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Deliberate Injury Gambit
Let an opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let an opponent smash into your flesh and you fracture his bone; let an opponent fracture your bone and you take his life! Do not be concerned with your escaping safely; lay your life before him!

Bob is in a sword fight with Emperor Evulz, and things don't look good for Bob. Emperor Evulz is much faster than him, and Bob just can't land a blow.

Oh no! Emperor Evulz just stabbed Bob's shoulder! Once Evulz pulls his sword out he'll be able to finish Bob.

Not so fast. The hero let himself get impaled on purpose. And now that he's got the villain's sword restrained, the hero has him right where he wants him.

This trope occurs when a character deliberately allows himself to be injured, or takes advantage of the fact that he's just been injured, in order to gain an advantage against an opponent.

More extreme cases of this can result in Death Is the Only Option, a Heroic Sacrifice or Mutual Kill. Frequently exploits Good Thing You Can Heal. Compare Taking You with Me.

Typical in cases of Bizarre Alien Biology. Compare with Wounded Gazelle Gambit, which is about someone pretending to be hurt so that they can make a third person attack their target in their place.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Weiß Kreuz Gluhen, Hidaka Ken does a Kill Us Both variant, grabbing Clone Toudou from behind to restrain him and calling for Aya to run them both through. He waves it away afterwards with a flippant, "It's okay, I have two kidneys."
  • The title character of Inuyasha allows his Aloof Big Brother Sesshoumaru to put his hand all the way through his chest. While Sesshoumaru's attention is thus occupied, Inuyasha rips off his other arm and takes back his BFS. In spite of having a fist-sized hole through the middle of his body, which should have taken a four-inch segment out of his spine, he survives.
  • This happens with disturbing regularity in Claymore:
    • A supporting character does this to trap a yoma's hands, giving Clare the opportunity to kill it.
    • Don't forget much earlier in the series, when an unarmed Clare lets a yoma punch her through the stomach, only to throw herself and said yoma down a cliff to grab her sword and regain the upper hand.
    • Deneve, who can regenerate her body from almost note  any wound at a ridiculously rapid rate; her fighting style is best described as "suicidal", because hey, when you can grow back your arm and regenerate the intestines that were just ripped out of you, why not let an enemy mutilate you if it gets you close enough to kill him?
    • Done by Miria, who cut off her own arm in order to lodge the sword it was holding into her opponent's chest. While she can't grow back her limbs, she can reattach them.
    • Raki challenges Priscilla to a fight and gets severely curbstomped for his efforts which allows him to get up and backstab Priscilla through her neck since he has no youki for her to track. Raki spent years of training with Isley just to bulk up enough so he could survive the curbstomp.
  • Bleach:
    • In a fight where Kenpachi lost all his senses except touch, he realised the only way he could tell where his opponent was would be by trapping the sword and grabbing the person holding onto it. The only way he could trap the sword was by letting himself be run through with it. He didn't mind. After the first shot, though, he had enough information to simply catch the sword before it could ever cut him.
    • Zommari had the power to control limbs he tagged with his ability. Immediately and without hesitation, Byakuya deliberately severed the tendons in both his left leg and his left arm to free his body from Zommari's control. Even though he only had one leg and one arm left, he still made defeating Zommari look easy.
    • Yamamoto deliberately tanks Aizen's sword to the gut in the same tactic Kenpachi used to be certain he knew where Aizen was as a counter against Aizen's shikai, which does not affect anyone in contact with said sword. Later on, he sacrifices his own left arm to cast a spell that's designed to take out Aizen. Unfortunately, Aizen manages to escape but he's so shaken he leaves himself wide open to attack by Ichigo who previously couldn't even hit him.
    • Masaki Kurosaki once had trouble hitting a hollow because it was too fast. So she decides to stand still. It charges up and bites her... and which point she shoots it in the head at point blank range.
  • Naruto allows Kabuto to stab him through the hand with a kunai, so that he can hold him while he forms a Rasengan with his other hand to hit Kabuto with. In an anime flashback in Part 2, Jiraiya points out that it's most advantageous to avoid having to do this.
    • Kabuto, himself, kinda pulled this off a little earlier in the same battle. Twice none the less. ("Kinda" because the injury was self-inflicted.) First time was when he fought Tsunade and he slit his own wrist in order to splash her with the blood and exploit her severe blood phobia for a quick victory. The second time was when Naruto used his Me's a Crowd technique and he splashed some blood in the eyes of one clone, effectively blinding it. He possibly uses it a third time when he, around the time he gets hit by the Rasengan, uses a chakra scalpel on Naruto's heart that puts him on the verge of death.
    • When Hayate finds out about the Sand and Sound Village invading, he tries to cut Baki with his sword. Baki doesn't dodge, allowing the blade to become lodged in his thick armor. Baki then kills the trapped Hayate with Razor Wind.
    • Neji lets Kidomaru hit him with an arrow - but directing it away from his heart - to send a chakra burst through the thread to stun him, leaving him defenseless against a killing blow.
    • About the same time, less straight: Kiba stabs himself to force his opponent out of his body.
    • When Taka is fighting Killer Bee, Suigetsu takes a punch from Killer Bee, turns into water, and then has Sasuke electrocute them both leaving Bee open to a Power Fist attack from Jugo.
    • The Raikage chooses to attack Sasuke, who surrounded himself in Amaterasu flames while shielding himself with Susanoo, perfectly willing to lose his arm to get in the finishing blow, though Gaara blocks his finishing move, saying that if he did it, he would most likely lose his leg and his life.
    • Deidara pulls this on Gaara: when Gaara rips Deidara's arm off with his sand, Deidara put some explosive clay in it and set it off after forcing Gaara to defend himself with it.
    • In the fight between them in the Chunin Exam preliminaries, Neji takes a Jyuuken blow from Hinata in order to set himself up to use a more advanced technique to stop off her chakra. Hinata's reaction, however, implies that she realized at that moment that for the entire fight, he had been targeting and sealing the pressure points on her arm.
    • Used earlier in the same arc by Sakura, who spams Substitution Jutsu to avoid her opponent's attacks. Eventually, her opponent gets so sick of it that he launches an attack at her and immediately looks for where she's gone now. Only this time, she hasn't used the Jutsu, and has actually taken the hit to get close to him.
  • In the Street Fighter III manga adaptation, Ryu Final, Ryu deliberately impales himself on Akuma's arm. Why? Because the manga reveals that the Shun Goku Satsu consists of thousands upon thousands of punches that deliver a Hadoken at point-blank with each impact, ending with a finishing blow that skewers the opponent's torso. Ryu defeated the technique by lunging forward and letting Akuma punch through him ahead of time, making the Hadoken useless and putting him in perfect range to blow half of Akuma's body off with a Hadoken of his own. Somehow, Ryu survived, with an enormous scar over his chest.
  • Black Cat: Train lets one of his hands get cut off by Creed so that he can shoot away the invisible sword, then shoot Creed himself.
  • One Piece:
    • During the fights with CP9, Sanji's opponent Jabura attacked Sanji with a two-handed attack. Sanji kicked away one hand but not the other, taking half the hit. Jabura gloats that had Sanji used both legs, he would have stopped the whole thing. Sanji's reply: "No, I had to do it...!! The other kick... is to finish you off!"
    • To avoid being petrified by Hancock's abilities, one has to be preoccupied with something else. Luffy is simply so ignorant that it doesn't work. Vice-Admiral Momonga stabs himself in the hand so he can focus on the pain.
  • From Death Note, in an unlikely non-fighting anime variation, L allowed himself a punch in the face from Light in order to nimbly reverse around and kick his opponent across the room. He knows Capoeira.
  • Not straight, but kind of Gundam examples:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team Federation elite pilot Shiro Amada rips off his suit's arm to use it as a weapon.
    • Used fairly often in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, e.g. Sergei Smirnov allowing Gundam Exia to cut off his arm only to get the upper hand this way.
    • In one episode of G Gundam, Domon is wrapped up by Cobra Gundam. In order to escape, he dislocates his Gundam's shoulder to give him room to move. Keep in mind that in G Gundam, the Gundam's movements mirror the pilot's, so he had to dislocate his own shoulder in order to do this.
  • Early in the Yu-Gi-Oh!: manga, Yami Yugi goes to rescue Joey from his torturers. He allows one of the men to hit him in order to get them in the correct position to spring a trap.
  • Guts, in the Berserk manga, does this in his fight against the Apostle Rosine, where it appears that he has been impaled through the head by her probiscus and killed - only for it to be revealed he turned his head at the last moment and was only impaled through the cheeks, then gripping the weapon between his teeth to prevent Roshinu from dodging away from his final sword blow.
    • He did it earlier in the same fight in intentionally allowing her to impale his arm, just so he could get a good shot off with his Arm Cannon.
    • He also did a weird version with a giant Kushan monster which he let hit him so he could get on a building to attack from.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Gon versus Genthru during the Greed Island Arc. Gon gets one of his hands blown off and the other near-destroyed in order to kick Genthru in the jaw.
  • Samurai Champloo:
    • Jin does this near the end of the series, as part of the final, crowning technique of his kenjutsu style (which is very closely based on a real school whose philosophy emphasizes moving beyond the binary win/lose mentality). By this point in the story, he understands the meaning and implications of one piece of advice he'd never quite grokked before: "If you ever face an opponent who is so skilled you cannot dodge their attacks, then don't dodge."
    • In episode 25 Mugen blocks Denkibou's Wolverine Claws with his left hand which gives him the chance to deliver his first real but also final hit. It's unclear if it was a deliberate move to create that opening or if he instinctively tried to protect his face.
  • In Saiyuki, the only way Sanzo gets a clear shot at Kami-sama is when Hakkai engages him in close combat, then stands back and lets Sanzo shoot through him—although, when Goku asks, Sanzo is quick to point out that he aimed around him, and Hakkai adds he's only been grazed.
  • Blood+ variation: Saya impales herself and Karl together on her own sword in order to kill him. (She heals; he doesn't, on account of her blood being lethal to Chiropterans created by Diva.)
  • Dragon Shiryu does this in the Capricorn house in Saint Seiya. Letting Shura stab him in the chest with his hand and then breaking it off. He does it again in the Lucifer movie, and one of the Asgard warriors did it to Sorrento Siren in the last Asgard battle.
  • In the second episode of the Read or Die OVA, Nancy tricks Genjo Sanzo into stabbing her with his bo, which then allows Yomiko to attack and defeat him.
  • Palparepa flies out of his Humongous Mecha to stab Guy for the final strike in Gao Gai Gar FINAL. Guy takes the opportunity to give Doctor God some G-Stone to the face and rip the Loud G-Stone right off his eye, given the motion of his arm.
  • In part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Jotaro uses his body weight as leverage to snap a cursed sword in half, as touching the hilt would have had him become possessed by it.
  • Performed by Kazuki in Busou Renkin, who turns his lance back into its (nigh-indestructible) kakugane form in order to stop himself being cut clean in half by his opponent's apparently unstoppable gyakudou technique.
    • To elaborate: When he's not using his lance, it replaces his heart. So he only got cut partly in half.
  • A variation of this occurred in episode 4 of GunBuster involving a giant robot and an alien mothership. Noriko allowed the Lightning Bruiser mothership to impale Gunbuster, leaving her in perfect position to hit (and destroy) it with her weapons.
  • Occasionally used in Gantz; since finishing a mission enables you to return unharmed, some characters take the danger of getting injured to finish an opponent. Bear in mind that if you have any vital signs at all, you come back unharmed.
  • An injured and outmatched Captain Buccaneer from Fullmetal Alchemist attempts to attack the homunculus Wrath and gets a sword in the stomach for his troubles... and then he flexes his abs so that Wrath can't pull the sword back out, leaving him temporarily disarmed. A bit later, Buccaneer and Fuu both die in order to land a hit on Bradley that actually inconveniences him enough for Greedling to put out his Ultimate Eye.
  • During the assault on Tokyo in Code Geass R2, when the Ax-Crazy Knight of Rounds Luciano Bradley attacks a Black Knight battleship by throwing a disabled, friendly ship into it, Xingke tries to shoot it down, only to have Knight of One Bismarck Waldstein slash him with a BFS. Xingke sacrificed half his mech to get a clean shot at the falling battleship, saving everyone below.
  • Happens in Dragon Ball Z when Captain Ginyu punches his own chest, crippling himself just before using his hitherto-unknown Grand Theft Me attack on Goku, thereby crippling Goku instead.
  • Juuza of the Clouds from Fist of the North Star does this in the second part of his duel with Ken-Oh, in which he intentionally drops all of his guard just so Ken-Oh would hit him straight in the chest. This gives Juuza the leverage needed to perform an armbar and attempt to destroy Ken-Oh's arm.
  • Ayumu from Kore wa Zombie desu ka? is a zombie who cannot die or be re-killed, presumably without some necromantic prompting from Eucliwood. He often uses his nigh invulnerability to his advantage in fights, very noticeable during the group's fight with the serial killer Kyouko.
  • In one fight in Lone Wolf and Cub, one of the ninjas does a Barehanded Blade Block, intentionally delaying the clap until after the blade had penetrated his skull so that it would be trapped to allow the others to swarm Ittō.
  • Ash in Pokémon has his Gligar do this in a battle against a Marowak. The former's wings had been frozen by the latter's Ice Beam, rendering it unable to fly. When the Marowak attacks with a Bone Club, Gligar literally takes it head-on... then retaliates with a finishing blow.
    • Occasionally, Ash has Pikachu allow an opponent to hit him, causing Pikachu's Static ability to paralyze the opponent.
  • Vash uses this in Trigun to beat a hypnotist who paralyzes her opponents to create the illusion of a Flash Step ability. He breaks his own finger and twists it, in order to be so focused on the pain that her hypnotism won't work and she'll lose her only attack that makes her dangerous.
  • Gally's solution to dealing with an opponent with a polearm who is fast enough for the reach advantage to be of use? Let her arm get severed at the shoulder and beat the other girl down with the thick end. Not the first time she pulled such a stunt nor the last. She's a cyborg, by the way, if you were wondering how she can repeatedly hit people with her own severed arm; when they found her, she was a functioning brain in the ruins of a torso.
  • In Rave Master, Musica lets the invisible villain Ltiangle stab him so he can know where he is and counterattack.
  • Toriko has done this in the beginning of his fight with Tommyrod.
  • In The Familiar of Zero, since King Joseph is too fast for him, Saito lets himself get stabbed, then quickly grabs his arm.

    Comics 
  • Shatterstar from Marvel Comics, not being exactly human, pulls this trick a few times in order to skewer people bear-hugging him. He's able to do this multiple times rather than as a Taking You with Me gambit in part because he heals faster than humans, and partly because his organs are arranged differently.
  • Gambit did this once—he let the bad guy stab him in the leg with a dagger, and fell to the ground howling in pain. Said bad guy assumed he was out of the fight, and turned his attention elsewhere. Big mistake on bad guy's part...
    • In a similar incident, Gambit mouthed off to the Big Bad while all the X-Men were taken prisoner and got himself stabbed in the leg. It turned out that mouthing off was a Batman Gambit; after the captor tied them up and left them with minimal guards, he was able to take the flechette out with his mouth and use it to pick the lock.
  • Used in an Expanded Universe Star Wars story pitting Darth Vader against a resurrected Darth Maul; Vader stabs himself through the chest to kill Maul.
    Maul: What could you hate enough to destroy me?
    Vader: Myself.
  • Spawn tries this against his evil/good/whatever counterpart the Redeemer. He lets the Redeemer blast a hole in his torso so that he could act disabled and surprise him. Unfortunately, the Redeemer just teleports away afterwards. Fortunately, he got better.
    • Rather than expend energy healing that hole in his torso, he left it and allowed his living suit to cover it. In a later issue, he deliberately took a blast to the chest, knowing that most of the damage would blow harmlessly through the preexisting hole, while counting on his opponent to assume it would be a mortal (or at least debilitating) wound.
  • Yama does this to Points in Bad Guys, a spinoff of Gargoyles. Yama reminds Points that he will heal at sunrise, but Points won't.
  • As easily repairable robots, the Metal Men have this as their trademark. They'll take any risk, and even sacrifice their "lives," because so long as the necessary parts aren't damaged they'll be back in the next issue, no worse for wear.
  • One version of the Clock King is a nearly unstoppable fighter because he can see a few seconds into the future. Ravager lets him strike her, then grabs his wrist, using her free hand to pound his face into hamburger meat and explaining that being able to see the future is useless if you can't do anything to react to your visions.
  • Although Wolverine is officially a master of multiple forms of armed combat, most of his fights recently seem to break down to letting his opponents to inflict horrific injuries to let him get close enough to shred them back, in a pretty blatant abuse of his Healing Factor and unbreakable skeleton.
    • Being a very strategic fighter, his daughter/Opposite-Sex Clone, X-23, is also not above taking advantage of her Healing Factor if she can turn it to her advantage, though she's also a bit more careful with it than Logan since only her claws are bonded with adamantium and her body is more prone to being disabled by broken or severed limbs.
      • In her fight with Lady Deathstrike, Laura deliberately allowed the latter to severely injure her, as a means of getting close enough to cause critical damage to Deathstrike's cybernetic components.
      • During World War Hulk, Laura became one of the only people to actually slow down Hulk by deliberately allowing him to grab her, bringing her close enough to catch him by surprise with her foot claws and put out his eyes (the injury comes in in that she got put through a wall for her trouble). When Wolverine tried the same trick later, it was only because Hulk let him.
  • And of course reversing the X-23 example above, during World War Hulk, Hulk allows Wolverine to try pulling the same trick as Laura did, solely as a means to bring Logan close enough to kick his ass and put him out of the fight for good.

    Film 

  • The movie Excalibur has King Arthur himself doing this after getting speared by his bastard son Mordred, sliding on the spear and then giving Mordred what for with the titular sword. This is an inversion of the scene in Le Morte Darthur.
  • In 300, Captain does this during the final last stand after Leonidas wounds Xerxes. The Director's Commentary on the DVD edition suggests this may be a deliberate homage to Excalibur.
  • John McClane in Die Hard 4 : "You shot yourself through the shoulder!?" "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
  • In a villainous version, the Uruk-Hai leader in the first Lord of the Rings movie is impaled on Aragorn's sword, and pulls himself up the blade to get up in his face and snarl. Aragorn promptly yanks the sword back out and lops off his head.
  • Osmosis Jones subverts this (the main character is a white blood cell and he splits his entire body to escape).
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, during the Jack v. Jones fight. Jones of course is immortal, so it wasn't much of an injury.
  • In Rob Roy, the Fragile Speedster Archie Cunningham has Rob at his mercy in a duel to the death. As Archie pauses to gloat, Rob grabs his sword, cutting his hand badly, but tying Archie up in the process. Rob uses the opportunity to hack Archie almost in two. Ironically, Rob had previously cut his own hand on an opponent's sword to avoid a fight.
  • At the climax of Serenity, Mal takes a sword to the gut from the Operative. It is unintentional for sure, but he takes advantage of it through headbutt-right cross-screwdriver to the foot combo, pulls the sword from the wound and proceeds to stab downed Operative with his own weapon. It doesn't quite work for him but hey, it's the thought that counts.
    • Does another one in the same fight when the Operative attempts his ninja spine paralysis move. "Piece of shrapnel tore up that nerve cluster my first tour of duty. I had it moved."
  • The 2009 Star Trek film has something similar (allowing Kirk to get close enough to his Romulan attacker's disruptor to snag it), though I'm sure that the victim would rather have done without the prior strangling.
  • An extreme example from Riki Oh The Story Of Ricky. A member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad cuts open his stomach and then attempts to use his own intestines to strangle Ricky.
  • Done as a counter by the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day — he gets punched through the face by the T-800, then morphs so that what was his head is now his hands gripping his opponent's wrist.
  • In Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, Shinzaemon allows Lord Naritsugu to run him through with a katana, giving him the opportunity to do the same and ensuring a Mutual Kill. However, this was less a tactical gambit than a personal one; part of the reason Shinzaemon agreed to assassinate Naritsugu was to earn a warrior's death on the battlefield, and with everyone else standing between him and Naritsugu dead, it was becoming worryingly likely that Shinzaemon would actually survive his Suicide Mission.
  • In X-Men, due to his Healing Factor, Wolverine does this on occasion. In the first movie, he has to pierce his claws through his body to cut the restraints Magneto has him in.
  • In Lethal Weapon 2, Riggs uses his Chekhov's Skill of dislocating his shoulder to escape his bonds.
  • In the climax of Pompeii, gladiator Atticus uses this on Proculus. Atticus is disarmed and dealt a mortal wound from Proculus' sword, then snaps the sword off and uses the broken blade to shank Proculus in the neck.
    Atticus: "Let's see if a Roman can die equal to a gladiator...A gladiator does not beg!"

    Literature 
  • In The Wheel of Time series, this is called "Sheathing the Sword" - you're not expected to survive it, but you get to take your enemy with you.
  • In the Kate Daniels novel Magic Strikes, Kate realizes that the enemy is wielding a magic sword capable of destroying Kate and all her allies in a matter of seconds. So she deliberately impales herself on the sword and presses forward until the entire length of the blade is smeared with her blood. Then she invokes the magic of her blood to unmake the sword, saving the lives of her companions with her own sacrifice.
  • In Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber our hero finds himself in a sword fight with a demon of some sort. At length, he impales it. The demon laughs at him, says "I do not keep my heart where men do" and (now that his sword is stuck in its chest) nearly manages to kill him in the continued fight.
  • The Baroque Cycle has a character stabbed in the liver in a sword-fight. He grabs the sword and pushes it in deeper in a desperate attempt to keep his enemy from pulling it out and finishing him off.
  • In Sharpe's Gold, Richard Sharpe is fighting a superior swordsman, El Catolico, who is armed with a rapier. Sharpe is struggling to defend against the lightning-fast rapier with his rather clumsy heavy cavalry saber, so he allows El Catolico to stab him in the thigh. He traps the blade there and slays El Catolico. Every single one of his allies tells him during his convalescence what a stupid move it was.
  • A less destructive version is seen in the early Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Han Solo's Revenge: Han is facing the one man he's ever met who's a quicker draw than him, so avoids a duel by shocking both their right arms into useless paralysis; the gunman is forced to retreat, because Han is ambidextrous.
  • In The Shadow Of The Lion, an alternate history / fantasy set in Renaissance-era Venice, Marco wins a knife fight against a much better fighter by impaling his own left hand on the other man's knife, then striking the killing blow before the other man can free his knife. An observer of the fight had known about this gambit (and how to counter it) in theory, but the shock of seeing someone actually do it caused him to deeply respect the boy.
  • Honor Harrington's swordmaster notes that this is something she instinctively knows in a fight - she will take an opportunity to defeat her opponent even if it means injury or death to herself. He notes this after a match that by fencing rules he won, since he touched first, but in a real duel he would be dead while she would "only" be missing an arm (in a society with cybernetics and regeneration, this is less of a problem than it seems). This style is especially evident in her space battles, where on one occasion she turtled up and allowed the enemy to batter her ship just to lure it in close enough to use her grav lance on it.
  • In The Dresden Files novel Dead Beat, a villain does this to one of the heroes at the climax. The Corpsetaker, dueling Captain Luccio, allows Luccio to run its/her current body through, and then jumps ship to Luccio's body, leaving Luccio in her former body to bleed out. Fortunately, Harry is clued-in by the Corpsetaker acting differently in Luccio's body, and kills it/her with a bullet to the back of the head, and the real Luccio, although trapped in the Corpsetaker's previous body, survives thanks to prompt medical attention.
  • In The Bones Of Haven, the leader of an urban-fantasy Special Wizardry And Tactics team throws herself on the sword of a terrorist fanatic to give her squad the chance to take the man down. Doubles as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome, as she sneers in his shocked face and asks him: "You didn't think you were the only one willing to die for your beliefs, did you?"
  • Modesty Blaise uses this in the novel A Taste For Death. For various plot reasons, she engineers a fight with a sword master, and realises that the only way she can win is to trap his sword in the shoulder of her sword arm. At which point she drops her sword into the other hand and kills him, because she's just that good.
  • At the end of Mercedes Lackey's A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, the Big Bad Perenor runs elflord Terenil through with his sword... and Terenil pulls himself along the blade to get close enough to stab Perenor.
  • Older Than Print: In Le Morte Darthur, Arthur spears Mordred, who impales himself further to strike Arthur.
  • In Inheritance Cycle's last book, when Eragon is fighting Murtagh for the last time, he reads Murtagh's fighting and realizes Murtagh's fighting too fiercely for him to possibly overpower him. So, he tricks Murtagh into attacking him and pulls one of these.

    Live Action TV 
  • Used multiple times in Highlander, with one immortal impaling himself on his opponent's sword, in order to immobilize it, and get in close enough for a decapitation.
    • In fact, this was toted as a gameplay mechanic for a video game adaptation that seems to have fallen into Development Hell.
  • On Warehouse 13, Artie goads MacPherson, who is holding a samurai sword, into stabbing him in the chest, and then holds on to it so that MacPherson will have to run and abandon the sword, a valuable Artifact. He survives, but is injured for several episodes.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Smith and Jones," the Doctor mimics a human and allows a plasmavore to drink his blood, nearly killing him. The plasmavore is trying to use his blood to disguise herself as a human; since the Doctor isn't human, her disguise fails and she is executed.
  • In Torchwood, Jack Harkness sometimes uses his ability to come back from the dead to get one over on his opponents.
  • Ziva allows a foreign operative to beat the crap out of her for a few minutes in one episode of NCIS. Once the other woman gains enough confidence to reveal her plan, Ziva laughs and dispatches her easily.
  • In Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, Takeru allows his rival to stab him so he can get in a (seemingly) fatal hit. During the finale, the team allows the Big Bad to impale Shinken-Oh, leaving him open to a finishing slash from the Mecha.
  • This made it into Power Rangers Samurai, though without the gruesome sound-effects or blood.
  • In one episode of The Wild Wild West, Artemus Gordon provokes a fight and subsequently allows himself to get rather brutally beaten, all with the object of ending up on the ground at his opponent's feet so he can steal said opponent's boot knife.
  • Col. Flagg used to do this a lot on M*A*S*H. In his first appearance, he broke his own arm so he could be brought to the 4077th, then broke his arm again so he could remain there.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • This is how the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca lost a foot. He and his archenemy/brother Quetzalcoatl were trying to make a new world after the fourth apocalypse, they came across the little snag that all the land was on the bottom of the ocean on the back of a monster called Cipactli. Tezcatlipoca dangled his foot in the water as bait, and while he would probably have preferred not to lose it in the process, it did get Cipactli where the two of them could strangle it.

    Standup Comedy 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Common in Warhammer 40,000 in the cases of Tyranids, Orks, and Space Marines.
    • With Space Marines it is partly because they have two hearts and three lungs, and three kidneys too. Tyranids do it because they are disposable drones while Orks have decent regenerative abilities and live to fight.

    Video Games 
  • A variation occurs in Tomb Raider (2013): Lara escapes her very first predicament by setting the sack she's tied up in on fire.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Raiden impales Vamp with his sword, driving it through his own gut.
    • Throwing the trope right back, Vamp drives the sword in even deeper and twists it (now through both of them) to increase the internal damage.
  • Final Fantasy VII. Cloud vs. Sephiroth. Rather than intentional, though, Cloud attacks Sephiroth, is overpowered, and stabbed. Only then does he actually turn it to his advantage.
    • Limit Breaks in Final Fantasy tend to be based on damaged received for the most part. Thus you may be inclined to allow your characters to get hurt to satisfy the Limit Break requirement.
  • Yoshimitsu of the Soul Calibur series of 3D fighters has a number of "seppuku" moves, where he stabs himself in the gut, and hopefully his opponent. The moves are very short range and do the same damage to Yoshimitsu that they do to his opponent, but have very high damage and are unblockable. Similarly, his descendant in the Tekken series can pull off the same maneuver. What's more, Yoshimitsu is about the only character who has healing moves.
  • Done (unintentionally) by Travis in the 1st rank battle of No More Heroes: Jeane plunges her hand into Travis' chest in order to crush his heart, which leaves her vulnerable to Shinobu's Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • In the opening cinematic for the first Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, Piccolo lets Cell punch him in the stomach so that he can grab Cell's arms and hold him in place while Gohan fires a Kamehameha at him.
  • In one section of Knights of the Old Republic, a secondary character of the player's choosing must avoid capture and free the player character and the rest of the party. If Canderous Ordo volunteers, he severely injures himself with a plasma grenade — knowing his special healing implant will revive him once the Mooks have left him for dead.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, there is the skills Wrath, which boosts critical hits, and Resolve, increasing by half speed, skill and strengh. Both only work when the one using them lost at least half his HP. Guess some players order their soldiers to pull these off for devastating effect on the battleield.
  • You can do this in Team Fortress 2 as the Soldier. Upon release, the Equalizer was a weapon which increases your speed and attack power when held and your HP is low. At 1 hp, you go nearly as fast as a Scout and can almost 1 hit kill the lighter classes. People lower their health in two ways: either Rocket Jump into the low 20s, or just throw yourself in an all out attack. The enemy will most likely get a few shots in, when you can whip out the Equilizer and smack em about while they reload.
    • That's now a relic of the past. Currently, its effects has been split up into two different weapons: the Equalizer (attack power) and the Escape Plan (increased speed).
  • Fallout 3 has the "Nerd Rage" perk that maximizes your Strength and raises your Damage Resistance by 50% when your health drops into the critical range. This can be useful if you're playing a character trained in close combat, however what you'll end up most commonly using the perk for is increasing your carrying capacity. This means you'll be spending a lot of time preventing your health from being restored outside critical and Critically Encumbering yourself, hoping to eventually lighten the load (stashing your stuff, merging items via repair or crafting, using up explosives, or eating foods that raise your health and undo the Nerd Rage that allowed you to carry it in the first place).

    Webcomics 
  • Von Pinn in Girl Genius traps Bangladesh's sword by impaling her hand on it here.
  • In Shadownova, when Fury is blinded by a flashbang Jacob decides to punch him as he escapes, which only results in Fury calculating where he is from the punch and stabbing him.
  • Jordi in Cuanta Vida protects himself from a backstab and disarms the red spy by impaling his own hand on the knife.

    Web Original 
  • Anti-Hero Badass Sociopathic Hero Belphanior from The Adventuresis quite prone to that tactic, thanks for his Evil Weapon which eats souls of slain enemies and heals wounds of wielder at the same time.
  • In Whateley Universe, Phase pulls this on Chaka while sparring, since Phase can change the density of parts of her body. The weapon goes right through her intangible chest to nail Chaka. Lancer lampshades this immediately afterward.
  • Penny Arcade Dungeons And Dragons Podcast: Binwin falls victim to this several times, surrounding himself with enemies so Jim can unleash a fireball on the lot of them.
  • The Spoony Experiment: Spoony, in his Highlander 2 commentary, wonders why no immortal ever does this in any of the movies or any episode of the tv show. After all, the only blows an immortal cares about are any blows to the head, so an immortal could theoretically take a crippling attack to the gut and then take his opponent's head.
  • The Thwomps: After almost getting killed, Thwomp 1's last wish is The timewarp.

    Western Animation 
  • Heroic ninja Snake Eyes pulls one off in his duel against rival ninja Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: Resolute: pinned down and about to be struck down, he allows his enemy's katana to pierce through his left palm, redirecting the blow to hit the ground rather than his head. He then uses his right hand to break the sword in a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
  • When the Gungans find themselves in battle against Grievous in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Tarpals winds up getting stabbed by him. Grievous mocks him, but then Tarpals reveals that he did it deliberately. Grievous got a shock staff to the gut and the Gungans actually captured him.

    Real Life 
  • American President Andrew Jackson famously performed this trope in a duel. He wanted to kill his adversary so much that he deliberately waited until after his opponent had fired (and hit him) so that he could take his time and aim for a killshot; combatants only loaded one bullet per round. It worked, and he survived.
  • This occasionally appears in self-defense courses which recommend such tactics as redirecting the knife into your shoulder to get rid of the weapon. For obvious reasons, this is very bad advice unless you already know what you're doing and are very desperate.
  • There is an old fencing tactic for duelling with smallswords where you allow your left palm to be impaled by the enemy sword, thus preventing the enemy from parrying your deadly blow. You need to be pretty desperate to try this though, and there is a better alternative where you have a piece of fabric (cloak, piece of linen, etc.) hanging from your arm, and you let the enemy pierce that instead.
  • This trope is why boar-spears have crosspieces: they prevent an impaled boar from running up the spear to gore the hunter.
    • When pointed directly at its face, the boar can't actually see the spear and is not aware of the danger. But 200kg of bone and muscles that charge directly at you won't be stopped at all by a spear impaling the boar from head to tail, and when the spear hits in the chest, the head with its big tusks can still cause lethal wounds for a couple of seconds.


Deep SleepInjury TropesDragged by the Collar
Deflector ShieldsCombat TropesDetachment Combat
Defensive Feint TrapThe PlanDespair Gambit
Deceased Fall-Guy GambitGambit IndexDespair Gambit

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