The ability of Action Heroes, swashbucklers and suchlike to make a rope, whip, chain or Grappling-Hook Pistol wrap itself around a distant object securely. Used to achieve a Building Swing or to instantly tie up an enemy. While this is certainly possible with luck (and, preferably, a weight or hook on the end), you wouldn't want to stake your life on it.
Particularly notable when someone has a chain as a weapon. It's rare you'll see them actually beating anyone to a pulp with it, as happens in real life — they'll do this instead. Also, a character wielding a whip will usually tie up an enemy with this technique, rather than actually whipping anyone with it.
Often with this trope, the rope or whip that was just used to swing across a chasm will instantly and easily come undone once the hero is safely on the other side so he or she can retrieve it.
Essentially, this is using an ordinary object as if it were a Grappling-Hook Pistol.
- Paulie of One Piece can produce ropes from Hammerspace and tie them around a target. He can even make them lash together into a net after he throws them.
- While all martial artists in Ranma ½ can do this with chain, cloth, or rope (and have, repeatedly,) it's a particular specialty of Kodachi, champion of Martial Art Rhythmic Gymnastics, who can wrap her ribbon around anything from a cup of tea to the referee's table... and whip it right back at the opponent's face. Mousse, who attaches various implements of bodily harm to chains and ropes, also favors wrapping up opponents to skewering or bludgeoning them.
- In one Filler episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! the characters were inside a virtual-reality video game. Joey was battling the arena's champion in order to win a card they needed to get across a desert—the champion turned out to be Mai, and when he explained the situation to her she decided to quit fighting and just order the Harpie Lady to snag the card from its display with her Rose Whip.
- This is a particular ability of the Andromeda Chain in Saint Seiya. Although candidates for the Andromeda Cloth are trained specifically to do this with ordinary iron chains, the Cloth's weapon is actually semi-sentient and has its own will, allowing it to obey its master's direct commands as well as wrap itself around objects on its own accord.
- The Balrog, one of Hades' Specters, also has this ability with his whip. Which is very, very bad indeed for whoever is ensnared, because he tends to slice the target apart when he pulls the whip back.
- Makie from Mahou Sensei Negima! can snag oranges with her rhythmic gymnastics ribbon, and it also ends up as part of her pactio.
- Catwoman can do this with her whip, either to swing from a high object or to immobilise an opponent.
- Birdie of the Street Fighter comics traps Chun Li with a normal chain this way.
- Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider wields a long chain, but rarely gets to use it against his supernatural enemies. When fighting more human foes, it tends to wrap around them. Somewhat justified by it being magical and possibly semi-sentient.
- Ninjette used a chain to catch Empowered the first time they met. They became friends afterwards.
- Miho in Sin City does this when she uses her sash to wrap around the bumper of a moving car and hold on.
- In an issue of Lucky Luke, the right-hand man of a Hanging Judge prides himself on being able to fashion a noose out of a loose end of rope with a simple flick of the wrist. Luke himself demonstrates his own version near the end, making a lasso instead.
- Slipknot from DC Comics revolves around fighting with unbreakable ropes.
- Wonder Woman's lasso can grip things securely, even when she's using it's magical properties and her speed to use it to pick up multiple items at a time with multiple ends by having it loop back on itself.
- Indiana Jones has his canyon-swinging trick with his whip. And even more oddly, it unties itself when he tugs on it afterwards, but not when he's putting all his weight on it by swinging across.
- Gogo Yubari of Kill Bill has a similar trick with her Epic Flail.
- Ash does this with his belt to escape a pit at the start of Army of Darkness.
- Dil Se: in the song and dance number, "Satrangi Re", Amar throws out his long black scarf which whips around the waist of Meghna so he can use it to reel her in.
- The Lone Ranger: During his final fight with Cavendish, the Lone Ranger wraps his whip around a tree and uses it to get yanked off the runaway railway car.
- The Legend of Tarzan: Rom is able to do this with Madagascar spider silk rosary, getting it to wrap around and grapple whatever target he chooses; such as Jane's wrist during dinner, or Tarzan's throat during the final fight.
- Star Wars: A New Hope provides a rare thrown variation of the grappling hook method, where Luke manages to manually toss a Stormtrooper grapple line around an architectural detail so that it loops around and catches on the detail perfectly on his first try. The Force aside, Luke is at this point completely untrained for it. Notably he doesn't retrieve the rope — he just unclips it from his belt and leaves it hanging there.
- Done by various TV incarnations of Zorro.
- In the pilot episode of F/X: The Series, Rolly manages to do this with a thrown winch, and snags it so tightly on the helicopter that it winds up snapping the high tension steel cable.
- Oddly enough, in the attempt at the use of a vehicular grappling gun to turn tight corners, the Mythbusters crew repeatedly managed to get an "instant knot" out of their launcher as the grappel wrapped itself around the target beams.
- Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman could count on her magic lasso securely wrapping itself to whatever is handy when she needs to use it to scale a building. For example, she did this in "My Teenage Idol Is Missing" to scale a 20+ story building. Justified in that the comic books establish that she has mental control of the magic lasso. However, this is neither confirmed nor denied in the series.
- Xena does this. Of course she has many skills.
- 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons included the Lasher prestige class, a whip-specialist who could grab objects in this manner.
- 3.5 ed. Dungeons & Dragons included a spell called "Animate Rope" that would let you use a rope in this way (though not in combat); a very difficult use of the Use Rope skill allows you to do it without magic.
- The Dark Eye has a mage ritual, that allows to transform the wand into a rope (and back), which can tie/untie itself this way. As the one above, it's not suited to tie someone up.
- Castlevania: While we all know the Vampire Killer is an enchanted whip, some of the Belmont familiy members were better than others at using it. Some of them got to the point of being able to command it to tie itself when nearing a hook in the ceiling. Magic, indeed, since not everyone can use it like that. Probably A Wizard Did It.
- This is one of the attacks of Majora's Wrath in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
- Slightly more plausible if those are tentacles, though.
- Subverted in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Your whip seems to instantly curl around objects like you would expect of an action hero's, but really it has a snake head on the leading end that bites onto things instead.
- And also in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Link's whip has some sort of weird magic bubble thingy at the end that sticks to things Link hits it with.
- Wind Waker does something similar, but with a hook instead. Still can't be that safe however...
- That's a grappling hook pistol without the pistol. What doesn't make sense about it is that it can steal items from enemies. Necklaces they're wearing or carrying in their pockets, feathers, etc.
- In season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Iroh wrapped a chain immovably around a flying boulder and redirected it. Oddly, when he swung at the smaller boulders, they shattered.
- In the animated The Magic Flute, the hero swings from a rafter using his cloak.
- Linus from the various Peanuts animated features can grab objects by whipping his blanket at them.
- Done with a snake in Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos.
- This was not uncommon in Batman: The Animated Series. He usually used a grappling pistol, but any time he didn't, this trope was in effect. In fact, sometimes the grappling pistol itself would do this, wrapping around a flagpole or other object rather than embedding itself into or hooking onto something.
- Played for laughs in an episode of Futurama. Leela fires a grappling hook onto a roof, where it simply lands, not embedded or knotted around anything. However, since it's the future, the hook is also a robot, so it then walks like a spider over to a pipe, latches on securely, then gives the rope a couple of tugs to signal it's safe to climb.
- In 1997's Zorro animated series, Zorro somehow manages to make a grappling hook go below somene's foot (while he's standing on the floor) and come back up to tie itself into a knot.