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Endurance Duel

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Two characters confront each other in a showdown. Sometimes it's a showdown to the death, but other times, it's something a little less elaborate. The best way to settle it is to see who can endure something the longest, whether it's laughter or even quicksand, or maybe enduring a whole swarm of bees.

Essentially, this is what's known as an Endurance Duel.

Sometimes, it can be just one character who has to endure the danger that befalls him. This can be used to show the character's prowess, which can impress the person who had him endure the danger in the first place.


Compare: Duel to the Death. Usually results in a Victory by Endurance.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • Tubby was forced to endure the harshness of hunger while on an all-day hike with Lulu and the others in an episode of the Little Lulu anime.
  • In Cromartie High School, the toughest badass in the class is decided by seeing who could hold a hot flame on their back the longest.
  • In the Dark Tournament of Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke wins his first fight after he and his opponent nearly kill each other, and just decide to Attack! Attack! Attack! until one of them falls.
  • In Fairy Tail, Elfman is put up against Baccus, who has a reputation of being Erza's equal in combat. He loses badly until he uses a Lizardman transformation, giving him hard spiked scales over his body. The fight then becomes a test of wills to see who will fall first; Elfman from getting beat up, or Bacchus from having his hands sliced up by the scales. Elfman wins, barely.
  • One Piece has a great one where Franky and Senor Pink have a "Manly Battle" of endurance. Senor Pink swims Franky up a building to do a major suplex, but Franky gets up and pounds his face in.


  • You Obey turns into a battle between a prisoner and an interrogator to break the other's will.


  • The fist fight between George Nada and Frank Armitage in They Live is a long, drawn-out, exhausting experience that is only "won" by the man who has the willpower and endurance to remain (shakily) standing at the end.



  • The Hank the Cowdog book, "The Case Of The Deadly Ha-Ha Game".
  • In Lords and Ladies, two witches have a competition to see who can stare at the sun longest without blinking or looking away. Neither of them is harmed by the ordeal, but a bystander who wanders too close gets a nasty sunburn from the diverted power.
  • Piers Anthony's Virtual Mode had something like this in the beginning.
  • The Outsiders:
    "What happened to Shepard?" I asked, remembering Tim Shepard's kid brother. Curly, who was a tough, cool, hard-as-nails Tim in miniature, and I had once played chicken by holding our cigarette ends against each other's fingers. We had stood there, clenching our teeth and grimacing, with sweat pouring down our faces and the smell of burning flesh making us sick, each refusing to holler, until Tim happened to stroll by. When he saw that we were really burning holes in each other he cracked our heads together, swearing to kill us both if we ever pulled a stunt like that again. I still have the scar on my forefinger. Curly was an average downtown hood, tough and not real bright, but I liked him. He could take anything.
  • The Trial of the Long Knives in Brisingr, which is fought by making cuts on one's own arms. First one who lacks the nerve to make another cut loses.

     Live-Action TV  

  • There was an episode of Cheyenne where the titular hero faces off against an indian warrior by seeing who could stand in a pit of quicksand the longest.
  • Cougar Town had a comic version of this, with Andy and Bobby forced to look into each other's eyes while "Cat's in the Cradle" plays. First to cry loses.
    • Another episode had Jules and Bobby in a "white shirt" standoff. First to get a stain on their shirt loses.
  • The Minbari's Star-fire wheel in Babylon 5. The way the Minbari picked their leaders in the past was that the candidates would be placed in a beam of intense heat. The heat would be slowly cranked up. The one who stayed in the beam, risking death for their cause, got to be the winner.
  • Game of Thrones: This is how the North has survived throughout its long history. Whenever they were invaded they simply deployed their army at the Neck or Moat Cailin and stopped the enemy force long enough for their famous harsh winters to arrive, forcing the invading army to simply give up and return home. This carries over to the War of Five Kings where Robb, indeed most of the Northern army, simply thought that if they could win enough battles that they'd win the war as they'd never had to think of a strategy longer than 'beat them and win'.
  • Comes up from time to time in Survivor; the less contestants that are left, the more likely a given immunity challenge will involve enduring something simple but difficult.

     Newspaper Comics  

  • This Garfield strip had Garfield and Jon seeing who would endure the hotness of each pepper they ate. Garfield lost after eating a Peruvian Death Pepper.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: The Order of Hermes has the rite of Certámen, which comprises several varieties of Wizard Duel. The mildly Pyromaniac House Flambeau enjoys a version that takes place within a ring of fire, with victory going to whoever can stand to stay in the circle the longest.

     Video Games 
  • Bang's gag reel in Blazblue Chrono Phantasma is a manliness competition, with the competitors having to endure various stimuli (ranging from heat and cold to lovable cats). The final test was who could endure digestion via Arakune the longest. Arakune won.

     Web Comics  

  • The whole point of Spank-Offs in the Collar 6 universe.

     Western Animation  

  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Dunces And Dragons"; in one scene, Spongebob and friends come across the dark knight, who is essentially a medieval version of Sandy Cheeks. Spongebob easily endures Medieval Sandy's moves by countering back with his own moves, his karate (which he often pronounces as "kare-uh-tay").
  • The Al Brodax Popeye cartoon "Duel To The Finish" is devoid of violence in spite of its title. Olive schemes to make Popeye jealous, so she lures Wimpy with (of course) hamburgers. Popeye challenges Wimpy to a duel, and Wimpy options an eating duel. After so many hamburgers consumed, Popeye gives up. But so does Olive—she can't cook another thing. Wimpy acquiesces Olive to Popeye as a result.
    Popeye: Olive...the next time ya wants ta make me jealous, gives me some notice so I can diets fer it! (groan)

     Real Life  

  • There's few real life games like this, like electric shock duel joysticks.
    • Staring contests are essentially this.
  • A properly conducted Five Test Cricket series played at first class (4-5 days) level will become this.


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