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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/PunchOut http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/punchout_350_1890.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"[[UsefulNotes/MuhammadAli Float like a butterfly]], sting like a horse!"]]

->'''Raven:''' Aren't ninja supposed to "fight with honor" and all that?\\
'''Ninja:''' Nah, you're thinking of samurai. Ninja kill silently from the darkness.
-->-- ''Webcomic/TheLastDaysOfFoxhound''

Not every character fights like the KnightInShiningArmor. Dirty fighting is a staple of many genres. Its regular appearance can mark a work as [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism more serious, 'gritty' and realistic]] (not to mention DarkerAndEdgier).

There are lots of ways to work more 'resourceful' combatants into scenes and stories, but the key to good dirty fighting is twofold: [[CombatPragmatist a willingness on the part of the fighters to use whatever is available to them]] in combat, and a willingness to use [[ManipulativeBastard psychological]] [[TrashTalk tricks]] in order to gain the upper hand. Inventive tactics and an ability to improvise are naturally assets. The best examples of series taking this approach to heart will see characters [[FakingTheDead play possum]], [[MindScrew play head games]], and [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown play hardball as soon as things get close]]. Anything goes in a real fight, after all.

That the contents within are TruthInTelevision goes without saying.

The trope's name comes from "Ridin[='=]" by Chamillionaire (and not, [[WeirdAlEffect as you might suppose]], "White and Nerdy" by Music/WeirdAlYankovic).

For dirty fighting without the actual fighting, see DirtySocialTricks. See also DistractionTropes.

!!Sub-Tropes include:

* AerosolFlamethrower
* BoozeFlamethrower
* BulletproofHumanShield - using an enemy (or a friend or InnocentBystander, for ''really'' nasty bad guys) as cover against another enemy
* ByTheHair
* CombatPragmatist
* ConvenientlyTimedDistraction
* DecoyGetaway
* DefensiveFeintTrap
* ExploitedImmunity
* FakingTheDead
* GoFetch
* GoForTheEye - the eye gouge is a favored tactic of the more lethal dirty fighter.
* GoLookAtTheDistraction
* GradualGrinder
* GroinAttack
* HammerspaceHair - When used to hide sharp objects, especially common in RealLife.
* AHandfulForAnEye - the time-honored trick of giving your foe an amateur optometry checkup with some nearby dirt or sand.
* HeyCatch
* HeyYouHaymaker
* IAmNotLeftHanded
* ImprovisedWeapon
* InTheBack
** BackStab
* ISurrenderSuckers
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown
* {{Kneecapping}}
* LookBehindYou
* ManBitesMan
* NotCheatingUnlessYouGetCaught
* PoisonIsEvil
* ScrewTheRulesTheyBrokeThemFirst (when a victim of dirty play retaliates this way)
* StandardFemaleGrabArea
* TalkToTheFist - smacking (or shooting) somebody mid-speech.
* Many of UsefulNotes/TheThirtySixStratagems qualify.
* ThrowingTheDistraction
* TrapMaster
* TrashTalk
* UnnecessaryRoughness
* WeNeedADistraction and all subtropes
* WeightedGloves