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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/CecilvsCecil.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:When the best offense is a good defense.]]

->'''Jason:''' He's the most lethal video game creature ever! He towers above you with fists like anvils! Skulls litter the ground at his feet! And you're not supposed to even ''try'' to take this guy on in a fight??... Wow, talk about counter-intuitive.\\
'''Paige:''' Refresh my memory, you spend ''how'' many nanoseconds in the real world each day?
-->-- ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot''

Any type of confrontation where the hero's only way to win it is ... to ''stop'' trying to defeat their opponent; eventually the enemy will tire himself out (become bored, etc.) and the hero will achieve a victory for their pacifism.

The reasons behind this vary -- sometimes the opponent is literally fueled by the hero's aggressive energy (or is a literal figment of the hero's imagination) so putting a stop to their hostility the enemy will literally weaken (and/or cease to exist). Maybe the opponent has an overdeveloped sense of honor and refuses to strike down someone who won't keep their weapon in hand. Or perhaps the confrontation was [[LetsYouAndHimFight just a big misunderstanding]] (PoorCommunicationKills, you know) and standing down will buy time for both sides to figure out that they shouldn't even be fighting each other in the first place. (Some {{Crossover}} stories are prone to this, with the heroes from each series somehow finding themselves in the others' crosshairs.) Overlaps with KillMeNowOrForeverStayYourHand, where Bob confronts an aggressive Alice with nonaggression and hopes to win by getting her to stand down too.

Whatever the case, until the hero actually figures this out, they will feel presented with an opponent more formidable than any other; they may as well be fighting a mirror.

When this is applied to VideoGames, it tends to mix elements of a HopelessBossFight (because, more often than not, the opponent is made literally invincible to all attacks), a WaitingPuzzle and/or HoldTheLine objective (because if the party dies, it's still GameOver). Hopefully the ''player'' will be given some hint that this is the goal (perhaps via advice from a SpiritAdvisor), so that they don't have to expend their entire stock of healing magic/items trying to beat an impossible enemy. Also note that depending on whether the game proceeds in real-time or in turns, sometimes simply ''waiting'' is not enough, and the player needs to take some kind of non-hostile action (e.g. the DefendCommand) to make time pass. (In fact, for some games this is the ''only'' time the DefendCommand is of any practical use.)

Compare PuzzleBoss (where you're not necessarily fighting the ''boss'', but still need to take action to defeat it, perhaps indirectly), UnexpectedlyRealisticGameplay, and WhyIsntItAttacking. Contrast ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption. See also FailureGambit, where this path is the only way to prevent the gambit's success. [[ComicallyMissingThePoint Not to be confused with]] [[IaijutsuPractitioner sheathing your weapon for tactical purposes.]]



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'', dragons are empathic and respond to human (or possibly just [[WingedHumanoid Draconian]]) emotions. Come at them all aggressive-like and they'll tear you a new one (unless you're just badass enough to take them on). Throw down your sword and make with the peacefulness, and they'll get bored and wander off.
* Used in the ''Literature/BraveStory'' movie during the climactic battle against their respective doppelgangers. [[spoiler: The hero Wataru ends up winning the fight by accepting that his shadow is a part of himself, all the parts of himself that he was afraid to acknowledge. The anti-hero Mitsuru wins the fight by stabbing his shadow through the chest... and you guessed it, dies of a self-inflicted stab wound.]]
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' did pretty much the same thing against his inner darkness, and even acknowledges that it actually ''helped'' him in some points of his life.
* ''Manga/FairyTail'' has this during the S Class trial arc. [[LeeroyJenkins Natsu]] has to fight [[BigBrotherMentor Gildarts]] in order to advance. After putting up a good fight, Gildarts says that Natsu is just missing one critical element to pass... and then he stops holding back his power. Natsu is so scared that he falls to his knees and admits defeat, which is exactly what Gildarts was hoping for.
* ''Manga/MysteriousGirlfriendX'': Best option to use against panty scissors, unless you have your own special attack.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' Ichigo enters some last minute training with Zangetsu before his final battle with Aizen. Zangetsu explains that he won't simply tell Ichigo the ultimate technique of his power and proceeds to fight him. After a bit of swordplay that doesn't seem to go anywhere, Ichigo figures out he won't learn the secret by pure force by fighting, but, rather, by letting Zangetsu stab him. This is exactly what the spirit wanted and gives Ichigo his power for the final confrontation. To be noted is how Zangetsu's second purpose was to get Ichigo to accept his SuperpoweredEvilSide as part of him.
* in ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', Kenshin has to fight one of Shishio's EliteMooks in front of his archenemy. Not wanting to reveal any of his techniques, he wins the battle... by running away from him until the guy breaks his leg from chasing after him. But it's then subverted when Kenshin is forced to reveal one of his techniques to save the mook himself from Shishio.
* In ''Anime/UmiMonogatari'', the BigBad, Sedna, is a force of darkness that has corrupted the island and will consume both land and sea. Marin and Kanon are told throughout the series that they must seal her away with the Spear of Light, and to not hesitate to defeat Sedna even if it means attacking their friends. However, when they find out that [[spoiler:Sedna is really the islanders' combined sorrow]], they ''accept'' the darkness within their hearts and deal with it rather than throwing it away.
* In ''Anime/KillLaKill'', Ryuko attempted this against Gamagoori, who gets stronger when struck, but it fails because he simply whips himself to get the strength he needs, and she's forced to find another way to beat him.
** Another example in a previous episode when Mako's family is given better living conditions when Ryuko and her try to play by the Academy's rules by starting their own club. However the richer lifestyle changes the family for the worst which Ryuko notices and quits the club. Satsuki gives Mako a two star Goku uniform and has her fight Ryuko if she wants to keep her lifestyle. After bit of fighting, Ryuko purposely de-powers, refusing to fight further and just let's Mako wail on her. This goes on till sunset till it looks like Mako is going to finish her. Mako stops short of the final blow and realizes her greed, calling out her own family for not trying to stop her. This of course was Ryuko's plan all along to get her to come to her senses.
* Done in the ''Manga/YuGiOh5Ds'' manga when Yusei takes a test to gain the Stardust Spark Dragon. He starts out by riding at it full force to attack it head on. But then remembers some earlier advice Akiza had told him and quickly snaps out of it. He then notices that the Stardust Spark Dragon is crying and sees through its memories of previous duelers who attempted to acquire it, making the mistake he nearly did. Yusei then drops his speed and lets the Stardust Spark Dragon attack him. Which allows him to be seen as worthy of wielding it and gain its card.
* Played with in ''Anime/YuGiOhZEXAL'' in Yuma and Nash's face-off: the Barian activated a card to decide the duel's outcome in a one-on-one battle between their ace monsters. Both duelists went on the offensive, only for Yuma to stop halfway and cancel his attack. Nash thought his former friend had a combo in mind, but Yuma [[Heartwarming/YuGiOhZEXAL merely didn't want to lose his friend]]. Unknowingly to him, had he resumed his attack, he'd have lost the duel, and his noble gesture won him the game due to a loophole.
* This is how the fight between Mob and [[spoiler:God Dimple]] ends in ''Manga/MobPsycho100''. [[spoiler:Upon reaching 100%, Mob realizes his powers are in the way of solving his conflict with Dimple, and they just need to talk it out like friends.]]

[[folder:Card Games]]
* Many {{card games}}, including ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' and ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'', list running out of cards to draw as a lose condition. This has led to the "Deck out" style of play (also known as "milling"), where you remove cards from their deck, sometimes by making them draw, and do nothing else but defend against attacks. The downside to this is, of course, giving your opponent immense resources and could possibly allow him to pull off a [[OneHitKO powerful combo]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Franchise/{{Superman}}''
** Superman once defeated the [[ComicBook/IncredibleHulk Hulk]] by allowing him to whale on his indestructible body until the Hulk wore himself out and reverted back to Banner. Doubly so, he also spotted and destroyed a microscopic irritant that was keeping the Hulk enraged.
** He defeated Franchise/SpiderMan this way too in ''ComicBook/SupermanVsTheAmazingSpiderMan''. Once he realized that he likely would have killed Spidey if he had hit him, he just ''let'' Spidey punch him until Spidey realized it was pointless and gave up. (Then they finally realized they were on the same side, and joined forces against Lex Luthor and Doc Ock.)
** In ''Superman Family'' #194, ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} fights a villain equipped with a device which absorbs hate and transforms it into strength. In order to beat him, Supergirl uses self-hypnosis to remain relaxed and motionless. Without hate to power his engine up, the villain loses his strength and is defeated.
* The way ComicBook/ScottPilgrim deals with [[spoiler:The Negascott]]. Counts as an AwesomeMoment as it shows how Scott has matured.
* One incarnation of Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica villain [[AllYourPowersCombined Amazo]] could adjust to duplicate the powers and abilities of ''any'' incarnation of the Justice League, so the more reserves they call in the more powerful he becomes. The Atom realized that this Amazo was a "one-man-Justice-League" on a ''conceptual'' level, and therefore the JLA chairman, Superman, had the one power that could defeat him; the power to ''disband'' the JLA. The android was promptly BroughtDownToNormal.
** Another fight with Amazo's "son" (this was well after the above flaw was the subject of an ObviousRulePatch) realized that this Amazo could tap into their minds and use the tactics one leager would use to counter the other. Realizing this, Batman instead started hurling insults at Superman, which snowballed into the league bickering with each other. Of course, since this Amazo had the personality of all the league and could get in tune with them, it resulted in him fighting himself until he self-destructed. It worked, but it was implied that it did more damage to the League in other ways.
* As one of his trials to become Sorcerer Supreme, ComicBook/DoctorStrange had to meet Death in combat. After doing everything he could to fight or escape Death, he resigned himself to defeat and surrendered entirely to it -- becoming immortal.
* In ''ComicBook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' (the classic series), Starhawk once fought an enemy called Tachyon, who could anticipate and counter all Starhawk's attacks. Realizing that all Tachyon's moves were reactive, Starhawk simply stopped fighting and stood floating. Tachyon did the same.
* One ComicBook/FantasticFour story had Maximus the Mad attacking the Inhumans with a robot that fed off of the aggression between the Inhumans and the Alpha Primitives. By stopping the fight, the robot shut down.
* In ''[[ComicBook/{{Swordquest}} Swordquest: Earthworld]]'', the protagonists learn that battles aren't always won by violence.
* In the ''[[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog Sonic In Your Face Special]]'', the first story has Sonic and the Freedom Fighters being attacked by a giant robot cyclops. When he learns that the robot is designed to attack anything that moves, Sonic decides to stand perfectly still, and has the others do likewise. Sure enough, the robot shuts down after a few minutes.
* ComicBook/TheShadowHero has a variation on this trope: [[spoiler: The BigBad Ten Grand is empowered by an ancient Chinese god who has promised him that all his fights will end with his victory. So TheHero Hank Chu surrenders. Since the fight is technically over, Ten Grand can no longer harm Hank.]]
* In one of the rororotfuchs book backcover comics, the fox "battles" (a slightly out-of-character) Franchise/{{Superman}} who boasts he will win against anyone. He lists up all his superpowers but the fox repeats "Not against me". Finally, Superman desperately asks "How?". The fox refers to this trope and just walks away with his buddies, leaving a dumbfounded Superman.
* In a WhatIf story of ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'' Paperinik and the US Army were confronted by the newest breed of Evronian {{Super Soldier}}s, who were strong enough to tear tanks apart, tough enough that nothing less than heavy ordnance could kill them, fast enough to dodge that, and had an accelerated version of the Evronian EmotionEater metabolism that allowed them to feed on the hate and fear of those who opposed them. [[EvilGloating Due the first one to appear having bragged about them having been based on Angus Fangus (a journalist with an uncanny talent for spotting the worst in people)]], Paperinik was able to realize the last part and got the soldiers to simply stand down, resulting in the Evronian super soldiers ''instantly'' starving and dying.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Referenced in a ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' strip. Jason, frustrated that he'd tried everything he could think of to beat a boss, leaves the room for a minute. When he returns, he finds out that his sister Paige "beat" the boss... by simply walking past it. Their mother tells Jason that the [[AnAesop message]] is obviously "Discretion is the better part of valor", but he's too upset to care.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''FanFic/ThisBites'', Cross explains to Nami exactly how Luffy and Zoro won by letting Bellamy beat them up: a bunch of nobodies were doing all they could to rile Luffy up and get him to react, to etch themselves into his memory for all eternity... and failed miserably.
* This is pretty much how Paul wins... er, ends battles in ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone''. Since he's both an ActualPacifist and [[NighInvulnerable invulnerable]], he just stands there or walks along and lets people pound on him until they give up, get distracted, or get captured by one of the others.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Used in the movie version of ''Film/PrinceCaspian'', when Caspian, after seeing an entire squadron of Telmarine assassins downed by something underfoot, is himself tripped and set upon by the unseen assailant... [[LethalJokeCharacter Reepicheep the Mouse]]. Reepicheep orders Caspian to retrieve his sword and face him in honorable combat, as he refuses to kill an unarmed man. Caspian's reply: "Then I'll live longer if I don't." Reepicheep doesn't have infinite patience, though, so this tactic doesn't last Caspian forever.
* Joshua's lesson in ''Film/WarGames''. To elaborate: [[spoiler:Joshua/WOPR is a Supercomputer in charge of [=NATO=]'s nuclear arsenal. He was hacked and tricked into playing Global Thermonuclear War by the teenage hero David, with David playing the role of the [=USSR=]. So Joshua ends up going all out and as the movie progresses, he works at starting this war and winning. At the end, David, with the help of Joshua's creator, gets Joshua to play Tic-Tac-Toe against himself. Since Joshua plays to win, every move is the optimal move, resulting in a tie game. Joshua goes through every permutation of the game and then correlates this to Global Thermonuclear War, realizing if everyone everywhere launches all the nukes, there will be no survivors and thus no winners. This leads to Joshua's conclusion, "the only winning move is not to play."]]
* At the end of ''Franchise/TheMatrix Trilogy'', Neo defeats [[spoiler:Smith]] by [[spoiler:[[HeroicSacrifice allowing himself to be assimilated]], thus providing the Source with a direct line into its rebellious ex-servant.]]
* In ''Film/ResidentEvilApocalypse'', LJ is confronted by Nemesis. LJ drops his weapons and puts his hands up. Nemesis' HUD designates him a non-combatant and leaves.
* When Duncan has The Guardian at his mercy in ''Film/HighlanderTheSource'', he insists that Duncan behead him and take his place. Duncan refuses and goes to claim the prize. This makes The Guardian explode.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'': The Dark Side Cave on Dagobah. Luke was not supposed to meet the apparition of Darth Vader with a lightsaber. He did, anyway, failed the test and saw his own face in Vader's helmet as a warning.
** At the conclusion of ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', after [[YouShouldKnowThisAlready nearly killing Darth Vader]], Luke Skywalker realizes that his aggression is turning him to the dark side, and throws his lightsaber away.
* Wrestling/HulkHogan's movie ''Film/SuburbanCommando'' had a situation like this. Early in the story, an old veteran tells the protagonist about a soldier he knew who did something like this to save his buddies during a war, saying, "Sometimes you have to lose in order to win." At the climax of the movie, where the villain is holding his friends hostage and demanding he show himself, he decides that it's sound advice, and does the same thing. (Fortunately, one of them decides to return the favor.)
* In ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', Captain America's final battle with the titular villain ends this way. The fight starts out brutal, but after Steve completes his objective of stopping the three Helicarriers, he drops his iconic shield into the Potomac below, and repeats something his best friend Bucky told him years ago. It's fitting too, because the Winter Soldier is [[spoiler:Bucky.]] In any case, the Soldier beats the Captain, but eventually empathizes enough to stop and rescue the captain from the collapsing airship.

* In the ChooseYourOwnAdventure series ''[[Literature/LoneWolf World of Lone Wolf]]'' book 4, ''Beyond the Nightmare Gate'', the [[GodOfEvil Chaos Master]] sends against the hero Grey Star his evil doppelganger; both seek the Moonstone, and he attacks you when you finally find it. If you win the fight, '''you''' die, but if you don't fight, or if you lose the fight, he dies and you win.

* In the RPG-inspired book, manga, and movie ''Literature/BraveStory'', the hero, Wataru, gets thrown into a MirrorBoss with a shadowy version of himself. He and it proceed to beat each other up, with neither side truly winning, until Wataru realizes that he ''can't'' fight it. [[spoiler:It's made up of all his fear, anger, hatred, and sorrow -- his negative emotions. And no matter what he does, all his negative emotions will always be part of him. Instead, he accepts it, and he comfortably takes it back into himself. [[TheRival Mitsuru]] isn't so lucky...]]
* In the game-within-a-story of ''Literature/EndersGame'', Ender consistently reaches a tower in the game, crushes a snake that tries to kill him, and [[TheManyDeathsOfYou gets himself killed trying to proceed]]. Fed up, he eventually picks the snake up and tries to get it to bite him--but he screws up the control input and accidentally [[TrueLovesKiss kisses it.]] It turns into his sister, because the RuleOfSymbolism is weird like that.
* In Creator/JohnScalzi's ''The Android's Dream'', two {{Virtual Ghost}}s argue over the proper way to deal with a situation, and the more experienced one proposes to make her point with a simulation of the battle in which the less experienced one originally died. She'll take control of the enemy forces, he'll control the forces he fought in, and his job is to keep it from becoming a bloodbath like it did in real life. His forces are too badly outgunned to ever win, so in the final iteration he surrenders at the first sight of the enemy, preserving the lives of all his troops.
* In ''Literature/WitchesBrew'', one of the champions sent by Lord Rydall, the fake BigBad of the book, is a knight resembling the Paladin, the champion of Landover. The Paladin fights the knight but finds his opponent can perfectly match him blow for blow. The knight is only defeated when the Paladin sheathes his weapon and disappears, causing his doppelganger to do the same.
* In ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle'' series by Weiss and Hickman, the evil dragons feed on violence and hatred : Haplo and Alfred can't win against them by fighting. [[spoiler:They still win, though, by renouncing to fight and letting the place they're in at the moment (which has been cursed to ban any violence) use the dragon's own violence against him.]]
* Drizzt does this in ''Literature/TheDarkElfTrilogy'' when fighting his father's raised corpse. First, he fights him in a manner that brings out his personality, then he sheathes the swords. His father manages to regain control long enough to exchange a few words, and then jump into the conveniently close acid lake.
* In the novel ''[[Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo 1636: The Saxon Uprising]]'', this is how the USE remains intact when [[spoiler:Axel Oxenstierna]] tries to stage an uprising to seize power. The USE members stay strictly within the bounds of the law, despite enormous temptation to fight, thus preserving the USE.
* In ''Literature/SonicTheHedgehogInRobotniksLaboratory'' The only way to get out of the spring traps (which are literally coiled springs) was to stop struggling at which point they just break apart.
* In ''Literature/SpaceDemons'', this turned out to be the way to win the eponymous video game.
* In ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', when Alister Behaim, the new head of the Behaim Circle, is facing down Blake Thorburn, who killed his predecessor and has spent the evening killing at least ten other [[WizardsAndWitches practitioners]] of various types, he opts for this trope by handing Blake the key to the BequeathedPower his family has been accumulating for the past several centuries and offering to let Blake destroy it. This stops Blake in his tracks for long enough that Alister is able to convince him that they [[RivalsTeamUp both have bigger problems to deal with.]]
* Maybe (the author merely suggests it) the military is literarily fighting against itself [[MirrorBoss (the enemy is sort of a time mirror?)]] in the SF story "Traveller's Rest" by David I. Masson. In that case, the trope would apply.
* In the Franchise/StarWars ''Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy'', this trope punctuates Kyp Durron's HeelFaceTurn in a SecretTestOfCharacter: he is confronted in the Jedi Temple by a [[InTheHood hooded]] Force ghost whom he identifies as the Sith who had manipulated him into [[FaceHeelTurn joining the Dark Side]]; when he refuses to attack, it reveals itself as [[spoiler:the spirit of his brother, whom he had killed by accident,]] and departs in peace.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Happens sometimes in ''Franchise/StarTrek''.
** ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'':
*** In the episode ''Day of the Dove'', a EnergyBeing induces a HatePlague between the Federation and Klingon factions on the ''Enterprise''. The way it's defeated is when both sides realize it's there and make peace.
** ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''
*** In the episode "Hero Worship", a NegativeSpaceWedgie that destroyed a science vessel is battering the ''Enterprise'' repeatedly. Captain Picard orders more and more power to the shields, but the attacks continue to get worse. When the other ship's only survivor says their captain did the same thing, Data discovers that the anomaly is just reflecting all the energy back at them. The solution is instead to ''drop'' the shields, giving it nothing to reflect.
*** In the episode "Peak Performance", Data is pitted in a friendly game with a visiting alien who is a master at this game. He is soundly defeated by the smug alien, unable to match his offense or defense. In a rematch at the end of the episode, Data wins by playing for a tie instead of a victory, rather than trying to gain advantage or take the lead when chances occur, he chooses moves which favor neither player in the long run and promote stalemate. The alien is unable to defeat the android with his limitless patience, and storms off in a huff over the maddening strategy.
*** Even later, the episode "Gambit" gives us an ancient Vulcan artifact that works like a psychic weapon, {{amplif|ierArtifact}}ying the telepathic abilities of the wielder to instantly kill anyone who even thinks aggressive thoughts. Naturally it lost its power to destroy the Vulcan people once they found their inner peace through logic and the abandonment of emotion.
** ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''
*** In the episode "The House of Quark", the title Ferengi is challenged to a duel to the death by a Klingon named D'Ghor. Fighting would almost certainly get him killed, but refusing would dishonor the Klingon woman he's been trying to help. His solution is to show up, throw his weapon aside, kneel down, and dare the Klingon to murder him in cold blood, without any honor or glory. [[spoiler:D'Ghor goes right ahead and tries it, but Chancellor Gowron stops him and, disgusted at such a dishonorable act, discommendates him on the spot]]. A CrowningMomentOfAwesome for Quark for sure.
*** In a later episode, Quark once again meets his Klingon ex-wife (she divorced him at the end of "The House of Quark" at his request) and is now enamored with her. However, one of her servants is disgusted by a Ferengi putting the moves on his mistress and challenges him to a duel. When asked by Worf what he plans to do, Quark suggests doing the same thing as before. Worf replies that, last time, he was only saved by Gowron. This time, he would get his head cut off. Instead, they have Worf remotely control Quark. After "Quark" wins, he makes as if to finish off the Klingon...only for Worf to force him to step away. Nobody said this particular duel had to be to the death. The female Klingon declares his honor satisfied and fires him.
* In ''Series/{{Highlander}}'', there's a much-maligned three-episode arc where protagonist Duncan [=MacLeod=] is the ChosenOne to fight against the evil demon Ahriman. Violence won't work in this battle, and the only way to defeat Ahriman is for Duncan to achieve inner peace.
* In the ''Series/RedDwarf'' episode "Justice", the crew are aboard a penal space station with a section where it's impossible to commit a crime and anyone who attempts it becomes the victim (for example, the punishment for arson is being set on fire). [[spoiler:This works in their favor when an almost-unbeatable droid tries to murder them]].
* In the "Absolute Power" episode of ''Series/StargateSG1'', Shifu (the Harcesis) and Oma Desala view utilizing the Goa'uld genetic memory this way. In this case, though, it's less "not fighting the bad guy" and more "sealing off the Goa'uld memories in the subconscious since no-one can control the evil that comes with using the knowledge."
-->'''Shifu:''' Oma teaches the evil in my subconscious is too strong to resist and the only way to win is to deny it battle.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' story "Warriors' Gate," the time-sensitive Biroc tells the Doctor to "do nothing" in the face of impending doom. "Of course," the Doctor muses, "if it's the right sort of nothing." Meanwhile, the insane Captain Rorvik's attempts to "get something done" result in that same impending doom.
** The final episode of the classic series, "Survival" is about The Doctor and Ace refusing to do violence to keep themselves from being transformed into violent [[CatFolk cat aliens]].
-->'''The Doctor''': If we fight like animals, we'll die like animals!
* An episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys had the villain Jarton defeated this way.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E21AllHellBreaksLoosePartOne "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21)]], Sam realizes that the only way to frustrate the Yellow-Eyed Demon's plan is to get the Special Children to stop fighting each other and work together. Sam even convinces Jake to put down his weapon after Sam puts down his knife. But this was a SubvertedTrope as Jake was not convinced and didn't really need a weapon with his SuperStrength.
* In ''Series/FutureMan'', Josh manages to beat the final level of an incredibly difficult game by unequipping all of his gear and simply running all the way to the end objective, which ends off kicking off the plot.

[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* In Hindu mythology, one of the godly weapons known as the Narayanastra, when invoked, creates a rain of flaming arrows and discs that continuously pelts an enemy until they are destroyed. The more resistance the enemy puts up, the more force the weapon counters it with. The only way to survive it is to surrender to it.
* UsefulNotes/{{Taoism}} teaches the principle of 無爲 ''wu wei'': doing by not doing.

* ''Roleplay/DestroyTheGodmodder'': The first chamber in the void in game one. Two players died, [[TooDumbToLive while their allies told them not to attack.]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'' quest titled The Deva Spark features a battle with a demon who only grows stronger if the players attack it. The only way to win the encounter is to avoid fighting the fiend.
* A short story in the ''Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game'' supplement ''Tales of the Jedi Companion'' gives the story of the fall of Freedon Nadd, an extremely powerful and promising Jedi apprentice (and later one of the strongest Sith Lords ever to live). He is passed over for promotion to Jedi Knight when the time came, despite being the most powerful apprentice of his era. He angrily confronts his master, demanding an explanation. She tells him that if he is truly a Jedi Knight, to prove it, as she ignites her lightsaber. Nadd takes that as a challenge to a duel, and engages her in a massive duel, which she loses, and plunges her former apprentice thoroughly to the dark side, as he failed to realize that the way to prove he was a Jedi was to refuse to respond to the issue with violence.
* Canonically, this was the way that Morgan Kell truly won his duel with [[WorthyOpponent Yorinaga Kurita]] in ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'''s history. [[spoiler:Because both men were untouchable by conventional means due to pseudomystical abilities they shared, they were in turn the only two who could fight let alone defeat one another, but Morgan had no desire to kill Yorinaga as he understood that killing him would only perpetuate a CycleOfRevenge... so he sat there and tanked Yorinaga's attacks until Yorinaga [[{{Overheating}} overheated his 'Mech completely]] and shut down. Only then did Yorinaga recognize that Morgan had, in fact, defeated him without fighting.]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* On a general note, many strategy guides -- particularly unofficial ones -- advise this strategy against a HopelessBossFight in order to conserve resources -- in which case you should not only sheathe your sword, but not do ''anything''. This strategy falls apart [[HeadsIWinTailsYouLose if the player has to keep the party alive for a certain amount of time or number of rounds before the game's script allows for the loss to not count as a]] GameOver, however.
* ''VideoGame/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura''
** In a side-quest where you have to remove interlopers from an elven Holy Ground, you have the option of goading them into attacking you so that a curse will kill them for shedding blood. But if you fight back ([[GuideDangIt or if your Automatic Combat Mode is on]]) you are pretty much screwed by the same curse.
** You can order Virgil to hold position somewhere nearby so that he can't reach the fight until everyone is already dead; the Resurrection spell, however, ''can be cast at long distance.'' [[GoodBadBugs If he casts it on you before combat ends, the game over screen doesn't appear.]] Yes, you can end up cheating the peaceful elven hippie curse using a combo of ''[[MurderIsTheBestSolution preemptive violence and necromancy!]]''
* ''VideoGame/{{Metro 2033}}'': More along the lines of "Hold your fire", in the levels Library, Depository, and Archives, the player is pitted against the Librarians, horrifically ugly ape-like mutants that even on the easiest difficulty have no problem killing the player in just a few hits. Before the player is actually comes face-to-face with these beasts, however, an oft-ignored or unheard bit of dialogue from one of Artyom's NPC comrades tells the player "Never let them out of your sight, show them your back, you'll die. If a beast gets nervous, move away, but slowly." These words ring true, if the player is confronted by a Librarian they can stand their ground without firing a shot, and so long as they slowly back away if the Librarian slinks in closer and do not turn to flee, the Librarian is most likely to turn away and disappear into another section of the Library. It is actually possible to get through the entirety of all three levels with this method, and in the higher difficulties (Ranger and Ranger Hardcore) it is almost essential to try this the majority of the time, as the Librarians not only soak up bullets like they're made of steel, but can also kill the player with just a few measly swipes, and ammunition is painfully scarce in either of these difficulties.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' had Cecil go through this to cast off his dark past and become a Paladin. Considering the message that you got if you attacked ("A true paladin... will sheathe his sword."), this is probably the TropeNamer. The literal reason behind this working becomes a GuideDangIt moment in the US port of the SNES version. You win because you're fighting [[EnemyWithout yourself, but still as a Dark Knight]] who keeps using its "Darkness" ability, which damages every unit [[CastFromHP at the cost of its own HP]] until it kills itself. However, in the US version [[DummiedOut you didn't have this when Cecil was still a Dark Knight]], so you'd have no idea that he was losing health. Of course, with sufficient LevelGrinding, you could get bigger healing potions that could restore all of your health at once, leaving you free to attack. With enough of these, you could whittle down the Dark Knight quite easily. Yes, you ''can'' defeat your inner darkness by beating the crap out of it!
** In the sequel ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIVTheAfterYears'', [[spoiler:you can try this with Kain, but his dark side is a bit too powerful for it to work, kicking off the main plot thread of the Prologue.]]
** The BonusDungeon in the [=GBA=] remake also features a similar situation for [[spoiler:Kain]]. After a few turns of defending, Dark![[spoiler:Kain]] turns into Lunar Bahamut, and ''then'' you can whale on him.
** The EU version of the [=PS1=] remake, Final Fantasy Anthology, which holds both [=FF4=] and [=FF5=], has a hint appearing during Cecil's fight, outright saying "A TRUE PALADIN... WOULD SHEATHE HIS SWORD." And Cecil has the Dark-ability in that version too, but since it's highly flawed, most players don't realize that's the way to beat him.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV''
*** The game makes your party "fight" the Mimic by mimicking the Mimic mimicking you -- i.e doing absolutely nothing. He would congratulate you, and yield if you did so for awhile. Of course, there's that OxygenMeter in the corner to keep an eye on...
*** Gogo can be beaten with proper tactics, but if you waste too much time reaching the boss and escaping, you'll drown -- unless you simply use Teleport to escape once you've beaten Gogo.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' also has Ozma, a bonus boss that can be defeated this way, by letting your characters counter attack, since inputting actions causes it to have an immediate turn.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyRecordKeeper'', [[NostalgiaLevel being what it is,]] also features the Dark Knight with an updated sprite in certain events. Unlike the original fight, he is far more easily beaten with brute force, and Darkness doesn't use his HP to cast, but this is still an option. Cecil will kill himself after twenty turns, and on the [[NintendoHard Elite difficulty]] version of the fight, this is the easiest way to beat him.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' Snow's Eidolon, the Shiva sisters, cannot be defeated by attacks. The only way to win being to hold back and tank enough damage to impress it before time runs out and it kills Snow because this is just the ''first'' of the [[ThatOneBoss/FinalFantasy Eidolon]] fights.
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphoniaDawnOfTheNewWorld'', getting the [[MultipleEndings best ending]] requires that [[spoiler:you do nothing, and let Lloyd and Marta defeat you at the end]] before being able to proceed.
* In ''VideoGame/TheDarkness'', you are required to combat a dark version of yourself, whom you defeat by putting your weapons away.
* The final boss in the Flash game ''Inquisitive Dave'' [[spoiler:[[NoFourthWall becomes aware of his "role" as a final boss and becomes stronger for it. Your refusal to fight him robs him of his purpose, and he eventually fades.]]]]
* The final duel in ''VideoGame/SuikodenII''... providing that you have fulfilled a number of other requirements, the [[MultipleEndings Best Ending]] requires you to never attack, but just block for a number of rounds. If you attack even once, you get a BittersweetEnding. You also get one if you Sheathe Your Sword, but haven't met the other requirements.
* The Empathic Manifestation under Athkathla in ''[[VideoGame/BaldursGate Baldur's Gate II]]'' has to be defeated by not fighting him... Although in this particular case you have to actually HEAL him. Would be a case of ReviveKillsZombie if it weren't for the fact that it explicitly states feeding on hostility and hostile emotions (and so the implication goes that it was your kindness that beat him, not the healing per se).
** A secondary example from the same game are the "Shadow" enemies inside the Big Circus Tent. They roll to hit like any other enemy, but do no damage unless you've attacked them first (thus showing you believe they actually exist); they vanish in a puff of smoke when killed and grant no Experience Points or item drops whatsoever. The area also contains "Shadow Fiends" that look the same, but are able to damage you regardless; it's these that you must actually attack. The hint that you're given to distinguish between the two is for your character to "Close your eyes and only strike back if it hurts you".
* The dancing zombies in the fifth level of ''VideoGame/MonsterParty'' for the NES. When you enter the room, they say "[[ExactWords Watch us dance!]]" Do nothing but wait a moment, and you win.
* In a non-winning way, this is how Dororo's special ends in ''Keroro RPG''.
* ''Franchise/PrinceOfPersia''
** In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia1'', the Prince's mirror reflection would kill you if you tried to fight it since hitting it draws from your health, too, but if you sheathed your sword and walked into it, it would absorb into you. This is especially tricky since the Prince automatically draws his sword upon facing an enemy and puts it away after killing it, so the player is never hinted they even can do that.
** Something similar happens in ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheTwoThrones''. When finally facing off against [[spoiler:[[EnemyWithout The Dark Prince]]]], hitting him causes him to duplicate. The only way to win is to [[spoiler:walk away from the fight]].
* In the Mecha fight at the end of ''VideoGame/EscapeFromMonkeyIsland'', both Guybrush's robot and [=LeChuck=] regenerate health too quick to be able to defeat each other, so the only way to win is by tying in the Monkey Kombat three times, so [=LeChuck=] gets tired and Elaine is able to escape.
* In the Knights of the Nine quest in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'', you are given a test of character in which you are told you must show respect to nature. A huge bear appears and attacks you. To pass, you must not fight back.
** Which meant for many players who played the expansion after already having finished the main storyline, that they had to carefully select gear that does not reflect damage (as many of the better shields and armor items had this property) without sacrificing all defence to get maimed too quickly by the levelled bear.
* In ''Mysteries of the Sith'', the expansion to ''[[VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga Jedi Knight]]'', the only way to defeat Kyle after his fall to TheDarkSide is to deactivate your lightsaber and basically [[IKnowYouAreInThereSomewhereFight dare him to kill you]]. There's a helpful hint in the form of a wall carving of a female Jedi with her saber deactivated in front of her, something you wouldn't expect to find in a Sith temple.
* In ''VideoGame/BeyondTheBeyond'', you can do this when you face off against the BlackKnight close to the end of the game. The Black Knight in question is really [[spoiler:Annie's brother Percy]], who was earlier [[NeverFoundTheBody presumed dead after fighting off a group of Imperial guards]]. If you decide not to attack him for several rounds, he'll run from the battle and [[spoiler:re]]join your party. Should you decide to fight him anyway, [[DramaticUnmask his mask will crack]], revealing his true face to the party before he dies.
* ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER}}''
** ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'' has a very, ''very'' tragic variation of this. The [[DragonTheirFeet last battle]] with TheDragon comes only moments after the reveal that [[spoiler:the said dragon is your long lost twin brother, who was kidnapped, forcibly turned into a robotic chimera, and brainwashed. During the battle, the knowledge of this leaves you unable to attack (later on you can ''try'', but those attempts are pretty much you closing your eyes and half-heartedly swinging), so all you can do is defend and heal as [[IKnowYouAreInThereSomewhereFight you, your father, and the spirit of your dead mother tries to reach him.]] In the end, he regains his senses, but then turns his own attack on himself and [[DiedInYourArmsTonight dies in your arms.]]]]
** In fact, no final boss in the ''MOTHER'' series is ever defeated through attacking it directly, though ''MOTHER 3'' is the only one in which you do nothing but defend. In the first game, [[spoiler:you have to sing all the parts of the song that you'd been gathering throughout the game to remind Giegue of the people who raised him and to get him to surrender of his own will]], and, in the second game, [[spoiler:Paula has to use the up-to-then practically useless Pray command in order to allow the prayers of every other character in the game, plus the player themself, to overpower Giygas]].
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfDragoon'', the fight against the corpse of Lavitz in disc four. Defend enough and your party will talk him into turning his back, allowing you to take out the demon possessing him.
** Before that, there is the encounter with Shirley, who can only be "beaten" by answering her questions correctly. A common fan belief is her "fight" is to recover from the rather brutal encounter with Drake seconds earlier.
* ''VideoGame/RiseOfTheTriad'' has the first form of [[spoiler:El Oscuro]]. Attacking him causes him to eat your missiles and regain energy. You're supposed to run away and let him wear himself out and revert to his snake form, which you chase down and kill. Except that every other challenge in this game essentially boiled down to [[Film/WildWildWest shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more, and then when everyone's dead, try to ask a question or two]], which made this [[GuideDangIt a bit counterintuitive]].
* ''VideoGame/AloneInTheDark3'' has Edward Carnby, soon after coming BackFromTheDead, fight [[ItMakesSenseInContext a version of himself dressed like a cowboy.]] He'll match you blow for blow and shot for shot, and the solution is to drop your weapons. He'll merge with you after that.
* ''VideoGame/{{Ikaruga}}'' has an optional variation on this. Your ship can absorb light or dark bullets (and flip freely between being able to absorb either.) The reason to do this is to build up power for your BeamSpam, but it's possible to make it through a whole level without firing a shot. In fact, if you can do precisely that and then survive each level boss's barrage of light ''and'' dark bullets without shooting back for 100 seconds, then the boss will just fly away and you'll be awarded the rank of '[[BraggingRightsReward Dot Eater!]]' [[spoiler:Not to mention that you ''must'' survive against the final boss this way.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', Shadows are the coalesced negative emotions and true feelings that people hide in their innermost hearts. When a Shadow manifests itself, it is typical for its creator to deny it, resulting in it [[OneWingedAngel absorbing power and turning into a monstrous abomination]] --cue the boss fight. But even after you and your teammates defeat it, the Shadow will [[TheBattleDidntCount just stand back up again and again]] until the character willfully stops fighting and accepts it as part of him/herself. [[spoiler:Or apparently reject it so hard it disappears on its own, in Mitsuo's case.]]
** A literal case as the best way to survive the tail end of two boss fights. [[spoiler: Shadow Rise will cast a spell when she hits half health, and Izanami will simply ignore every attack and skills you use when she runs out of health. This lasts for three turns each, and both will still attack while you can't touch them. The easiest way to stay alive is block with all characters, heal if necessary, and waited for the script to roll out [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Teddie obliterating the Shadow]]/[[OneWingedAngel Izanami-no-Okami]].]]
* ''VideoGame/LostOdyssey'' features a scene where the BigBad mind-controls one of your party members to attack you. Killing him will end the game, so you have to hold out until the BigBad decides to [[HeadsIWinTailsYouLose blast you himself]] and leave.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' has a variation in the fight with the Ninja; you're supposed to keep your weapons stowed and fight with your fists. After a few hits, the Ninja will toss aside his sword and say, "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." Try to use your weapons, and it will not go well for you.
** In ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater Snake Eater]]'', the player cannot damage The Sorrow -- He's already dead! The only option is to wait for him to kill you, then use the [[spoiler:Revival Pill]]. Getting as far as possible before being instant killed will net you some special camo, though.
* In ''VideoGame/LunarDragonSong'', the second stage of the Black Dragon fight features a dark doppelganger of the main character Jian, who will copy whatever the party does, only with cripplingly powerful spells. The easiest way to beat him is use the Namia monster card (poisons foe, and a move the fake can't copy), and just try and escape every turn (you can't run from story battles, but it spends a turn). Dark Jian will try to run, fail, and take poison damage. Rinse and repeat for a couple of dozen turns, and what would have been the second-hardest boss in the game suddenly becomes one of the easiest.
* In ''VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed'' Jedi Temple DownloadableContent, when you face the Sith Warrior, at certain points he will transform into a duplicate of Starkiller. When he does this, you must block and/or avoid him until he changes back. If you attack him in this form, his health will be replenished and Starkiller will take the damage instead.
* The first time you fight [[spoiler:Darkrai]] in ''VideoGame/PokemonRanger: Shadows of Almia'', this is the strategy you should use to conserve resources and [[spoiler:activate the Vatonage Styler.]]
* In ''VideoGame/LiveALive'', choosing to fight the final boss's final form results in a ZeroEffortBoss fight, and the "bad" ending (where nothing happens except the credits roll). You have to choose to walk away from the fight for the real ending to occur.
* In ''VideoGame/BitTrip FLUX'', this message is to [[spoiler:the ''player'', ''from'' the player character in the ending. His journey is over, but yours isn't. Put down the controller and live your life.]]
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros''
** In the original, the best way to defeat Pikachu is jump to the tower at the player's right and avoid all attacks, jumping if necessary. Sooner or later, regardless of difficulty, Pikachu will use agility and be rendered unable to jump, falling to his demise.
** In the sequel, it's possible to beat a level 9 Ness in a single 2 player stock match on Jungle Japes by... [[ZeroEffortBoss standing there]]. It works [[ArtificialStupidity every single time]].
** One of the easier ways to win the 15-minute version of the MultiMookMelee (in which the goal is simply to survive 15 minutes) is to just run away from all of your opponents. The AI of the mooks is dependent on the number that have fallen, so running away from them as much as you can results in trying to survive against absurdly weak foes. The only thing keeping this from being a [[ZeroEffortBoss Zero-Effort Challenge]] is that the AI always has an element of TooDumbToLive - eventually, those early mooks will end up jumping off the level and bringing in more competent opponents to replace them.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'', during the InevitableTournament, you can get [[spoiler:Alice's wedding dress from Dan]] during Fei's boss fight with him by constantly defending and healing instead of attacking. You can attack him too, but then [[PermanentlyMissableContent you won't get the item.]]
* In ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'', this is how [[spoiler:Raiden defeats Shao Kahn. By letting Kahn merge Earth and Outworld without winning Mortal Kombat, Raiden is able to ''finally'' spur the Elder Gods into action, and use their power to destroy Kahn.]] "He must win!"
* The XBLA indie shooter ''Shoot 1UP'' features shields that form and expand around your ships when you refrain from shooting. Firing while an enemy is inside a shield unleashes a "shield attack," which earns you much higher bonuses than shooting around blindly. It's essential in order to rack up huge scores.
* In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Pokémon Platinum]]'', Cyrus warns you that Giratina's power will destroy the universe whether you defeat it or capture it to end its rage. Should you do either of these, it will be revealed that Cyrus was [[ILied lying to demotivate you]]. However, it is possible to [[TakeAThirdOption run away from the scripted battle with Giratina]]. Not only does this calm down Giratina just as well, but [[ThisCannotBe it upsets Cyrus]], who hadn't considered walking away an option.
* The final battle of the second part of the ero-game ''Monster Girl Quest'' gives the player the option to do this after the last of the damage is inflicted to the target. [[spoiler:Alice, who the player learns much earlier on is the Monster Lord, intended to commit SuicideByCop in order to carry out her mother's wish of ending the conflict between monsters and humans. Once her HP is reduced to 0 in the fight against her, the player can choose to slay her with one final attack, which triggers a NonStandardGameOver in which peace ''is'' achieved, in a sense. However, it's clear that Luka really doesn't want to kill her, and believes that her death in such a manner would be pointless anyway, given that her mother tried the exact same method before her.]] So, by not attacking for a few rounds once she's at 0 HP, Luka spares her life, and events come into play that set up the upcoming third and final part.
* ''[[VideoGame/NintendoWars Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising]]'' has this as a valid tactic for completing the normal campaign version of '''Two-Week Test.''' You simply do nothing except end your turn. Doing this showcases the AI's ability to screw itself over, but your rank will suck. The Hard Campaign averts this by giving you pre-deployed units.
* This is done in some ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' games. Well, to an extent.
** The Flying Battery Zone Act 1 miniboss, Gapsule, in ''VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles'', involves you just making him hit himself. Technically speaking, you did NOT attack him!
** The Act 2 miniboss, Barrier Eggman, is this as well. You defeat it by just avoiding its attacks until it apparently overheats and destroys itself.
** The Sandopolis Zone Act 1 boss, Egg Golem, can be attacked, but the only way to actually destroy it is by making it fall into quicksand at the edge of the area. You can either repeatedly attack it to knock it back into the quicksand, or just stand in the quicksand yourself (repeatedly jumping so you don't sink) at the very edge of the screen and let it just jump into the quicksand by itself.
** As well as this, Lava Reef Zone Act 2 boss, Hot Mobile. You just avoid falling in the lava or touching the bombs and eventually he will bomb himself to defeat.
** The Quartz Quadrant boss in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD'' involves you just avoiding his attacks, running toward him and letting the treadmill scrape off the floor of his machine. For someone with an IQ of 300, Eggman isn't very smart...
** Averted in ''[[VideoGame/SonicAdvanceTrilogy Sonic Advance 3]]''. Egg Jack-in-the-Box, boss of Toy Kingdom Zone, slowly crawls toward one of the pits, and the way you defeat is by making them fall in the pit. But, if you let him approach the pit he is facing he'll simply slide back and forth in the arena for a while, and chances are that you will get hurt and killed in a blink. Or thrown into a pit.
* In ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar: Winter Assault'', the Imperial Guard EscortMission requires that you follow a convoy very close to two enemy bases. While the convoy will last longer than most examples, being composed of a high-end AwesomePersonnelCarrier and SpaceMarines, they will soon die to the relentless waves targeting it. One solution is to instantly switch over to the Eldar base: this greatly reduces the number of attacking units (and as the Eldar have teleporting builders and jump tanks, you can easily send support to the convoy with little risk), then switch back once the convoy is safe.
* Attacking Bibi Love in ''VideoGame/DeadRising2'' will cause her to kill herself and the trapped survivors in her crowd with a bomb wired to the stage. The only way to settle this is to fulfill her demands.
* To get the [[MultipleEndings good ending]] in ''VideoGame/PomGetsWiFi'', you must spare the ClippedWingAngel [[spoiler:Shibe]]. This is only possible if you make all the moral decisions prior to it, otherwise your character will attack for you.
* In Chapter 4's second half in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', [[GrandTheftMe Doopliss]] will periodically stop you and force you into a battle where neither of you can hurt each other. Since no progress can be made at all on either side for this reason ([[spoiler:unless the audience starts beaning you with rocks]]), the only option is to run away each time.
* ''VideoGame/TheStanleyParable'': According to [[spoiler: the second narrator]] in the "Museum" ending, the only true way to free Stanley from The Narrator [[spoiler: and whatever else is controlling him]] is to stop playing the game.
* In Bust-A-Move 2 of the ''VideoGame/BubbleBobble'' series, Packy can be easily defeated by putting down the controller and allowing her to fill up her side of the screen with bubbles.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'', almost all encounters can be resolved through either fighting or granting mercy. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, the nonviolent option tends to require more effort than just not attacking, with some sort of action required to get the monster to stand down. Some encounters do result in a similar experience to the usual uses of this trope, though, such as the battle against Toriel, which is solved by repeatedly choosing the "Spare" option even though it initially doesn't seem to be doing anything, and trying to talk didn't help. There's also an inversion: in the Genocide route, the final boss eventually recognizes that you're winning, and plays with this trope to turn the tides. [[spoiler:He takes a turn in which he doesn't attack, meaning his turn never ends and yours never starts, so you can't attack him... in theory, anyway.]] The main game itself has a different type of inversion: Asgore, at the start of the fight, will destroy the Mercy option, and you're forced to whittle his health until the game puts him at one HP, at which point you have the option of killing or sparing him.
* In ''VideoGame/StarControl II'', you encounter a lone Shofixti pilot named Tanaka who is hellbent on trying to destroy your vessel in revenge for the loss of his entire species, as he believes you to be an Ur-Quan starship. The proper course of action is to converse with him, use the various insults the game offers, and then warp out of the fight to repeat the cycle until it dawns on him that Ur-Quan don't insult opponents that way, so you're actually trustworthy. If you screw up and kill him in the fight (which is even possible on accident, as his ship is badly damaged and could careen into a planet if things go south), his brother Katana appears to let you try again. Kill ''Katana'' and the Shofixti's race [[PermanentlyMissableContent can't be recruited anymore]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Stellaris}}'', if you find yourself in a defensive war during the early game against a superior foe, the best advice is to keep building your economy and let them try and take your capital (hopefully armed with a defense station with a subspace snare by your starbase). The enemy fleet will be pulled right next to your starbase and fleet, and be unable to counter both. If you have a low enough war score, they will concede after a few tries at this and their economy will be in shambles. During the early game, your Starbase is your biggest gun and can take on all but the most Fanatical Militant AIs of the equivalent level.
* In the Plague of Shadows campaign of ''VideoGame/ShovelKnight'', if you stand perfectly still and do nothing, the attacks used by [[spoiler:the Plague of Shadows]] won't hurt you, and you'll eventually be allowed to move on without fighting. It's still possible to win by fighting normally though.
* This is the easiest way to beat Pyramid Head in ''VideoGame/SilentHill2'': the battle ends automatically after a certain amount of time, and Pyramid Head cannot be killed, so the best option is to just run around dodging attacks and wait for the cutscene (or run like hell in one case). Shooting Pyramid Head will speed up the battle, but it's better to just be patient and conserve ammo.
* In ''Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll'', the key to exposing Koku-un-Sai, the final opponent in the second tournament, is to avoid attacking ''and'' defending until a OneHitKill red star marker appears on him.
* Near the end of ''Videogame/NierAutomata'', A2 fights N2, an [=AI=] network that keep replicating their avatars. Eventually, she's told to let them keep replicating even as they attack her, turning the fight into BulletHell sequence. At the end [[spoiler:N2 replicates and grows to the point they start gaining conflicting opinions, whereupon they attack and destroy each other.]]
* The Pale Mask King from «Blade & Bones».

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/HowItShouldHaveEnded'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp9DHzgr758 highlights]] that using this trope would have made things much, ''much'' simpler for the protagonists in ''Film/{{Predator}}''.
-->'''Dutch:''' [Referring to a dropped gun] No! Leave it! It didn't kill you because you were unarmed [[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame No sport in it]]...\\
'''Billy:''' Wait, if that thing's killing us because we're all armed, what the heck are we carrying all these guns for?!\\
'''Dutch:''' That is... [[EurekaMoment an excellent question]]. Quick, everybody throw down your weapons!

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'', Red Mage is forced to face the embodiment of his {{Pride}}. After trying everything, he gives up, saying he cannot win, which causes Pride to disappear, since he showed humility. Red Mage concludes [[ComicallyMissingThePoint that his mind must be so brilliant it found a way to defeat its opponent subconsciously]].
* In-universe example in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', where Gil is fighting a "training clank" which counters every attack and learns from previous battles. Agatha shuts it down -- by walking right up to it, figuring that it won't defend itself against someone who isn't attacking it.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': In [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0077.html "A Battle of Attrition"]], a couple of dwarven clerics attacked by a LizardMan monster would rather heal themselves of its attacks until it got fed up and left.
* The supervillain Vehemence of ''Webcomic/GrrlPower'' gains energy (and new superpowers) from any violence in the vicinity. Many members of the team argue against attacking him ''at all.'' Unfortunately, [[SubvertedTrope this doesn't work]]-- Vehemence can feedback his powers with ''his own'' aggression, or EmotionBomb others to goad them into attacking.
** There's also For Whom The Death Tolls, whom Sydney decides has the Nemesis power: he can perfectly counter any attack against him, but is completely impotent if no one attacks him at all.
* A {{Yonkoma}} in ''Webcomic/{{Flipside}}'' has Maytag applying this trope to Bernadette, since Bernadette's "Split Rose" fighting style is a CounterAttack-based style with no offensive moves, so if Maytag just stands there and does nothing, Bernadette can't hurt her. Bernadette gets around this by throwing a brick at her.

[[folder:Web Video]]
* At one point in WebVideo/LARPsTheSeries, the party has to get past a golem. They can't defeat it in combat, but when Noctus approaches it unarmed, it steps aside for him.
* Near the end of "The Sleepwalker" arc of WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall, Linkara tries to attack the Entity with a proton pack and pokeballs, before realising the that the Entity is only still around because it needs Linkara to try and stop it in order to give its life meaning. When Linkara cedes the game and stops attacking, it sends the Entity into an existential crisis, before it finally fades from existence.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Bumi chooses to surrender to the Fire Nation and allow himself to be imprisoned, using Neutral Jing (doing nothing, as opposed to Positive Jing [fighting] or Negative Jing [running away]) because he knows that he can't defeat the Fire Nation at that point. When an eclipse [[DePower De-powers]] the Fire Nation, though, [[CurbStompBattle all bets are off]].
* When facing an EvilTwin made up purely of his aggression and negative emotions, WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack realized he could only win by not fighting and returning to true peace inside himself.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'': The normally [[AttackAttackAttack unrestrained]] OMAC eventually manages to defeat the supervillain Shrapnel by using a force field to protect against Shrapnel's blows while refusing to counterattack -- which meant that Shrapnel had no source of power to replenish himself with.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Justice League Unlimited]]'': Wonder Woman, Hawk, and Dove face an unstoppable magical robot that feeds on aggression. Dove beats it by... not fighting, or rather by getting analogues of North and South Korea to stop fighting. The next time the machine starts up, they remember and use it, but unfortunately, there has been a very ObviousRulePatch.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Tree Trunks", Finn, Jake, and Tree Trunks find the Crystal Gem Apple but are confronted by a Crystal Guardian, who copies everything they do -- and since it's a great deal harder than either Finn or Jake, they only manage to hurt themselves when they try to attack it. Tree Trunks, in the meantime, starts playing with some mildly disturbing skull-faced butterflies, and when the Crystal Guardian starts copying her as well, Finn and Jake realize that the Crystal Guardian will ''only'' attack them if they attack first.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003''
** In the episode "The Ancient One", Leo is set to fight a losing battle against a group of demon ghosts, who can't be touched or harmed, but who can touch and kill him. Although Leo is initially reluctant to follow the titular Ancient One's advice and just give up, he eventually does so, which saves him, as the demons immediately cease their attack.
** In one episode of "Fast Forward", Darius Dunn and Cody Jones are battling each other in mechs and Cody is unable to take him head on due to Dunn's robot being much more powerful, so he shields himself and lets Darius attack him repeatedly until his power runs out, enabling Cody to counterattack and defeat him.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987''
** The Turtles decide to fight a reactivated Technodrome by sitting down and doing nothing. The Technodrome ends up crashing itself.
** In another episode, when Splinter becomes a BrainwashedAndCrazy pawn of the Rat King, the Turtles find themselves on the losing side of a CurbStompBattle. Leonardo eventually decides to simply throw down his weapons and refuse to fight his sensei, hoping it will help him snap out of it. This was admittedly a risky gamble, but it worked.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'', when Flats tries to beat up Spongebob, all of his blows are absorbed by Spongebob's body. Spongebob survives without a scratch, and Flats collapses from fatigue several hours later.
* TheBoxingEpisode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' shows that Homer had an extra layer of fluid around his brain, allowing him to take more hits without being injured. Homer becomes a boxing champion who just waits until his opponents tire themselves out before [=KOing=] them. Unfortunately, when Homer tries fighting the heavyweight champion, his stamina is too much for Homer to deal with.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Princess Celestia has only been shown to resort to violence twice[[note]]or four times, if you count the IDW comic series[[/note]] in her 2000+ year lifetime, despite being a {{Physical God}}dess (or indeed, probably ''because'' she's a Physical Goddess). This comes to a head in the season 4 premiere, where she refused to raise a hoof against her sister Luna even as Luna was [[MadGod consumed by her own jealous rage]].
** In "The Cutie Remark", Princess Twilight is forced to do this with [[spoiler:Starlight Glimmer]] as every time she fights, the timeline change gets worse and worse.
* One of the ancient Mandrin's tests in ''WesternAnimation/IronManArmoredAdventures'' calls for this. Forcing anyone seeking the ring to be overrun by an endless horde of statues, unless they do the wise thing and surrender.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' episode "The Troll", Wander and Sylvia are roped into helping the Baa-hallans defend their food supply from a troll. The creature starts out small, but grows larger and stronger as he riles up the Baa-hallans with his insults, until soon he's an unstoppable giant. But Wander just ignores him, and when everyone else follows suit he shrinks back to his original harmless size.
* ''WesternAnimation/KulipariAnArmyOfFrogs'': The heroic frogs are forced to surrender and accept exile from their homeland. [[spoiler: After taking down the Veil that hid them on the orders of the Rainbow Serpent. This works out very well for them, as Darrel leads them to a new homeland where they can live in peace, while the Scorpion army destroys itself in a vain attempt to control all the water.]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/WhatsNewScoobyDoo'' episode ''High-Tech House of Horrors'', Velma discovers that S.H.A.R.I., the eponymous house's AI and Monster of the Week, thrived on getting attention from people by attacking and terrorizing them, and deduced that the way to defeat it is not to proactively find a way to deactivate it, but to simply refuse to give it what it wants. As such, Velma directs everyone to sit on the floor and do nothing, prompting the AI to scream at them to pay attention to it until it overloaded and fried its circuitry.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is basically the premise behind the martial art of Aikido, both philosophically (if you fight, you will lose against someone, it's only a matter of time) and pragmatically (the techniques emphasize the fact that you should not fight the opponent i.e. oppose his intention/movement or try to struggle with him).
* A lot of martial arts that are applicable towards self defense seem to recommend the ScrewThisImOuttaHere school of self-defense: when confronted by (for instance) a mugger, you turn the hell around and run your ass off, or just give him what he wants. The "martial" part of the martial arts regimen only comes into play when avoiding physical harm befalling you or the mugger is no longer an option.
* According to legend, the Chinese philosopher UsefulNotes/{{Laozi}} was never one to fight or argue, so when the border guard Yinxi demanded he record his wisdom for the good of the country before he would be permitted to pass, he simply said, "Eh, okay". He wrote for a month straight, eventually turning out the first draft of his masterpiece, the ''Tao Te Ching''. (Or so the story goes.)
* Gandhi's resistance to the British empire. If the citizens had actively fought back against the empire (instead of resisting passively), they would have been violently suppressed by Britain's superior military, and the rest of the world would have thought it justified, since the soldiers were only defending themselves. This only worked because of the British MoralDissonance not really registering how brutal their regime was until they had to enforce it on people who refused even token resistance. Gandhi himself admitted it wouldn't have worked on someone like the Nazis, who just didn't care.
* The U.S. Black civil rights movement of the '60s. Fighting would have given their enemies ammunition.
* There is a Zen parable where a samurai asks a master if there is an afterlife and what it is like. The master challenged him, saying what sort of question was that for a samurai, and what worthless samurai would ask it? The furious samurai grabbed his sword and began to draw it, to which the master shouted, "Here open the gates of hell!" The shamed samurai, realizing his error, sheathed his weapon and asked for forgiveness, to which the master whispered, "And here open the gates of heaven."
* Nuclear war can be said to be this: The minute one nuclear weapon launches, [[MutuallyAssuredDestruction it triggers a retaliatory strike by everybody with nuclear weapons]].
-->"[[Film/WarGames Strange sort of game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?]]"
* [[http://www2.gsu.edu/~eslmlm/chiefjoseph.html Chief Joseph's famous "I will fight no more forever" speech.]] This is also an example of KnowWhenToFoldEm since they had already lost the battle and half their people, and continuing the fight could very well lead to his own people's utter annihilation.