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[[quoteright:300:[[Recap/TintinTheCrabWithTheGoldenClaws http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tap-on-the-head_tintin_870.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:[-Tintin's attempts to fix the weird hairy lump on his head became more extreme over time.-] ]]

->''"Knocking people out... by hitting them on the head... that's movie stuff!"''
-->-- '''Mike Thorton''' (who has just been beaned with a lamp), ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol''
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In fictionland, anyone caught unaware may be easily, instantaneously and noiselessly incapacitated with a single blow to the head (or alternatively, a karate chop to the neck). A character thus treated will usually be [[HardHead perfectly fine afterwards]]; at worst they may have a headache, dizziness, slightly blurred vision, or in the very worst cases, LaserGuidedAmnesia. The real danger to their health is not the aftereffects of head trauma, but the Bad Guys standing around the [[StrappedToAnOperatingTable operating table]] (or other heavy piece of furniture) to which [[BoundAndGagged they've been tied down]]. In other words, being clobbered on the skull has no real lasting effects which could hinder our protagonists for the rest of the plot. (This is why InTheBack does not apply -- hitting someone from behind is not really dangerous.)

Needless to say this is not TruthInTelevision at all. First, there's no way to be knocked unconscious with a blow to the head and not suffer some degree of brain injury. Any head injury that results in even brief unconsciousness is a sign of a cerebral concussion, which, even if mild, would still be a serious injury with potential issues down the road. Secondly, it requires a lot of force to inflict a knockout that way (much more than a blow to the jaw, particularly an open lower jaw), and the difference in force between what would concuss someone unconscious and what would fracture their skull is extremely narrow. This is why police in most places are taught not to club people over the head with their batons anymore.

But in fiction, particularly in action genres, being knocked out is treated as nothing worse than a particularly hard nap. Heroes wantonly deliver painful and dangerous concussions to guardsmen, and friends knock each other out in disagreements, with little acknowledgement that brain cells are dying. In many role-playing games, knockout punches are actually treated as a form of nonlethal damage from which you recover quickly. The trope also fails to take into account the chronic effects of dozens of concussions from KO blows to the head, which many characters have accumulated over many shows and films. Honestly, with the number of times James Bond or Tintin have been knocked unconscious, they ought to be in a roughly similar physiological state to Muhammad Ali.

Contemporary audiences are becoming [[DiscreditedTrope increasingly canny about this]], meaning the characters now typically use more elaborate, realistic, or permanent techniques for dealing with opponents.

A strong blow to head can also serve plot-related purposes - mostly mixing up thoughts and your perception of reality. The classic example is starting to believe your own cover story. This is not the case in RealLife.

The "karate chop to the neck" version may have been removed from modern TV because if you hit the right spot it actually can knock you out, though not without serious risk of death. It utilizes the Carotid Sinus Reflex (the reason you should not take a pulse at the neck) and is [[DontTryThisAtHome very dangerous]]. There have also been depictions in productions as varied as the lighthearted ''Series/ISpy'' and as dark as ''Series/{{Callan}}'' in which neck-chopping unambiguously is shown to be fatal because it breaks the target's neck.

Other variants of the trope:
* In Western media, there's the punch to the jaw (AKA a "knockout punch"). Again, [[DontTryThisAtHome in reality]] this could inflict serious injury. In this case, not only to the victim, but the attacker (without hand protection) [[InvulnerableKnuckles could very easily injure their hand]]; boxers and MMA fighters wear gloves not to protect their opponents' heads (which they don't[[note]]In fact, by making powerful blows to the head easier they may ''increase'' the risk of brain damage[[/note]]), but to protect their own hands (which they do). Modern-day productions often depict the person throwing the punch injuring their hand in some way, sometimes for humorous effect.
* Common in anime is the "sharp shot to the solar plexus", often used to subdue a struggling person. It makes it fairly easy to pick up the now-unconscious person and sling them over one's shoulder for easy carrying. Its effects are just as exaggerated as the Western version; in real life, such a blow does not cause unconsciousness but does cause the muscles of the diaphragm to spasm uncontrollably, making any activity requiring air very difficult. It is safer than a blow to the throat or the back of the head, but can occasionally lead to dangerous organ or nerve damage and is thus best avoided.
* ChokeHolds, where an arm around the neck is used to cut off blood to the brain ("blood strangle/choke") or oxygen to the lungs (chokehold, stranglehold). Properly applied, this is a safer and more reliable way of causing someone to become unconscious (even allowed in judo competition for many decades), but carries a risk of stroke or other dangerous problems if used on an older victim or one with a weakened circulatory system. It also tends to wear off quickly (as in, after a couple of seconds), or alternatively when it doesn't, cause varying levels of brain damage. Not depicted very often in film or TV as it's difficult to distinguish on screen between a choke hold and someone having their neck broken or being strangled to death, potentially giving the wrong impression if the intent is to show non-lethal takedowns.
* Another variant is instant knockout caused by shattering either a vase or lamp over someone's head or even just on their back.
* If played for laughs, the knock-out may be accompanied by CirclingBirdies.

See also BackStab, ChokeHolds, WeNeedADistraction, StunGuns, PressurePoint, InstantSedation and BlindedByTheLight. Contrast DeathByFallingOver. Often leads to WakingUpElsewhere. PistolWhipping is a SubTrope.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The "karate chop to the neck" is still used constantly in shonen anime, but even with its credibility can have some ridiculous effects, particularly in ''Franchise/DragonBall'', where characters can shrug off blasts and blows powerful enough to pulverize mountains, planets, and ''solar systems'', but one little tap on the back of the head and they're down for the count, usually coming to when it sits well with the plot, or rather whatever fight is going on.
** Used rather absurdly in ''HunterXHunter'', although with nods to its dangerousness. Killua uses it to quickly advance through a tournament, but says he has to hold back to avoid killing his opponents. Chrollo uses one faster than the human eye can perceive in order to make it look like a girl fainted next to him. Someone watching a frame by frame video recording of it notes that it's surprising that he didn't chop her head off.
* In ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'', the "sharp shot to the solar plexus" move was once used by Miroku to subdue a peasant girl whom he was trying to move to safety. However, the women of the village had also been possessed by a demon, which Miroku knew. Hitting them in that location was the only way to free them from the demonic possession.
* ''Anime/MazingerZ'': Boss used the "low blow to the solar plexus" variant with [[spoiler:Kouji]] to try to avoid he [[spoiler:fought against the Mykene Warrior Monsters in the last episode.]] Maybe it was used in a more realistic way than usual, though, since when [[spoiler:Kouji]] regained consciousness a while after, he seemed being in pain.
* ''Anime/PanzerWorldGalient'' used the "karate chop to the neck" variant in episode 5. [[TheDragon Hy]] struck Lord Protz in the side of the throat, and the blow was strong enough to slam Protz on a nearby railing.
* Used inconsistently in the ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' manga and anime. ''Not'' counting the comedy {{Hammerspace}} hammers, or the ubiquitous MegatonPunch, there are many instances where these martial arts masters are knocked out with serious, deliberate blows to the head. Since these are people who have withstood the equivalent of exploding tank shells, mountains collapsing on top of them, and accumulative damage from prolonged duels, the ease with which they can be incapacitated with an elbow (or kick) to the skull is mind-boggling.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', Sasuke knocks Sakura out with a blow to the back of the head before leaving Konoha. When she got up, it was exactly like she just fell asleep. To be fair, we don't know exactly how Sasuke knocked her out. We saw her face and heard a blow, and then she fell over.
** Also from Naruto is the Waterfall Village OVA. Sakura is put in charge of guarding the children while Naruto and Sasuke are off doing other things. A little while later, cue karate chop to the back of Sakura's neck and her being knocked out. Her attacker then let's out a scoff, saying he can't believe she's actually a ninja if she got caught off guard that easilly.
* ''FushigiYuugi'' plays it straight and parodies it. Tamahome seems to like striking people smack over the head, punching their jaws out, and taking out their guts. However, he gets a taste of this in the middle of the series from fellow Suzaku Seishi [[SuperStrength Nuriko]].
--> '''Nuriko''': (taps Tamahome on the back of the head) Tamakinsy-kins!
--> '''Tamahome''': (gets his face smacked into his food)
--> '''Nuriko''': (smiles innocently) That's funny! I just meant to give you a little tap on the head!
* Subverted in ''LeChevalierDEon'' in the scene where Robin tries to PistolWhip a guard unconscious. He only succeeds in hurting the guard, and has to resort to a more vigorous attack to bring him down.
* On December 18, year unknown, [[LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya Kyon and the SOS Brigade]] finish a meeting and walk down the stairs. Everybody's at the bottom, and Kyon starts coming down. Somebody gives him a TapOnTheHead. He rolls down the stairs painfully and falls in a coma for 3 days. Turns out in an alternate universe ([[ItMakesSenseInContext don't ask]]), Kyon got stabbed in the abdomen and his friends from the original universe come and save him and to restore time and... You know what, it'll all make sense in ''Vanishment''.
* Played ''[[BreakTheCutie very]]'' seriously in ''Anime/AngelBeats!'': [[spoiler: When Iwasawa was alive, her father smashed a bottle over her head when she was trying to stop one of his and her mother's fights. She was mostly alright until the next day, when she collapsed at work due to a cerebral contusion caused by the hit. When she woke up in the hospital, she couldn't use her voice, and died soon afterward.]]
* In ''Manga/ElfenLied'', Nyu is a result of Lucy getting her helmet shot off by what looks to be an anti-materiel rifle, making that what constitutes as a tap on the head for a Diclonus.
* In ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'', Ashitaka uses the "stiff shot to the solar plexus" variant to knock out San and Lady Eboshi, thereby ending the fight between the two women.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''
** Anime episode 33. Ichigo has just been healed by Hanataro after a fight with Renji Abarai. Ignoring Hanatoro's warning not to move or he'll re-open his wounds, Ichigo is walking away when he's suddenly punched in the face and knocked unconscious by Ganju Shiba so he'll have to rest.
** Anime episode 43 has two examples. When a Soul Reaper is suspicious of Uryu and Orihime, another Soul Reaper knocks him out with a piece of wood to the back of the head. There's also a fairly ridiculous example where Orihime gets a chop to the neck by a guy that just wanted her to shut up. It's not played as okay on that occasion, as the man realises he hit her too hard and is very worried about what damage he may have done to her (none, as it turned out, meaning this trope was still played straight).
* Paired up with InstantSedation in ''Anime/ValkyriaChronicles'' as the "solar plexus" variation in a [[IncrediblyLamePun one-two punch]] of outdated knockout tropes. Almost immediately after [[spoiler: Princess Cordelia]] is put out via chloroform rag, [[spoiler: Alicia]] stumbles across the guilty party making off with her, earning a particularly vicious-looking fist in the gut and a [[DamselInDistress spot next to the former kidnapped party.]]
* ''Anime/HanaukyoMaidTai'' ''La Verite'' episode 2. While Ryuuka and Mariel are in a contest Ryuuka is hit on the head by a falling heavy metal basin and knocked unconscious. It turns out she was supposed to catch it.
* In ''GundamWing Endless Waltz'', there's a scene where Heero, Duo, and Trowa (the later posing as a member of the enemy forces) are cornered in a room. Heero asks Duo, completely out of left field, to punch him. Duo complies, and his right hook is "rewarded" with a shot to the solar plexus ("W-why?" "One for one; we're even now."). The idea was to knock Duo out so he could affect his own escape later, while Heero pretended to be KO'd and made a break for it when the soldiers were distracted by talking to Trowa, who pretended he captured the pair.
* ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'' has Kojuro hit Masamune in the shoulder/neck area with the blunt edge of his sword, knocking him out. It causes no lasting damage but another character calls him out on the risk.
* {{Lampshaded}} in ''Manga/{{Yuyushiki}}'', where Yuzuko states that she is a big fan of this trope. [[BrickJoke She attempts to knock Yui out with a chop to the neck a few episodes later]], only to receive a stern lecture about [[RealityEnsues how the move doesn't work in real life]] and instead [[DontTryThisAtHome can lead to serious injuries]].
* Homura does the "karate chop to the neck" trick to Sayaka in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''. This one is especially weird, because Kyouko had recently smashed Sayaka against a wall, ''intending'' to cause serious injury, but [[HealingFactor her powerful healing magic kicked in]] and she got up immediately. Yet the karate chop causes long-lasting unconsciousness.
* Played with, justified, and lampshaded in ''{{Cyborg 009}}''. Joe is clubbed on the head by a giant monster. When he wakes up, he's very incoherent and in terrible pain as he gets back to his team. He needs a patch-up when he gets there, and 004 notes that the head injury he sustained would probably have killed a regular human.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Audio Play]]
* In "AudioPlay/TheFurtherAdventuresOfNickDanger", Nick gets hit on the head by [[spoiler:Nancy/Betty Jo]]. As he slowly fades into unconsciousness, he begins to hear voices, one of which is the announcer saying, "we'll be back to Nick Danger after these commercial messages".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* {{Asterix}}, Obélix and company frequently employ this against Roman legionaries, bandits, and other foes. Although "tap" is sort of a mild way of putting it, given their SuperStrength.
** In ''Astérix and the Big Fight'', Obélix accidentally flattens Getafix the Druid with a menhir (causing the latter to develop temporary IdentityAmnesia); he then describes it to others as "just a tap on the head".
** It has to be noted that all injuries in this series are AmusingInjuries. The menhir example above is the one case where the injury had any long lasting effect.
* The Belgian comic book character {{Tintin}} falls prey to this so often that one suspects he has a fainting button on his head.
** In fact, in a joke section of a medical journal dealing with brain injuries it was once speculated that Tintin's perpetually youthful appearance was due to the repeated blows to the head damaging his pituitary gland and stunting his growth.
* ActionGirl ComicBook/YokoTsuno, the main character of Roger Leloup's comic book of the same name, is an Aikido expert who uses the "chop to the neck" movement (which is named ''yokomen'' in Aikido) regularly on her rivals. Yoko herself frequently faints after being chopped on the neck, her enemies all seem aware of Yoko's vunerability in this area, almost as if Yoko has something on her neck that says hit me here to make me faint.
* Happens to [[GreenLantern Hal Jordan]] almost constantly. Having a magic ring to help boost your biological systems helps.
* WonderWoman, back in the late [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] and early [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]], could be stopped by a simple blow to the back of the head (this replaced the earlier "powerless if [[AuthorAppeal tied up by a man]]" WeaksauceWeakness used so many times previously). Since PowerCreepPowerSeep was making it increasingly hard to HandWave her having the same vulnerabilities as a mere mortal, blows to the head were actually {{Voodoo Shark}}ed at one point by stating that Amazons had a nerve cluster there that remained an AchillesHeel, no matter how NighInvulnerable they were.
* [[ComicBook/{{Batgirl 2000}} Batgirl]] II, Cassandra Cain, did this multiple times to her sometimes partner/sidekick Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) [[PercussivePrevention whenever they faced a threat she felt was too great for her]]. Cassandra was the poster girl for CharlesAtlasSuperpower and Stephanie complained later that it felt like Cass broke her jaw.
* ''{{Kick-Ass}}''. The hero gets smacked around so hard he needs a steel plate in his head. After much, much healing the plate somehow provides a limited amount of impact-to-skull protection.
** It's not that the plate provides protection so much as the hero's already [[DisabilitySuperpower suffered sufficient nerve damage]] that hitting him there won't do any more.
* The famous "One punch!" with which Franchise/{{Batman}} knocks out [[GreenLantern Guy Gardner]]. The only after-effect is a comedy personality change.
** To avoid the implication that Batman had given Gardner brain damage, the personality change isn't caused by the punch, but rather by Gardner bonking his head on the underside of a desk, after waking up from the punch.
*** That, and Gardner'd already suffered brain damage before. [[spoiler: And was faking it here anyway.]]
* Comic books RUN on this trope, especially the "punch to the jaw" version, which virtually every superhero uses as a standard method of dealing with mooks. One wonders if the general insanity of Gotham City criminals might be Batman's own fault, from dishing out so many concussions to formerly-ordinary thugs.
* {{Deconstructed}} in the ''SecretInvasion'' tie-in from ''Comicbook/NewAvengers''. {{Shanna The She-Devil}} tries to knock out a female ComicBook/{{SHIELD}} agent in order to [[MuggedForDisguise steal her uniform]], but the karate chop to the neck ends up ''killing her'' instead. It turns out that the "agent" was actually a Skrull impostor anyway, so there's [[AngstWhatAngst no resulting angst]].
* Inverted in the first issue of the Charlton Comics illustrated magazine version of ''Series/TheSixMillionDollarMan'' where Austin -- depicted in the B&W title closer to the cold-blooded killer of the original novels than the TV version -- karate chops a scientist in the neck with his bionic arm, obviously killing him, and then impersonates him for the rest of the story (after [[WhatTheHellHero spending a night with his wife]]).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* FanFic/GraduateMeetingOfMutualKilling averts this trope. The protagonist Akane Ogata gets hit by a piston, full force, and loses consciousness. While she doesn't die, when she wakes up she's drenched in blood and in great pain. Few moments later, she gets hit in the head again, [[spoiler:this time falling into a ''coma''.]]
* ''SixBridesForTwoSisters'' has Rarity blocking Twilight from teleporting herself and other ponies away from an awkward social situation. When the guards come by, Twilight asks Applejack to do this (Twilight had mentioned earlier that if she were to just plow through the block, she might kill Rarity from the backlash), her waning sanity putting faith in this trope. Applejack disagrees. 'One, what Ah’m trying to say is that if I kick Rarity in the head hard enough to knock her out, Ah’m liable to cave her skull in, or break her neck, or somethin’.'
* The WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic fanfiction ''Fanfic/{{Jericho}}'' uses this in a very interesting way. It gets amazingly played straight, lampshaded, subverted, and deconstructed—all in one chapter! First [[FirstPersonSmartass Jericho]] knocks a stallion unconscious with a side-neck chop, has a WhatTheHellHero moment on himself wherein he lampshades this; then when Jericho himself get a nightstick upside the head, he only gets a nasty, nasty bruise. (The deconstruction is the head injury he gets and how he could have killed that one guy.)
--> [[DeadpanSnarker Jericho]]: “Oh, you mean the side-neck chop? That’s just a martial arts move. I mean, yeah, if I’d done it wrong, it would have killed him via cardiac arrest, and so, in hindsight, that was highly irresponsible of me to do but... I’m not helping my case any, am I?”
* Fanfic/SummerDaysAndEveningFlames: Farrington Guard Captain Iron Bulwark is on the receiving end when [[spoiler: [[FaceHeelTurn Sergeant Sherry]] escapes his custody]]. He assures the two guards (actually one) that he's okay, and is sent all the way to the hospital to confirm that he's okay.
* [[TheChroniclesOfNarnia Narnia]] fanfiction ''FanFic/TheFledglingYear'' does this consistently. Whenever a character is knocked unconscious by a blow to the head, they’re typically only out for a moment ([[spoiler:the exception being when Aravis falls off a cliff in chapter 54]]), and usually don’t suffer any permanent damage. The common version of this trope, the “knockout punch” to the jaw, is subverted and then {{lampshaded}} by Cor:
--> '''Cor:''' “… I barely had time to put my hands up when one of them hit me in the jaw—I could tell they were only common thugs, since even ''I'' know not to punch the face. He fell back yelping about his knuckles …"
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film - Animated]]
* Happens twice in Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''.
** When Jafar has the city guards kidnap Aladdin, one of the guards knocks Aladdin out with a truncheon-like device.
** During the fight between Aladdin and Snake!Jafar near the end of the movie, Abu hits Iago over the head with what looks like a dish cover, making his head ring like a gong and knocking him out.
* ''RudolphTheRedNosedReindeer''. Yukon Cornelius drops a rock on the Bumble's head and [=KO=]'s him temporarily.
* ''Film/TheAdventuresOfTintin'' naturally plays this straight to the point of exuberance.
* In ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', Rapunzel's technique. With a frying pan. Does Flynn no harm.
** Later, [[spoiler:the Stabbington brothers knock out Flynn as well]]. He comes to a few minutes later.
* In his ShowWithinAShow, ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'' disables a {{Mook}} with a karate chop to the neck. Outside the show, however, is another matter.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Live Action]]
* Subverted in the Chris Farley comedy ''AlmostHeroes''. Chris Farley's character Bartholomew Hunt attempts to hit his companion Leslie Edwards, played by Matthew Perry, with a rock in order to knock him unconscious (for Leslie's own good; ItMakesSenseInContext), but only causes considerable pain. He then picks up a comically-large rock that would almost certainly crush Leslie's head in and is about to try again before Leslie stops him.
** Also subverted earlier in the movie when a dentist, about to remove one of Bartholomew's teeth, hits him over the head with a hammer to knock him out. It doesn't work, and Bartholomew just tells him to get on with it.
* ''Film/TankGirl''
** A Water & Power trooper knocks out Tank Girl after capturing her outside her house.
** Tank Girl knocks out Sub Girl (AKA "Rain Lady") by tapping her on the top of the head with a plastic fish.
** A Water & Power guard is knocked out from behind with a bowling pin.
* Subverted in ''Film/DogSoldiers'' when Wells (Sean Pertwee) orders Cooper (Kevin [=McKidd=]) to knock him out, so Cooper hits him, but Wells just sits up again and shouts, "I said knock me out, you fucking pussy!" Long term damage isn't an issue in this case, [[spoiler:since Wells has been bitten by a werewolf...]]
* ''AustinPowers: International Man of Mystery''.
** Parodied by the title character's "Judo Chop!".
** While Austin and Vanessa are infiltrating Virtucon, Random Task comes up behind them and [[PutTheirHeadsTogether smashes their heads together]] like coconuts, rendering them unconscious.
** Vanessa cracks Random Task over the head while he's in their suite. That hat certainly wasn't effective.
* In ''TheBoondockSaintsIIAllSaintsDay'', this is subverted and parodied mercilessly. A part of the plan that Murphy and Conner comes up with to get rid of a small time drug ring calls for a friend of theirs to club a fork lift driver in the head to steal a forklift, and you can tell it's doomed to failure right away when they give him a gun that's so small it looks like it couldn't kill a bird. After a GilliganCut, we see the forklift driver they tried to KO with a nasty gash in his head, chastising them for the over reliance on tropes in their plans, asking why they just didn't wave a gun in his face and tell him to scram.
* In the film version of ''JohnnyMnemonic'', Ralfi is being held against the wall by Johnny. Johnny is then promptly cold-cocked in the back of the head by one of Ralfi's bodyguards, and collapses like a sack of potatoes. It is some consolation, however, that Ralfi is worried that it may have caused damage to his head [[spoiler:because the Yakuza thugs want Johnny's head intact]].
* Subverted in ''Film/TheGamers''; one of the [=PCs=] asks to be knocked out. Two characters hit him, to no avail. The third knocks him ''very'' much out, so much that he's killed. Obviously, the rules of their game don't allow for non-lethal damage.
* This has happened to Film/JamesBond (and others in his movies) repeatedly.
** In ''Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice'', ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun'', ''Film/DiamondsAreForever'' and ''Film/{{Moonraker}}'' he was knocked out but was fine afterward. Oddly enough, each time it was performed by a nameless {{Mook}}, not TheDragon or the BigBad.
** In ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'' he was knocked out by TheDragon Oddjob and later took out a guard by kicking him in the head.
** In ''Film/{{Moonraker}}'' a tram operator was knocked out by being hit on the back of a head with a wrench and two Drax employees were [=KO=]ed by a punch and a metal container.
** In ''Film/LiveAndLetDie'' Bond was knocked out by Tee Hee, and Bond knocked out a number of {{mooks}} with punches to the jaw.
** In ''Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice'' Bond and some captured astronauts take out several SPECTRE guards with punches.
** Most of the time, when Bond knocks someone out he doesn't particularly care about his victims' well-being. He just aims for silencing them ASAP.
* ''Film/UndercoverBrother''
** The title character does this to two {{Mooks}}: once with a bottle and once with a punch. Both {{Mooks}} are awake and after him in pursuit seconds later.
** Sistah Girl and White She Devil knock out a large number of {{mooks}} during the fight in the island fortress Communications Room.
* Happens every five minutes in ''MidnightRun''.
* In ''Film/ConspiracyTheory'' Mel Gibson's character goes around doing this to a few people, they go out like a light, and they never suffer anything more than a headache afterward.
** Subverted, when it is shown that Agent Lowry is faking unconsciousness both times he was clobbered
* Averted in ''Miller'sCrossing'', in which Tom is kicked in the head and knocked unconscious, but when he wakes up he is informed that he wasn't out for more than a few seconds.
* ''Film/ThePrincessBride''.
** The Dread Pirate Roberts knocks out Inigo with his swordhilt.
** Count Rugen knocks out Westley with his sword hilt as well.
*** Cary Elwes actually ''asked'' Christopher Guest [[Film/FightClub to hit him for real]], and Guest obliged hard enough to shut down production for a day while Cary went to the hospital.
** Fezzik knocks out a Shrieking Eel and accidentally kills the albino with a clout on the skull.
* In ''Film/{{Sneakers}}'', Buddy Wallace clocks Bishop several times with a handgun to the face. The later ChokeHold is comparatively merciful in contrast.
* ''Film/TheAvengers1998'':
** Bailey knocks out Ministry agent Alice with a blow on the back of the head.
** Mrs. Peel's clone knocks Steed unconscious with one punch.
* ''Film/WildWildWest''
** Jim West knocks General "Bloodbath" [=McGrath=] unconscious with one punch. [=McGrath=] wakes up a few seconds later with no side effects.
** West knocks out a guard at the Sons of the South dance with a punch.
* In ''Film/FatalInstinct'', Laura Lincolnberry knocks out her ex-husband by hitting him on the head with a FryingPanOfDoom.
* In ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'', Roger is bopped over the head with a frying pan and dragged out of the way. [[spoiler:Later, Jessica reveals that she did it: she didn't want Roger to get hurt. In fairness, it's impossible to permanently injure a toon via this method.]]
* ''Film/BigTroubleInLittleChina''. Wang and Eddie take out some female guards with judo chops and karate kicks to the head, and Wang knocks out multiple Wing Kong guards with punches and kicks to the head. Amusingly, Jack Burton knocks himself out by shooting the ceiling and dropping masonry on his head.
* In ''Film/ArsenicAndOldLace'', AxCrazy Jonathan is knocked out in this manner by the police, and the trope itself is {{lampshaded}} in the film version by the GenreSavvy protagonist, Mortimer.
-->'''Mortimer:''' (watching the fight). "Oh, don't do that. It never works." (Jonathan collapses) "What do you know? it worked!"
* In ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'', sick of Richie's psychotic behavior when the family whom they've held hostage's van hits a bump, Seth uses this opportunity to punch him out.
* ''Film/StarTrekGenerations''. While in the Amargosa Observatory, Dr. Soren knocks out Geordi [=LaForge=] with a punch to the face.
* This is not done once, but twice to Captain Jack Sparrow in ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl'' - First, humiliatingly by Will Turner's drunken blacksmith and then by Turner himself while spying on his mutinous crew in Isla de Muerta after Will figures out that Jack wishes to use him as "leverage" to get his ship back.
** During the Black Pearl's attack on Port Royal, Turner himself gets knocked out during his fight with the undead pirates and wakes up dazed the next morning.
* ''Film/BlazingSaddles''. After Taggart leaves Bart to die in quicksand, little realizing that the quicksand in this movie, apart from being in the middle of an arid desert, works exactly the way it does in real life (i.e. it doesn't suck him in, among other things), Bart comes up behind him and lays him out with a shovel to the back of the head. Later on Taggart has a bandage on his head and not even a concussion.
** Although Taggart does scream in pain when Hedley Lamarr touches the bandage, so obviously there was some injury done.
* Both used and averted in the ''Film/IpMan'' films, where a good blow to the head drops many a mook, but named characters prove more resilient.
* Happens to at least 11 people in ''Film/TheGreatRace''.
** Maggie Dubois to The Great Leslie with a champagne bottle (accidentally).
** Max to Hezekiah with a window bar (also accidentally - he thought Hezekiah was a guard).
** Max KO's 3 castle guards (and possibly a monk) with the window bar.
** The Great Leslie takes out six castle guards:
*** Two with a [[PutTheirheadsTogether skull-to-skull smash]].
*** One by swinging him headfirst into a wall.
*** Two with punches to the face.
*** One by slamming a door in his face.
* ''Film/FlashGordon''. Voltan hits several of Ming's goon squad members over the head with his mace during the "football game", and Hans Zarkov knocks out Flash accidentally by throwing a hollow metal "football" at him.
* ''Film/BeverlyHillsCop''. One of Maitland's {{mooks}} knocks out Axel Foley with a blow to the head before Mikey is killed.
* A RunningGag in ''Film/MenWithBrooms'', as Cutter ends up repeatedly having to hit the Loan Shark in the head with a curling stone. The loan shark is a giant who is MadeOfIron, so he shrugs it off [[RuleOfFunny because it's funny]].
* In ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' Marion Ravenwood does it three times and Indy does it twice.
** She takes out a {{mook}} with a burning log to the back of the head during the bar fight in Nepal.
** In Cairo she's pursued into a building by a {{mook}} and knocks him out (off camera) with a frying pan.
** While Indy is fighting the Nazis around the flying wing, she KO's the pilot with the plane's wheel chocks.
** Indy knocks out two Nazi guards with the "punch to the jaw" technique to [[MuggedForDisguise steal their uniforms]] so he can perform DressingAsTheEnemy.
*** In the second of these, there are two clearly audible blows after Dr. Jones hauls the guard over the pile of boxes, so it's "Taps".
* ''Film/RedCliff'' - Shangxiang displays her excellent knowledge of pressure points by knocking out an uppity official's horse when he snarks about a woman being on the battlefield; later, when being introduced to Liu Bei, she expresses her unhappiness about being presented as a possible marriage prospect by doing the same on him. (Cue looks of OhCrap on Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu's faces as they realize what she's up to, but are too late to do anything...)
* ''Film/{{Constantine}}''. Constantine knocks the bouncer in Papa Midnite's bar unconscious with one punch.
* Subverted in ''High Risk'' (1981) when the heroes encounter a servant while sneaking into the drug lord's mansion. The servant just clutches his head and screams, alerting the guards.
* Disney's ''Film/BedknobsAndBroomsticks''. Two of the German commandos are knocked unconscious by the animated suits of armor: one by a punch and one by a literal "boot to the head" - a swung iron boot, that is.
* In Howard Hawkes' ''Film/ElDorado'', John Wayne is taken prisoner when the Dragon sneaks up behind Mississippi and "give me a headache."
* ''Film/CowboysAndAliens''. Jake is knocked out by getting [[PistolWhipping pistol whipped]] on the back of the head and wakes up an unspecified amount of time later with no lasting damage.
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Film/InBruges''. Ray uses the neck chop variant, while high on cocaine, on a dwarf.
* ''Film/ImGonnaGitYouSucka''.
** While Cheryl has Leonard up against a wall, Willie come up behind her and knocks her out with the cast on his wrist.
** When Slade infiltrates Mr. Big's warehouse via the roof, he KO's a guard with a punch to the jaw.
* ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBuckarooBanzaiAcrossThe8thDimension''.
** Several Red Lectroids knock out humans with punches to the head near the Black Lectroid thermopod.
** While John Parker is infiltrating Buckaroo's estate, one of Buckaroo's Blue Blaze Irregulars takes him out by hitting him on the back of the head.
* In ''[[Film/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1]]'', [[spoiler:Wormtail]] is apparently SparedByTheAdaptation by one of these. However, he does not appear after this scene, so it's possible the blow really did kill him (or Voldemort did in an offscreen YouHaveFailedMe moment).
* ''Film/JudgeDredd''. When Dredd and Ferguson are in the Judges' locker room, Fergie distracts a Judge and Dredd knocks the Judge unconscious with one punch.
* Subverted in ''FunnyFarm''. When one of the locals gets a fishing hook stuck on his face, Andy wants to knock him out so he can easily take out the hook. After several blows, the man is not knocked out, just pissed off, and one of his friends wonders if Andy is just beating him up.
* ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade''.
** After he enters Castle Brunwald, Indy knocks the butler unconscious with a punch to the face.
** Averted when Indy's father tries to knock out Indy by breaking a vase over his head. Indy stays conscious and is annoyed with his dad.
** During the fight inside the tank:
*** A German soldier is knocked out when a periscope handle hits him on the back of the head.
*** Another soldier is rendered unconscious when Marcus Brody hits him over the head with an object.
* In Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme film ''Film/{{Cyborg}}'', Van Damme's FauxActionGirl sidekick gets knocked out 3 or 4 times in the movie. Van Damme's character gets KO'd once or twice as well. No one seems to have any problems because of it.
* In ''Film/LockStockAndTwoSmokingBarrels'', Dog knocks out a traffic warden with one punch and stashes him in a van. When the main character steal the van, they discover the meter warden and try to knock him out again, but he just makes a pititful, "Owww!" After realizing that they all hate traffic wardens, they gang up and pummel the poor guy into unconsciousness.
* Averted in the opening of ''Film/{{Tamara}}'', where the title character is killed when she knocks her head on the edge of a table. Played straight, though, when Chloe punches out Kisha and when Allison knocks out Sean; both of them later get back up from it.
* Creator/HenryFonda's character in ''Film/TheOxBowIncident'' picks a fight and gets a whiskey bottle over his head which knocks him unconscious.
* ''Film/TotalRecall1990''. On Earth, Quaid knocks Lori unconscious with a single punch. Later on Mars, she returns the favor by rendering him unconscious with a kick to the face.
* ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'':
** Played straight when Kirk [[spoiler: whacks Scotty over the head then straps him into a seat for good measure to make sure he can't stop him from climbing into the radioactive warp core chamber]].
** Spock does this to Harrison during their brawl, but it doesn't knock him out.
* ''Film/MarsAttacks''. After Jerry Ross allows a strange woman into the White House in order to seduce her, she bites off his finger and knocks him unconscious by hitting him on the back of the head with a statuette. She turns out to be a Martian assassin wearing a human disguise.
* Occurs many times in ''Film/TheRocketeer''. [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] here in that the victims often recover faster than their assailants were planning.
* In ''Film/DangerDiabolik'', the morgue attendant gets this via an urn wielded by a disguised Diabolik as he scrapes Ralph Valmont's ashes out of the retort. He apparently leaves him lying there alive, because when, as he leaves the morgue with the eleven emeralds, an elderly couple asks if he's seen the doctor, he simply says, "He's in shock."
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'': Dorothy is knocked flat by a fairly light bump on the head from a falling windowpane, and suffers no ill effects (though her family and friends have clearly been worried about her when she wakes up) except a fantasy-filled Technicolor dream sequence.
* The 1974 film spin-off of ''Series/{{Callan}}'' includes a sequence in which the hero kills a man with his bare hands. He first delivers a sharp blow to the solar plexus, then a second blow to the jaw or neck, but the killing blow is a karate chop to the neck, averting the non-lethal aspect of the trope.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novels:
** In ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime'', it is mentioned that some trainees in the Thieves' Guild cause serious injuries with their inability to knock a victim unconscious with a single blow. Likewise in ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'', one character is about to knock a guard unconscious when TheIgor points out that blows to the head can be fatal and takes over, as Igors have extensive knowledge of human anatomy. So extensive, in fact, the Igor knows just how hard and where to hit to knock the guy out for ''exactly'' 20 minutes.
** Additionally in ''Discworld/MenAtArms'' someone is accidentally killed by an attempt to knock them unconscious.
** Not seen, but referenced in ''Discworld/NightWatch'', when it's mentioned the rebel barricades have a doorway built into them, with all refugees coming through at just the right height for "a gentle TapOnTheHead if they turned out to be a soldier."
** Vimes in particular plays this trope quite straight. But, like Igor, he knows exactly where and how to strike--at one point he stops his less-experienced younger self from delivering such a blow and does ''[[CouldSayItBut not]]'' teach other coppers how to do it right if they approach him privately.
** In ''Discworld/InterestingTimes'', a briefly deranged Rincewind is used in an impromptu demonstration when a Thief's Guild apprentice tries and fails to knock him out. So the tutor steps out of the nearby alley to show him the ''right'' way ("Ow."), ''then'' what the trainee did ("Ow! Hahaha!" "So, can anyone spot the difference?"). It isn't until he regains his senses that he succumbs.
** In ''Maskerade'', someone tries to knock out Nanny Ogg with a bottle. Nanny sees stars, but since she has a bit of dwarfish in her ancestry, she recovers without passing out, and chases the attacker.
* In Stephen King's {{It}}, staff of the Juniper Hill mental institution use rolls of quarters as improvised saps in order to subdue (and, in some cases, simply abuse) recalcitrant patients. One patient is said to have suffered severe brain damage as a result of such treatment and is barely functional as a result.
** In TheLangoliers, government assassin states that he knows a many ways to kill a person, but doesn't know a single method to safely render someone temporary unconscious.
* Mentioned in the novel ''[[Literature/{{Lensman}} First Lensman]]''. A thug of wide experience claims to be "an artist with the black jack". His boast is that he can knock out anyone within ten feet by throwing it, and can precisely time how long they stay unconscious.
* Subverted in JohnCWright's ''[[Literature/TheGoldenOecumene Fugitives of Chaos]]''. Amelia is able to work out, from the fact that she is not suffering plausibly from a blow to the solar plexus, that magic is at work.
** Earlier, she tries hitting someone with a rock to escape custody. It doesn't work because: a) she was too squeamish to hit hard, b) a rock is ''not'' going to stop a PhysicalGod.
* ''{{Burke}}'' gives a bit of a CharacterFilibuster once about how hitting someone on the head does not always knock them out in real life, and how many would-be criminals have gotten into trouble that way.
* Averted in ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Atrocity Archives]]'' by Creator/CharlesStross. The protagonist is hit on the back of the head with a sap (a bag full of lead shot) knocking him out. He spends a couple of weeks recovering, and got a hairline skull fracture for his trouble.
* In Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''The Currents of Space'' a character attempts to pull this off on a guard and accidentally kills the guard.
* In Alistair [=MacLean=]'s novel ''Ice Station Zebra'' the doctor protagonist goes into detail about how it is impossible to predict the consequences of a head injury, i.e. the patient could wake up soon or never, then later on has someone else inflict a "ten minute tap" on a villain. However, the doctor also explains to that chap that his huge wrench would cause instant death when hitting a skull. The doctor pads the wrench with a thick layer of bandage to make it less lethal.
* Richard Henry Benson, ''Literature/TheAvenger'' is capable of doing this--with [[ImprobableAimingSkills bullets]]! In "The Yellow Hoard" he is distracted by smoke sufficiently that he missed his target by a millimeter, and the thug wakes up too early.
* Jame in P.C. Hodgell's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'' is knocked out by blows to the head all the time, both by accident and malice, and is always fine. It seems to happen at least twice per book. It's justified in that she's not exactly human, and her HealingFactor ensures she repairs; also, realistic effects of concussion appear when the blows were severe.
* Lampshaded in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' novel "Interference: Part 2", with Sarah Jane Smith asking an alien how they can manage to knock people out [[HardHead without long-term effects]] so easily. (Since the alien in question was not very bright, no answer was actually obtained).
* Happens to Literature/PhilipMarlowe a lot. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Creator/KimNewman's unnamed CaptainErsatz.
* In ''[[WomenOfTheOtherworld Broken]]'', Elena needs to sneak away from her assigned babysitter. So she hits him on the back of the head, arranges him comfortably on the bed, and takes off. Justified in that he's a [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolf]], and she really doesn't need to worry about long term damage. Subverted in that [[spoiler: she didn't actually knock him out at all; once he realized what she was trying to do, he faked unconsciousness and then followed after her.]]
* The main character of [[Creator/DaveDuncan Dave Duncan's]] ''The Seventh Sword'' tries this on a guard in the first book. However, the person he hit ends up dying. It comes back to haunt him later, when he ends up on trial for various crimes, one of which is this "dishonorable" killing. (After some DivineIntervention makes it clear that the Goddess doesn't want the main character punished, the death is ruled an accident; after all, if he had wanted to kill the guard, he would have used his sword, not his fist.)
* In the ForgottenRealms novel ''Ghostwalker'' a knight knocks out a drunken rogue in a bar fight using a mace. Not a club, ''a flanged metal mace''.
* [[AvertedTrope Averted]] in ''Literature/{{Neuropath}}''. Tom Bible notes that it's not like in the movies, and that the guard he and Mia knocked out will need medical help quickly.
* The Vulcan Neck Pinch chapter of Literature/TheActionHerosHandbook outlines several of the knockout methods mentioned above and makes clear what the risks are.
* Jiaan in the FarsalaTrilogy. It's somewhat [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] in that he mentions he might have a broken collarbone as well.
* When they need to avoid their usual, lethal methods, the protagonists of ''TheBelgariad'' employ this trope frequently to render bad guys unconscious. It's usually played completely straight, except where HardHead is subverted by RuleOfFunny or the needs of the plot.
** On one memorable occasion, after Garion knocks out a Grolim (who has some useful information), Belgarath tells him to "use an axe or a club" the next time: Garion's fist had almost killed the guy.
* In ''TheElenium', Ulath gets hit in the head with an axe while holding the wall during a siege. The blow leaves him bed-ridden and severely confused (he doesn't recognize his friends and can't even remember which continent he's on), and it's stated outright that if it hadn't been for his very good helmet, his head would have split like a melon. He does make a full recovery, but it isn't quick and it isn't pretty.
* Averted in the SwordOfTruth series, when Kahlan is trying to decide the best way to make her way past a D'Haran guard. There is a long inner monologue about how a rap on the head is notoriously unreliable: the guard may come up screaming, several blows may be necessary to induce unconsciousness, and permanent damage may result. Additionally, this is one of her ''own'' guards, so she'd really rather avoid hitting him at all in the first place. Later on in the series, she shows a little girl she is held captive with her preferred way of silent subduing: A knife to the kidney. Where a blow to the head is unreliable and cutting the throat can be too messy and loud, a knife to the kidney puts the victim in so much pain that they can't even scream.
* This is practically the SignatureMove of [[Literature/{{Winnetou}} Karl May's]] AuthorAvatar Old Shatterhand/Kara ben Nemsi, ostensibly justified by a combination of nigh superhuman strength and a special trick he's discovered himself. It's rather convenient, too, because as a good (if sometimes, especially in the later works, a bit preachy) Christian the character doesn't actually like to shed human blood when he can at all avoid it.
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' when one of Harry's internal monolgues mentions that someone must have done one of those adamantium upgrades on his skull.
** Also retroactively justified by the author, after it was pointed out to him that with all the blows Harry takes to the head, the concussions should have added up and left him brain damaged. So to justify this, and the WizardsLiveLonger trope also prevalent in the series, he had a doctor give exposition explaining that Harry, and all wizards, have better healing ability than {{muggle}}s. Any injury Harry takes will heal at a normal rate, but will heal ''completely'', to the point where previously broken bones eventually show no scarring, and a burned hand that a doctor advised he simply amputate is back to fully functioning after a few years. It's even mentioned in Changes that Harry's [[spoiler:broken spine]] might well heal on its own, given enough time.
* Averted in Martin Caidin's ''Cyborg'' novels. Considerably violent than [[Series/TheSixMillionDollarMan the TV series they inspired]], due to Steve Austin's bionic arm being described as a bludgeon, and strong hits to the head or chops to the neck are instantly fatal to the recipient. In fact he does this so often (sometimes cold-bloodedly to disabled enemies) that fans of the TV series are prone to go into WhatTheHellHero mode when reading them.
* In ''Death at the President's Lodging'' by Creator/MichaelInnes, the detective investigating the aforesaid mystery is knocked out by a blow to the head. One of the suspects, an author of detective novels, says that he'd never have done it, because he knows how dangerous such a blow could be.
* In the Literature/TimeScout book, ''Wagers of Sin'', Skeeter gets knocked out from behind and spends several days recovering, with nausea, dizziness, and continuing headaches.
* In JohnCWright's ''Literature/CountToATrillion'', Menelaus takes out two guards, but the third gets him with this.
* In Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs's ''Literature/TheMonsterMen'', Professor Maxon is knocked unconscious by a blow to the head. Its only effect is to cause him to recover from being MadScientist -- that is, to take up WhatMeasureIsANonHuman.
* Completely averted in Creator/VernorVinge's ''Literature/TheChildrenOfTheSky''. The blow that knocks out [[spoiler: Ravna]] is treated completely realistically, with various debilitating aftereffects until she gets advanced medical treatment.
* TheHardyBoys: Frank & Joe Hardy have both been knocked out by getting hit in the head so often that, in real life, the two should be vegetables in permanent coma in the hospital.
* In MichaelFlynn's ''[[Literature/SpiralArm The January Dancer]]'', [[spoiler:the Fudir]] uses this on [[spoiler:Hugh]] to evade him. He does think that it's a tricky business, but it's treated as if it were really harmless.
* During ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', the ShapeShifter Hoole is struck on the head by [[spoiler: Karkas [[GrandTheftMe in Tash's body]]]]. However, it soon turns out that [[spoiler: he avoided harm and [[PlayAlongPrisoner faked unconsciousness so he could find out what was going on]].]] In a later book, [[spoiler: an ExpendableClone of Hoole]] has a large rock slammed into his head and goes down, but the attacker isn't concerned about whether he's unconscious or dead.
* In Creator/SeananMcGuire's ''Literature/VelveteenVs the Junior Super Patriots'', the Claw strikes down Velveteen with a head blow. Though it does only knock her down, rather than unconscious, so the lack of lasting harm is more plausible.
* In AndreNorton's ''Literature/{{Catseye}}'', Troy enforces the promise to for a MercyLead by using Rerne as a human shield, and puts him out with this when he reaches the vehicle.
* ''Literature/TheMortalInstruments'': [[spoiler: Sebastian renders Isabelle unconscious in ''City of Glass'' with a hammer after he finishes with Max]].
* Averted in ''The Curse of {{Chalion}}''. When [[spoiler: Umegat]] is found unconscious by a blow to the skull everyone remotely familiar with head injuries treat it as a life-threatening emergency and when he awakens days later he is revealed to have suffered serious brain damage.
* Averted in one of the ''[[Literature/HoratioHornblower Mr. Midshipman Hornblower]]'' stories. Hornblower strikes a man with the rudder because he's having a loud epileptic fit during a stealth expedition. Hornblower is pretty sure that he's killed him by doing this (although the boat is lost, so we never find out for sure). The TV adaptation uses this scene, but winds up playing it straight.
* Played straight in ''Literature/MrBlank'' when the hero gets conked on the back of the head after witnessing an [[AlienAbduction alien abduction]].
* Nick Moss is knocked unconscious by the phantom biker Cacophony Jones near the end of ''Literature/CityOfDevils''. This is after Nick has done similar to another member of Cacophony's band, the Disasters, so it's decent payback. Also, Imogen Verity knocks out the other two earlier in the book. It's a bad day for head trauma in the Disasters.
* Averted with Mattes Tunstall in the ''[[Literature/ProvostsDog Provost's Dog]]'' trilogy, who is described by Beka in the third book as having suffered so many taps on the head in the past that if he got one more, he could very well die of it.
* ''[[Literature/TheColorOfDistance Through Alien Eyes]]'' averts this. Kidnappers try to subdue Ukatonen with a blow to the head, and he suffers brain damage to the point where it's a CareerEndingInjury.
* ''The Elephant's Tale'' averts this. One of the staff is knocked unconscious during a burglary, and is incapacitated for the rest of the story while they take him to a doctor.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In an early episode of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', Aeryn knocks out John Chrichton with a single punch. He wakes up after the commercial break in the back seat of Aeryn's Prowler, finishing the sentence he was in the middle of when she cold-cocked him. Aeryn replies that it was "a panthak jab. You were more susceptible than most." The commentary for the episode reveals that this was a bit of nonsense invented because the script called for Aeryn to hit John to shut him up, then both of them would take her Prowler on a mission. Ben Browder insisted that John Chrichton would NEVER follow Aeryn anywhere after she hit him, so the panthak jab was invented as some kind of Peacekeeper martial arts technique to invoke this trope.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' has used this a few times, though the preferred method of knocking someone unconscious is PistolWhipping.
** In "Hearts and Minds," Locke hits Boone to knock him out, ties him up, and sends him on a VisionQuest by "treating" the wound with a hallucinogen.
** More realistic effects of a TapOnTheHead are shown in "The Other 48 Days," in which Eko kills two Others with a rock.
** The series is actually quite guilty of this, as characters would be knocked out with a tap every other episode but only when it would fit the plot. All the fighting scenes feature much harder blows then those who render them unconscious. Almost every major character took a beating at some point with a lot of hits on the head but we rarely see one fainting.
* ''Series/MacGyver''
** In the episode "Last Stand", Mac is holding some piece of equipment that he's supposedly going to use to fix up a plane so the bad guys can escape. When asked by his guard what the item is, he replies "Lateral... cranial... impact... enhancer", and smacks the guard across the head with it.
** This happens all the time in ''Series/MacGyver'', what with his no-guns policy. The likelihood of knocking a bad guy out with a single blow is inversely proportional to his position on the bad guy ladder.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''
** Legendary subversion: in the first season Mr. Spock was scripted to incapacitate a maddened Kirk by rapping him in the back of the head with the butt of a phaser pistol. Leonard Nimoy thought that uncivilized, so he and the director came up with a more "civilized" alternative: the [[PressurePoint Vulcan nerve pinch]] (AKA neck pinch). Spock repeatedly used the nerve pinch in subsequent episodes. In one of them ("Mudd's Planet"), the pinch failed because he was using it on an android.
*** DontTryThisAtHome: Although the ability to render someone instantly unconscious using the nerve pinch is fictional, as any child who had it done to them while playing Star Trek on the playground can tell you, it hurts like hell when someone clamps down on your shoulder, especially if they take the "pinch" part literally!
** "Obsession". Ensign Garrovick tries to knock out Captain Kirk with a karate chop so [[MoreExpendableThanYou he can be the one]] to lure the vampire cloud to the antimatter bomb.
** Kirk himself was not adverse to a chop or hammerblow now and again. Even [=McCoy=] has been seen doing this occasionally...
** A truer subversion is seen in the episode "Mirror, Mirror," in which mirror!Spock is knocked out this way and Dr. [=McCoy=] declares that he'll die without immediate treatment. It may have averted the trope too far, though, considering the deadly object was a skull so fragile that it completely shattered after hitting Spock. It's difficult to imagine it would even knock him out in the first place, unless the skull was so hard it took a ''lot'' of blunt force to break it.
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/RedDwarf''. Kryten has to render the rest of the crew unconscious, but Rimmer is a "hard-light" hologram and thus "unknockoutable" despite Rimmer's assistance and Kryten's most enthusiastic efforts.
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Giles getting knocked unconscious occurs so often it's turned into something of a RunningGag. The jaw-punch version occurs in "Prophecy Girl", when Buffy settles the issue of who is going to fight the Master by punching Giles in the jaw, putting him to sleep just long enough for her to be off on the mission. Later Giles is seen nursing a bruise, but it seems no dental attention was required. The trope is subverted when Warren's ex-girlfriend Katrina is escaping the Trio's lair and plans to go to the police after their attempt to rape her. Warren clocks her on the head with a bottle, trying to knock her out -- [[RealityEnsues and she dies]].
* Played mostly straight in ''Series/{{Angel}}'', when Gunn has been turned misogynist by a demon. Realizing what's happening to him, he warns Fred to knock him out, but her first attempt fails. He yells at her for this, but it isn't really a subversion like the above example; Fred's not terribly strong. Her second attempt succeeds.
* Played straight in ''Series/TeenWolf''. Poor Stiles. The werewolves seem to consistently forget that whacking a human on the head can cause permanent brain damage.
* Happens to the hero more or less OnceAnEpisode in ''TheRockfordFiles''.
* Happens to the title character more or less OnceAnEpisode in ''Mannix''.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' uses it so much - for both comic and dramatic effect - that the show's Wiki [[http://heroeswiki.com/One_punch_knockout has a page dedicated to it]]. Once, Claude saved New York (at least for the moment) with this trope and a good right hook.
* The karate chop to the neck variant is one of the three ways people tend to be non-fatally incapacitated in the 60s spy series ''TheManFromUNCLE''. (The other two are PistolWhipping and InstantSedation via tranquilizer darts or knockout gas.)
* ''{{NCIS}}''
** Subverted in one episode when [=McGee=] sees a witness to a murder get attacked from across the street. He heads over to her apartment, only to find her door open. While he's seeing if she's alive, the assailant pops out of one of the rooms-which [=McGee=] didn't check-and smacks him over the head with a lamp. Despite getting hit hard enough for the lamp to break, [=McGee=] is still clear enough to unholster his gun and take a few shots at the fleeing perp, missing by inches.
** Another painful subversion was when it was determined a man confessing to the murder of his fellow marine had actually {{Pistol Whip}}ped him so he'd stop screaming after being wounded on a battlefield. The blow had cracked the skull and killed the man, his best friend, and the guilt had eaten at him for years.
* In ''BuckRogers in the 25th Century'', Buck could take out a whole swarm of Draconian guards with a single sidekick. They fell like a stack of dominoes.
* ''Series/GetSmart'', being at its core a Bond parody, did this constantly. While Max was an accomplished martial artist, his preferred method of attack was a karate chop to the back of the neck, either by waiting for somebody to enter the room, distracting them, or sneaking up on them. At one point, he ambushes five KAOS agents in a row as they enter a room. Unfortunately, the sixth person is a CONTROL operative.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Third Doctor used "Venusian Aikido" to immobilise someone, which seemed to involve John Pertwee jabbing two fingers into someone's chest and shouting "Hai!"
** This is a preferred technique of classic ''Doctor Who'' baddies; a nondescript karate chop to the shoulder which had a 50/50 chance of knocking people out or killing them outright.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS18E3FullCircle "Full Circle"]], the Doctor himself gets this treatment -- keeping him from calming the alien child.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS14E1TheMasqueOfMandragora "The Masque of Mandragora"]], when the Doctor realizes that Sarah Jane is being kidnapped and tries to intervene, one takes him out with a rock to his head.
** Played with in the Tenth Doctor episode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E7TheIdiotsLantern "The Idiot's Lantern"]]. The Doctor is knocked unconscious by a punch to the jaw, but he only remains so for a few seconds and quickly gets back up in pursuit of the people who punched him.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' has Clark knock someone out with a literal tap on the head. You get one [[Franchise/{{Superman}} guess why]].
** In another episode, Martha Kent is BrainwashedAndCrazy and pointing a gun at Lana. Chloe knocks her out with a single blow from a rolling pin (by surprise, from the back). Now...given that this kind of blow would be unlikely, in RealLife, to result in an instant knockout, and given that Martha was in a state of mind where she could easily have used the gun on Lana or Chloe (or, indeed, pulled the trigger by accident)...just think how dangerous it would have been if [[RealityEnsues reality had ensued]] and Chloe's strength was only sufficient to cause some severe pain to Martha's head without incapacitating her.
* ''Series/BlakesSeven''
** The Karate Chop of Doom was the standard fighting style, aside from [[CombatPragmatist fighting dirty]]. It can be considered acceptable, as most of the time they're trying to kill each other anyway.
** Interestingly enough, Avon once tried to subdue a maddened Blake using this technique, which was rather risky. Then again, his relationship with Blake being what it was, it may have been intentional.
** Averted once in the fourth season, when a genius robotics expert Avon wass hoping to recruit for something had some kind of manic episode and attacked Tarrant and Vila while en route to Xenon. Vila was forced to wallop him with a wrench in self-defence, and then all hell broke loose because it appeared he'd inadvertently killed the guy. Then things got weird...
* Averted in season one of ''Series/TrueBlood''; Lettie Mae hits Tara over the head with an empty Jack Daniels bottle, which hurts a ''lot'', but doesn't knock Tara out.
* The ''Series/MythBusters'' dabbled with this trope when they tested whether an empty beer bottle was more lethal than an full beer bottle. Either way, the least you would get out of a full strength blow from either bottle would be a nasty concussion, as well as lacerations from the broken glass. In the case of a full beer bottle, if your skull isn't completely caved in, then you're likely to suffer a catastrophic cerebral hemorrhage.
* Similarly tested on ''Series/DeadliestWarrior'' with a pistol whip. If not fatal, it would be catastrophic and permanent injury.
* Subversion: In one first-season ''Series/SledgeHammer!'' episode, Sledge jumps a Mook from behind, and hits him over the head with the butt of his gun. The Mook's reaction is to cry "Owww," but not to go down. Sledge tries again, with similar results. After several attempts, he is unable to knock the mook out by hitting him on the head. Alan Spencer, creator of ''Series/SledgeHammer!'', in his voice-over commentary for the episode, states that this was the entire purpose of the scene -- to take the Mickey out of this trope.
* Subverted and parodied in one episode of ''Series/HogansHeroes'', in which [[KnowNothingKnowItAll Colonel Crittendon]] claims to know an instantly-lethal form of martial arts known as "Killer Judo". He sneaks up on a guard and delievers a chop to the back of the neck... [[NoSell which has no effect whatsoever.]]
* In ''Series/RelicHunter'' ("Etched in Stone"), Sydney smacks some bad guys in the head with a freakin' rock ([[SpecialEffectsFailure an obviously Papier-mâché rock]], but still) the size of a turkey. They are fine.
* Mostly averted in ''Series/BurnNotice'', where mooks are heroes alike are usually shown as being stunned and in serious pain rather as a result of hand-to-hand scuffles, and are rarely KO'd by fisticuffs.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus''. During the Blancmange sketch the scientist knocks out his female assistant with a blow on the head.
* In ''Series/{{Leverage}}'', the trope gets played extremely straight with Elliot and his one-shot knockout punches. Whether it's in the middle of melee or cold-cocking someone, one shot typically knocks them flat on their back and dreaming with no shown side effects afterwards. He's even used it on occasion on people entirely unaffiliated with the crime, simply to get their identification.
* In ''Series/{{Firefly}},'' Mal delivers one to [[spoiler:Jayne]] with a wrench.
** He's only out for a couple seconds, though; and "unconscious" wasn't the specific intent, just a bonus.
*** That makes it an aversion, I think.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''
** Data has a convenient on/off switch under his shoulderblade.
** Picard has been known to dole out a few back-of-the-head hits...but he tends to receive them more than he gives them.
* A RunningGag in ''Series/DansUneGalaxiePresDeChezVous'' involved people doing this to Brad (saying "no Brad!" in an increasingly bored tone) at least once an episode to stop his "evil" plots to ruin the mission. He even does it to himself a couple of times.
* On ''Series/RepublicOfDoyle'' Jake gets hit on the head so much every epeisode that he should be dead or suffering massive brain damage. In one episode he got hit in the back of the head by a crowbar and later by a wine bottle.
* Averted in the original ''Series/ISpy'' television series. In one episode Alexander Scott (Bill Cosby) attacks a guard with several karate chops to the neck and goes out of his way to explain to the person he'd just rescued that the guard was now dead. This is a rare occasion in which a 1960s spy series actually acknowledges that one of the genre's common "non-lethal" tropes, as it could potentially be in real life, is in fact lethal force.
* 1960's ''Series/{{Batman}}'' series episodes.
** "King Tut's Coup". While Tut and his henchmen are stealing a sarcophagus, one of the henchmen knocks out a security guard with a single blow on the back of the head with a club.
** "The Unkindest Tut Of All". While Batgirl is confronting King Tut, his henchwoman Shirley sneaks up behind her and knocks her out by hitting her on the back of the head with a vase.
** "Deep Freeze". When Mr. Freeze sends his henchman Frosty up to the roof to fix the TV antenna, Batman knocks Frosty out by hitting him on the top of his head.
** "That Darn Catwoman". The title character's {{mooks}} take out Pat Pending and his valet with blackjacks.
* Angels on ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' can do this by just touching the target.
* In ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'', Topher Brink uses the jaw-punch version to prevent Bennet Halverson [[spoiler:from killing Echo]].
* ''Series/{{Danger 5}}'' spoofed this with Tucker declaring he was going to knock out a sentry for an hour, adjusting an [[SuperWristGadget egg timer on his wrist]] for that amount of time, then judo chopping the sentry.
* Subverted on an episode of ''Series/TheLoneRanger'', where the Ranger knocks out Butch Cavendish with a punch to the jaw, but realizes he's faking when he examines him. He uses it as a way to set a trap and doesn't tell the guys with him that Cavendish is faking until later, when they're away from him.
* How Edmund Blackadder and Lord Melchett are kidnapped in the ''Series/BlackAdder II'' episode "Chains". A German guard hits them over the head with a stick while they are distracted by another German guard.
* Very common on ''{{Series/Merlin}}'', usually as a way for Merlin to use magic without Arthur seeing.
* Two examples from ''Series/HoratioHornblower'''s episode "The Even Chance", both of which were PercussivePrevention.
** Horatio challenged a resident sadistic bully for a duel. Clayton feels shamed that a boy much younger than himself stood up to him, and is afraid that Horatio will be killed because said bully counts as one of the best shots in the Navy. Clayton therefore decides to knock Horatio unconscious and fight the duel in proxy as Horatio's original second.
** The Indefatigable's crew take part in a night attack on a French ship. Archie Kennedy is having [[ConvulsiveSeizures a fit]] which threatens to disclose their presence. Desperate Horatio taps him on head which solves the situation but leads to sad consequences, as the unconscious Archie is lost during their fight because the aforementioned bully untied the boat he was left in.
* Both played straight and averted on ''Series/GameOfThrones''. In the first season, Tyrion is leading men into battle when he accidentally catches a warhammer to the head, and doesn't regain consciousness until well after the battle when he's being hauled around on a cart. However in the third season, it's played realistically, where a man who's clubbed unconscious wakes up after less than a minute. [[spoiler:(Only to be clubbed again.)]]
* ''Series/MissionImpossible'' episode "Invasion". A hit man is sent to kill the man the IMF is targeting. When he discovers the masquerade he [[MuggedForDisguise knocks out one of the fake soldiers with a single blow on the back of the head and puts on his uniform]] for the purpose of DressingAsTheEnemy.
* In ''Series/TheFollowing'' episode "Resurrection," Ryan Hardy does this to a suspect ''[[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments accidentally]]''.
-->'''Hardy:''' (annoyed) I barely touched you.
* This seems to happen frequently on ''Series/RaisingHope''.
* In ''Series/OnceUponATime'', Charming is ambushed with a crowbar to the face. Once he wakes up, he has a pink mark for one scene and is somewhat annoyed.
* ''Series/{{UFO}}'' episode "Ordeal". An alien punches Colonel Foster in the chin and he goes out like a light. It turned out to be {{Justified}} because it occurred during an ItWasAllADream sequence.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': In "Scimitar", the ReverseMole refuses to go with them to UsefulNotes/{{Kuwait}}, and intends to stay behind to [[LaResistance help fix the problems in]] {{Iraq}}, and insists on this to make it look like the heroes took them prisoner before leaving them behind. Harm balks at this, so [[ActionGirl Meg does it instead.]]
* In ''VazelinaHjulkalender'', this is done to Santa when Aspic and Ruslebiffen kidnap him.
* In ''Series/TheProfessionals'' this is the most common way of incapacitating someone. Doyle seems particularly prone to this, he is knocked out by a blow to the head at least three times.
* Averted in ''Series/{{Columbo}}'', where a blow to the back of the head is a very common means of murder.
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun''. Harry is repeatedly bashed in the head with a cast iron pan. He never looses consciousness, but each blow causes him to act differently indicating sever brain trauma ([[TheDitz though it is Harry, so who can tell]]). Lampshaded twice by Dick: "If he's broken, it's going right into the report." "Be careful. We could actually hurt Harry."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Machinima]]
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' had this when someone would need a brief time unconscious.
-->Simmons: Ow, the back of my head! (then, later, ''Ow, the front of my face!'')
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* In Music/JagaJazzist's "Airborne" music video, an attempted murder is foiled when the gunman is knocked unconscious by a flying champagne cork.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* In ''ComicStrip/FlashGordon'', Aura uses this on Flash to let her father escape with Dale, so she can have Flash herself.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* During the "Hit Cousin It" mode in ''Pinball/TheAddamsFamily'', each shot to Cousin It is depicted with an animation of him getting hit in the head with a giant pinball.
* In ''Pinball/NoGoodGofers'', hitting either Bud or Buzz will show them getting clonked with a golf ball on the display.
* Q*Bert is shown kicking a pinball off Ugg's head on the backglass of ''[[Pinball/QBertsQuest Q*Bert's Quest]]''.
* One of the animations in ''Pinball/{{Transformers}}'' shows Mudflap getting hit with a pinball.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* The bread and butter of the sport:
** During standard matches, punches and blows to the head – e.g., kicks, punches and more complex moves – ordinarily will not "knock" a wrestler out, unless it is a finishing move, in which the wrestler can be rendered vulnerable for defeat for just seconds (such as the amount of time required to register a three-count pinfall) to longer, depending on the predetermined series of events. A wrestler can be "knocked out" to either sell a powerful move or sell the delivering wrestler's power.
** "No Holds Barred" matches will similarly see wrestlers being able to absorb the force of blows from chairs and other weapons, possibly knocking out the targeted wrestler for a designated period of time. Usually, this is to allow the offending wrestler to complete an objective (such as doing something to humiliate his opponent) or demonstrate his power.
** Sometimes, the knockout blows will be delivered during out-of-ring confrontations, such as to set up a feud. For instance, a heel wrestler sneaks up from behind of a face wrestler he's been heckling or targeting and bats him over the head with a club, knocking him unconscious.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In several versions of the ''Hero'' game rules, attacks made by surprise on an out of combat charater do double stun. If hit locations are used, attacks to the head have the highest stun multiplier, followed by attacks to the (other) vitals.
* In the great pulp tradition, any combat in SpiritOfTheCentury, whether you're beating people up, stabbing them, or shooting them, can end in a knock out rather than death, and this is actually encouraged (for the GM, so the {{PC}}s don't all die before they can get stuffed in a deathtrap, and for the {{PC}}s so they can interrogate the Mooks they just clobbered).
* Some d20-style games feature weapons that are designed to be non-lethal when used this way, such as the ubiquitous blackjack/sap in DungeonsAndDragons. A little questionable when you look at the weapon tables in Spycraft 2.0 and see that a 30lb maul does subdual damage.
* 1E ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** The monk (martial artist) could stun an opponent with an "open hand" unarmed blow.
** The ''Unearthed Arcana'' supplement introduced the sap (AKA blackjack), a weapon that had a 5% chance per point of the wielder's Strength of knocking out an opponent struck on the head.
* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu''
** Supplement ''The Asylum and Other Tales'', adventure "The Asylum". Dr. Freygan could use his knowledge of human anatomy to perform a Franchise/StarTrek style neck pinch and knock out a victim. Because he was a proto-shoggoth, he could extend his arm out many feet to do so.
** The "Knockout Attack" rules allow something like this, with blunt attacks optionally allowing a Resistance roll (Damage vs. HP). If successful, the victim is knocked unconscious and takes 1/3 rolled damage. Assuming two average unarmed humans this amounts to a 10% chance...
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}''
** Harder than usual because you can't do stun damage with regular unarmed attacks. People still lose consciousness by spending too long below zero HP, so you can fulfill the trope by doing that much damage, without causing any lasting injury by crippling a hit location. This means punching a guy in the chest several times is the most effective way to put him to sleep, if stunning weapons are unavailable.
** If you actually try konking someone over the head, you probably will knock them out... because with much extra damage a head-shot does you'll shoot him straight into unconsciousness. And possibly right past a [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill death check]] too. Presuming the straight hit point damage doesn't do it, he has to make a stunning/knockdown check at ''-10'' if he takes any damage to his brain at all, and any botch (pretty likely at -10) knocks him out anyways. You have to buy a supplement to get the optional detailed injury rules that can leave the victim brain damaged afterwards.
** A solar plexus shot (attack to the "vitals") does less bonus damage than a hit to the head, but it still does quite a bit extra, and has a stunning/knockdown roll at -5. So it probably will take them out, but they won't be unscathed...
* ''TabletopGame/TimeLord'' RPG (based on ''Series/DoctorWho'') main rules, "Curse of the Cyclops" adventure. If the {{Player Character}}s are captured they can be rescued by someone sneaking up behind the guards and knocking them out by hitting them on the back of the head.
* Averted in the WorldOfDarkness, where aiming for the head incurs a penalty to attack, but lets you do Lethal damage with weapons that otherwise do Bashing (stunning) damage. Hitting someone over the head could very well kill them.
* ''TabletopGame/ArsMagica'' has a rather abstracted combat system and two distinct methods of dealing non-lethal damage (The 'Scuffling' rules Core book, and the 'Bruises' system described in the 'Lords of Men' supplement). Neither method is especially likely to cause unconsciousness with a single blow, however, and both will leave the recipient with a 'residual' Medium Wound which imposes a -3 penalty to all rolls (and chance of worsening injury in response to strenuous activity) for at least the next 5-6 weeks of game time...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* In the stage version of ''[[Theatre/LesMiserables Les Misérables]]'', Jean Valjean escapes from Javert at the end of "The Confrontation" by punching him out. Averted in the [[LesMiserables2012 film version]], where instead he escapes by leaping from a ledge into the sea.
* The protagonist of the 1933 Broadway musical ''Pardon My English'' had two JekyllAndHyde[=-like=] personalities which he would switch between whenever he was hit over the head.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* Hitting the opponent in the head seems to be the most reliable way to knock someone out with no lasting consequences in ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}''. Ironically, the concept of [[CoolMask Kanohi masks]] was introduced specifically so that characters ''wouldn't '' have to punch each other in the face, as they could weaken or disable the opponent by removing their mask. However, as the series got progressively DarkerAndEdgier, more "realistic" violence (with unrealistic consequences) was brought in.
** Early masks were specifically designed so that they could be knocked off with a tap, and the toys were all designed to incorporate various punching or hitting functions. When the designers realized that kids weren't all that crazy for such play features, they made the connections sturdier and abandoned these gimmicks. This was around the time characters stopped targeting the masks in-story.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Claire Redfield is wacked on the head by a rifle stock from an umbrella security guard at the begining of ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'' and knocked unconscious.
* ''AlphaProtocol'' uses the a variant of the karate chop... To the victim's exposed throat. It's an instant takedown. Other animations for non-lethal {{Back Stab}}s involve broken bones, dislocated necks, and chocking them until they fall unconscious. The game repeatedly lampshades how "non-lethal" does ''not'' mean "harmless": You can even see how much you cost people in medical expenses from recovering from the takedowns. Hey, it beats "orphans created", which you get for killing them.
** Subverted if Mike pisses off [[spoiler:Madison]] enough to make her try this on him. When Mike points out that it only works in the movies, [[spoiler:Madison]] calmly throws a shock mine at him.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' game series: attacks on unaware targets are more effective than those on alert targets. Hitting an unaware target with the blackjack will knock him/her out quickly and quietly. (If they're aware, they cannot be knocked unconscious but can take damage, although the attack is less effective than if they were unaware.) Though even if you use the blackjack, when a guard finds an unconscious person they will mistake it for a corpse, {{Justified}} in that they are never shown to actually check the body. The game itself distinguishes between a corpse and an unconscious body, in fact, [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential if you throw an unconscious person into water]], [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything this counts as a murder]], and changes the body's status from "unconscious" to "dead".
* The ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' series rewards you for being covert - one melee strike from the back straight-up kills Elites that normally take several whacks just to get through their shields. Melee attacks in general are ridiculously powerful, as on most targets they have the destructive power equivalent to a good number of bullets. This is justified in that the player character - an armored super-soldier - is strong enough to reduce a man's skull to mulch with a single punch, and can FLIP TANKS.
** In Halo 3, if you latch on to a Covenant Wraith, you can punch a hole through their armor.
*** However, in Halo ODST, the Rookie is unconscious for a whole six hours (by the impact of a very high altitude low opening crash) and then happily runs around New Mombassa. Perhaps his inability to speak is in fact resultant brain damage.
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' made stunning attacks on unaware targets vastly more effective than those on alert ones. Hitting someone from behind with a baton or riot prod would knock them out quickly and quietly.
** Trivia: Ionstorm Austin, the makers of Deus Ex, employed some of the Looking Glass Studios staff (who made ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'') when Looking Glass folded.
** In ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'' a vicious kind of TapOnTheHead plays an important role as Adam Jensen can use his augmented strength to perform various non-lethal takedowns with punches to the head, chokeholds, or striking an enemy's head against a hard object (or striking the heads of two enemies together). Note 'non-lethal' here does not at all mean 'nobody gets hurt'; in the expansion, one NPC even calls you out, asking if you enjoy putting so many of her men into comas.
* ''SplinterCell''. From ''Chaos Theory'' onward, Sam commonly uses the sleeper hold. He also uses punches to the back of the head and palm-strikes to the solar plexus.
** The first game almost entirely relies on this trope being reliable though, you often do it in cases where you're not supposed to kill the people you're sneaking around.
* In ''VideoGame/DarkCloud 2'', ActionGirl / BlackMagicianGirl [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething Monica]] [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses Raybrandt]] is knocked out by [[ArchNemesis her nemesis]], [[TheDragon Gaspard]], using the "sharp punch to the solar plexus" variety. To be fair, she was distracted at the time, what with her partner Max shooting down the airship she and Gaspard were on...
* ''VideoGame/AvalonCode'' ends Chapter 3 with Anwar using the "solar plexus" variant on your character. Heath uses the same variant at the end of Chapter 5 to keep you from getting the book out of a hijacked Valdo's hands.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}} Genesis'' game uses the "solar plexus blow" variant as a distraction in which your character will stealthily pull it off then claim they had a heart attack to sneak into corporations as flavor text. This always works regardless of the unarmed combat and social capabilities of the main character.
* Used in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' as a Rogue ability called Sap which temporarily disables an enemy and does no damage.
** And leaves them standing so their allies don't notice they're unconscious.[[note]]You act like their allies ''would'' notice if they were unconscious. Mobs in ''Warcraft'' cheerfully stroll over their comrades' bodies without noticing, let alone giving an alarm.[[/note]]
** Rogues get a number of other kinds of stun attacks as well. It's hard to imagine how any of them is supposed to work in real life terms.
** Except for ''Gouge.'' If you got stabbed in the eye, you'd most certainly stop whatever you were doing to just hold your hands over your eye and scream your head off, though arguably for much longer than a few seconds. And being hit again would do hardly anything to make you forget. You know, that you got [[EyeScream ''stabbed in the freaking eye'']].
* Delita uses the 'sharp shot to the solar plexus' to subdue Ovelia while the latter was being kidnapped by the former in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics''.
* Subverted in ''AmericasArmy 3'', melee attacks that hit the back of the neck are lethal.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Commandos}}'' games, the main point is to knock out the enemy [[{{Mook}} mooks]] instead of killing them.
* In ''VideoGame/OverBlood'' Raz gets knocked out in a single punch when Milly gets kidnapped.
* Used by Axel in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'' to render Xion unconscious. She got better.
** Also happens to Sora, thrice, in ''KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance''; first by an unknown shadow in [[{{Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame}} La Cité des Cloches]], the second by a [[{{KillerRabbit}} Me Me Bunny]] in [[{{MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers}} Country of the Musketeers]], and later by the [[{{AttentionWhore}} Spellican]] in [[{{Disney/Fantasia}} Symphony of Sorcery]]. Of course, Sora gets knocked out [[{{OncePerEpisode}} once a world]] in the game... except in [[{{Film/TronLegacy}} The Grid]].
*** And just moments before the second knockout, Musketeer Mickey gets a blow to the head by [[spoiler: Musketeer Pete]]. Unlike with Sora, Mickey gets captured.
** In the manga adaptation for ''KingdomHeartsII'', Sora punches the painting of [[spoiler: Terra-Xehanort]] in frustration, causing it to topple on him and knock him out for a moment. The painting is destroyed as a result of going through him.
* Subverted in ''TheSaboteur'' with one of Sean's stealth kills. It involves some particularly hard and crunchy blows to the back of the enemy's head, and you can be sure they're as dead as if you {{neck snap}}ped them instead.
* How [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Link]] was rendered unconcious, so the Bulblins could take Ilia. It's never explained ''why'' they do this though.
* ''QuestForGloryV'' introduces the blackjack as a Thieves-only item which lets them perform non-fatal sneak attacks.
* Played straight in the ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries''. Almost averted when Batman uses a blood-choke to silent take-down enemies, which as stated previously does have a low risk of permanent damage -- but his opponents stay out for a very long time. His other method of 'knocking out' thugs involves no-holds-barred beat-downs where he snaps bones and most certainly gives severe concussions.
** Not only that, but in ''Arkham City'' Batman himself is knocked out due to extreme blunt force trauma to the head no fewer than four times, two of which [[spoiler:occur before he even puts on his mask.]]
* In ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'', the Guardian of the Park receives one [[spoiler:from a falling football]]. This is a particularly [[TVTropesDrinkingGame egregio]]-- er, [[SubvertedTrope extreme]] example, as going by the [[TimeTravel time said tap occurs]], he was left unconscious for ''five hours''.
* Apparently averted in the first VideoGame/ResidentEvil game. [[spoiler:One ending variation has [[TheBigGuy Barry Burton]] sneak up behind an unsuspecting [[BigBad Wesker]] and whack him on the back of the head with his magnum. This would have to kill Wesker for him to be able to transform into his undead, G-Virus self, present in the rest of the series.]]
* Yuri from ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' does this with comical ease to multiple armored guards throughout the story, first with some thrown stones [[ArmorIsUseless (That hit their helmets)]], then by casually hitting them in the back of the neck.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Hitman}}: Blood Money'', 47 can [[PistolWhipping pistol whip]] someone that he had previously been using as a HumanShield. This knocks them out instantly and they stay out for the rest of the mission...unless someone finds them and shakes them a couple of times. Then they wake up immediately and with no apparent damage.
* The stealth-based game ''{{VideoGame/Dishonored}}'' has the choke hold as a nonlethal option.
* ''Franchise/MetalGear'' has this as well. No ill effects on the guards at all, either - as soon as they wake up after being choked out, they'll immediately be aware of what happened and alert the others.
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid: [[VideoGameRemake The Twin Snakes]]'' has one particular cutscene where Snake is hit in the back of the head with a rifle stock, to which he responds by menacing the guy who hit him for about five seconds before falling over.
* In ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2'', this is how [[spoiler:Mahiru Koizumi]] gets killed, as she dies by being [[spoiler:bashed on the head with a baseball bat by Peko Pekoyama on the behalf of Kuzuryuu, whom he ordered Pekoyama to kill her because she covered up the death of his sister.]]
* In MetroLastLight, a new 'takedown' system was added; sneak up behind an enemy, and you can either slit their throat, or poke them in the back then punch them in the face with your knife hilt when they turn around. This being a guaranteed knockout every time, non-lethal runs consist mostly of flitting around rooms in the shadows socking everyone in the face until every enemy is asleep.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* LampshadeHanging in [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2002-08-14 this]] ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' strip. Elliot is completely fine after having been knocked out, but he flips out about silly things like "brain damage" and "concussions."
* Subverted in ''{{Narbonic}}''. Mell clonks Titus Misanthropie with the butt of her gun... and he yells "Ow!" He then proceeds to give her advice:
-->'''Titus:''' Miss, you want to strike closer to the base of the skull. What is this, your first cold-cocking?\\
'''Mell:''' Usually I just kill.\\
'''Helen:''' Sorry, Titus. She's an intern.
* This becomes a running gag during a ''[[DanAndMabsFurryAdventures DMFA]]'' arc, nicknamed "head-clunking." Then Aliyka [[http://www.missmab.com/Comics/Vol_896.php tries it]] on Dan...
* Done [[RealityEnsues realistically]] in [[http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=207 this]] ''WebComic/VGCats'' strip. Yes kids, ''that'' is what you are going for when hitting someone hard on the head.
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', Oggie cures Lars' panic attack with a brick to the head. Og is a Jager and they are superhumanly tough, so by his lights this might be an acceptable form of discipline.
** "Effective," perhaps; "acceptable," no. When Lars wakes up and asks about his rather obvious concussion Oggie claims a brick from the bridge flew wide and hit him. He even holds up the brick in question for proof.
--->"I HIT MR LARS SYNED, A BRIKK"
* In ''TheSpecialists'', [[http://thespecialistscomic.com/page-30/ how Camille takes out Hartmann]]
* [[TheInexpicableAdventuresOfBob Robbie]] gets ''two'' from Rocco the [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Sasquatch]]: [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/comics/20120519.html once]] for [[spoiler:breaking into his home]], and [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/comics/20120623.html another]] for ''daring Rocco to hit him''!! '''OUCH.'''
* Referenced and subverted in ''{{minus}}''. Minus starts acting extra-bizarre, so [[NoNameGiven white-haired girl]] suggests hitting her on the head with a rock, because [[DiscussedTrope "whenever people start acting strange in stories, a bump on the head brings them back to normal."]] So they try it, and [[spoiler:[[LiterallyShatteredLives it kills her.]] But she immediately comes back as a ghost, and appears to have her [[CloudCuckoolander "normal" personality]] again, so this may be a very strange DoubleSubversion]].
* In ''Webcomic/DragonMango'', [[http://dragon-mango.com/comic/chapter03/dm03-44.htm a healer uses this]] to ensure the DoctorsOrders -- as "tough love."
* In ''Webcomic/TheRedStar'', [[http://www.beyondrealitymedia.com/the-red-star/issue-3/page-12/ Alexandra knocks Maya out with a punch.]]
* In ''DocRat'', this is played more realistically, though on the very dangerous side: [[http://www.docrat.com.au/default.asp?thisItem=1730 a blow to the head]] [[http://www.docrat.com.au/default.asp?thisItem=1732 kills]].
* In ''FauxPas'', [[http://www.ozfoxes.net/cgi/pl-fp1.cgi?352 a blow to the head dazes Stu.]]
* In {{Sinfest}}, faced with the bizarre behavior of Lil' E -- {{Satan}}'s FanBoy dressing up in an angel get up? -- [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4574 Seymour asks whether he suffered this.]]
* Played realistically in ''{{Unsounded}}'', when Quigley is knocked out by Starfish he's only out for a few seconds. As it happens in the middle of a fight, a few seconds is plenty.
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'': {{Subverted}} in "Halfs and Half-Knots": [[GenkiGirl Kiki]] the ferret needs to stay absolutely still for an operation involving pulling half of her back through a dimensional portal, but she just gets excited at the thought of staying still and starts pouncing ever faster. Torg says "I'll get the hammer." In the next comic, he's holding an MC Hammer poster that's so colourful it causes Kiki to go into ferret shock and thus stay still.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* ShadowhunterPeril has [[ShellShockedVeteran Bezaliel]]. When the angel first appeared he started spinning out in a psychotic episode and nearly overwhelmed everyone present with his messed-up mind, thanks to his empathy powers. The problem was solved by his confused son Nicholas picking up a large rock and smashing it on the top of his head, knocking him out instantly. This would become the solution for how to deal with Bezaliel for several days after, until they figured out what to do with him.
** Hilariously, Veronica actually tried to knock him out once, only for Bezaliel to [[HardHead appear offended and slightly ruffled]]. [[HilarityEnsues Then they overheard Umbra and Nicholas having sex.]]
* In WebVideo/SuburbanKnights, WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob and [[WebVideo/TheAngryJoeShow Angry Joe]] do this to [[WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick Elisa]] when they are leaving her house.
* ''Website/{{Lifehacker}}'''s "[[http://lifehacker.com/5980488/five-survival-skills-the-movies-taught-you-wrong?tag=security Five Survival Skills the Movies Taught You Wrong]]" explains that concussions are serious business.
* Strong Bad inflicting a [[FryingPanOfDoom "skillet nap"]] on HomestarRunner. He even wakes up yawning and smacking his lips later.
* Averted in WebVideo/WhereTheBearsAre. Todd is knocked unconscious during a dramatic moment near the end of Season One. In Season Two he mentions that the doctors think he might have short-term memory loss problems because of it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' makes fun of this trope in the episode where Peter steals the Popemobile; the guy guarding it tells Peter that "even the slightest tap on the head knocks me out. I always wake up feeling fine afterwards, but it's just so darned inconvenient." The fellow then demonstrates this by lightly touching his head and knocks himself out, allowing Peter to steal the car.
* ''StrokerAndHoop'' has fun with this in one episode: The titular Stroker and Hoop knock out two guys to steal their clothes. One, though in pain, stays conscious and becomes despondent when he believes that Stroker had accidentally killed his friend with the blow to the head. After several moments of arguing ("Dammit, I know how to knock someone out!" "Well, do you check? Like, what if they have a concussion??"), the conscious man pretends to be unconscious just to avoid being hit again.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' lampshades this phenomenon as well:
--> '''Dragoon:''' What is this, an episode of Series/GilligansIsland? Everybody gets hit once and they are instantly unconscious?
--> '''Red Mantle:''' Good one. Six bucks says he has [[EasyAmnesia amnesia]] when he wakes up.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' featured a health inspector getting knocked out in various ways over the course of the episode.
* In the ''StarWarsTheCloneWars'' episode ''Cloak of Darkness'', the BadassNormal and TheMole single each other out. The Badass Normal knocks The Mole out cold with one right hook. Then, two seconds later, the [[DirtyCoward prisoner]] knocks out Badass Normal from behind with a butt-stroke from a blaster rifle. (A butt-stroke is a hit with the back end of a rifle. Not what you think.)
* Subverted in the ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episode, "Stan's Night Out". Several people are hit on the head with bottles; they collapse, but don't lose consciousness, and they need to be taken to a hospital.
* ''JonnyQuest'' TOS episodes:
** "Mystery of the Lizard Men". The title opponents are knocked out as follows: Race Bannon (1 punch, 1 judo chop), Jonny (1 by air vent grill, 1 by swinging pulley, 2 by oar, 1 by facemask).
** "Werewolf of the Timberland". White Feather hits Blackie over the head with a club.
** "The Fraudulent Volcano". Hadji to a guard with a swung lantern and Race to a guard using an elbow to the solar plexus.
** "The Dreadful Doll". Race to Korbai with a plank and Alverjo to Harden with a scuba tank.
** "Monster in the Monastery". Hadji to a yeti with a club, Jonny to two yetis with thrown pots, Hadji to a yeti with a crate and a yeti to ''himself'' with a thrown rock.
** "The Devil's Tower". Race knocks out a sleepy caveman with his own club.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Sokka knocks someone out by hitting him with his boomerang.
** Similarly, Zuko (while masquerading as the Blue Spirit) gets knocked out for what seems to be several hours when he gets shot in the forehead by an arrow, protected only by his mask.
* ''SpaceGhost''.
** Pirhanor takes out Space Ghost with a wrench to the back of the head in "The Space Piranhas".
** Jace knocks out the pirate One Eye with a wrench in "Space Sargasso".
** Tarko the 12th Century Viking hits Jace over the head with a shield in "The Time Machine".
* This happens quite a bit in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', particularly to Homer, despite his characteristic [[HardHead hardheadedness]]. Also, in "Duffless," Homer repeatedly attempts to knock a defiant and drunk Barney out (to the point of ''repeatedly slamming his head in the car door'') to get his keys and thereby prevent him from driving while intoxicated. He fails, and an annoyed and somewhat hurt Barney hands Homer the keys to get him to stop.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Birdman}}''
** "The Menace of Dr. Millenium". A caveman knocks out the title hero from behind with a stone club.
** "The Chameleon". The title villain knocks out Birdman with a blow of his tail while shapechanged into a dinosaur.
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'', as when Archer punches out Ray to take his place on a mission it's stated being unconscious is very bad for him and he has to visit a neurologist later.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'': Fred and Barney taking out all those {{Mooks}} while escaping from Dr. Sinister's lair. "A judo, a chop chop chop!"
* [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E16SonicRainboom In an episode of]] ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', Rarity ends up falling from Cloudsdale. Her flailing knocks out some would-be rescuers, but the KO blows are ''jaw shots'', not blows over the head.
** The "no ill effects" part of this trope happens to Rainbow Dash in the episode "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E16ReadItAndWeep Read It and Weep]]". After she crashes in the {{Cold Opening}}, we next see her waking up in a hospital bed with her wing in a cast and a band-aid on her head. To clarify: she was unconscious long enough to be taken to the hospital, ex-rayed, bandaged, dressed in a hospital gown and put to bed. Yet she suffers no brain damage whatsoever, and once she wakes up her broken wing is treated as the main injury, with her head injury completely ignored.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/SwatKats'' has Razor knocked out by Callie with a vase to the back of the head, even though he's '''wearing a helmet''' at the time.
* WesternAnimation/TheTransformers: Humans and Transformers alike fall victim to this trope. Particularly Sir Wolfe after being whacked over the head with a stool by Nimue in ''A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* As mentioned throughout, the tap on the head is not enough to knock someone out, and any hit on the head that does knock someone out is likely to have other effects. Boxers knocked out with a head shot frequently show signs of damage afterward, including confusion, memory loss, and other disorientation. There are multiple stories where boxers have apparently not realized that they were KO'd until someone else told them what happened, or cases where semi-conscious fighters have attempted to fight off medical help because they believe the fight is still going. You lose your memory from a few seconds before you fell unconscious. You would remember in this scenario being in the middle of a fight and then immediately being on the ground. This is why alibis that consist of "I was hit on the head and fell unconscious" are suspicious; if it knocked you unconscious you wouldn't remember it.
* To give you an idea of how unpredictable a hit on the head can be, pro wrestler Wrestling/MickFoley has one anecdote about his {{Vitriolic Best Bud|s}} Wrestling/AlSnow, where Snow was supposed to be down and out for the count after being hit with a chair. Instead Snow popped back up to his feet, laughing in the face of the guy who hit him. This was done multiple times, with Snow popping back and laughing after each time. When Foley asked him about it afterward, Snow had no memory of the whole thing and claimed that he had been unconscious from the time of the first chair shot. Even with no longer having control of your faculties, one is far from guaranteed to quietly stay down.
* The ultimate in "do not try this at home." Being hit on the head can cause concussion, and brain swelling which can lead to death, mental damage or health problems sometimes years down the road. Even more dangerous is the neck karate chop - although often played in TV and film for fun or as a way for a hero to save the day without killing anyone, if delivered improperly (or properly, depending on your point of view) it can cause neck fractures and even internal decapitation, and thus can be fatal. In other words, leave the "tapping on the head" to the stunt men and professional wrestlers, kids.
* King Henry VIII of England was injured during a jousting tournament when he forgot to place his visor down. He was knocked unconscious and remained that way for a couple of hours. Although he managed to wake up, he reportedly suffered bad headaches and other health problems for the rest of his life.
* One "game" going around city kids in the past year is something called the "knockout game", where a group of kids challenge one of their number to knock someone out with a single punch. This has resulted in several deaths, both of the victims and several of the attackers too when they found out the hard way that their intended target was packing heat.
* The first First Minister of Scotland, Donald Dewar, slipped on some ice and suffered what was described as a small knock on his head. He got up, seemed fine, but later that afternoon he had a massive cerebral haemorrhage and died the following morning.
[[/folder]]
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