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Bicep-Polishing Gesture

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Bruce Ironstaunch shows off his forearm.

A common Japanese gesture when preparing to take on a difficult task is to "make a muscle" and rub one's biceps, emphasizing strength. "Yoshi!" ("OK!", or "Alright!") is frequently said with a determined expression when doing this, whereas Westerners usually just grunt. Compare to the "Rosie the Riveter" image from World War II.

The gesture is frequently misinterpreted in other places, as it looks very similar to the obscene "bras d'honneur" gesture, equivalent to Flipping the Bird, used in much of Eastern and Southern Europe and Latin America.note 

See also Flexing Those Non-Biceps, Gloved Fist of Doom, Fist Pump and Bicep Kiss.


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     Anime and Manga 

  • In Big Tits Zombie, two female characters sumo wrestle one another. The main character can be briefly seen making this gesture, although she does so while facing her opponent which could easily be interpreted as the Western version since both girls did not get along.
  • In the Street Fighter live action movie, Guile does it to Bison on camera. The jury's out on whether he intended this in its Western interpretation or its Japanese interpretation, but given Guile's general animosity toward Bison...

  • Eastern European nations generally have a category of jokes about people there being tougher and manlier than their Western European and North American counterparts. Therefore, the joke goes "Americans flip you off with a middle finger, Eastern Europeans with the arm up to the elbow".

     Live-Action TV 
  • Worked its way into an episode of CSI, 'Crow's Feet'. Only, Nick did it because Catherine asked him to.
    Catherine: Make a muscle, Nicky.


     Professional Wrestling 
  • Scott Steiner is obsessed with his biceps, often polishing and even kissing them.

     Video Games 
  • Frog from Chrono Trigger rubs his (surprisingly huge) biceps and grins smugly as his post-battle victory pose.
  • Gene from God Hand does this as a taunt.
  • The song "THE iDOLM@STER" from the game series of the same name has this gesture as a part of its choreography.
  • The King of Fighters: Ralf of Team Ikari sometimes does this as a taunt before or after a round. In his case it's just showing off the muscles that power his megaton punches.
  • Similar to Bowser, the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers fighting game for the Sega Genesis has the Green Ranger doing this as his victory pose.
  • Both Marina and Theo do this during the intro to Mischief Makers.
  • Kanji from Persona 4 does this in his victory pose. The way he executes it gives the impression he has both meanings in mind.
  • The Sailor trainer class does this in Pokémon Gold and Silver and Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. The international versions of Ruby and Sapphire edit the sprite to put the hand below the elbow. Buck from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl also does this in his artwork and Platinum sprite.
  • The Inkling Girl originally used this gesture in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Unlike the above Nintendo examples, this managed to stick for the international releases for a while before eventually getting replaced in the 1.10 update with a fist-bump.
  • Street Fighter:
  • Bowser had this as his victory pose in the Japanese version of Super Mario RPG. However, due to the above mentioned cultural miscommunication, it was changed to a double fist clench for the international releases.
  • Bart from Xenogears does this from time to time, usually when showing his determination or when he does something awesome

     Western Animation 
  • Hefty was seen with this pose as he was preparing for the Mr. Smurf Contest in The Smurfs (1981) episode of the same name.