[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/AvengersInvaders http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/namor_ares_3974.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:And you call yourself the God of War?]]

->''Good! Now we can fight as warriors! Hand to hand! It is the basis of all combat! Only a fool trusts his life to a weapon!''
-->'''[[CyberNinja Gray Fox]]'', '''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid''

Many times, heroes have to face their enemies in battle. They can have access to a vast variety of weapons, from [[CoolSword swords]] to [[AnAxeToGrind axes]] to [[SimpleStaff staves]] to [[KnifeNut knives.]] However, sometimes the hero will take a third option and fight with his own hands.

Sometimes is because the character is a BareFistedMonk who uses martial arts, or perhaps doesn't like weapons or killing. Sometimes it's because the character is [[SuperStrength so damn]] [[InvulnerableKnuckles strong]] that he doesn't need weapons at all. Often it represents a very blunt, straightforward personality. If the main hero travels with his friends expect his [[TheLancer lancer]] or [[TheBigGuy Big Guy]] to use weapons instead, to make the contrast clear. This can also be played with the unarmed hero and the weapon-using villain.

Attacking them with weapons is usually [[NeverBringAKnifeToAFistFight a bad idea]].

See also: BareFistedMonk, TechnicalPacifist and DoesntLikeGuns. Contrast with HeroesPreferSwords.



[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* Inverted in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', as Ichigo swings around his massive BigFancySword while one of his friends, Chad, fights unarmed. OK, with PowerFist for hands, but still unarmed.
** Played straight in the original pilot chapter, where Ichigo insults Rukia for using a sword to fight instead of her hands.
* ''Manhua/TheCelestialZone'': [[AvertedTrope Averted]]; a sure-fire sign that a character has reached a high level of spiritual cultivation in The Celestial Zone is when they are capable of manifesting their spiritual energy as a physical weapon, and their most powerful techniques are all executed with their spirit weapon in hand. Though the trope is played straight most of the time otherwise, as characters capable of generating spirit weapons but chose to fight bare-handed are generally holding back.
* Natsu from ''Manga/FairyTail'', contrasting [[LadyOfWar Erza]], [[TheRival Gajeel]] and [[AnIcePerson Gray]], who all use weaponry of some sort.
* Kenshiro himself in ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' as well as almost all the other characters, except [[TheChick Mamiya]] and [[TheCombatPragmatist Jagi]], the former due to not being formally trained in one of the {{Fantastic Fighting Style}}s of the series, and the latter due to being a DirtyCoward willing to stoop to any tactics to win.
* Subverted in ''Manga/{{Gamaran}}'': the main character is a swordsman, and at one point he fights the Kyosen Ryuu warriors, whose martial arts revolves on bare-handed combat.
* Sechs from ''Manga/{{Gunnm}}'' went from fighting with a combination of [[GoodOldFisticuffs brutish Panzer Kunst]], [[{{BFS}} Sechster Angriff]], [[{{BFG}} and the Solenoid Quench Gun]] to [[HeroesFightBarehanded mostly just punching]], because he no longer has the Quench gun, and normally immediately loses his Titan Blade in fights.
* ''Manga/HeroTales'': played straigth with the bare-handed hero Taito/Hagun who fights the sword-wielding villain Keirou/Tonrou with nothing but his bare hands.
* Shichika, the protagonist of ''LightNovel/{{Katanagatari}}'', is a swordsman who doesn't use swords. [[MST3KMantra Don't think about it too hard.]] Technically he isn't a swordsman, he ''is'' [[LivingWeapon a sword]]. He is the culmination of seven generations of training and mental conditioning to raise a warrior whose very body is a weapon.
* In ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'' (which anyway gives more emphasis on weaponless fighting) there is an example with two groups of evil martial artists: it has been implied several times that the members of the weapon division of Yami are inferior both in fighting skills and fighting ethics to the weaponless Yami fighters. Many weaponless Yami masters tend to be more anti-villains, while the weaponed Yami masters are usually presented as ruthless hoodlums.
* ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'': Main characters [[TheHero Vivio]] and [[TheLancer Einhart]] both use bare-handed martial arts as their fighting style. In fact, they're some of the few characters in the setting whose [[EmpathicWeapon Device]] isn't a weapon of some kind.
* Negi Springfield of ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' slowly phases out his weapons after he gets a ring to serve the same purpose as his staff. This moves him into FullContactMagic.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' the titular hero heavely relies on Taijutsu, contrasting Sasuke who prefers to use a [[ShockAndAwe lightning-enchanted]] [[KatanasAreJustBetter katana]]. On a similar note we have [[BoobsOfSteel Tsunade]] versus Orochimaru (uses the Kusanagi sword) and [[BoisterousBruiser the Raikage]] compared to his brother Kirabi.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', Monkey D. Luffy is incapable of fighting with the use of weapons, but his barehanded fighting prowess is so much so that he has been labelled a fighting genius.
* ''Manga/{{Ratman}}'': Some heroes don't use weapons even if their budget could let them. On the other-hand, some have powers to supplement them.
* Inverted in ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'': TheHero Kenshin is a swordsman, though he uses a blunt blade, while TheLancer Sanosuke focuses on barehanded fighting after discarding his [[{{BFS}} Zanmato]].
* Played with in ''Manga/SazanEyes''. Yakumo has to win a kickboxing match against an opponent with a highly superior fighting technique and he can't use magic because of all the muggles betting on the fight. So he purposely requests a barehanded kickboxing match without boxing gloves, so he and his opponent will get hurt more, so he can win in the long run due to his healing factor. Otherwise, this trope is inverted: Yakumo can fight barehanded but is not shy about using hidden blades, swords and whatever he can pick up for a fight. TheDragon Benares instead always fight barehanded (sometimes turning his fingers into claws, but still) or with his SummonMagic.
* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'': While some saints does have some sort of weaponry with them, most of them fights barehanded. Usually most of the BigBad here have weapons of sort.
* ''Manga/SeikesshouAlbatross'': Yuki, being trained in martial arts by his mother, fights this way against Monobiles. It also helps that he got power from a sacred stone, the Flame Isotope.
** He later receives a sword from Albatross which he can channel the power through and fights with it; he becomes more of a HeroesPreferSwords person.
* ''Anime/SenkiZesshouSymphogear'' has Hibiki, the series' main protagonist and the only one who doesn't use an [[SwissArmyWeapon armed gear]]. She spends a fair amount of the first season lamenting the fact that she can't summon one (by all rights, her Gungnir relic should provide her with [[BladeOnAStick a spear]]). Then she realizes that her hands ''are'' her armed gear and starts to like the idea of being weaponless because it means [[ThePowerOfFriendship she can hold people's hands]]. That said, she doesn't play this ''completely'' straight thanks to [[PowerFist her gauntlets]].
* Ichise from ''Anime/{{Texhnolyze}}'', mainly because he's a prize fighter. He does get a sword later on.
* The titular characters of ''Anime/TigerAndBunny''. Given that the show is about american-style superheroes, this makes sense.
* ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'': ZigZagged. The AntiHero MainCharacters fight bare-handed or with their [[ShapeshifterWeapon Kagune]], with their CCG HeroAntagonist foes armed with Quinques and/or guns [[DepletedPhlebotinumShells equipped with anti-ghoul rounds. ]] However, in addition to the moral ambiguity above, there are many less-than-heroic ghouls and investigators who also fight without/with weapons respectively, and later in the series we see ghouls using guns.
* ''Manga/{{Toriko}}'' fights with his bare hands, although he can also manifest a [[ItMakesSenseInContext knife and fork]] to attack stronger enemies with.
* Elemental Hero Neos, from ''Anime/YuGiOhGX''. He may be the most popular, powerful, and heroic of Judai/Jaden's monsters.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOhZexal'', the Barian emperor Alito uses Boxer themed cards (Burning Knucklers or Battlin' Boxers), exhibits himself great boxing skills, and in [[spoiler:his past life, was known to be one of the greatest gladiators of all time, fighting only with his fists]]. It helps that he becomes Yuma's FriendlyEnemy and is seen as an all-around good person.
* ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'' showcases this trope with Domon's FinishingMove: "This hand of mine glows with an awesome power; it's burning grip tells me to defeat you!" Cue a crushed gundam's head section.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Most of the [[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel]][=/=]Creator/DCComics heroes.
** Notable exceptions include Tim Drake and Dick Grayson of DC, both former ComicBook/{{Robin}}s who now fight crime as [[ComicBook/RobinSeries Red Robin]] and ComicBook/{{Nightwing}} respectively. Tim uses a Bo staff and Dick a pair of Escrima sticks, presumably because their focus on agility over strength compared to other barefist DC fighters means the weapons give them the 'kick' they need.
** Other notable Marvel/DC heroes who use weapons are Thor, who wields Mjolnir, Katana, who (funnily enough) wields a katana, and Bucky Cap, who uses a pistol. Many of Thor's warriors buddies like Valkyrie and Lady Sif will frequently use weapon, and Wonder Woman breaking out her sword is a sign that things are about as real as they can get without occurring directly opposite you.
* Marv from ''ComicBook/SinCity'' has [[ICallItVera a gun which he named Gladys]] but mostly just uses his "mitts". Considering his brutish strength, it makes sense.
* ''ComicBook/ActionComics'' had... uh... fist air fight: [[http://www.comicvine.com/action-comics-its-a-bird-its-a-plane-its-supermobile/37-121620/ Supermobile]].
* ''ComicStrip/ThePhantom'' often sees the nominal NonPoweredCostumedHero non-lethally disarm his foes via ImprobableAimingSkills. However, he's more likely to leave his pistols in their holsters and fight bare-fisted because, in the words of the strip's creator Lee Falk "that's how heroes fight".

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Seen in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'': Po and the Furious Five are all unarmed kung fu fighters (though Monkey sometimes use a staff), while the BigBad Lord Shen carries around a flame-like partisan and tons of throwing daggers, and all his henchmen are heavily armed.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheRundown'': The main character refuses to use guns, and to beat the shit out of everyone around him, even when it would easier to [[JustShootHim bust caps in asses]]... [[SubvertedTrope well,]] [[MoreDakka until the end]]. LampShaded when he say [[IAmNotLeftHanded "When I pick up guns, bad things happen."]]
* Subverted with ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'': After beating the asses of several opponents, Indy is sick of fighting. So when another opponent steps up with ''swords'', Indy just pulls a revolver on him.
* Inverted in ''Film/TheRaid'': The hero has no qualms about using a knife and baton to stab and beat the shit out of mooks, while TheDragon deliberately puts down his gun before going hand-to-hand with SergeantRock.

* In ''Discworld/{{The Fifth Elephant}}'' [[TheHero Captain Carrot]] faces the Nazi-esque Wolfgang disarmed, giving him a chance to [[CombatPragmatist fight dirty.]] Furthermore Carrot, despite owning a [[CoolSword Cool]] [[AncestralWeapon Ancient]] AbsurdlySharpBlade prefers to use his bare hands [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower (capable of demolishing trolls)]] in many situations. Not mentioning his unearthly charisma.
** Subverted by Carrot's boss, Vimes, who carries a sword and a crossbow but prefers to take his enemies alive, and is therefore more likely to attack with his fists -- and a hidden set of brass knuckles, which very few of his opponents see coming.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'''s hero, Eric Watley, zigzags this trope depending on [[spoiler: whether or not he is in grendel form.]] In the first form, he will fight with his MagicStaff. In his second, he will fight with his fists [[spoiler: because they are bigger, stronger, and coated in a metallic hide.]] The others on his team always use hand-held weapons.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
%%* Kwai Chang Caine in ''Series/KungFu''.
* Eliot from ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' prefers to fight bare-fisted or using an object as a club, even when faced with guns. He constantly says he [[DoesNotLikeGuns Doesn't Like Guns]], thinking they're too sloppy. Of course, that doesn't mean he doesn't know how to use them.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'': Elemental Hero Neos.
* ZigZaggedTrope in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. Most good aligned [[BareFistedMonk monks]] qualify. Good aligned characters from most other classes, aside from the odd grapple fighter build generally don't. And then, monks only need to be lawful, allowing a LawfulEvil monk to qualify as a villain fighting bare handed.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/BlueDragon'' the only good guy with a sword is [[ActionGirl Zola]] but she's TheLancer.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' you can have a barehanded hero and armed party members, but in this way you miss the chance of using powerful and useful weapons. You can however learn how to cast RazorWind.
* In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series, the Hand-to-Hand skill allows for you to play this trope straight with the PlayerCharacter. However, it is dropped as a skill as of ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', making it ''much'' harder, as there are very few and limited options to get better at it.
* Can be played straight in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' with a Monk/Master as the main character. The fact that he's also unearthly powerful helps a lot.
* In a similar way, in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' you can focus on the barehanded fight and obtain good results.
* Tifa Lockhart of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' is a martial artist though some of her gloves include WolverineClaws.
* Zell Dincht of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' is the only one in the hero party who fights with his bare hands. His limit breaks from from martial art magazines.
* Snow in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' has no weapon and battles monsters using only his fists, although the leather-looking gloves he wears [[AllThereInTheManual do incorporate]] the same [[{{Technobabble}} AMP (Antimatter Manipulation Principle) Technology]] which powers most of the other weapons in the game.[[note]]'''Datalog entry on AMP:''' ''Antimatter Manipulation Principle (AMP) forms the foundation for variety of technological wonders, enabling phenomena ranging from phase-space interference to the manipulation of gravitational force.''[[/note]] And he talks about being "a hero" all the time... at least until his CharacterDevelopment kicks in.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfDragoon'': Dart has a sword but one of his allies, Haschel, fights without weapons. This is because he is a master of bare-handed martial arts.
* Vhaidra from ''VideoGame/BaldursGateDarkAlliance 2'' can be this if you play as her. You can still give her [[BladeOnAStick halberds]] and [[SimpleStaff staves]] but her unarmed fight skills are faster and stronger.
* In ''VideoGame/ZenoClash'', most of the combat's done with fists, apart from the occasional shooting level.
* In ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara 3'' UsefulNotes/TokugawaIeyasu can be considered the main protagonist and fights bare-handed (so he too can feel pain), contrasting with his rival Ishida Mitsunari, an IaijutsuPractitioner.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'', Adell finds weapons [[CatchPhrase just not [his] style]], and fights barehanded (though he can be given any weapon in gameplay, he's just not too good with them, suffering slow skill gain).
* [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]] is not exactly reliant on an specialized combat style, but some games, especially ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'', show him to be a force to be reckoned with.
* ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'': Liu Kang, for the most part relies only on his martial arts skill to deal with opponents. In contrast, his best friend Kung Lao is very skilled with his razor-rimmed hat.
* Although he usually wields a katana, this is the philosophy of Gray Fox, the CyberNinja in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid''. In the boss battle against him, it's basically useless to engage him in a firefight (as he wields his aforementioned katana to such a degree of skill that he can use it to deflect ''machine gun fire''), but, per the quote at the top of the page, he will sheathe his sword and fight you hand-to-hand if you put your guns away.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', despite owning at least two swords, Finn usually fights with his bare hands.