Quotes / Combat Pragmatist

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     Anime and Manga 

I saw an opening that screamed "attack"... so I did!
Goku, Dragon Ball Z

There's no such thing as fair or unfair in battle. There is only victory or, in your case, defeat.
Vegeta, Dragon Ball Z

Clearly a dirty move by Frieza, but effective, you have to give him that.

All's fair in a fight to the death.
Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist

Are you stupid? In a match to the death, there's no such thing as fair or foul!
Bankotsu, InuYasha

Count Brocken: Damn you! How dare the righteous protagonist do something so dirty! You sure about this? The fans will cry, you know.
Kouji: Shut up! Take it like a man! Don't try to play innocent with me!

You know that above all I detest sentimental tripe like "Honor" or "Mercy." This is war! All that matters is victory!
Don "Foul Play" Krieg, One Piece

Do you think I'm a coward? There's nothing wrong with that. This is the strongest weapon of a seasoned warrior... it is called "cunning."
Tatsumi, Rurouni Kenshin

     Comic Book 

There is no such thing as a fair fight. There's only the fight and who's left standing.

You don't win fights by being a strong man or a clever boxer. You win by being more willing to permanently fuck up the other guy.

There is no fairness, no grace, no nobility in the Wolfriders' method of combat. They obey but one rule: survive by any means, no matter how cruel or bloody.

Huntress: Did I just see you cheating?
Batman: Winning.
JLA #38

When you're on your own, behind enemy lines, no artillery, no air strikes, no hope of an evac, you don't fight dirty. You do things that make dirty look good.

Can you run? You should run... Seriously, you want to run... Okay. What do you know? What do you have? No, lose the swords. Sai trump swords... Flock tactics. She attacks, you back off. Don't engage until someone can lock down the sai with a chain, then go en masse. (beat, shocked expression) En masse means everyone at once... I know you're a ninja but... Just do it! (frustrated) Listen to me: you have a choice... strictly following the ancient code of ninjutsu and being a dead ninja or going in like I say and maybe being alive ninja.
Prodigy giving phone advice to a bunch of mooks, Young Avengers vol.2 #6

Narrator: But in spite of their gallantry, the Britons had some strange customs that were rather a drawback in battle...
They stopped at five o'clock every day to drink hot water...
Moreover, they stopped fighting two days out of every seven...
Accordingly Julius Caesar, a cunning strategist, decided to fight only at five o'clock on weekdays and all day on weekends.
Cassivellaunos: Oh I say, the cads!
Astérix and the Britons

     Fan Works 

I don't believe in fair fights, Ms. Lewis. I believe in winning.

Honor is all well and good for regulating your personal behavior, but trying to apply honor to warfare is the domain of the dead and the stupid.

The Horned King: Contrary to what you may read about in your fairy tales and even some misguided history books, there is no such thing as a knife 'fight'. It will not be a duel, it will not be a joust you see civilized people doing or you may read about in stories. It will be combat, and chances are it will only last a few seconds. One uses a weapon against another not to fight, but to win, and if your opponent knows you have a knife, he will do everything in his power to prevent you from doing so. Your opponent will not be looking for a fight. He will be attempting to assassinate. As such, regardless of how quick you are, the odds are you will not have time to draw your weapon before you realize he has one. Therefore the absolute last thing you should do is try and fight him. Nor should you let him know you have a weapon. Keep it concealed at all times, if possible.
Avalina: But, sir. If I'm too slow to even defend myself, why did you give me this?
The Horned King: Because this weapon is not to fight with. Its purpose is to wound or kill if need be. Simply wounding someone and remaining to fight will only worsen your situation. If the predicament is dire enough to draw your weapon, then killing, more often than not, is the only way out. Particularly with a knife, there is no middle ground. However, if the slightest opportunity to flee arises, take it. Do not linger to do damage. Another myth many foolishly believe is that you will have time to aim for a certain area of the body. I have personally seen soldiers do this and they invariably lost, as their opponent simply did not care where they struck, so long as they overwhelmed and killed them. If you are ever forced to draw your weapon, aim for what is closest, regardless of what it is. The pain has a possibility of causing your opponent to withdraw slightly and allowing you to escape. [moves closer to the anxious Avalina to pacify her] Are you alright?
Avalina: I don't want to kill. I don't want to hurt people...
The Horned King: Nor do I wish you to. However, I would prefer you to do so and live rather than other possibilities.

I knew what I had to do. She was making the same mistake the ABB thugs made in the alley. They treated me like another person when I had been fighting, as if I was concerned with protecting my body first and foremost, as if I wasn't willing to do anything it took to win. This wasn't some fucking prize fight. This was combat.
Emma, Quicken

     Film - Animated 

The Joker: What are you doing?!
Terry McGinnis: Fighting dirty.
The Joker: The real Batman wouldn't oof!
Terry McGinnis: Told ya you didn't know me.

     Film - Live-Action 

You want to kill a man like me, you better stab me in the back. That's the catch. See, honorable men, they die hard. But they still die. It's men like me that survive and conquer.
Nicola the Woodcutter, Bunraku

Inmate: Now, you're gonna want to poke the guy's eyes out so he can't see the fight...
Mentor: Dude, the kid is in high school.
Inmate: Oh. Then you're gonna have to fight dirty.

The point of warfare is not to die for your country, but make the other bastard die for his!
General George Patton

Will Turner: You cheated!
Captain Jack Sparrow: Pirate.

Will Turner: Will Turner: You didn't beat me. You ignored the rules of engagement. In a fair fight, I'd kill you.
Captain Jack Sparrow: That's not much incentive for me to fight fair, then, is it?

So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.
Dark Helmet after cheating two times in a row in a fight against Lone Star, Spaceballs

Harry: Now wait a minute, this ain't a fair fight.
Archie: There's six of you; only two of us.
Harry: And you've got knives, and we've got nothing.
Gang leader: But that's how we win.
Archie: You know when we lived in this neighborhood, there were rules to streetfighting.
Gang leader: Rules? What kind of rules?
Archie: Well for one thing, you couldn't do this! (Groin Attack) Or this! (Eye Scream) Or this! (right cross with a fistful of quarters) Now does everyone understand the rules? (Other gangbangers flee) Those guys don't know shit about streetfighting.
Tough Guys

You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way, and that's how you get Capone! Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that?
Jim Malone, The Untouchables


British Major Fairbairn, who had been chief of police in Shanghai before the Japanese capture of the city, taught the Fairbairn method of assault and murder. His course was not restricted to Camp X, but later given at OSS camps in the United States. All of us who were taught by Major Fairbairn soon realized that he had an honest dislike for anything that smacked of decency in fighting.
Richard Dunlop, Behind Japanese Lines

Foolish boy, do you not understand what is at stake when you cross blades with another? You may win a hundred fights, a thousand, ten thousand, but you can only lose once!
Zaknafein Do'Urden, Exile

The Assassins’ Guild was easy to outwit. They had strict rules, which they followed quite honourably, and this was fine by Vimes, who, in certain practical areas, had no rules whatsoever.

Fair fights are too easy to lose.
Harry Dresden, The Dresden Files

It was just him and me. He fought with honor. If it weren't for his honor, he and the others would have beaten me together. They might have killed me, then. His sense of honor saved my life. I didn't fight with honor... I fought to win.
Ender, Ender's Game

Here's the thing: We don't give a shit about fairness here. We're soldiers. Soldiers do not give the other guy a sporting chance. Soldiers shoot in the back, lay traps and ambushes, lie to the enemy, and outnumber the other bastard every chance they get.
Bean, Ender's Shadow

The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war.

Few indeed are the maiming tricks of foul combat unknown to even the rank and file of the highly efficient Secret Service of the Triplanetary League; and Costigan, a Sector Chief of that unknown organization, knew them all. Not for pleasure, sportsmanship, nor million-dollar purses do these secret agents use Nature's weapons. They come to grips only when it cannot possibly be avoided, but when they are forced to fight in that fashion, they go into it with but one grim purpose — to kill, and to kill in the shortest possible space of time.

Timothy, "fair" means I bring all my people home alive. Fuck the others.
John Clark, Rainbow Six

Verily, thou art not paid for thy methods, but for thy results, by which meaneth thou shalt kill thine enemy before he killeth you by any means available. Thou shalt, in thy Warrior's Mind and Soul, always remember My Ultimate and Final Commandment: There Are No Rules - Thou Shalt Win At All Cost.
— The Ten Commandments of SpecWar, Red Cell

I fight with the weapons I have. It's the only sensible way.
Aiken Drum, Saga of the Exiles

No such thing as fighting dirty, really, Jimmy. There's just fighting to win. Use whatever you like, you can forget about rules; you’ve got to kick, scratch, bite, punch, claw with your nails... What you've got to do, see, is hurt your enemy as bad as you can as quick as you can, before he hurts you. Go for the soft bits, the eyes, nostrils, armpits, belly, and, of course... well, you know where a bloke hurts worst.
"Red" Kelly, SilverFin

Baron Vengeous: Only a heathen would bring a gun to a swordfight.
Skulduggery Pleasant: And only a moron would bring a sword to a gunfight.
Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire

In kendo, you can get a good solid hit on your opponent and still not get credit for it, because the judges feel you didn't possess the right amount of zanshin. Hiro doesn't have any zanshin at all. He just wants this over with.

I didn't bother to say, "Don't fight fair." In the world we share, that's the air we breathe.

I have the honour to inform you, and at the same time to warn you, that no death in war is murder. The objective of warfare is the annihilation of the enemy by any means necessary.
Member of Richthofen's Circus, The Burning Shore

     Live-Action TV 

This isn't dueling pistols at dawn, this is war. You never wanna fight fair. You wanna sneak up behind your enemy, and club 'em over the head. You see, Scar understands that. And so do I. So, that's why I'm gonna kill him.
Starbuck, Battlestar Galactica

One of the things a covert operative has to give up is the idea of a fair fight. Spies are not trained to fight fair. Spies are trained to win.
Michael Westen, Burn Notice

Warrick Brown: (holds up bullet pulled from wall) Hey, Gris, who brings a gun to a knife fight?
Gil Grissom: The winner?

I'd kill a man in a fair fight... or if I thought he was gonna start a fair fight...
Jayne Cobb, Firefly

Lysa Arryn: You do not fight with honor!
Bronn: No. (looks to the Moon Door he just tossed his opponent out of) He did.

Jamie Lannister: Brave man you are, attacking a man when his guard is down.
Bronn: Best time to attack a man.

Lister: You mean you could happily kill him if he was asleep?
Rimmer: I could happily kill him if he was on the job. Gloop him.
Red Dwarf, "Justice"

O'Brien: There are rules, Garak, even in a war!
Garak: Correction. Humans have rules in war. Rules that make victory a little harder to achieve, in my opinion.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Rocks and Shoals"

Odo: You'd shoot a man in the back?
Garak: Well, it's the safest way, isn't it?
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Call to Arms"

Bashir: Doesn't sound very honorable to me.
Worf: In war, there is nothing more honorable than victory.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "The Way of the Warrior"

     Tabletop Games 

I say victory is better than honour.

I concede it was a cheap shot, but it was the only one I could afford.
Gerrard of the Weatherlight, Magic: The Gathering, "Stun"

Cowardice is a term invented by those with no cunning.

Victory needs no explanation. Defeat allows none.

The first rule of unarmed combat is: don't be unarmed.
Tau academy instructor, Warhammer 40,000

     Video Games 

We fight dirty. If an enemy is facing us, we might consider our options, and even slip away if his sword looks too big. If his back is to us, however, I personally favor knocking him down, and then jumping on his neck where the bones snap with a gratifying crunch. Of course, it is up to you and your personal style.

If you don't draw first, you don't get to draw at all.
Booker DeWitt, Bioshock Infinite

Solid Snake: Stealth is just as important in victory as courage.
Dante: What's that supposed to mean?
Solid Snake: Well, picture this: You're surrounded in a room, and the enemy knows you're there, but doesn't know your exact location. Good luck charging at them to win. Now, let's apply some tactics: If you sneak around and take them out one at a time, eventually you'll defeat enough of them that you safely make your escape, all while keeping them looking for you.
Dante: Whatever man. You're still a coward.
Solid Snake: Call me what you will. In the end I'll be the one who survives.
Final Fantasy Tactics, Journey of the Five Game Mod

I don't pick fights I can't win.

I don't care how it's done... All that matters is that you're dead!

Victory goes not to the loudest, but to the most effective.
Master of Whispers, Guild Wars: Nightfall

Pit: I don't know, attacking enemies from behind when they're not looking seems kind of cowardly.
Palutena: Every warrior knows that cowardice is the foundation upon which victory is built.
Pit: You just totally made that up, didn't you?

A beautiful loss is still a loss, and an ugly win is still a win!

Akuji: Did you really think you could match my skill?
The Boss: No. (BLAM) I'm gonna cheat.

Cheaters Always Prosper.
Tyrian, with God Mode turned on

Huh. Always wondered why people never use their strongest attack first.
Sans the Skeleton, Undertale

     Visual Novels 

You can wash away disgrace with results.
Archer, Fate/stay night


I've noticed that smart characters are usually not very honorable, and honorable characters are usually not very smart.
David Anez, Bob and George

Only cheaters prosper.

     Web Original 

Wild dogs - also called fucking wolves - are inquisitive, intelligent predators that travel in packs. Which means there are several of them and they all think "fair fight" means "we outnumber the hell out of you."

If you think I won't shoot you in the back, you're mistaken. (BLAM)

Jan Valentine: (facing a room full of armed men) ...Well, that's not fair at all...
Integra: Aww, I am sorry. We don't give a fuck. (everybody opens fire)

Zordon: That was not the honorable way!
Nostalgia Critic: But it was the effective way, can't argue with results.

Red Soldier: Ah, you fucking camping bitch!
Blue Soldier: It's a legitimate strategy!

Latias: So who wishes to fight me?
(Fido kicks Latias in the face the instant his/her sentence is finished. Hard enough to send a normal man through the wall.)
Fido: ...If Eve doesn't mind, I guess I'd like to.
Latias: Always a Dark Type's tactics.
Fido: Hey, that's racist.
Latias: Not when you literally used a Dark Type move.
Fido: No, I didn't. It's called "strategy". This would be a "Dark" type move.
(Fido tries to bite into Latias's wing. Hard. In other words, "Fido used Crunch!")

It's called cheating. Deal with it!

The turning point came when I was invaded, but the attacker bowed upon seeing me, a gesture of recognition to mark a duel between equals... So while he was bowing, I ran up and stuck my halberd up his ass.
Yahtzee describing his experience with Dark Souls, Zero Punctuation

"My former master always said that, in a fight, if given the opportunity, I should run the other guy over with my car."
—Redditor kuroiryu146

    Web Video 

It's wrestling logic, I know. But if a guy beat me almost unto death with a bat covered in nails, I'd fuckin' kill him. I wouldn't grab a folding chair from a random passerby. I'd pretty much load up a shotgun filled with white phosphorous rounds and shove up it his ass. But that's just me.
Noah Antwiler on TNA iMPACT 9.23.10

Pat: (on a debate on forums over who of the crew would win in a fist fight) Arguments are split between myself and Woolie. Woolie for obvious reasons as he is a giant man compared to us, and is currently taking boxing classes.
Liam: I don't see how you're even in the contest.
Pat: Because I will show up with a gun.

     Western Animation 

Scrooge McDuck: Still a cheater, eh, Glomgold?
Flintheart Glomgold: I look at it this way: Why not?! Hehe-ahahaha!

Seek victory, not fairness.

Shredder: In any conflict, the winner is the one ready to do what the loser is not. Now, the Kudo Kabuto!
Leonardo: How do I know you won't attack me as soon as I give you the helmet?
Shredder: Of course I am going to attack you! Did you think you'd get out of this without a fight?

     Real Life 

Nature hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind as that, though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together the difference between man and man is not so considerable...the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination or by confederacy with others that are in the same danger with himself.
Thomas Hobbes

I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgiving by the hand, lead him to a quiet place and kill him.

I don't know what Queensberry Rules are, but the Oscar Wilde Rule is to shoot on sight.

If it's worth fighting for, it's worth fighting dirty for.
— Murphy's Laws of Military Operations

The first rule of American combat doctrine appears to be to disregard all other rules of American combat doctrine if it is advantageous to do so.
— Unknown Soviet general

When lives are on the line, there is no such thing as a fair fight.
— Anon

Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.
— Old joke

If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!
— T-shirt quote

Alternative Title(s): The Combat Pragmatist