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Combat Compliment
Most fights either have the combatants forgoing conversation to focus on kicking ass, or engaging in Trash Talk, either as psychological warfare to psych out their opponent or just for the lulz.

However, sometimes one of the fighters will be genuinely complimentary to the other. Not in a sarcastic "Nice punch!" kind of way, but sincerely praising their opponent. It might be a disguised form of gloating ("You're awesome, and since I'm kicking your ass that makes me even more awesome") but the point is that they mean it.

Most common from the guy who is winning, since coming from the loser it might sound like they're making excuses for being beat. The praise will often stop when the tide turns, but some characters will keep it up all the way to their defeat. Such genuine cases may be motivated by Sympathy for the Devil or Sympathy for the Hero.

When someone takes delight in the amount of destruction a fighter causes, that's In Love with Your Carnage. This is usually intended as a compliment but the object of the affection may or may not take it that way. Crosses over with Baddie Flattery when the fighter doing the compliment is also a villain. For an even more polite assailant, see Apologetic Attacker.

Contrast You Fight Like a Cow, where the characters battle is as much verbal as physical (though it may still be somewhat friendly).


  • In the climactic fight in the Iron Man movie, Stark's opponent is constantly praising Tony's technical genius and tactical cunning.
  • In the famous duel in The Princess Bride both the Man in Black and Inigo Montoya treat the whole thing like a game and are free with their compliments of each other's skills.
    • There are also some good-natured compliments between the Man in Black and Fezzik during their battle.
    • And between the Man in Black and Vizzini. "You've beaten my giant; you must be very strong."
  • Star Wars: At the end of Empire Vader does it to Luke to try and encourage him to unleash his dark side, and then the Emperor does the same at the end of Jedi.
    "Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well."
  • In Samurai 7, when Kambei was fighting Kyuzo, he said "I'm in love...with your fighting style," or something like that.
  • In Serenity, The Operative compliments his opponents accomplishments, but also declares their "sin".
  • Jack Sparrow complimenting Will's form during their first duel in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl:
    Jack: You know what you're doing, I'll give you that. But how's your footwork? If I step here... *swash swash buckle buckle*... Very good!
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's: The rematch of Fate and Signum had both fighters pausing momentarily after a flurry of blows so that they can compliment the other's skills and the power of their Device. Humorously, it's the Devices that give thanks, not the fighters themselves.
    Signum: "Testarossa, you got really strong, you and Bardiche."
    Bardiche: "Thank you."
    Fate: "You're strong, too, Laevatine and Signum."
    Laevatine: "Danke."
  • "You're young, but you're a good knight" were Zest's words to Vita in Striker(s) when she was handily stopping him from achieving his goal. Agito promptly complained to Zest about how he shouldn't be wasting his time praising his opponent.
  • Star Trek VI: General Chang appreciates Kirk as a fellow warrior.
  • In The Mask of Zorro, when Captain Love was fighting Alejandro (Zorro), he compliments him by saying "you're doing well, your brother would've shot himself by now."
  • Metal Gear is full of this. The bosses in the game often compliment Snake's ability. The most pronounced is probably Snake and Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 3 — at the beginning, Snake defeats Ocelot but compliments his ricochet shots and in later battles, Ocelot compliments Snake for good shots.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Sokka's Master", Sokka receives several compliments about using his environment and superior agility during an intense sword fight. (With an Old Master who's teaching him, mind you.)
  • All of the fighters at the Dojo in the first Paper Mario.
  • Kim Possible: When Kim first wears her new Postscript Season mission garb, Shego admits that it looks pretty good (this after mercilessly — even by her standards — mocking the various outfits she'd worn earlier in the episode).
  • In Dragon Ball GT, when Goku fights Uub. His entire purpose in the fight is to gauge Uub's strength, and he is pleasantly surprised.
  • It's common courtesy in FPS's to compliment an opponent on a particularly good kill. Even/especially if the one killed was you.
  • In Mega Man 8, Sword Man's death quote is simply "Nice Shot."
  • Tokugawa Ieyasu praises his opponents in a friendly, chatty way as he punches the crap out of them and their mooks in Sengoku Basara 3. Makes sense, since he's actually trying to recruit some of them into his army and dissuade others from the path they've chosen... through punching.
    • Ashikaga Yoshiteru's taunt actually involves applauding his opponent and declaring how much he's enjoying himself.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Jeanne compliments Parley on a "fine strike" while trying to kill her. She's right: Parley was unarmed and still reeling from an Emotion Bomb, but still managed to dodge Jeanne's rapier and land a kick. It's especially notable in that Jeanne is a homicidal ghost empowered by centuries of distilled rage and pain and was still vocally impressed.
  • In the StarCraft multiplayer community, "gg" (Good Game) is the courteous way to surrender before leaving a match. "gg wp" (Good Game, Well Played) is a variant showing respect for your opponent's skill, said by the winner or loser. Several other online communities have since adopted the same shorthand.
  • In Wakfu, Qilby the Traitor compliments Adamai twice during their fight. He is impressed by Adamai and Grougal's tag-team attack and admits that they almost had him. When Adamai later goes One-Winged Angel in a fit of rage after Qilby knocks out Grougal, Qilby expresses admiration for Adamai's fighting spirit, calling him the pride of the Eliatrope race.
  • Destroy The Godmodder: Doc Scratch does this very frequently.
  • In Claymore, Clare is fighting Rigaldo, who had previously dismissed her as a weakling unworthy of his time and is instead focusing on killing her (allegedly) far more powerful allies. This is a mistake; Clare taps into her Superpowered Evil Side in a very specific manner, allowing her to gain speed that he can't match. His final word as she tears him apart? Superb.

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