Reverse Arm-Fold

The physical inverse of the Badass Arm-Fold, where the arms are folded behind the back. The hands may be clasped together just behind the waist (more common in the West), or gripping the opposite forearm higher up (more common in the East). This posture generates strong connotations of patience and consideration.

There are four basic character types who use this, for their own reasons:
  1. Martial artists, especially the Old Master, who will hold this pose constantly while his hands are not occupied, unless he's a monk, in which case one hand will hold a prayer position in front of his chest.
  2. Old people of the Asian persuasion in general, who take the same pose but lean forward as if for balance.
  3. The Contemplative Boss. See the picture on that page for an example.
  4. Military personnel, while on duty but not actively engaged in some activity (for instance, in formation but not being inspected, waiting for inspection formation, or waiting to be told to form up for inspection). The stance shown in the picture is known as "At Ease" in the US military (and elsewhere).


Anime and Manga
  • Mercenary Tao and less often Master Roshi, in Dragon Ball.
    • Frieza also has this as one of his trademark poses, normally when he's in his first form.
  • You sometimes see Gendo doing the Western version in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
    • The Eastern version is practically Rei's trademark pose: grasping right forearm with left hand with right arm hanging straight down. No one else in the show does it, just her. It suits her rather closely and heavily emphasizes her femininity if she does it while wearing a plugsuit.
  • Zeno Zoldyck from Hunter × Hunter.

Comic Books


  • Vetinari, as a Contemplative Boss, is stated to do this whenever he stands in front of his big picture window.
  • In The Way of Kings, the enslaved Kaladin makes a point of assuming parade rest between bouts of having to carry a bridge in order to show his discipline. Eventually the rest of the bridge crew join him.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Rand takes to doing this after losing a hand. The Asha'man do it occasionally as well.
  • In Island in the Sea of Time and its sequels, Marian Alston frequently adopts this pose, because she's a Coast Guard officer.
  • In the first Burke novel, Burke drops in unannounced at the home of snuff-film producer Goldor. When the door opens, Goldor is standing in this position and Burke notes that it's an old bodybuilders trick — squeezing your hands behind your back to pump blood into the upper body, thus making yourself look bigger. Burke finds out too late that the real reason Goldor is standing like this is because he's holding a taser pistol behind his back.

Live-Action TV
  • Game of Thrones: Ser Loras Tyrell adopts this pose in Season 3 whenever he wishes to appear relaxed; examples include his greeting of Queen Cersei and King Joffrey in "Valar Dohaeris," while he walks away from Sansa Stark in "Dark Wings, Dark Words," and Tyrion Lannister and Sansa's wedding ceremony.
  • In early seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Jadzia Dax walked about with her arms behind her back, to demonstrate the "old man" that was inside her. A later episode, in which Dax's colleagues temporarily embody the symbiont's previous hosts, reveals that she got it from an earlier host, a politician who started doing it because she gestured too much while speaking.
  • Spock In Star Trek TOS uses this pose many times in the second season onward.
  • Hornblower:
    • Captain Pellew folds his arms behind his back many times during the first instalment when he commands HMS Indefatigable.
    • Horatio Hornblower holds his arms with joined hands behind his back quite often. He does it especially when he's in command. The first time when he does it makes it look like he's imitating Captain Pellew's quarterdeck stance.
  • If Avon (of Blake's 7) is not Leaning on the Furniture, he's doing this.


Video Games
  • Master Chen in Shenmue walks around hunched over like this, but wow, that old guy can dodge a punch.
  • Old Master Wang Jinrei of Tekken gained one of these during his intros circa Tekken 5.
  • Citan Uzuki is frequently shown doing this.
  • Master Xehanort does this a lot, but as with the Master Chen example, he's not as frail as he looks.
  • President Max adopts this pose when discussing Matters of State.
  • Dawn of War: Imperial Guardsmen do this when capturing a point.
  • In Mass Effect, Thane Krios uses that stance a lot, underlining his calm and composed personality. Shephard imitates him in an interrogation scene, adding to the formality of the set-up.
    • Shepard often adopts this pose when speaking with superior officers or the Council during the first game, or while receiving a briefing from Hackett during an N7 mission in the third.
  • General Zod in Injustice: Gods Among Us does this by default.
  • Characters with the "thoughtful" stance in Star Trek Online will stand like this.
  • Aegislash in Pokémon X and Y mimics this pose with its tassels when in Shield Forme.


Western Animation
  • Many villains demonstrate this trope in the DCAU. Among them are Lex Luthor, Ra's Al Ghul (though it might just be his cape), Vandal Savage, Gorilla Grodd
  • In Teen Titans, Slade does this.
  • Legion of Super Heroes it seems to be Dr. Londo's favourite stance.
  • Dyson from TRON: Uprising is extremely fond of this stance.

Real Life
  • In the US Military, personnel are forbidden to have their hands in their pockets, as it is appears unprofessional. This leaves 3 main stances - hands across the chest, hands across the back, and hands straight down. Hands across the chest is a defensive position and usually avoided (unless it is cold). Hands straight down is strongly associated with the position of Attention, and a lot of yelling, and is discouraged unless a lot of yelling is needed. Hands behind the back tends to be used in a more casual environment, such as when the Old Man is lecturing his troops (no, not like that...well, o.k., maybe sometimes). Often the 'at ease' stance is used to signal to the troops that what follows will be a Business As Usual speech, (or maybe even a Father to His Men moment).