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First Blood

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The Hero and the villain face off in battle. They both pull their weapons and charge at each other. After the first blow, we see a shot of the floor beneath one of the combatants. A stream of blood trickles down. This is a common way to show that the battle is serious and one of the characters is injured. Often, the next shot will be of the injured party touching their wound and expressing shock at the fact that they're bleeding.

This is a common trope in any show that involves a lot of bleeding. Sometimes, a Blood Upgrade results from this. Compare Paper Cutting and Victory by First Blood.

Has jack all to do with the first installment of the same name in the Rambo franchise, or the Actionized Sequel, Rambo: First Blood Part II.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In an old issue of Spider-Man, Peter slugs Venom in the face after being abandoned on a deserted island with his enemy. Venom actually bleeds and tells Spidey that he has "first blood".

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Instead of finding horror in this, Bruce Lee gathers berserk strength by touching the wound licking his own blood off his fingers.
  • Most Errol Flynn swashbucklers had moments like this.
  • In The Great Race, the great sword fight had a moment like this.
  • Played for laughs in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist. When The Chosen One and Wimp Lo's fight is stopped, Wimp Lo declares "he is bleeding, making him the victor."
  • The Mark of Zorro:
    Don Diego: I needed that scratch to awaken me.
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, after Neo stops a slew bullets, the Mooks whip out swords and start fighting Neo. After Neo performs a Bare-Handed Blade Block, a drop of blood goes from his hand to the floor, causing the Merovengian to say "You see? He's just a man!" Cue Neo trashing all of Merovengian's Mooks within minutes.
  • Downplayed in Rob Roy: during the climactic duel between Big Bad Archibald Cunningham and Rob Roy MacGregor, Cunningham's scoring of first blood merely confirms that he is a deadly swordsman and probably better than Rob is.
  • In Rocky IV, after a long fight, Rocky lands a good punch, causing Draco to bleed for the first time, showing Draco is not invincible.

  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels novel Deus Sanguinius, it is a great shock to Arkio's forces when in his duel with Rafen, Rafen draws first blood. Especially to Sachiel, who realizes that the blood is tainted, and so Arkio must be.
  • In Dune, Paul has to duel one of the fremen. He draws blood first and asks if his opponent wishes to end the match, but everyone watching is disgusted until it's explained that Paul was taught to consider that the end of a duel. However, fremen fight to the death, so he has to continue to the end.
  • This is a plot point in The Edge Chronicles short story, Appropriately titled The Blooding of Rufus Filatine. Rufus, as a cadet in the ''Child Soldier Freeglade Lancers]], wants to prove himself, as Lancers aren't informally considered truly tested until they've inflicted their first wound. While he misses his chance to fight with his company, he gets what he wanted and then some, when he accidentally wounds his friend Tam Whitewinter, as he fatally stabs a [[Revenant Zombie Death-cheater]]. He gets officially recognized as he properly kills Squive at the Battle of the Phrax Glade.

    Live Action TV 
  • Firefly: In "Out Of Gas", it opens with a deserted ship and Mal staggering through the hold and falling to the ground. We only find out he's wounded when we see blood dripping through the deck underneath him.
  • Supergirl (2015): In "Reign", Supergirl and Reign the Worldkiller's fight seemed an even match at first. Then Reign hits her in the head hard enough to make her bleed. Supergirl is completely shocked and touches the wound in disbelief, as this is the first time ever that she has bled without either kryptonite, magic, or being depowered (not even being punched by a completely enraged Superman in an earlier episode was able to do it). Reign then treats her to a horrific No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that ends with her hospitalized.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • This is the name of a gimmick match type in professional wrestling, in which the first person to bleed is declared the loser. This ruling makes them potentially less brutal than basic matches can become, since they usually continue whether someone bleeds or not. In fact, a common practice that is a subversion of the usual is for the face to succeed in drawing first blood only for the heel to hide it from the referee to avoid losing.
  • TNA has a variation called "Sadistic Madness", where pin falls, submissions and such can only end the match after the recipient bleeds.

    Real Life 
  • Kids in the united states of America have a game called "bloody knuckles", where two of them punch each other in the fist, the loser being the first one to bleed from their knuckles.

  • In some fencing matches, the first person to draw blood is declared victor and the match ends.
    • The epee was created in response to laws that duels be to first blood instead of to the death, removing the sharp tip. Instead, they had three prongs to gouge out a chunk of flesh. They did still want it to be obvious when someone was struck.
    • Other matches require that the blood be drawn from the torso to count as victory.
  • Unlike predecessors such as boxing, kickboxing and even professional wrestling, mixed martial arts bouts tend to be lost by anyone unfortunate enough to be split open. Some leagues cite heightened awareness of blood borne diseases.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In ICO, Ico loses one of his horns at the start of his final battle with the Queen, resulting in a gout of red blood spurting from his head. He loses the other at the conclusion of the fight.
  • Emma of The Last Remnant inflicts this to The Conqueror during her last stand in Athlum.
  • Played tragically in the League of Legends cinematic Kin of the Stained Blade, where Yasuo is trying not to fight his brother until Yone breaks a blade in his face and scars him across the nose. He gets serious and ultimately 'wins,' to carry guilt and regret for the rest of his life.
  • In the big knife fight of Resident Evil 4, Krauser's first blow gives Leon a shallow cut on his cheek, which stays for the rest of the game.

    Web Comic 

    Web Original 
  • Noka is slashed by Abel of all people, and with a sharpened stick that was ripped from a bed frame.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman Beyond episode "Bloodsport", after the hunter Stalker captures Terry's brother to lure him, Terry immediately knocks him down to the floor, causing him to bleed, which Stalker replies by saying Terry has drawn first blood.