"Now, now, perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything."You and your rival get yourselves into a fist fight. You each throw a punch simultaneously and, through some wild fluke, strike one another squarely on each others' fists. What happens? In Real Life, of course, the result would be two broken or at very least very bruised hands/knuckles and the fight would end in a draw. In anime, video games, and other heavily stylized works, on the other hand, the punches cancel one another out and both parties are unharmed. In fact, one or both parties probably did this on purpose. This is a Punch Parry. It may be justified if both punchers have Nigh-Invulnerability or Invulnerable Knuckles, but more often than not the only explanation is the Rule of Cool. Often results from Fearful Symmetry if two identical combatants are attacking each other. If done several times in rapid succession, may overlap with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs. Compare with Cross Counter and Pummel Duel (The Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs variant). See also Blade Lock. Not to be confused with fistbumping. Can sometimes result in a Kung-Fu Sonic Boom if the two opponents are of equal Super Strength.
— Professor Farnsworth, Futurama
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The Big O. Occurs during the fight between Big O and Big Duo in episode #24.
- Happens all the time on Dragon Ball Z. Justified in that all major characters are at the level of Nigh-Invulnerability.
- Occasionally shows up in One Piece, most notably in the Luffy vs. Rob Lucci fight. Justified for Luffy because his bones are made of rubber and thus virtually unbreakable.
- In the Street Fighter III manga, Ryu does this to Dudley. Although in that case, Ryu completely broke Dudley's arm.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam loves doing this one, especially whenever Domon and Master Asia fought.
- Happens in Digimon Savers between Masaru and Kouki.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is the Trope Codifier for most japanese media, usually in reference to the final battle between Dio and Jotaro. This example and subsequent homages overlap with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs.
- In Naruto, Sakura and Ino do this during their Chuunin Exam fight.
- Bleach. In anime episode #12 Chad and a Hollow swing at each other and hit each others' fist. In a variation, the Hollow has its arm ripped off.
- When Chad tries this again much later, near the beginning of the Arrancar Arc, his arm is the one that's smashed.
- Also, might be justified in the fact that his punches fire a beam of energy as well as deal physical damage. Thus that might have been what caused the damage, rather than the punch itself.
- In Sakigake!! Otokojuku, the main character, Momotaro, does this on purpose, and it's sold by the bystanders as his big-time secret technique. Its net effect is to disable the opponent's fist. It works great. Momo's Evil Mentor Senpai, Date Omito, uses something almost like this against a guy who attacks with his fingers, with the twist that his fingers are so strong that fist vs. fingers is an even match (his fingers are so strong that Date accounts for "overtraining" as one his opponent's weaknesses.) This leads to the great moment of Date's opponent doing Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs with his thumbs.
- Subverted when Bean Bandit does one of these to an impostor in Gunsmith Cats. Bean ends up looking absolutely badass - the impostor ends up with a fistful of compound fractures sticking out of his hand.
- Best part? Bean points out that the impostor is used to having his hands protected by boxing gloves, and he felt the bones in the guy's knuckles crack when he took a shot to the jaw. He's been bare-knuckle fistfighting his entire life, and his hands are exponentially more durable.
- This happens in the final fight of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's first arc- between giant robots, so it's justified. Then Gurren Lagann produces some drills and wrecks up Lazengann's hand anyway.
- Happens frequently in Transformers Cybertron to represent a direct confrontation of sheer power, but the final battle between Galvatron and Starscream takes it Up to Eleven, with massive Battle Auras on both sides and a Sphere of Destruction sufficient to destroy a SMALL planet where their fists meet.
- Subaru and Ginga from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S do this. It's justified as both of them are wielding Powered Armor gauntlets. The fact that they're both literally Made of Iron also helps.
- In the Fullmetal Alchemist anime, the super-muscular Major Armstrong does this to a giant fist made out of stone! True, he was wearing a metal gauntlet, but even so, his punch actually manages to stop the stone fist (which is easily the size of his entire body) in its tracks. The force of their fists colliding is so great that Armstrong's shirt is blown completely to shreds by the shockwave.
- Variation: In Baki the Grappler, Baki fights Hanayama, who has such gripping power that his large fists are extremely hard and destructive. So Baki aims for a punch parry where he first crushes Hanayama's pinky, making his foe unable to use an effective punch.
- Ghost in the Shell: Arise. Motoko does this while fighting a cyborg armed with an Arm Cannon, which successfully deactivates the weapon.
- The Doma arc Yu-Gi-Oh! introduces Valon, who wears Armor monsters when he duels so he can pummel his opponents. Jounouchi conjures his own suit of battle armor, revives one of Valon's gauntlets and infuses it with with his own arc-themed superpowered card. Both duelists leap headlong into this trope, and the resultant shockwave is visible from several blocks away. Jounouchi destroys all of Valon's armor and wins.
- Wolverine does this in a cage match in X-Men, on purpose no less. Justified because he has an adamantium skeleton, so instead of bone meeting bone, it's more like bone meets a solid wall. The contender is every bit as injured as he should be.
- In a bizarre variation, when two boxing gloves do this in the trailer to Rocky IV, they explode.
- Happens between Hellboy and Mr. Wink in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Justified since Hellboy's hand is made of extremely tough stone and Wink's is metal. Wink breaks his fist in the attempt.
- Extremely durable doesn't cut it. His hand is the Right Hand of Doom, a magical artifact destined to destroy the world. It is apparently indestructible!
- In It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Russel and Hawthorne do this when they get into a scuffle. In a note of realism, it clearly hurts a lot.
- The Matrix: Smith and Morpheus' first fight.
- Speed Racer: Racer X versus his ninja. Twice. In one shot. (The Wachowskis love this trope.)
- Kung Fu Hustle invokes this during the fight between the musicians and the Landlord, by way of Deadly Dodging to make the two musicians hit each other. They end up both hurting their hands very badly.
- In Avengers: Age of Ultron, this happens between the Hulk and Iron Man (With the latter using the Hulkbuster/Veronica armor). The shockwave of their punches clashing is strong enough to shatter glass windows and even push around civilians that are near the fight. Both Tony and Bruce seem unaffected but, given who these are, it's justified.
- Melina Perez and Layla discovered this trope while feuding on Smackdown and WWE Super Stars when they both tried to kick each other in the head at the same time and accidentally knocked shins. Perplexed, they tried to kick each other two more times before Melina just let Layla whiff and then kicked her. In the next match where they accidentally blocked kicks, Layla immediately slapped Melina. Low Ki and AJ Styles had a similar spot in AJ's Ring of Honor debut but in that case they knocked ankles, leaving them both hobbling in pain. Kenny Omega and one of the Young Bucks had one tried to super kick each other, resulting in their legs getting tangled up and each hopping around trying not to lose balance, which ended up being Omega when the other Jackson then kicked him in the head.
- On the 37th episode of ROH TV, Kenny King and Cedric Alexander, having come to a stalemate in grappling, put tried spinning heel kicks at once. The former thought it was funny.
- In the Marvel Super Heroes 4D show at Madame Tussauds is London, this happens when the Hulk and a giant robot swing blows at each other. The robot comes off the worse out of the exchange.
- In Asura's Wrath, Asura and Augus perform this twice during their fight on the moon, right before getting right back into it at Pummel Duel level. As demonstrated here.
- Happens between Paul and Bryan in the Tekken 6 opening, resulting in a Kung-Fu Sonic Boom.
- Happens in the Quick Time Events of the final boss of MadWorld The Black Baron. Please stop starin'!, which takes place in a boxing ring elevated miles above the city and boy is it AWESOME.
- Parrying is a gameplay mechanic in Street Fighter III. Only some of them are Punch Parries though, others are more sensible parries, and a couple are No Sells.
- The Soul Series has this as a gameplay mechanic, although with weapons instead of fists; if two attacks of the same type and height hit each other, the weapons will clang and nothing will happen. Quasi-realistic in that it doesn't work with kicks/body contact moves.
- Slightly subverted in Injustice: Gods Among Us. During a clash, both players must bet their super meter. If they both bet the same amount, the punches cancel. If one bets more, they win the clash.
- Under the name of "Reflect Attack", Akatsuki Blitzkampf also features parries as a general mechanic. Again, not all of these are punch ones; i.,e, Sai just shrugs and raises his hand while Mycale summons a Valkyrie with a shield.
- In Marioand Luigi Bowsers Inside Story, the counter to the final bosses' punching attack has Bowser do this. The fact that this generates a shockwave (which hurts neither combatant) indicates just how strong both of them are.
- This happens with a couple of characters in the TGWTG Year One Brawl.
- Bender does this with his "evil" twin Flexo in Futurama, but all they accomplish is hurting their hands. The page quote refers to an incident where Leela attempted to fight her alternate universe counterpart, reasoning that she knew her double's moves and thus had the advantage. Both Leelas perform a jump kick and end up running into each other full speed.
- Happens approximately halfway through the battle between Superman and Doomsday in Superman: Doomsday.
- In Popeye, the titular character and Bluto would do this all the time.
- Roadblock and Heavy Duty do this in G.I. Joe: Renegades. Both immediately recoil in pain.
- In one episode of Quack Pack, Huey, Dewey and Louie get superpowers, and their team salute is to punch their fists together in a triangle. At the end of the episode they lose their powers, and try to do the gesture again. It's much more painful without powers.
- Children in the USA play a game called "bloody knuckles", where they punch each other in their fists. The loser is the first one to get bloody knuckles.