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Balls of Steel

The man's leg kicks towards the hero's groin. It hits him, hard enough to take down a lesser man. But not this hero! This hero has BALLS OF STEEL and won't crumple even if a truck drives into his groin.

This is a subversion of Groin Attack, which is where a male character gets hit in his genitalia and goes down.

Typical justifications of this trope include the target wearing a codpiece, lacking genitalia where he is being hit (especially common in Speculative Fiction), or being female (incidentally, a Groin Attack on a female in real life is nearly as effective and dangerous as it is when used against a man, though it is considered less funny).

To add extra humour, the person doing the attack may actually hurt themselves attempting the Groin Attack (because In Soviet Russia, groin attacks YOU!!). Cue several seconds of cursing and clutching at the affected area - long enough for the attacked to retaliate.

Not to be confused with Brass Balls, nor boules of steel. Subtrope of Kung-Fu Proof Mook and No Sell. Funnily enough is Truth in Television with Shaolin Monks claiming that there is a practice for this.

For the video pinball game Balls of Steel, click here.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • In Black Lagoon, Rotton the Wizard survived a crushing blow to his manhood from Roberta by wearing a steel metal strap.
  • Occurs in one of the flashback chapters of Bleach when recently appointed Captain Kisuke Urahara is kicked by then-lieutenant Hiyori Sarugaki with seemingly no effect. After she stormed out the barracks clutching at her foot and asking herself, "What are they made of, brass?!" His response? "Yes, yes they are!"
  • A swift kick to the 'nads was attempted by Saiga Riki-Oh on the JP Warden when conventional means proved ineffective on his rubbery body. Only thing is, the rubbery freak in effect makes 'em disappear.
  • In Baki the Grappler, one of Katou's first moves against Orochi was a Groin Attack. After nearly suffocating Katou as a counter, Orochi explains that Okinawa Karate has a technique that lets you retract your testicles into your body.
  • Minnie May uses a Groin Attack on Bean Bandit to 'get a man up' when he falls asleep on the wheel. She is shown with a hurting hand. Whether this is because of Bean's armored clothes or it's part of his generally being Made of Iron is left up to the reader.

     Comic Books  
  • In the Secret Six comics, Ragdoll is at one point the victim of a Groin Attack, but he simply takes it and replies, "I had those removed for getting in the way." Catman compliments him on how devoted he is to being a freak.
  • In the Black Canary/Green Arrow wedding issue, Canary manages to land a kick on Deathstroke, but this trope is used as he angrily says that he's wearing over 50 pounds of body armor, so of course he's wearing a cup.
  • During Warren Ellis' run on Thunderbolts, Doc Samson shrugs off a hit to the groin from Moonstone, quipping "Oh, trust me. It's ALL gamma-enhanced."
  • At one point Sasha Bordeaux tried to give a Groin Attack to Nightwing, but found out he wore a cup.
  • One of DC's D-List characters, "Wild Dog," takes a shot to the crotch from a female reporter that drops him to the ground. One or two issues later, circumstances repeat, but Wild Dog informs the reporter that he now wears a metal cup. Apparently, none of Wild Dog's male criminal targets would even think of using this maneuver, so he never thought of incorporating that piece of protective gear before.
  • During the Buffy Season 8 comics, Faith goes for the groin attack against the Nigh Invulnerable Twilight. His response? "What makes you think "invulnerable" isn't all over?"
    • And subverted when he sees Buffy going for them with the scythe like she did with Caleb. Thinking better than to risk, it, he avoids the blow. Makes sense, since he's Angel and actually saw what that move did.
  • In one issue of The Badger, Badger was fighting a jumprope wielding Blood Knight named Dominance in an alternate dimension. At one point in the fight, Badger get in a groin attack against him, and Dominance instantly responds with a counter that sends Badger flying. Dominance then grins and declares "I had my gonads removed, jokes on you!" Ham, who's scrying the fight from earth comments, "He had his gonads removed and he thinks the jokes on Badger." Which was almost exactly what badger said when the POV shifted back to him.

     Film  
  • Done most famously in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indy is challenged by a hopelessly larger fighter; Indy kicks him the groin in desperation— in response to which the fighter just challenges him again.
  • James Bond
    • In You Only Live Twice, a martial artist is hit in the testicles, but it's revealed he had drawn them into his body.
    • In Moonraker, Bond knees Jaws in the groin while fighting him in the space station. There's a "clang" sound when Bond does so, indicating that Jaws has Balls of Steel, just like his teeth.
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist
    • This is one of Master Pain's / Betty's powers. The Chosen One later tries to see if he has this power, and painfully discovers that he does not.
    • Wimp Lo thinks he has this, to where he's developed a Nuts-to-Your-Fists Style.
  • In Men In Black 2, K is trying to fight off an alien with little success until J points out that that particular alien - a "Ballchinian" - is impervious to groin attacks... because his balls are on his chin instead.
  • Pai Mei from Kill Bill Volume 2 has these, as the Bride finds out the hard way during her battle with him.
  • In The Jerk, Steve Martin's character makes the mistake of kicking the crotch of "Iron Balls" McGinty.
  • Played with in She's The Man. Viola gets hit in the crotch with a soccer ball and belatedly remembers to cry in agony, making it momentarily appear that "he" has balls of steel.
  • In Wild Wild West, Jim West tries to take on a bad guy with metal plating all over his body. When he tries a kick to the groin, all he gets is a bell-ringing noise, to which he utters a horrified No! in stunned disbelief—as well as sympathy that his makers would have done this to him.
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, during the final battle, Freddy tries one of these on Jason when no amount of savage beating on him works. Jason is pretty much impervious to all pain, and Freddy curses as he clutches his broken foot.
  • Although he is not completely unaffected by the experience, there is a clang when Marty punches Griff in the groin in Back to the Future II. This was also after a mention that Griff had bionics.
  • X-Men:
    • In X-Men, during a cage fight, Wolverine's opponent is told, "Anything goes, but you hit him in the balls, he'll take it personal." Sure enough, the poor fool tries it—there's an audible "ping"note , and Wolverine kicks the tar out of him.
    • In X-Men: The Last Stand, Wolverine ends up fighting a mook who grows his arms back when they're cut off. Wolverine kicks him in the balls and quips "Grow those back." There's apparently no reason why he can't
  • In RoboCop (1987), a villain resists arrest in a way that shows Murphy's fatal accident cost him more than just an arm and a leg.
  • One of the fighters in Master of the Flying Guillotine is completely immune to repeated groin attacks. His weak spots are his eyes.
  • In Alien Nation, Sykes groin-kicks an alien, who laughs it off. Later, George tells him that he'll get the result he was looking for by hitting an alien in the side of the torso. Sykes tries this out later, and it proves as effective as a groin shot.
  • In Get Smart, during the free-fall scene, Max tries a groin attack on Dalip, followed by Agent 99 trying the same thing, only to receive a dark chuckle in return.
  • Owen Wilson in I Spy takes several groin shots from Famke Janssen, but in the very last scene he thwarts her by wearing a cup.
  • Johnny English gains these in the sequel. It comes in handy later.
  • Similar to the MIB example above, in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Kirk is forced into a prison yard fight against an alien twice his size. He repeatedly tries to kick the creature in the groin, resulting in a No Sell each time. After it knocks him to the ground, he strikes the creature in the knees...and it immediately drops like a sack of bricks.
    Marta: Not everybody keeps their genitals in the same place, Captain.
    Kirk: Anything you want to tell me?
  • Taken Up to Eleven with You Don't Mess with the Zohan when Zohan confronts his arch-enemy, The Phantom, on the Palestine beach where they compete on which one is the tougher, letting themselves get bitten by a piranha to prove their point. The phantom uses the piranha to bite his own neck. Not to be outdone, Zohan takes the piranha and drops it down his swimming trunks to prove he feels no pain. He even nonchalantly lets the Phantom take a peek into his speedo, which makes him wince at the spectacle.
  • In Torrente: El brazo tonto de la ley, Malaguita claims to know a mystical trick to draw his genitals to his peritoneum using concentration, and tells Torrente to kick him in the groin to prove it. However, he fails when Toneti accidentally makes him lose his concentration one second before Torrente kicks him.
  • In Tin Cup, this is how the main character got the titular nickname in high school.
  • Batman Returns: Catwoman kicks Batman down there with a heel-heeled boot, but he barely reacts. Considering that the Groin Attack is one of Catwoman's favorite attacks, she may realize that this attack isn't very effective against Batman, as he isn't showing much flinch after received the attack. But, of course, Batman should be wearing a protective cup at the time, not to mention he's also been trained as a ninja and all.

     Literature  
  • Discworld:
    • Monstrous Regiment - our heroine Polly "Oliver" Perks is bitten in the crotch by a horse when disguised as a man, and only the horrified reaction of a male onlooker makes her realise she should be bent double in agony. note  Also, Sergeant Jackrum once shrugged off getting kicked in the groin during a bar brawl, according to a story recounted by a soldier's son. Like Polly, there's a good reason for that...
    • In Guards! Guards!, Carrot was given a codpiece as a parting gift from the friend who suggested he join the Watch. It proved to be useful throughout the book, as roughly half his enemies attempted Groin Attacks against him. In one of Carrot's letters home, he describes how a mugger kicked him in the Vitals, but he was wearing his Protective.
      • There is a fight scene in which the narrative mentions the sound "of a small gong being struck repeatedly".
    • Detritus, being a troll, literally has balls not of steel but of stone. In The Fifth Elephant,
    'But if you can find der man dat kicked me inna rocks, I should be happy to give him a flick around der earhole. I know which one it was. He's der one walkin' wid der limp.'
    • In Unseen Academicals, Pepe gives Trev a pair of micromail underpants. They cause Andy Shank to hurt himself when he tries to kick Trev in the fork.
  • In the Provost's Dog series, a criminal tries for the standard subversion, and has some confidence due to it. Sadly, his armor, rather than protecting him, crumples. Goodwin chides him for cheaping out on his armor as she makes the arrest.
  • In Promised Land Spenser takes a shot to the groin from a female martial artist, and though, as he points out, it still hurts like hell he manages to power through it, knock her on her ass and explain to her that it's not the fool proof trick she thinks it is, especially when a guy's been kicked there before and knows how to deal with it.
  • The novel You Only Live Twice has Tiger Tanaka describe the sumo wrestlers' ability to suck their genitals up into a recess in their hip bone, to which Bond responds with amazement. Bond casually muses that he'd wished he had this skill when the Big Bad seats him right over an active (and soon to blow) geyser.

     Live-Action TV  
  • In an episode of The A-Team, a bad guy slams his rifle into BA's crotch with no effect.
  • Used in Series 3, Episode 7 of Primeval, where Danny tricks a knight with the old Look Up routine, only to discover out his groin is armour protected.
  • Used in the Farscape episode "Hot to Katratzi", where Chiana confronts a Scarran who had captured her earlier. After verifying his identity, she asks him if Scarrans have mivonks, and abruptly knees him in the groin before he has a chance to respond. As she lies on the floor clutching her knee in pain, the Scarran informs her that they do have them, but they're not external.
  • One clip shown on The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest had a woman kicking a cop in the groin repeatedly (his "offense" was trying to arrest her for assaulting him to begin with). He didn't seem to even notice, although commentators did.
  • Titus was smart enough in one episode to wear a cup when he went to go get his girlfriend's niece, so when she kicked him there all she did was hurt her foot.

    Music Video 

     Professional Wrestling  

     Role Playing Games  
  • In Transhuman Space, one of possible augmentations is to have your testicles moved inside your body and have metal or silicon replacements to keep appearances. The purpose of this augmentation is exactly this trope.

     Video Games  
  • Tekken Tag Tournament featured a number of special intros/outros from combining certain pairs of fighters on your team. Several outros involving Nina Williams features her delivering her signature Groin Attack to her partner, causing him to crumble to the ground. If you pair her with Bryan Fury, however, she'll deliver the groin attack but he laughs at it and does one of his taunts in response.
  • In Mirror's Edge, a slide kick in the groin is a very effective method of dispatching armed enemies (disabling them for just enough time for a disarm)... except the heavy troopers who explicitly wear groin protection with their armor and therefore only receive normal damage from such kicks. Also, the groin kicks don't work on the Parkour Killer, an early indication that she's a girl.
  • God Hand reverses this with Mr. Silver, one-half of a Mid Boss duo, who is immune to the Ball Buster Groin Attack because he's been castrated.

     Web Comics  

     Web Original 

     Western Animation  
  • King of the Hill: Bobby, after taking a women's self-defense course, starts kicking anyone who upsets him in the testicles. Of course, it doesn't work on Peggy. However, how realistic her reaction is can depend on a number of factors. While a Groin Attack on a woman can be just as painful to a woman, the vulnerable regions of a woman are smaller. Had Bobby listened to Khan's claim about Peggy bluffing, he might have had more success with a repeat attack.
  • Robot Chicken
    • In a short titled "Ode to the Nut-shot", we see two instances of this, one straight and one played with; in one case, a lumberjack repeatedly punches himself in the nuts to no effect, and in another, one robot kicks another in the groin, at which the victim simply stands there and shrugs.
    • Bob Barker goes around forcibly spaying and neutering pets. Snoop Dog tries to stop him with a Groin Attack. It doesn't work as Barker points out he's 83, "shooting dust for years".
  • Painfully subverted in The Oblongs, where Mayor Bledsoe, whilst doing a number of macho exercises, dares Mr. Klimer to hit him in the testicles with his golf club. Once the blow is made, the mayor stands perfectly still before saying, in an even voice, "That hurts more than I thought it would."
  • In the Beavis and Butt-Head episode "Buff 'N Stuff", Coach Buzzcut tells Butt-Head to "Kick me in the Jimmy". The only reaction to Butt-head doing so (twice) is his face turning red while he goes "YYYESSS!"
  • In The Simpsons episode "Bart Star", Bart joins a pee-wee football team; when Marge buys equipment for him, including a cup, Bart tells Milhouse to test the cup, which he does. Bart doesn't feel a thing, so he tells Milhouse to try again, and then again, at which point Marge yells at him to stop.

     Real Life  
  • There's also this famous clip. He might not literally have these, but that seems to be about as close as you can possibly get without surgical augmentation. Before he was on that show, the man in question and several of his students were also on Ripley's Believe It or Not! when one of his students took a shot in the crotch from an NFL placekicker.
  • This guy doesn't mind letting Miss Norway practice on him.
  • There's no need to become a Shaolin monk to achieve this. One of the first kata learned by Shorin-ryu Karatedo students is naihanchi shodan; the basic stance of this kata has you thrust your pelvis forward and keep it that way through the whole kata (at first, it's a literal pain in the ass). If performed correctly, it protects your genitals from an attack coming from under you, since a good part of your buttocks is where they should be.
  • The inventor of the Nutty Buddy, which he claims is a vast improvement over the previous design of the athletic cup, frequently demonstrates its effectiveness by taking a hit to the groin from a baseball pitching machine.


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