training to understand are just means to an end. 3/4ths of the main casts are forced into training.
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' this appears to be Lordgenome's preferred method of fighting, with or without his HumongousMecha. When using Lazengann, he likes to beat the snot out of his opponents with black-belt level moves, and with no weapons whatsoever (save for [[ThisIsADrill drill]] [[CombatTentacles tendrils]]). It's probably why he can fistfight against Simon and Lagann once Lazengann gets thrashed.
* One of the reasons ''PrettyCure'' has a larger adult male PeripheryDemographic than most other MagicalGirl series. Transforming not only gives the Cures FrillsOfJustice and automatically-memorized InTheNameOfTheMoon speeches, but also SuperStrength and the ability to [[InASingleBound jump ridiculously high]], so they usually spend the majority of a fight scene beating the snot out of the MonsterOfTheWeek with their bare fists and pull out the magical attacks as a FinishingMove only.
* In ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' and its sequels, Arf, Zafira and Reinforce uses unarmed combat in melee, unlike most characters who rely on weapons. This carries over to ''The Battle of Aces'', [[DemotedToExtra though not for Arf]] [[SubvertedTrope until]] ''[[SubvertedTrope Gears of Destiny]]''. It should be noted, though, that the first two do use kicks as well. By ''[=ViVid=]'' the existence of Strike Arts and Kaiser Arts speaks of formalised martial arts coming into play.
** Something should be emphasized here. Reinforce punches through [[spoiler:Nanoha]]'s magical shield ''with her bare hands'', only using the ElementalPunch afterwards.
* Joey/Jonouchi used to be quite the street punk near the beginning of ''Anime/YuGiOh'', and he got into fistfights a lot. Sometimes these fight happened for no reason, other times it was to defend Yugi... but he proves himself to be a badass who can break jaws and noses with a swift punch to the face. Some of the earlier "games" even involved him beating the crap out of people for the sake of friendship/revenge. As Duel Monsters became more important to the plot, [[BadAssDecay he stopped getting into fights altogether]], which he even [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] in ''Manga/YuGiOhR''.
* Played with in ''Manga/{{Holyland}}''. Most fighters have some martial arts training as a base, even if they adapt it to the needs of the street, and effectiveness varies. The closest ones to styleless brawling uncramped by martial arts training are Yuu and Katou, although neither sticks to just hands; Yuu eventually uses kicks, elbows and wrestling, while Katou uses knees ([[GroinAttack to the groin]]), headbutts and takedowns.
* Tawara Bunshichi from ''TenjhoTenge'' definitely qualifies. He is the only character in the series who doesn't have any special powers or utilizes some style of martial arts, preferring to simply punch the living hell out of his opponents on the rare occasions when he actually fights. And he fights so rarely because most everyone else is usually ''scared shitless'' of him.
* Sure, Monkey D. Luffy from ''OnePiece'' trained all right, but so far his official training was only shown to be survival training and endurance--Garp was never shown teaching him any hand-to-hand combat. Luffy apparently got strong from brawls with his two older brothers and his RubberMan powers he obtained in early childhood gave him durability. But, it's implied by [[WordOfGod Oda]] that the only technique he worked on as a child was the [[RocketPunch Gum Gum Pistol]], (although a recent anime filler showed him practicing his Fuusen technique, too) and confirmed by WordOfGod that he doesn't train, but comes up with attacks on the spot; his most commonly used ones involving the ol' fists.
** He also plays the trope pretty straight, beating highly trained Martial artists who have been taught several different and deadly techniques since a young age ([[CrowningMomentOfAwesome the very first Gum Gum Jet Bazooka and Gum Gum Jet Gatling, anyone?]]). And in Rob Lucci's defeat with the Jet Gatling, it was even because Luffy had more heart and determination than him. Also, as a child, he lived with bandits and played in a Trash Mountain, and eating or getting money meant beating/killing animals and thugs or being beaten/killed.
* From the prologue of ''AllRounderMeguru'': "The truth is, experienced fighting will beat out half assed karate any time, especially when the other guys are older." Even after the timeskip, Takashi gets his ass kicked by an ex-boxer bodyguard.
* This trope shows up in, of all places, ''FistOfTheNorthStar''. In an anime all about glorifying ages-old (fictional) martial arts schools with legendary histories, Juza uses a completely made-up-himself style that allows him to fight [[BigBad Raoh]] on a nearly equal basis. Sure, he also has {{Charles Atlas Superpower}}s, but almost everyone and their dog has that in the ''Fist of the North Star''-verse.
* In episode 17 of YuGiOhGXTheAbridgedSeries by DarkSideCorporated two formerly nameless friends of Zane (now called Pippin and Jeffery) do this after they, once again, "take offense in that comment".
---> '''Pippin:''' You insulted me for the last time Jeffrey. I challenge you to Fisticuffs.
---> '''Jeffry:''' I accept this challenge.
---> '''Pippin:''' Have at thee!
** In the same episode Avian and Sparkman also do this while under the influence of the Monster Card Maiden in Love. Hilarious, especially when Burstinatrix shows up.
* Ted in ''ZatchBell'' learned how to brawl thanks to living on the streets. His spell book is centered around gradually making him stronger and faster, but he never changes his fighting style.
* Many delinquents of ''Manga/KyouKaraOreWa'' have been shown defeating trained martial artists with nothing more than street brawling punches. Also, partially {{Subverted}}: martial arts ''do'' work... [[UnskilledButStrong It's just that Mitsuhashi and co. are]] ''[[UnskilledButStrong way]]'' [[UnskilledButStrong stronger and faster than most martial artists who show up]].
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* This is ComicBook/TheSpirit's entire good ol' fighting method, as he's just an everyman with no training on any martial arts. He relies too on his wits and his agility to beat the crooks, but at the end of the day, he learned to fight by, well, fighting.
* ''ComicBook/GothamCentral'' features this as a frequent necessity since, though a comic book set in the world of Franchise/{{Batman}}, none of the characters are superheroes in any way, shape or form. As such, they are often forced to face off against "freaks" (supervillains) with only regular guns or, sometimes, just their bare hands. When Dr. Alchemy, a ''ComicBook/TheFlash'' villain, is brought to Gotham City and tries to escape, Renee Montoya is forced to beat him down with her bare hands after he turns all guns and metals in the room into poisonous and noxious elements (His name is Dr. ''Alchemy'', he can do stuff like that). Once she manages to drop him to the floor she ''keeps going'' (Some say PoliceBrutality, others say... well, others also say PoliceBrutality, but he ''[[AssholeVictim really]]'' [[AssholeVictim deserved it]]), and did it all despite the fact that he was armed with some bizarre alchemical superweapon.
* A storyline in the ''[[ComicBook/RobinSeries Robin]]'' comic book had him fighting Cassandra Cain, formerly the second Batgirl, who had just revealed that she'd made a FaceHeelTurn. Robin manages to defeat Cassandra, who had received TrainingFromHell to learn how to predict opponents' moves by looking at them, by deliberately attacking her wildly with no style or forethought. Since Cassandra's "powers" should have been able to handle something like that easily, this is one of the many reasons this storyline became CanonDisContinuity almost immediately.
** He learned from the best, apparently, as in a JLA comic just a few months later, Batman does this same thing to Karate Kid, [[Comicbook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}} a super martial artist from the 31st century]] whose [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower fighting skills are so advanced he can fight Kryptonians despite being "only human."]] To the writer's credit, Batman doesn't win (merely stalemates his opponent until a superpowered ally can take him down), but he still lasts a lot longer than he had any business lasting.
* The comic ''{{Preacher}}'' inverts this: While protagonist Jesse Custer does not know fancy martial arts, he knows how to fistfight (and how to fight dirty). This allows him to stand up to people much [[UnskilledButStrong larger and stronger than he is]] because he has that foundation and they don't. We never get to see how he fares against a trained martial artist however.
* ''SinCity'', Marv VS Kevin.
** Although Marv didn't just rely on his fists. He handcuffed Kevin to himself, which cramped Kevin's medium-range fighting style.
* In a 1970's issue of ''ComicBook/TheFlash'', a robot UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln from the future beats an EvilOverlord (also from the future) via the use of good old fashioned 19th Century wrestling.
** Which is similar to this quote from ''{{Tales From the Bully Pulpit}}'':
--> UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln: "Bring it, boy. [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome I'm gonna emancipate your teeth.]]"
* The comic ''HardGraft'' features a main character whose main purpose in life appears to be using GoodOldFisticuffs to beat people down.
* Despite not having any martial training and being rather small in size, [[TheAdventuresOfTintin Tintin]] often beats people in physical confrontations. One of the best examples is from ''The Black Island'':
-->'''Puschov''':''*sweeps Tintin onto the ground*'' Yeah, pal, that's jiu-jitsu (or Savate in the original)!
-->'''Tintin''': And this is a kick in the chest!
** Actually, in the original french version, Tintin's answer while kicking him in the face is "Et ša, c'est de la savate!" ("And that's savate!"). Wich also makes for an untranslatable pun : in french, savate also means a type of shoe.
* Wildcat of the ''ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica'' was a heavyweight boxing champion in cat costume. His main tools in crimefighting were his abilities to throw, and take, a punch.
* Early stories ''{{Batman}}'': as detailed in [[http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2012/7/17/3164068/holy-mma-batman-martial-arts-dark-knight-part1 this article]], the Batman of early stories mainly fought as a boxer, and a vicious and skilled one at that (good enough to take on the ''number one contender for the heavyweight championship and [[CurbStompBattle win in a single round]]'' (note that here Batman was ''handicapped'' by the rules). [[note]]Batman being Batman even in those early stories, he was also a master in [[http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2012/7/19/3164241/holy-mma-batman-martial-arts-dark-knight-part2 Judo]] and knew a fair bit of [[http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2012/7/27/3171423/holy-mma-batman-martial-arts-dark-knight-part3 many other styles]].[[/note]] As the author of the article put it: "Now also imagine how your average street thug would fair against someone like Batman, who possessed the power of an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earnie_Shavers Ernie Shavers]] and the striking accuracy of an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Moore Archie Moore]]?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfics]]
* Used briefly near the conclusion of ''[[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/109581/1/i-did-not-want-to-die/i-did-not-want-to-die I Did Not Want To Die]]'' as the protagonist is desperately struggling to stay alive.
* Celestia mentions to being a fan of this in ''FanFic/DiariesOfAMadman'', but has trouble finding sparring partners. Nav and Sombra also engage in a fist fight later on.
* Seen in ''FanFic/MegaManReawakened'', as Robert sometimes fights this way as opposed to weapons or battle chips.
** Wily threatens to fight Megaman this way in Arc 3, but uses the alien hologram instead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Blood on the Sun'' with Creator/JamesCagney vs. a judoka.
* It even turned up in that bodyswitch comedy, ''[[Film/EighteenAgain 18 Again]]'', with George Burns. (Frat JerkJock sees hero with girlfriend. Hero asks "sorry, did you want to dance?" Frat Jerk says 'no', and does a spinkick/badass pose. Hero: "I thought you said you didn't want to dance!", then fights him old-school fisticuffs style.)
* In ''Film/LethalWeapon4'', JetLi uses his polished wushu style to badly brutalize both Riggs and Murtaugh until they ultimately defeat him with their less flashy fighting styles and ultimately [[spoiler:a Kalashnikov automatic rifle]]. Riggs was portrayed as an elite martial artist in the first film's more realistic fight scenes, but by the fourth movie he too was "getting too old for this shit."
* Turns up in, of all places, the Bruce Lee film ''Film/WayOfTheDragon'', in which the Chinese restaurant staff all train in karate before getting the crap knocked out of them by the local thugs. Given that Bruce then uses kung fu to annihilate the thugs, this was probably intended as a TakeThat aimed at Japan (as ''Fist of Fury'' more blatantly was).
* The final fight scene in Creator/RidleyScott's ''Film/BlackRain''. MichaelDouglas' smartass cop squares off with karate-using villain (who thankfully is too smart to pull off any fancy stuff and is quite happy to use simple but effective strikes) and mostly gets beaten around... [[GameBreakingInjury until he digs a finger into villain's fresh wound, crippling him with pain]] and then administering a beating.
* ''Film/ShanghaiNoon'': "I don't know karate but I know kah-razy!" (with apologies to James Brown). Roy manages to throw trained martial artist Chon Wang to the ground, which surprises both of them. Then Chon gets up and throws Roy out the window.
* The ''Film/SpeedRacer'' film adaption has a partial example: while [[EverybodyWasKungFuFighting everyone else was Kung Fu fighting]], Pops was able to beat the crap out of a ninja with (professional) ''wrestling'' moves.
* ''Film/FightClub'' shows us how the solution to the stresses of modern day society is a good round of pit-style fisticuffs.
* Subverted in ''{{Dutch}}'', in which Dutch (Ed O'Neil), using his self-described "good old, all-American street fighting" is beaten up by an adolescent who holds a "high brown belt." However, Dutch also teaches the boy to throw a proper punch, which he uses to good effect.
* In ''Film/NeverBackDown'', a streetwise MMA brawler faces a practitioner of capoeira, the Brazilian art of dance-fighting. Before the fight, the capoeirista grandstands with some flashy acrobatics and then gets knocked out with a single punch.
* In the ''Literature/BridgetJones'' [[TheMovie movies]], Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver get to do it twice. The former's a lawyer, the latter a TV reporter, so this leads to a WimpFight.
* ''Film/NinjaAssassin'' usually completely averts this trope; most normal people die when they are in a ninjas arm length, without even having the chance to fight back. Except for a [[StoutStrength big]], {{badass}} LondonGangster, who is the protagonists first target. The protagonist, a ninja himself, stabs him in the neck, which just pisses the gangster off. [[OneSceneWonder The man]] then beats the shit out of the protagonist and smashes him through some dividing walls, and even [[ImplacableMan keeps fighting after he gets stabbed some more]]. In the end, he is defeated nevertheless when the protagonist smashes his weakened opponents head repeatedly against a toilet bowl. It should be noted that the protagonist was not only one of the best ninjas, he also had the element of surprise and a weapon, yet was nearly defeated.
* Freddie tries to bring Michael Myers down with his fists in ''Film/HalloweenResurrection''. [[spoiler:He actually survives this encounter]].
* In a classic tribute to this trope, in ''{{Rio}}'', a marmoset strikes several kung fu poses, only for Raphael to reach over and give him a smart rap on the head with his beak.
* PlayedForLaughs in the sequel to ''Film/JohnnyEnglish''. English is going after a Hong Kong triad who is parkouring his way through the rooftops. English simply opens doors, crams through tight spots, and rides the elevator after him. When he has the villain corner, he watches as martial artist displays acrobatic kicks and flips before taking him out with a quick GroinAttack and a few other hilariously pragmatic moves.
* Displayed in ''Film/WildWildWest'': One of the minions pulls out a fancy move, and says "I learned that from a chinaman." Jim West proceeds to knock him out with a move he declares he just made up.
* In ''Film/DannyTheDog'', Danny has taught himself to fight using pure, feral aggression. He beats a number of fighters who use easily identifiable styles. The toughest local fighter at the pit fighting bar is also an example. His style is simply grabbing [[ImprovisedWeaponUser anything within arm's reach]] and smashing it over Danny's head.
* Compared to Batman's martial arts, ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises''' Bane fights with heavy punches and pragmatic beatdowns [[spoiler:which makes sense, he was born and raised in a prison]]. His trademark pose in which he grasps his own lapels even makes him look like a pugilist.
* In ''Film/LiveFreeOrDieHard'' John [=McClane=] fights a talented female martial artist and uses this (as well as a car) to defeat her. Of course, it helps he had a significant weight advantage over his WaifFu opponent.
* Flip-flopped in ''Film/IpMan''. Wong Leung and his friends' skills with street fighting prove no match for Ip Man's martial arts, and they're soundly beaten. Then again, Twister's Western boxing proves brutally effective against Chinese martial arts, enough to [[spoiler:actually cause Master Hung's death]].
* Averted in ''Film/AnOfficerAndAGentleman''. Zack Mayo is a street rat who learned how to fight in back alleys. While he is by no means a bad fighter, when he squares off against a trained martial artist he goes down fast and hard.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** The contrast between the Silver Horde and the various stereotypical "ninja" bodyguards/assassins they dispatch in the book ''Discworld/InterestingTimes''. The Silver Horde are just barbarian brawlers, but they've had a lot of time to become quite good at it
** In ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'', Carrot tries to use the Marquis of Fantailler combat style against a werewolf, who nearly kills him.
** This entire trope is lampshaded in Discworld: Marquis of Fantailler (A thinly hidden parody of the Marquis of Queensberry) wrote "a list of rules on the manly art of pugilism, mostly concerning places you were not allowed to hit him." Obeying these rules is an accepted form of [[IdiotBall suicide]]. This is opposed to [[CombatPragmatist the actual street combat]] mentioned in the series. It's said that the last words of many a fistfighter have been "Stuff the bloody Marquis of Fantailler".
** Otto von Chriek then subverts it in ''Discworld/TheTruth'', when he proves that good old fisticuffs can be quite deadly if powered by supernatural strength.
** On Discworld, members of the Guild of Assassins are taught to be deadly, silent, killers who are capable of killing stylishly with fifty different weapons. But they are constrained by rules. And, because it is not thought of as being gentlemanly, the one form of fighting they are not taught and discouraged from learning is unarmed combat of ''any'' sort. A gentleman does not brawl in the gutter. This suits their unkillable target Sam Vimes, who has never claimed to be a gentleman and has spent thirty years brawling in the gutter. (It is only in FanFic that an Asassin has come ''anywhere near'' him).
** Towards the end of ''Thud!'', a Dwarvish philosopher/loremaster defeats an axe-swinging traditionalist, using nothing more tha his unclosed fist and willpower. He reflects afterwards he has discovered the strength inherent in the Empty Hand. (Japanese: ''ka-ra-te'')
* In ThomasPynchon's ''Mason & Dixon'', Mason is [[YourWorstNightmare menaced in his nightmares]] by a KnifeNut. After being councelled in the matter by a Malay medicine man, he defeats his dream-foe through the Gloucestershire tradition of kicking him in the shins.
* Double subverted in the EoinColfer novel {{Literature/Airman}}. The protagonist is trained in several forms of martial arts and fencing, and early in the novel is wrongly convicted and sent to a prison/diamond mine. On his first day he's ambushed by the leader of the resident prison gang and gets beaten into unconsciousness. The next day however, he's prepared and handily beats the thug with some simple but effective strikes.
* Played straight in the ''Literature/TalesOfDunkAndEgg'' (prequels to the main story of ''ASongOfIceAndFire''). Dunk is only a fair swordsman, but he is also quite tall, strong, and an experienced streetfighter. When a more skilled swordsman gets the better of him, he tends to grab hold of him and start tossing him around like a ragdoll.
* Subverted by Literature/SherlockHolmes, who is a trained boxer and martial artist, and in one story uses gentlemanly fisticuffs to beat the everloving crap out of a thug who thought he could discourage [[BadassBookworm that skinny little twit]] with a swift (and unsporting) backhand. Holmes is a bit scuffed up but jovial after that brawl, while the other guy gets carried away in a cart.
* In ''[[Literature/XWingSeries Starfighters of Adumar]]'', Cheriss ke Hanadi is a professional blastsword duelist, earning her money through tournaments and endorsements. Her style is described as rough, dirty, something half picked up in gutter duels, but since she wins most of the time she's still fairly popular. Blastsword duels [[BloodSport often end in death]], but there's still a degree of artistry. When she falls for Wedge Antilles and then [[AllLoveIsUnrequited realizes that he loves someone else]], she tries to commit suicide by dueling until executed, but Wedge's wingman Wes steps in and challenges the duelist who's about to kill her. Wes completely sidesteps the dueling aspect and just [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown beats the guy half to death with his fists]]. Mildly subverted there in that he knows his opponent would have beat him if they were dueling, so he gambled on being able to disarm the man.
--> "Forgot to mention. On some worlds people fight with their feet, too. Feet, hands, rocks, pure cussed willpower - they're warriors. You, you're just a dilettante."
* Stephen R. Donaldson has it both ways in his thriller ''The Man Who Fought Alone''. On the one hand, the protagonist's street brawling skills trump anything used by a martial artist under black belt rank, both because [[CombatPragmatist he fights dirty]], and because according to Donaldson most martial arts emphasize intimidation over actual combat prowess so as to try and avoid a fight entirely (similarly to the distinction between Jaffa and human combat styles in ''Series/{{Stargate|SG1}}''.) On the other hand, the characters who've reached black belt actually know some pretty good moves, and combine them with a level of discipline he can't readily match. (It should be noted that Donaldson himself is a martial artist, and seems to know what he's talking about.)
* Subverted near the beginning of ''[[{{Flashman}} Royal Flash]]'' , Flashman witnesses an impromptu match between Otto von Bismarck and retired bareknuckle boxer John Gully. Gully dodges all of von Bismarck's punches until he is finally provoked into knocking the German down, demonstrating that there's more to boxing than wild swinging.
* In ''[[Literature/DreamPark The California Voodoo Game]]'', the AwesomeByAnalysis villain winds up in a one-on-one fight with Dream Park's head of security. Although the villain's sophisticated martial arts training has always served him well in the game, Griffin is so furious at the man for murdering one of his trusted employees that he throws caution to the wind and ''tackles'' his opponent, pounding him so viciously without regard for his own injuries that his foe has no chance to utilize his fancy moves. "Two cats in a sack" is how the narrative describes it, and the villain proves the weaker cat.
* [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''. Adolin wins a duel by abandoning his sword and all his fancy fighting stances, instead just punching and tackling the other guy into submission. However, Navani points out that this would not have worked against a more talented duelist, and Adolin admits he only fought that way so he could keep his real skills secret from the watching crowd.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The show ''KnightRider'', in its last season, featured a troop of ninjas as foes that, despite carrying the trademark weapons of their profession, were easily taken down by straightforward punches. Main Protagonist Michael, in a twist of irony, claimed to be an expert in martial arts during the pilot episode.
* Conan O'Brien jokes that he fights like this on his show.
* In the episode "Bounty Hunter" of ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'', a bounty hunter trained in various martial arts attacks Joy, who fights informally with fisticuffs. It quickly turns into a CurbStompBattle. Given the trope page, you can guess for which side.
-->'''Joy:''' I watch a lot of Springer.
* In ''Series/{{Outlaws}}'', a private detective is menaced by a martial artist. The detective knocks him out with one punch. [[spoiler: It's understandable that the detective doesn't try martial arts himself, given that he's a former cowboy brought forward in time.]]
* Subverted in the ColdOpen of an episode of ''MagnumPI''. A triad member is meeting with a local to buy information. He makes a move that the local takes as a threat, and said local starts listing off all the martial arts styles he's beaten with GoodOldFisticuffs, then demands the triad guy's necklace. He hands it over, gets the information, then jabs him in the throat and kills him.
* Sam and Dean get into plenty of fist fights in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''. These are particularly frequent in the PrisonEpisode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E19FolsomPrisonBlues "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, Ep19)]].
* ''DeepSpaceNine''. While being his usual [[TricksterMentor annoying omnipotent self]], Q vanishes Ops so he can talk to Sisko uninterrupted.
-->'''Sisko:''' Bring them back, Q, now!
-->'''Q:''' Or what? You'll thrash me? Shall we settle this ''mano a mano''?
-->''(Suddenly Q and Sisko are dressed as 1900s bare-knuckle fighters, with everyone else as a cheering crowd)''
-->'''Q:''' Marquis of Queensberry Rules? Fisticuffs, pugilism, the manly art of self-defence. ''(Q hits Sisko)'' Come on. Isn't this all wonderfully barbaric? Go on, take a poke at me. I know that's really what you want to do. Come on. Fight back. This is supposed to be brutal.
-->''(Q punches Sisko three times in the face, then Sisko blocks his arm and pile-drives into his solar plexus. Q falls)''
-->'''Q:''' You hit me! [[StarTrekTheNextGeneration Picard]] never hit me!
-->'''Sisko:''' I'm not Picard.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' featured ''at least'' one good fight scene in most episodes (usually resulting in [[ClothingDamage Kirk's torn shirt]]).
* In ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'', one episode featured the Bundy family relegated to a tiny corner of the park, because a family of rich JerkAss yuppies had a birthday party going on. When Al finally has enough of the extra abuse the family [[KickTheDog needlessly piled on]], this memorable exchange occurred.
-->'''Yuppy Dad:''' That's it! I'll have you know I have a black belt in karate! *kicks at Al*
-->'''Al:''' *catches it under his arm* Woops. Looks like I have your leg.
-->Al punches the man straight across the chin. Cue entire Bundy family [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown going to town on them.]]
* Lucien Blake from ''Series/TheDoctorBlakeMysteries'' displays some serious pugilistic talent. When he squares off against a local thug in "An Invincible Summer", he drops into a stance that shows he has had proper boxing training and takes his opponent, who is much bigger and heavier.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': The Fourth Doctor favours a messy, almost playful, brawling fighting style, contrasting him with his more dignified previous incarnation who [[IKnowKarate Knew Venusian Aikido]], as well as with the First Doctor who had more of a public school Victorian boxer vibe. (And with the Second, who [[WigDressAccent mostly just bluffed people]].)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional wrestling]]
* A traditional gag in professional wrestling is to take in a known pugilist and stretch him out, to prove this trope's fallacy. Sometimes even famously trained boxers such as Muhammad Ali would be effectively grounded for the whole match, just barely avoiding pin fall till the time limit, so as not to totally destroy their credibility. As kayfabe was not only broken but all but the most intricate components of the business exposed for anyone who cares to look, use of this particular ''counter trope'' has faded somewhat, even in promotions who basically built themselves on beating anyone who decried their dojos, such as Wrestling/NewJapanProWrestling.
* This was something [[Wrestling/DeanAmbrose Jon Moxley]] would often boast about to save face when he came across more fancy, flippy or simply more dexterous wrestlers with much more fineness. Even after being laughed off by NEPW of Bone Krusher Academy fame he kept running his mouth in Wrestling/DragonGate and Wrestling/{{Chikara}}, especially to Wrestling/MikeQuackenbush.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* In ''"The Mission"'' by rapper Special Ed, Ed is a secret agent who, when guns and knives prove ineffective against a "5-foot-10 Black Belt Karate master", he defeats him by fighting in "Flatbush Style".
* ProfessorElemental steps into the ring in boxing gloves and his "fighting trousers" in the video for his song, "Fighting Trousers." Still wearing his trademark pith helmet and Franchise/SherlockHolmes pipe.
* JamesBrown's "The Payback." "I don't know karate / But I know ka-razy"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''{{Exalted}}'' First Edition uses the Brawl Ability to cover untrained hand-to-hand combat, while the Martial Arts Ability covers refined unarmed combat [[MartialArtsAndCrafts along with just about everything else]]. Second Edition merged them into one Ability to make room for War, leading to an odd situation where [[EverybodyWasKungFuFighting anything that could punch or kick knew Martial Arts]]. This includes ''horses''.
** ''{{Exalted}}'' Second Edition has Solar Hero Style, essentially Good Old Fisticuffs the Supernatural Martial Art, eschewing the subtle metaphorical effects of other Supernatural Martial Arts in favor of just hitting things ''really hard''.
*** And this being ''Exalted'', it takes Good Old Fisticuffs SerialEscalation. There's one Charm that allows you to punch people ''through walls'', and one to punch them '''into Hell'''. This, unsurprisingly, hurts a great deal.
* Mildly subverted in the original ''TabletopGame/{{DC Heroes}} RPG'' by Maifair Games and the system's ''reincarnation'' as ''Blood Of Heroes'' by Pulsar Games. The martial Arts skill could be taken as-is, or could simply be used to represent ''Him Fight Good'' - whether it's Iron Fist's intense training, or the otherwise physically slow Juggernaut's ability to hit all but the most agile of opponents with his hamfists, to use Marvel Comics examples (is that a TakeThat ?).
* The Brawling skill in ''{{GURPS}}'' is for "unscientific unarmed combat". It is costs less to reach a high level than skills like Karate or Boxing but gives a smaller damage bonus.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* In ''Theatre/PokemonLive'', when Giovanni defeats Ash's Pikachu, Ash tries to fight Giovanni himself, with his fists. The Rocket leader responds in kind.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* This is Joker's fighting style in ''VideoGame/MortalKombatVsDCUniverse'', complete with the traditional pose.
** It's his fighting style in Arkham City too. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuyuE5wK5Iw He even does a little dance.]] Against Batman, however, he gets floored in a few punches and then resorts to calling out 15 {{Mooks}}, a [[TheBrute Brute]] with one arm who wields a sledgehammer, and of course, a [[GiantMook Titan]].
** And then STILL loses. [[spoiler: The only reason why he isn't actually defeated is due a DiabolusExMachina helicopter strike that buries Batman.]] [[CombatPragmatist The Joker decides to go with a knife from then on.]]
* Most of the combat in ''ZenoClash''. While some enemies use elaborate spin kicks and martial arts, [[PlayerCharacter Gant's]] unarmed fighting style essentially boils down to bashing his foes with his fists until they get dizzy, then smashing their skulls against his kneecaps.
* In ''VideoGame/TheGodfather: The Game'', you as Aldo Trapani don't have any fancy evasive rolls in the style of ''DevilMayCry''-esque "Stylish Action Games", {{Vacuum Hurricane Kick}}s, [[WrestlerInAllOfUs wrasslin' moves]] or WaifFu-like flips [[{{Firefly}} a 90-pound girl]] might use, only simple punches, a lunging grab and [[ExtremityExtremist maybe the occasional kick.]] Unfortunately, this means that you have trouble dealing with three or more enemies at once.
* Balrog is like this in the ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' games, using American boxing. (Without gloves.) Unfortunately, he's handicapped as a fighter, because he can't use any kick-based moves at all. (Trying to do so in games where he's a playable character just results in a low punch; suffice to say, he's not the best fighter among the bosses.)
* In ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'', Slayer, immortal and powerful vampire, uses only his bare hands. His Insta-Kill is simply punching enemy into another galaxy.
* ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' has a few examples. In the first four games, the various Jacks typically have "Brute Force" listed as their only style, and since they're all [[MightyGlacier gigantic robots]], it only makes sense. But this trope started getting taken into overdrive with the newest games in the series; the UpdatedRerelease ''Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection'' introduced Lili, who is a wealthy ballerina with "street fighting" as her official style, while her actual movelist incorporates ballet and gymnastics. Miguel is later introduced in ''Tekken 6'' as was specifically designed to be nothing but a brawler, with no combat pose to speak of and punches and kicks which seem very casually thrown with no training behind them. Finally, with ''Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion'', Alisa Bosconovitch introduced into the series, who [[RobotGirl fights by detaching her own head, shooting her arms as projectiles, flying on retractable thrusters]] and has ''[[ChainsawGood friggin chainsaws on each arm!]]''
* At a meta level, you can consider fighting game players who train in arcades, repeatedly pitting themselves against targets that fight back, thus favouring BoringButPractical jabs and bread-and-butter combos. This contrasts with fighting game players who can use the home releases' training modes to perfect their knowledge of the moves against compliant dummies. Of course, who comes up tops when they square off is not set in stone. A home player may, having explored the depths of AwesomeButImpractical, come to stand by the simple combos, while an arcade player can very well show his dominance by going flashy-like.
* In ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' the Heavy's default melee weapons are simply his fists. Taunting with it [[FingerGun kills any foes in front of him instantly]].
* ''Videogame/CityOfHeroes'' has the Street Justice powerset, which is all about this kind of fighting, as opposed to Martial Arts. Both sets have their strengths over the other.
* ''Videogame/AsurasWrath'': Asura's main fighting style is all about this. In contrast to Yasha's precise chops and slices, Asura mostly fights by flailing his arms wildly and punching as fast and hard as he can.
* ''VideoGame/{{Psychosomnium}}'': Mitch, the only combat character in the game, has a pair of beefy fists he uses to get rid of certain nasty obstacles.
* Liquid Snake from ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' shows off his pugilist skills during a bout against Solid Snake. And he's not afraid to fight dirty.
** Also, the Cyborg Ninja: if Snake holsters his weapons and attacks hand-to-hand, the Ninja will pay the same respect.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob,'' while being an extreme NiceGuy is usually Bob's greatest strength, allowing him to attract allies and [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath talk monsters to death,]] the downside seems to be that he's [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20101026.html really pretty worthless in a fistfight.]]
* Jake English of ''{{Homestuck}}'' enjoys his fill of fisticuffs and old-fashioned wrestling.
** The Heroes of [[ThePowerOfTheVoid Void]] tend to rely on "[[StealthPun fistkind]]" as their WeaponOfChoice.[[note]]The pun: They're using their natural abilities by "wielding nothing" in battle.[[/note]]
* ''WebComic/HeroOhHero'' has the main character, Burk and his {{Foil}} The Aristocrat, who both prefer fighting with their hands.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/MyGymPartnersAMonkey'', Jake gaining a "Mustache" inexplicably gives him 1337 skills with nunchucks, but Adam counters this by challenging to a round of fisticuffs. Subverted in that neither of them actually knows what comes next.
* Hilariously happens in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong'' when [[ItMakesSenseInContext Fu fights a magical hairless cat for an ancient jewel]]. The cat starts an acrobatic martial art move she declares to have learned in the Shaolin temple. Fu slugs her with a simple punch he learned at a bar in Bronx.
* Terry [=McGinnis=] in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' uses these over a formal karate fighting style his predecessor used having first learned to fight on the street. It later proves very useful against [[spoiler:the Joker]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', Rarity - usually a prim and proper socialite and fashionista who dreads the idea of getting dirty and unladylike - has no problem putting up her dukes when the chips are down, even challenging a posse of dragons and pummeling her way through an army of changelings with her front hooves alone. Bonus points for being a unicorn, a pony race normally expected to resort to magic for this sort of thing.
* Wildcat in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' as typified by this quote:
-->'' Everybody's got the superpowers these days. I remember when a tough jaw and a solid uppercut were all you needed to fight crime.''
* TheSimpsons: In the episode [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS8E11TheTwistedWorldOfMargeSimpson "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson"]], which features a MobWar between TheMafia and {{Yakuza}}, Fat Tony takes down a bunch of Japanese martial artists.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Most "self defense" styles are basically Good Old Fisticuffs, avoiding flashier moves in favor of simple, "dirty" techniques designed to finish a fight quickly in realistic circumstances. Combatives taught to soldiers and police officers are also of this variety, though police officers tend to have a focus on restraining techniques. A notable example is ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krav_Maga Krav Maga]]'', which was developed by the [[IsraelisWithInfraredMissiles Israel Defense Forces]]. Its aim is to incapacitate whoever you're fighting as quickly as possible. That may or may not extend to killing them; stereotypically (and [[TruthInTelevision not entirely without merit]]), this most often means "[[GroinAttack kick/knee/punch them in the crotch]]."
* In the early days of UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts, many traditional martial artists were defeated by "brawling" styles from big punchers like "Tank" Abbot, who billed himself as a "pitfighter" and had learned most of what he knew about fighting by getting into [[BarBrawl bar brawls]]. For a while, it wasn't uncommon to find a number of UFC fighters who admitted to starting their fighting careers on the streets rather than with a technical martial arts background. Kimbo Slice is perhaps the most famous street fighter to make it big, for a moment at least, in MMA. In modern times, however, most high-level MMA fighters have a long history of formal training in wrestling, striking and grappling arts before they reach the big leagues.
* The [[UsefulNotes/NationalHockeyLeague Philadelphia Flyers]] of the 1970's were known around the NHL as the "Broad Street Bullies" for their preferred method of playing hockey by way of fists and not sticks.[[note]]"Broad Street" is the major north-south thoroughfare in Philadelphia east of the Schuylkill; the Flyers' home ice has always been on Broad in South Philly.[[/note]] Although many were critical of their behavior (especially those who preferred the style and elegance of hockey and hated seeing goonish play ruin it), it did get them back-to-back StanleyCup championships in '74 and '75.
[[/folder]]

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