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Brawler Lock

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Two characters are fighting, and during the course of the battle, they clasp their hands together and push against each other in a test of strength. This can happen when one of them throws a punch or any kind of strike and the other catches it. They can stay like this for a while, with one trying to overpower the other and bring him to his knees.....

A Groin Attack is possible, as is Using Your Head. Also, the combatants need not lock fingers. Grabbing each-other's wrists is also an option. Or a character may show off their superior strength and/or skill by gaining leverage and performing a wrestling throw.

When Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs is met with this, you have Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh....

See Blade Lock for this with swords. Beam-O-War is this, but with, well, beams.


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     Anime and Manga 

     Comic Books 

     Fan Works 
  • The J-WITCH Series: At the end of their first fight, Tohru and Lord Cedric — who are respectively a big man with the built of a sumo wrestler and an almost twice as big snake-like humanoid — do this. At first they're evenly matched, but when it seems like Cedric is gaining the upper hand, Tohru suddenly grabs Cedric's chest, lifts him in the air (to everyone's astonishment), and throws him down an oubliette. They tend to have a rematch in their later fights.
  • Invoked in Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse, where Ryoga and Miriam decide to test their strength against each other. As Miriam is about two-three times Ryoga' height, they settle for placing their palms against each other's and pushing as hard as they can.

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker do this during Revenge of the Sith, only using the Force push instead of actually clenching hands. Later in their fight, they actually do the classic "grab by the wrists and grapple with each other" move.
  • Infamously, this is the main fighting stance taken by Superman and Nuclear Man during their fight in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
  • In The Incredible Hulk, Hulk gets his second wind and forces Abomination back. They lock grip and contest in strength before Hulk headbutts Abomination back.
  • In The Avengers, Iron Man throws two punches at Thor but he catches them and starts slowly crushing his gauntlets. Tony stops the lock by using his Power Palms and headbutting the demigod. Unfortunately, Thor returns the favor.
  • In Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Graham Chapman subverts the trope by performing it on himself.
  • Batman Begins: Bruce Wayne gets into one with Ra's al Ghul. However, Ra's chides him for not minding his surroundings, just as part of the ceiling falls on Bruce and knocks him out.

  • The Dresden Files: At one point, Harry gets into a brawler lock with someone and has a bit of mental dialog about how people always say you should try to kick your opponent in the junk in such a situation. He points out that in real life, you need both legs for leverage, so doing so would be as difficult as trying to perform a high kick while carrying a refrigerator.
  • Matador Series:
    • Someone tries to do this to Bork in The Albino Knife. He lets the guy struggle for a bit, then picks him up and tosses him across the room.
    • Later, in Brother Death, Bork finds himself in a similar lock with someone even stronger than him. After several seconds of complete angst, he remembers he's also trained in the universe's most deadly martial art and proceeds to break his opponent's spine.
  • In an early Discworld novel, the aged Cohen the Barbarian grapples the Luggage (a sapient wooden chest that eats people) to a standstill. Eventually a third party has to separate them.

     Live-Action TV 
  • In episode 2 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus tries this on Crixus, but Crixus easily sends him flying. Doctore mocks Spartacus' blunder and explains, "Become entangled with a more powerful opponent and you are dead!"
  • Can end up happening in Megazord fights, particularly in older series. Naturally carried over from Super Sentai.
  • Smallville:
    • In "Static", Clark Kent does this against Aldar. Unfortunately, Aldar is from a species that is naturally stronger than a Kryptonian, so he easily sends Clark flying.
    • In "Beast", Clark does this against Davis Bloome (Doomsday's human form). After a hard struggle, Clark crushes Davis' hands and forces him to his knees before Chloe breaks up the fight.
  • Wonder Woman: In "The Boy Who Knew Her Secret", Wonder Woman's climactic battle against the Shapeshifter featured several of these. She also had several against the Zardor in "Mind Stealers from Outer Space". Those were the only two times in the series where she faced sufficiently strong and aggressive foes to both qualify as an equal to Wonder Woman and willing to engage in such direct test of strength against her.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • This has existed in professional wrestling for years as the Collar and Elbow tie up. The collar and elbow style is one of foundations of professional wrestling, and out of respect for tradition this has traditionally been the way two wrestlers will start a match.
  • Besides the Collar & Elbow tie, this exists in pro wrestling (and many a schoolyard) as the fingerlock, where the opponents lock hands with each other and try to make the other go to their knees.
  • More often, subverting this has become the norm. The heel will raise one or both hands, challenging the face to a fingerlock. When the face raises his hands to lock up, the heel will immediately attack the exposed midsection with a knee or a kick.
  • There are more rarely variations of the Greco Roman knuckle lock or other tie styles a wrestler of a specific discipline may insist on instead of the collar and elbow or test of strength just to posture. Thunder Kitty usually tries to initiate to an overhand underhand "lock up" to show she is very old school.
  • When Delirious tried to stab Jimmy Jacobs with his stake at the same time Jacobs tried to stab him with his railroad spike, this resulted.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: In 5th edition, the Grappler feat lets the attacker try to pin the target. If it succeeds, both the attacker and the target are restrained (where neither can move and are easier to hit).

     Video Games 
  • According to the "Hope" trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Brawler Lock is the part two of Jace Malcolm's plan for dealing with a Sith that can deflect blaster bolts or rocket like it's nothing. For the record, part one is heavy armor. Part three is a thermal detonator at point blank range.
  • In Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium, Zangief and Raiden will do this before a match starts if they're fighting each other.
  • Injustice 2 has this as part of a gameplay mechanic called Clashes. This example crosses with Blade Lock since rather than locking hands, the characters will shove against each other using their signature weapon or power; bare-knuckle fighters like Batman or Black Canary do so with their hands and/or forearms.
  • God of War (PS4): Kratos and the Stranger get into one. Since they both have incredible Super Strength, pushing against each other makes the ground shatter. Eventually, the Stranger gets a hand free and punches Kratos away.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Just before the final battle against Galeem and Dharkon commences, the two of them do this to show how much they despise each other.

  • Happens a couple of times in Furry Fight Chronicles during even fights.
    • Fenny and Roora have one in the first chapter. Roora wins the contest of strength due to being larger and stronger than Fenny, getting an early lead in the match.
    • Snuggly and Sleepy engage in one during Chapter 20, showing how evenly matched the Idol Singer Combagals are since they used to be a tag team before their breakup.

     Western Animation 
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Tohru and El Toro do this in El Toro's introductory episode. What with them both being wrestlers (sumo and lucha libre, at least), it was probably inevitable.
  • Superman: The Animated Series:
    • "The Way of All Flesh" had Supes doing this with John Corben, aka Metallo. Supes didn't know Corben had been changed into a cyborg with his Kryptonite Factor as the power source, and he paid for it.
    • "Father's Day" had Superman and Kalibak get into one in a subway. Superman shoves Kalibak onto an electrified rail to temporarily knock him out.
    • "Legacy" had Superman fighting a doppelganger of himself in a nightmare and they get into one. Superman knocks his opponent back with a headbutt.
  • Ms. Marvel and the Hulk get into one of these in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Who Do You Trust?" which turns into a Moment of Awesome for Carol when she actually wins!
  • Superman's clash against Doomsday starts with one of these in The Death of Superman. Doomsday initially has the upper hand and forces Superman to his knees, but when he starts to push back, Doomsday then ends the struggle with a blast of heat vision.
  • In the Super Friends, episode "The Evil From Krypton", Superman and the evil Kryptonian Zy-Kree get into one. Their strength is equal, but Superman breaks the stalemate by monkey flipping his opponent.
  • Near the end of Book 2 of The Legend of Korra Korra and Unalaq fused with Vaatu do this with waterbending.
  • One episode of Dexter's Laboratory has statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln get into this kind of stance with each other; hilariously enough, their fight with each other ends after that, much to Dexter and Mandark's mutual ire.
  • Storm Hawks: In "Gale Force Winds", Aerrow and the Dark Ace wrestle with interlocked hands on top of the Dark Ace's sky ride while lightning cracks dramatically around them.
  • Done twice in Teen Titans between Cyborg and the robot Atlas. The first time Cyborg uses 100% of his power and still loses, but in the rematch he pushes past 100% to win. Cyborg is only human after all.


Video Example(s):


DuckTales 2017

"No hand holding?" Well, technically speaking...

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Main / BrawlerLock

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