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Kick Them While They Are Down

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Ender knew the unspoken rules of manly warfare, even though he was only six. It was forbidden to strike the opponent who lay helpless on the ground; only an animal would do that. So Ender walked to Stilson's supine body and kicked him again, viciously, in the ribs.

There's a fine line between Unsportsmanlike Gloating and being just plain nasty. No one is supposed to kick, stab, beat, or otherwise harm someone after they are down — unless the kicker is a villain, of course, then they are just emphasizing how much of a bastard they are. In some cases, this may cross the Moral Event Horizon if it is especially vicious, and the writers do not want us sympathizing with the one doing the kicking. The person who does this will almost never turn good, unless they have a spectacular moment of oh My God, What Have I Done?.

This proscription extends to hitting someone who is newly dead just to unleash aggression; no matter how evil they are, respect is Due to the Dead, and it can overlap with Desecrating the Dead.

Essentially, a form of Kick the Dog. A common example of fighting dirty, and thus a Combat Pragmatist will often not shy from it. Worse if the fighting had stopped and the character was not caught up in the heat of battle. Worse if the victim was clearly incapacitated. Still worse if you hadn't been fighting him prior to the injuries; breaking into a hospital to slaughter the wounded, or shooting down transportation carrying the wounded, or kicking someone to see if they survived for Cold-Blooded Torture, is usually an unforgivable offense, even trumping Men Are the Expendable Gender.

It may not be regarded as seriously wrong if the attacker had been in the throes of fighting their victim, and had just reason to feel Unstoppable Rage, so that they don't realize they were doing it. However, even if the attacker caught the victim crossing a Moral Event Horizon, had to fight furiously to subdue them before this trope, and didn't realize that the victim was stopped while they were doing it, it's not a good act.

In Real Life, under The Laws and Customs of War, it is a war crime — as is Playing Possum and I Surrender, Suckers, because it encourages soldiers to do this. In a fight, continuing to attack your assailant after they've been incapacitated or in the process of backing downnote  is a good way to void any claim of self defense or reasonable force if you are arrested and charged, so Do Not Try This at Home.

See also No-Holds-Barred Beatdown for when a bad guy does more than just kick you when you are down — although that may not start out like this, with the hero able to defend themself somewhat, it usually turns into it. A Finishing Move that can only be used on downed opponents may also involve this, such as a Coup de Grâce, Double Tap or Finishing Stomp.

Almost all cases a hero is committing this trope rather than being victim to one are a clear cut case of Good Is Not Soft, if not Good is Not Nice. Might also overlap with Pragmatic Hero or Combat Pragmatist if it was for the direct precaution of making sure they definitely wouldn't get back up.

Sister Trope of Dismissive Kick and Cruelty by Feet.

May overlap with a Humiliation Conga (which is basically doing this to somebody's dignity rather than their body). Contrast Get It Over With, as well as Once is Not Enough, where it would be sensible to do this but the character reveals their Genre Blindness and terminal idiocy by failing to. Compare Finish Him!. You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again is a videogame-specific defiance.

Not to be confused with Helpless Kicking or Open Mouth, Insert Foot.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A rather satisfying example in Akame ga Kill! happens when Izou, the man who murdered Lubbock, is mortally wounded by Akame. Praising her as a Worthy Opponent, he attempts to face death with a smile as he attempts to give her his katana, Kousetsu. But Akame refuses to show him any respect and walks past him, slashing him again with her cursed katana, Murasame. Izou goes from accepting death with a smile to dying in undignified shock, failing to understand why Akame would refuse a fellow swordsman's final request. Don't feel bad, the asshole had it coming.
  • Baccano!: Ladd Russo demonstrates just what a crazy bastard he is when he decides to take a whack at a downed opponent not once or twice but forty-seven times, entirely for shits and giggles.
  • Ume Shiraume in Ben-To. She has a habit of abusing Satou when it's clear that he's already been severely injured. She will even attack him when he's barely conscious.
  • In Berserk, Guts does this to the Apostles whenever he defeats one. He casually shoots the bisected but still alive Baron full of crossbow bolts, and stabs the mutilated Count in the face dozens of times with a knife (which still doesn't kill them). Of course, he killed downed opponents long before the eclipse, as Bazuso can attest (mercy is generally a rare commodity in medieval times, let alone in war), he's simply more brutal about it in the present. Given that the Apostles are some of the worst monsters imaginable who were often caught by Guts committing atrocities for kicks, they really have it coming.
  • In Black Lagoon, Rock is the victim of this when Chaka is trying to provoke his bodyguard and partner Revy into a quickdraw duel, so punches him in the gut and starts taunting and kicking him whilst he's on the floor writhing in pain and gasping for breath, until their bosses arrive.
  • Bleach:
    • Nnoitra did this to Ichigo just after Ichigo defeated Grimmjow. Nnoitra then received a Karmic Death thanks to someone who presents more of a challenge than a half-dead Ichi: Zaraki Kenpachi.
    • Also done by Gin towards his Morality Pet Rangiku. He faked it. Kira Izuru claims this is one of the main strategies of the third division. Then again, even Rukia advised Ichigo to follow the attack from behind mantra.
    • Poor Momo. Even after being downed by the Eldritch Abomination Ayon, Aizen feels she hasn't suffered enough and has the Gotei, barring Ichigo, believe that they're fighting him in place of her, leaving her impaled on Hitsuguya's sword.
  • In Brave10, Anastasia is a Combat Pragmatist and will hit a helpless enemy or a former ally, in the case of Sasuke.
  • Chainsaw Man: After Denji beats Katana Man and ties him up, awaiting a pickup with Aki, he and Denji collectively agree to a 'contest' where both of them pass the time inflicting multiple crotch kicks on Katana Man to see who can make him cry the loudest.
  • Miata in Claymore is clearly established to be insane after she keeps stabbing a dead Yoma after (quite viciously) killing it. The implication is that she doesn't realize it's dead, as she's just a bit off her rocker.
  • A favorite tactic among the cast of Code Geass, but especially Charles, Lelouch and Schneizel. Suzaku has his moments as well. This is probably because most of the cast are Well Intentioned Extremists running on generations of fervent nationalism and racial wars. It's not a fun place.
  • Ian from A Cruel God Reigns has a pretty long spurt of this. First, he borderline Mind Rapes Jeremy to get him to confess to tampering with Greg's car, which kills both Greg and Sandra even though Jeremy is obviously having trouble dealing with his mother's death. He then does it again after Jeremy confesses to tampering with the car, but also to the fact that Greg had been beating and raping him, but this time accuses Jeremy of lying about the entire thing, saying that the car must have been dysfunctional. Luckily, Ian eventually turns Adopt the Dog after his My God, What Have I Done?.
  • D.Gray-Man:
    • A newly evolved Level 2 slashed Kanda severely after disguising himself as an accompanying Finder, after punching Kanda through several walls and then holding him pinned to another wall.
    • Tyki has done this twice. Firstly when Allen was completely worn out from trying to save Suman and had injuries to both his arms, when Tyki seemingly destroys Allen's Innocence and then plants a flesh-eating golem to bite a hole in his heart, meaning to kill him - well, he had been sent to assassinate Allen. Secondly in the Ark arc, when Tyki's alternate form is triggered and he wipes the floor with Allen and Lavi. He beats them up and then sets to choking Lenalee, who is unable to fight back effectively due to her injuries from an earlier battle, to near death.
  • Beelzemon does this to an already-wounded Kyuubimon in Digimon Tamers when she makes the mistake of referring to him as Impmon, while pleading with him to stop his attack on her and the other protagonists. Seeing as Kyuubimon is a 4-legged, 9-tailed fox, it could also be considered a literal example of Kick the Dog.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • At the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, Tien beats Yamcha by landing a powerful kick to his gut while they were in mid-air. After Yamcha falls back into the ring, Tien decides to land a kneedrop onto Yamcha's leg, breaking it. Goku calls out Tien on this, saying how Yamcha was already unconscious, so breaking his leg was unnecessary. Tien shrugs him off while laughing.
    • In the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament, Piccolo's shoots Goku in the shoulder and then stomps on it when he's down. Once he knocks Goku down again, he breaks his legs and nearly saws his other arm off.
    • Vegeta brutally murders Nappa after he gets his back broken by Goku and is asking Vegeta for his help.
    • Vegeta knee drops Goku in the stomach while he was having a tender moment with Gohan. To make it worse, Goku literally can't move since his bones were shattered. In the original dub, Vegeta explains as a good villain, you look for the right moment to strike. He then kicks Goku multiple times in the head.
    • Goku defeats two members of the Ginyu Force very easily, leaving them lying on the ground unconscious or in serious pain but still alive, not killing them even though they came very close to murdering his son and best friend (and also Vegeta). As he and his friends discuss the events on Namek, Vegeta suddenly murders both weakened fighters. Goku chews him out for this, saying they were no threat and couldn't even defend themselves but Vegeta (unsurprisingly) doesn't care.
    • The fight between Vegeta and Frieza is this taken to an all-time high. Even after beating up Vegeta so hard that he can't move anymore, Frieza picks him up by his hair and gleefully continues to beat the hell out of him. Later, he wraps his tail around Vegeta's neck and uses him as a punching bag for several minutes. Naturally, he ends up killing Vegeta with a Death Beam through the chest when he's too beaten to even move. Goku (once again) calls him out on this.
    • Goku of all people does this to Frieza, although with words rather than his fists. After Frieza fails to gain immortality with the Dragon Balls since he can't speak Namekian, Goku spends several minutes rubbing his face about his failure despite being so close and goes into detail about how the Dragon Balls were used to revive all his victims and everyone was wished back to Earth except for them. Then, after Frieza burns himself out because he isn't used to fighting for so long at his full power and can't even touch Goku anymore, Goku gives him a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech, which ends with Goku saying that he wants Frieza to suffer for the rest of his life knowing that he lost to a "monkey".
    • After Goku becomes incapacitated by his heart virus, Android 19 brutally beats him down before pinning him and gleefully draining his energy. Vegeta puts a stop to that.
    • In the Spopovich vs. Videl fight, when Videl finally manages to concede that she's in over her head against the magically-enhanced Spopovich and lets herself get thrown out of the ring... only for Spopovich to grab her leg in mid-air and toss her back in, returning her to a Curb-Stomp Battle that seemed to be doing its damnedest to rival the aforementioned Frieza vs. Vegeta example in sheer brutality. Spopovich is only stopped from killing Videl outright by his partner Yamu, who's disgusted by it:
      Yamu: Enough, Spopovich! (With a look of genuine pity and sadness for Videl) This isn't what we came here to do; ring-out the girl and finish this match.
    • Buu wraps Vegeta in a string of his own flesh, immobilizing him. He then lands on Vegeta, crushing him, before beating the living hell out of him.
    • Goku Black already managed to humiliate Vegeta by shrugging off any blows from his Super Saiyan Blue form in just his base form but then after he beat him to the ground and stabbed him, Black proceeds to call the fight nothing more than an appetizer and leaves him for dead.
    • Later on after managing to defeat and impale Goku to the wall, him and Zamasu decides to rub it in his face even further by telling him how Black came to be and how his first action after his creation is to murder Goku before killing off Goten and Chi-Chi just to spite Goku even further. This act ended up making Goku so enraged that he briefly overcomes the wound and gives the two the beating of their lives.
    • With Goku and Vegeta completely exhausted and having used up all their reserves against him, Jiren decides to show off his powers and their hopelessness in their face even more by beating them up until he gets bored and he just punches them out of the arena, starting with Vegeta and then Goku, but the latter ended up biting him in the ass as Goku managed to retrigger his Ultra Instinct form and give Jiren the beating he deserves.
  • Done to Sting in Fairy Tail. After experiencing a Freak Out over what looked like the death of his closest friend, Minerva informs him that she actually saved him in time. When Sting starts crying all over again and thanks her, she snaps at him for crying and lets him know that she's actually holding Lector hostage until Sting helps them win an ongoing tournament, going as far as to threaten to kill him if Sting tries anything. Considering that they were already allies. Sting is understandably shocked by this.
  • The second half of Ga-Rei -Zero- is this trope happening repeatedly to Yomi, the biggest example being her fiance's father breaking off the Arranged Marriage while she's crippled and mute.
  • Gundam:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Wufei defeats Noin after bombing the base where she trains mobile suit recruits. He then refuses to kill her because she's a woman, and proceeds to insult her before leaving.
      Chang Wufei: Are you listening, woman? Huh? You saw that I was a kid, and you underestimated me. You're a weak soldier. I don't kill bleeding hearts or women.
    • Played for Laughs in Gundam Build Divers. Riku and Tigerwolf have an amazing match that ends with Riku's 00 Sky performing its first Limit Break and overpowering the Jiyan Altron Gundam, though the 00 Sky's GN Drives crap out on Riku. Tigerwolf catches Riku and praises him for his strength. When Riku thinks he's finally repaid him for all his help, Tigerwolf scoffs at that, points out his Gunpla wasn't up to snuff to handle the attack... then proceeds to kick the 00 Sky to the ground and declare himself the winner, much to the annoyance and disappointment of Riku's teammates.
      Momo: That was so mean! Hmph!
      Ayame: Riku's suit was completely immobilzed!
      Yukki: ...Tigerwolf...
      KO-1: ...why is he so immature?
  • Hellsing: Oh, dear god does Zorin Blitz love this trope. After mind raping Seras, she cut her arm off, stabbed her, and tore her eyes out!! Zorin's a nightmare. Full stop.
  • In Holyland, Masaki pretends to do this to Yuu after their Curb-Stomp Battle in order to fool the watching thugs into letting them leave.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Phantom Blood: Wang Chen tries to do this to Jonathan, who was already mortally wounded by Dio. However, he severely underestimates Jonathan, even in his dying moments, and pays the price for it.
    • Battle Tendency: Kars is not only willing to stab Lisa Lisa in the back during their fight, but kick her while she's down for good measure.
    • Stardust Crusaders: Jotaro mentions that he hates to kick someone down on their luck. But for scum like Steely Dan and DIO, he doesn't give a damn about it.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: After Yoshikage Kira thouroughly curb-stomps Koichi, he still feels the need to beat him into the ground some more, and even sticks his shoe in his mouth to further humiliate him.
    • Golden Wind: After being accosted by a random guy for dropping wine on his shirt, Narancia knocks the guy out and starts beating him, which prompted Mista to join him in on kicking the unconscious guy. Abbacchio looked at them and took a sip on a wine glass... only to join in a moment later.
    • Stone Ocean:
      • A rare heroic example has Ermes brutalizing Rikiel beyond recovery, even though he was already lying on the ground defeated.
      • Enrico Pucci chops off Weather Report's leg to incapacitate him. He then proceeds to slice off his other leg for the hell of it before attempting to finish him off. This proves to be a big mistake on Pucci's part, as Weather freezes the resulting blood pools in order to form them into spears that stab Pucci's feet.
    • The JoJoLands: Jodio beats up two cops that tried to sexually assault Dragona and used November Rain to crush their bodies before kicking them unconscious.
  • The battle between Cypha and Signum in Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force ends with the former impaling the latter's body after the latter was already unconscious on the ground and critically injured, all to make a point for anyone who happened to be watching them. Then she nonchalantly blasts away Agito shortly after. Signum would later get back at her in a rematch. Cypha continues to show a liking for this trope by intending to do it to Quinn of the Grendel Family.
  • In Naruto, Pain does this to Hinata. Long before that, the gangster Gato indulged in this by literally kicking the already dead Haku right in front of Zabuza.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Kotarou Inugami suggests this trope to Negi Springfield during their fight with Jack Rakan, but he decides not to, not due to any sense of fairness, but rather that he was pretty sure Rakan was faking it.
  • Spandam in his arc in One Piece does this to Nico Robin after capturing her, all the while gloating about the genocide at Ohara, that happened when Robin was 8 and that she was the only survivor of. (Also to Franky, albeit to a lesser extent.) He even kicks poor Robin down the stairs, and somehow his small Draco in Leather Pants fandom mostly doesn't mind and considers that to add to his perceived sexiness.
    • The World Nobles like to participate in this whenever they get the chance. After a slave that he was riding like a horse broke down, World Noble Carlos kicks him for being to slow and than shoots him.
    • Late on, Pica is seen attempting this: In the middle of fighting Zoro, Pica spots where the injured allies of the Straw Hat Pirates are being brought to for medical aid and immediately starts heading over to kill them. This turns the battle into a Race Against the Clock for Zoro, who has to outrun Pica and defeat him before he reaches his destination.
  • Team Rocket in Pokémon: The Series did this to Ash's Sceptile while it was having a Heroic BSoD, having Cacnea and Seviper hit it over and over with Poison Tail and Needle Arm because it couldn't fight back while trying to protect the Meganium that it had a crush on.
    • They also did this in "Pallet Party Panic!", when after getting away with Pikachu, they decide to bombard the tournament afterparty from above, terrorizing all the hapless citizens. They make the mistake of pissing off Charizard by destroying the table of food he is eyeing. Charizard promptly gives them their just desserts.
    • One time, they almost burned Ash alive after utterly defeating him and his Pokemon. Like the above example they already had their prize, it was simply cruelty for cruelty's sake..
    • Ash and co. aren't immune to this either. Even when the trio were on the verge of surrender or retreating, the heroes would insist they hadn't suffered enough until barraging them enough to initiate their usual "blasting off". Subverted in Best Wishes, even when they try to do it, Team Rocket usually use their jet packs to make a successful escape. Bewear similarly serves to evacuate the trio before this occurs in the Sun and Moon series.
    • Paul did this to Chimchar constantly, both physically and mentally. After collapsing from complete exhaustion due to Training from Hell, Paul ordered his Elekid to wake him up with Thunder, which was fortunately blocked by Ash and Pikachu, and despite Chimchar’s condition, Paul was determined to push it further, even under the threat of being banned as a trainer if he didn’t let Chimchar rest. As an Infernape, it battled against the fully evolved Electivire, getting taken down near the final stretch of the match, only for Paul to look down at him and say that he was pathetic as always. Turned out to be a grave mistake for him.
  • In Pokémon Adventures:
    • Maxie and Archie love doing this. They left Courtney's corpse underneath fallen rubble (they pulled her into it first), had Norman's dead/dying body go up in flames, beat the shit of Wallace after he was forced to stand down to save his love interest, and stomped on Ruby's Feebas several times over. Though it should be noted that they'd been driven insane by the power of the Red & Blue Orbs and so might not have done this sort of stuff prior...
    • After Alder's Accelgor is all but barbecued by a seriously powerful fire attack, it weakly limps to what it thinks is its trainer calling out to it and offering it healing. Turns out it's really a Zorua using its Illusion ability. The Accelgor cries.
  • In Ranma ˝ several characters will do this. For example Genma and Soun both will attack Happosai when he is down. Of course, Happosai usually deserves it.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: Boy, does Malty love doing this to everyone, especially Naofumi. Even after the fact that Naofumi’s been reduced to a pariah, thanks in part to her lies, she needs to try to beat him down even more. From enforcing pointless duels and contradictory accusations, to several instances of her attempting to attack Naofumi when there’s little if anything to gain from it. She simply enjoys making him and everyone else that she can manipulate suffer just because.
  • In Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, Hatori proceeds to do a rather nasty one to Yanase in episode16. Yanase already broke down crying after being rejected by Chiaki a second time, and it was absolutely not necessary to break into his house, pin him to a wall, and proceed to beat the shit out of him in his own house when he was practically shut down. Thank god Chiaki stopped it before it got worse.
  • Subverted in the last episode of Speed Grapher. Choji Suitengu, the real Big Bad, is not well known for his mercy, but when Saiga sacrifices his eyes to blow up a missile that would have killed them both, Suitengu takes pity on the helpless man and flies him to safety before taking his farewell bow.
  • Lunatic from Tiger & Bunny has a habit of doing this to the criminals he executes when they are already arrested, defeated or otherwise neutralized such as the prisoners he killed in episode 6 and Maverick after he wiped his own mind.
  • Transformers: Energon: The newly resurrected Megatron decides to take his time beating the energon out of Scorponok, in spite of the latter's surrender.
    Cyclonus: "Uh, Megatron sir, don't you think the poor guy's suffered enough already?"
    Megatron: "Don't be silly! Why I'm just getting started..."
    Cyclonus: "I can't watch!"
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: The Jerk with a Heart of Gold protagonist Leon sometimes does this to Pay Evil unto Evil, like with the Smug Snake Earl Garrett, or The Bully Smug Super Pierre.
  • Happens in Vagabond after the rematch between Musashi and Inshun. Subverted as Musashi was actually only hitting the ground next to the unconscious Inshun.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! - Yami Yugi of all people does this to Weevil Underwood, after Weevil pulled a cruel trick on him. He kept attacking Weevil with Berserker Soul even after his Life Points hit zero, and would have kept going if Tea hadn't stopped him.
  • A variation: In the Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, when Edo Phoenix defeats Judai, with an attack so powerful it sends Judai flying and renders him partially blind, Edo roars, "Disappear, trash!"
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS: Towards the end of Aoi's and Spectre's duel in Episode #34, Spectre made Aoi believe that she was about to win and was about to save him. However, it was only a façade as Spectre's Sunbloom Doom made him nowhere near losing. He even mocked her, calling her a pathetic girl who couldn't become a Blue Angel and claiming he was the Blue Angel who defeated the villain—her. He then tore up the copy of the Blue Angel book he materialized and burned the shreds. The story meant the world to Aoi and gave her comfort after her parents died about ten years before the start of the series. To see it be so carelessly destroyed, in addition to her being so cruelly manipulated and mocked just moments ago, destroyed her. Seeing as the Tower of Hanoi would absorb those who lose duels in Link VRAINS and leave their real bodies in a comatose state with little hope of waking up, Spectre essentially tortured her mentally before murdering her in cold blood.
  • In the Dark Tournament Arc of YuYu Hakusho, Kurama fights two grueling battles in a row and slips into unconsciousness, only for Bakken to get in the ring with him shortly afterwards, claiming that Kurama is still able to fight. Due to a shady decision made by the the Tournament Committee, Kurama stays in the ring, still unconscious, and Bakken gives him a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown before throwing him out of the ring. Yusuke made sure he paid dearly for that in their fight.

  • Laocoön and His Sons has been called "the prototypical icon of human agony" in Western art, and unlike the agony often depicted in Christian art showing the Passion of Jesus and martyrs, this suffering has no redemptive power or reward. The suffering is shown through the contorted expressions of the faces, which are matched by the struggling bodies, especially that of Laocoön himself, with every part of his body straining.

    Comic Books 
  • In Year Four of Injustice: Gods Among Us, as Wonder Woman recovers from a beatdown at the hands of Hercules, Batwoman takes the opportunity to strangle her with the Lasso of Truth, as payback for Huntress's murder the previous year. Batwoman releases her before killing her, though.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: In "Five Years Later", the serial killer Roxxas (no relation) was attempting to kill the Legion when he found Mekt Ranzz, the villainous brother to Legionnaires Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass/Light Lass. Believing him to be after the Legion, Roxxas tries to strike a deal, splitting up the Legionnaires they could kill; when Mekt, who has reformed, tries to stop him from killing, Roxxas brings him down and, complaining that he would have shared, kicks him while he is unconscious.
  • The Phantom Zone: As fighting General Zod and his band, Supergirl gets slammed into a tachyon cannon. The ensuing explosion gets her dazed but still conscious…until Zod's boot stomping her head causes her to lose consciousness.
  • Comically averted in The Smurfs comic book story "Smurphony In 'C'" (and its Animated Adaptation): when Gargamel falls off a log crossing over a high ravine and hangs onto the log for dear life, Harmony comes over with his shazalakazoo, ready to play a tune that will send the wizard falling his doom when the wizard cries out for mercy. Harmony remembers that Papa Smurf told him that he shouldn't kick a Smurf when he's down, so he instead razzes the wizard and leaves him be.
  • In one Spider-Man Tangled Webs story, the Vulture showed how rotten he was by trying to kill the hero while Spidey was injured and in the hospital. When a nurse pleaded with him not to, the villain simply said, "This is what vultures are supposed to do!" (Referring to his namesake's predatory-scavenger nature.)
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: Mahr Vehl asked Captain America if he had a problem with kicking people when they were down. The Captain coolly replied he always figured it was best time to kick them.
    • The Ultimates: Captain America tricked the defeated Bruce Banner (who turned himself into the Hulk on purpose, fully aware that he would cause a 9/11 type of disaster) into thinking that he would be Easily Forgiven, and then gave him a well deserved kick in the face.
  • Usagi Yojimbo - A favorite tactic of Noriko "The Blood Princess". She's introduced sparring with her cousin Tomoe using wooden swords, winning, and then savagely beating a now unarmed Tomoe to the ground. She does this again (minus the wooden swords) when she reveals that not only are she and Tomoe half-sisters but she also killed Tomoe's father after he refused to acknowledge her as his daughter, literally kicking Tomoe while she's down and in shock.
  • Watchmen:
    • Rorschach is kicked and beaten after he's been pinned down by the police, having already injured himself jumping out of a second-story window while trying to evade capture. Of course, he did severely injure at least a few of them before being brought down, and has been said to have made some insulting remarks about the police.
    • Hollis Mason's murder is another example.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Prowler happily stomps on Peter's face after she forced him to injure himself while stopping a truck she sent careening out of control. Before this, she already shot him in the ankle and dropkicked him hard enough to break his nose.
  • In the Buffyverse fic Bring Me to Life, Kennedy does this to Buffy in chapter 28; despite having already gotten punched out by Buffy and telekinetically slammed by Willow for her bitchiness, after seeing Buffy get fired by Robin before he storms out, Kennedy just has to get one last dig in by snidely asking Buffy how it feels to be unemployed "just like that." In response, Willow orders Kennedy to just shut up already, and when Kennedy snaps, "Or else what?", Angel threatens to personally throw her out of the Hyperion and leave her to the mercy of the First's Bringers if she doesn't.
  • Literally Inara the Firefly fic Freedom to the Free. Four of Mal’s crew are kidnapped by slavers. Wash is put to work driving a combine, and can’t just sit still. He drives off the property despite knowing the machine will shut down immediately. An overseer beats him to the point of cracked ribs, terrible bruising, swollen eyes and unconsciousness, then tells Simon to kill him if he doesn’t wake up. Making it worse was that they all were wearing hobbles that kicked in if they left the property to immobilize their legs. Wash was helpless and could only curl up and try to protect his vulnerable parts. It’s too much even for the property owner and ultimately leads to the overseer turning traitor and giving Mal the info he needs for a rescue. Mal and Zoe get revenge on the guy too afterward, taking his papers and dumping him to the slavers.
  • TFN Fan Films hosts a short Star Wars fan film named Legacy of the Jedi produced by Thrill Factory Entertainments in which a Jedi uses this to recover his fallen Master's lightsaber after a lightsaber dueling session in which the Jedi and his Apprentice are evenly matched by a Sith Master. Watch it here.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, Flash Man mocks both Robert and Time Man while he has the advantage, and doesn't hesitate to attack when they're already down.
    • Spark Man tries to do this to Roll, but fails.
  • In the Sevii Islands sidestories of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Red encounters a trainer named Rosso who often engages on this; in fact his first scene is having his Machoke stomp on a kid's downed Pidgey. He uses "not giving your all is an insult to your opponent", something he learned from Shinku Tajiri (Red's mother and a professional boxer) as an excuse to be a bully. Naturally, Red does not take kindly to Rosso twisting his mother's words and gives him a well-deserved beatdown.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Owens has effectively won his duel with Hermione, who can no longer stand and can barely raise a wand. Then he finishes the fight — not with a simple Disarming Charm, but with a Knockback Jinx at point blank range, resulting in a crushed ribcage. It's not fatal, but the other champions are furious with him.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 fanfic Secret War: Upon Blood Sands where Serghar Kaltos does this to the main character Attelus Kaltos, after impaling Attelus through the gut, doing it repeatedly in said wound.
  • Shadows over Meridian: When Jade unleashes a storm wind during the battle at Snowpoint, it leaves three-hundred rebel soldiers paralyzed with dark magic electricity. They're finished off by the Mantis Khan as the remaining rebels retreat.
  • In Shinra High Soldier, Julia is nearly taken out of combat because she's too busy kicking an already defeated opponentnote  to notice another opponent sneak up on her.
  • Star Wars vs. Warhammer 40K: While under the Dark Side's influence, Depa Billaba continues to kick and stomp down on Saphran's face even after he's laying defeated on the ground and is seemingly too injured to fight anymore. She gets stopped by Mace Windu and Jaro Tapal, who drag her away and chastise her for acting in a manner unbefitting of a Jedi.
  • Minerva has been on performing this trope in Fairy Tail as previously stated, but a fanfiction called What Chapter 321 of Fairy Tail Should Have Been rather nastily puts her on the receiving end of this trope. First, Erza cuts off Minerva's arm and then she stabbed her, and tore her eyes out!! Then she cuts off her leg, and tears off and eats her fingers on the other hand, and used a sword to violate her!

    Fairy Tales 
  • In the Grimm Brothers version on Snow White, when the Magic Mirror tells the Queen that Snow White is still alive, it adds insult to injury by saying that she is "a thousand times more fair" than the Queen is.

    Film — Animation 
  • Frozen (2013):
    • Hans does this to an already-hurt Anna as a result of Elsa's actions by attempting to do a True Love's Kiss to thaw her frozen heart only for him to reject it at the last second and callously reveal how nobody has ever loved her and how she is nothing more than a tool to become the new king of Arendelle before leaving a broken Anna frozen solid behind and die, alone and unloved.
    • Later, after successfully finishing off Anna, Hans decides to break an already traumatized Elsa into further despair by revealing his attempts to save Anna only for her to become frozen solid in his very eyes before telling her that Anna died because of her. Elsa has been completely devastated at such revelation to the point that she lies on the ground, completely unwilling to defend herself as when Hans decides to deliver the ultimate coup on the former queen of Arendelle, becoming the new ruler of the kingdom.
  • Kung Fu Panda: In the climactic battle, Po has thoroughly beaten Tai Lung physically and emotionally, with obvious wounds on the villain as he struggles in helpless bewilderment towards Po to ask how this is all possible. Instead of answering, Po knocks him out and sends him sailing.
  • Starscream does this to Megatron after the latter's battle with Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Movie. There was a fan theory (confirmed in the IDW comics) that he does this to Megatron in the live-action one, too, getting in a last shot at him along with the Earth forces jets before running away. Well, he is The Starscream.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Accident Man, the gang of chavs chasing the 15 year-old Fallon knock him to the ground and then repeatedly kick him. At the end of the film, Big Ray knocks Milton down and stomps on him repeatedly out of sheer frustration.
  • Biff did this in Back to the Future Part II. After Marty is knocked over in 1955, Biff takes the sports almanac back. He then kicks Marty in the stomach twice, the second time saying "This one's for my car!" Marty was lying on the ground, but he was still conscious.
  • In The Candy Snatchers, Jessie viciously kicks Candy while she's tied up and helpless on the floor.
  • The famous pen scene in Casino, where Nicky alternates between kicking and repeatedly stabbing his target with a pen even though he's already on the ground.
  • Casper: Carrigan's henchman Dibbs (who she's been mistreating throughout the film) invokes this when he turns on her and steals the treasure she became a ghost to get.
    Dibbs: You know, if there's one thing I've learned from you it's "always kick 'em when they're down", and baby, you're six feet under. Oh, what a shame.
  • The Joker does this with gusto to Bats in The Dark Knight, with a crowbar after he had just been attacked by a pack of Rottweilers. Possibly justifiable there, as... well, he is the Goddamn Batman — he doesn't stay down too easily.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane breaks Batman's back, paralyzing him, then unmasks and captures him. Bane explains how Bruce will be Forced to Watch as Gotham City is slowly destroyed. As he turns to go, he pauses to put his hand on Bruce's chest and press down really hard, making Bruce scream in agony.
  • Death Ring: After stabbing Cross through the hand with a fork, Vachs knocks him to the ground and proceeds to kick him repeatedly: to death.
  • Destroyer (2018): During the fight in the ice cream parlour, Petra knocks Erin and then kicks her multiple times while she is on the floor before being hauled off by a Badass Bystander. Petra is wearing heavy boots and cracks Erin's ribs and inflicts sever bruising. She also inflicts internal injuries that will ultimately cause Erin's death.
  • Mitch tries to do this to Slim in Enough. Fortunately for her, her self-defense teacher had prepared her for this situation.
    Instructor: He's standing over you. He thinks he's won. And as sure as he's a coward, he will try to kick you.
  • In Equilibrium, John Preston has experienced a truly traumatising scene of Mary's execution. After collapsing in tears on the steps outside out of the Halls of Destruction, he finds Brandt practically gloating above him. He's arrested, and promptly beaten to a crap whilst Brandt reminds everyone of the scum he is in public before taking him to DuPont.
  • A rare heroic example in the first Friday movie. After Craig has beaten Deebo to a pulp, Red comes up to the barely-concious Deebo and punches him in the face. He then takes back the chain and bicycle Deebo stole from him. Given how cruel Deebo was throughout the movie, nobody minds this.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn's kick punctuatation (after breaking Cheech Marin's fingers and punching him in the face):
    How ya doin'?!
    Enjoying it?!
    I hope so!
  • Sonny Corleone's death scene in The Godfather. Not only did he get shot dozens of times, even when he couldn't defend himself, but his dead body gets shot a few more times just because and then kicked hard right in the face. This mirrors his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Carlo earlier on, which he ended by kicking Carlo into the gutter (it's Carlo who sets him up to be killed at the tollbooth, by pushing the same Berserk Button as before).
  • In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah the eponymous villain waits until Godzilla is grieving over his son's death, then attacks him, establishing itself as one of the most hated monsters in the franchise.
  • Getting Straight: During a student protest, a cop uses his baton to beat a man who's lying on the ground. A woman does a Big Guy Rodeo to get him to stop.
  • A favorite of mob movies beatdowns, kicking a person who's already on the floor is a good way to showcase the brutality of the characters doing the kicking. Most memorably used in the Billy Batts scene in Goodfellas where Jimmy and Tommy just batter the hell out of their victim.
  • He Walked By Night: After knocking Reaves to the floor, Morgan viciously kicks him. Reaves is next seen with a large bandage on his face.
  • This happens in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. After two minor villains are disarmed and no longer resisting, Jack Spade punches one of them in the stomach. Jack's partner John Slade has to tell him to stop ("Hold it! Hold it! It's over, it's over!") or the villain would have been much worse off. Jack has no combat experience and was caught up in the heat of battle.
  • Viktor Cherevin does this to a random person in his introductory scene in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
  • Jerkass Master Li from The Karate Kid (2010) encourages his students to do this to their opponents, even when they are already down and defeated, showing them absolutely no mercy.
  • The Legend of Frenchie King: Doesn't happen during the Cat Fight, but there's a different scene where Maria is passed out and Louise takes the chance to slap her around a little.
  • A Man Called Sledge: When Sledge is playing Trojan Prisoner to gain access to Rockville Prison, Sheriff Ripley punches him while his hands are manacled and the kicks him several times while he is on the floor.
  • In Massacre at Central High, the Gang of Bullies surround and kick Oscar after he falls off the Gym Class Rope Climb.
  • Early in Max (2002), Hitler sees some men kicking a "Bolshie" who's lying on the ground while German soldiers look on and do nothing. At the end, the same fate befalls Max, who is beaten to death by some of Hitler's new followers.
  • Pagan Warrior: After knocking Ulbe to the ground during their sword fight, King Rollo kicks the Viking usurper several times in the chest and stomach, causing him to cough up blood.
  • And Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, stabbing Will Turner after he's both defeated and fearing for Elizabeth's life — with the sword Will made in the first film, no less. Jones gets his just deserts a few minutes later.
  • Polite Society: After she's knocked Salim to the ground, Lena repeatedly kicks him in the stomach. Of course, given what he'd intended to do with her, it's understandable.
  • In Poor Pretty Eddie, Eddie repeatedly kicks Keno after he knocks him down with a baseball bat.
  • Star Wars:
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine orders Anakin to execute the literally disarmed Count Dooku after Anakin defeated him. After a moment of hesitation on Anakin's part, Palpatine commands him to do it — slipping into his Darth Sidious voice in the process — Anakin beheads Dooku. This act serves the double purpose of removing a no longer useful pawn and bringing Anakin ever closer to the Sith way of thinking.
    • He tried that again in Return of the Jedi (a title that seems very appropriate in hindsight when compared to Sith), ordering Luke to strike down his father Vader, but he sorely underestimated Luke's willpower.
  • Happens multiple times in Stiletto:
    • After macing the convenience store owner, Penny knocks him to the floor and continues to kick him once he is down.
    • While confronting Large bills at the strip club, Engelhart smashes a bottle over the bouncer's head and then stomps on him when he falls over.
    • Penny jabs Raina with a stun gun and then kicks her repeatedly when she drops.
  • In Streets of Fire, this is done to the hero, Tom Cody, by Big Bad Raven Shaddock. Cause he's awesome, Cody pulls through and wins the fight anyway.
  • Lex Luthor viciously kicking the ever-loving crap out of Superman in Superman Returns.
  • Remarkably enough, this is averted by the jerkass protagonist of Royal Flash, whose motto is "Never kick a man when he's down; he might get up."
  • During the drug bust at the start of Takers, after tackling the Haitian. Det. Welles handcuffs him to the stair railing and then kicks him a couple of times in the ribs. this act comes back to haunt him later when he thinks Internal Affairs is after him for police brutality.
  • In Train, Alex escapes from the medical facility with the badly injured Willy. She leaves him lying the forest while she goes to scout possible routes of escape. While she is gone, Vasily finds Willy and proceeds to kick the crap out of him while is too weak to fight back.
  • In the live-action Transformers film, Optimus Prime's fight against Megatron doesn't end up going too well, with the Decepticon leader being more powerful than Prime. One portion of the fight shows Optimus on his knees, wounded. Megatron takes the opportunity to kick him in the face.
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen features a three-against-one fight with Optimus Prime facing a resurrected Megatron, Starscream and Grindor. Midway through the fight, Optimus ends up receiving a devastating amount of punishment, resulting in a Broken Faceplate. Just as he begins struggling to get back on his feet, Starscream hits him... with a missile.
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon After killing Megatron, Optimus Prime took his blaster and shot Sentinel Prime who was trying to reason with Optimus on why he sided with the Decepticons.
  • Undercover Brother. The title character kicks a golf course security guard after Sistah Girl knocks the guard out. Later in the film, he apparently literally curb-stomps a knocked down guard... only to reveal that he in fact crushed the guard's bag of Cheetos. It was his last bag.
  • In Unforgiven, "Little Bill" Daggett does this when dispensing justice on out-of-towners. He beats and kicks English Bob as well as William Munney for coming to town as hired guns. In the latter case, Bill didn't even know he was a hired gun at the time; he was just an out-of-towner who happened to be carrying a firearm.
  • Used gloriously in Universal Soldier: Regeneration. Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski stars and his primary fighting style seems to be sitting on your chest and smashing your face. In Mixed Martial Arts, this is called "ground and pound."
  • The World of Kanako: The narrator is attacked by the bullies and the prostitution ring while he's high on drugs and completely helpless.

  • In Another Note, all of Beyond Birthday's victims were drugged (it's not mentioned how or with what) before being violently killed and dismembered. (And most of the dismemberment happened post-mortem.) It's thought that the killer had a grudge against his victims, but it turns out that BB just viewed them as collateral damage against the real target of his anger, L. Later on, while BB is serving a life sentence (or longer) in Prison for his crimes, and after having suffered horrific burns from a failed suicide attempt, he dies of a Kira-induced heart attack in his cell.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's The Ball And the Cross, the two heroes come upon some drunks harassing a car carrying a woman and her driver.
    Another of the rowdies rushed forward booing in idiot excitement, fell over the chauffeur, and, either by accident or design, kicked him as he lay. The drunkard got to his feet again; but the chauffeur did not.
    The man who had kicked kept a kind of half-witted conscience or cowardice, for he stood staring at the senseless body and murmuring words of inconsequent self-justification, making gestures with his hands as if he were arguing with somebody.
  • In The Bible, Simeon and Levi lead an attack on the city of Shechem after the prince of that city rapes their little sister and then asks his father to ask her father for her hand in marriage. They tell the Shechemites that they will form an alliance, on the condition that the Shechemite men get circumcised. The Shechemites agree to this, and the men and boys of the city undergo the procedure. Three days later, while they're still incapacitated, Simeon and Levi go in and slaughter all the men of the city (and take the women and children as plunder.) Their father, Jacob, gives them a What the Hell, Hero?, but they blame him for not having done anything to defend his daughter beforehand.
  • Near the end of Bring Up the Bodies, Thomas Cromwell tries to revive the issue of Harry Percy and Anne Boleyn's supposed precontract as a pretext for Henry to divorce her (though not forgetting that he'd bullied Harry out of that claim in the first place). Harry refuses—he's wrecked his marriage, has no children, and he's dying from drinking more or less nonstop since losing Anne, therefore Cromwell has no way to threaten him. So, Cromwell puts him on the jury for Anne's Kangaroo Court—why, if there was never anything between them, it should be nothing to see her condemned! This is yet another piece of his revenge for Cardinal Wolsey; Harry was the one to arrest Wolsey for treason, indirectly causing his death.note 
  • In Alex Bledsoe's Burn Me Deadly, Nicky stops Eddie by saying that if he kills an unarmed and injured man before her, she will see him hang. Eddie doesn't know whether he would actually have killed the man, but he was glad he wouldn't have to find out.
  • In Carrie, Tommy tells Sue about a time he'd kicked an unconscious bully in the ribs on the playground. Sure, the "victim" had tormented a lot of people, including Tommy himself, but he did still feel bad about the incident years later.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story Red Nails this is freely used:
    when a man or woman went down under the stamping feet, there was always a knife ready for the helpless throat, or a sandaled foot eager to crush the prostrate skull.
    • Again in A Witch Shall Be Born
      Constantius's bluebearded devils will be searching the quarters for wounded Khaurani; they'll hang every man who has wounds to show he fought against them.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novel Thendara House. While the Terran woman Magda Lorne is training as a Renunciate, she gets into a sword fight with several men. After one of them realizes that he's outmatched and tries to surrender, Magda continues attacking him and almost kills him. She had gone into a berserk state and didn't realize he was surrendering.
  • Played for Laughs in Dave Barry Slept Here, on Richard Nixon's defeat in the California gubernatorial election of 1962:
    In his concession speech, Nixon told the press: "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore," prompting the reporters, in a fit of nostalgia, to batter him unconscious with their wingtips. This was widely believed to be the end of his career.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, this is the kind of tactic associated with veteran fighters, who get to be veteran fighters by being Combat Pragmatists. Other characters just do it because they want to; stunted and scrawny watchman Nobby Nobbs for one.
    "Corporal Nobbs," he rasped, "why are you kicking people when they're down?"
    "Safest way, sir," said Nobby.
    Guards! Guards!
    • However, Nobby makes a mistake when he tries this with an unconscious troll. Trolls are, essentially, creatures of solid rock, and Nobby's toes are unprotected.
  • The Dresden Files
    • In Death Masks, Marcone argues for dispatching two unconscious guards. He is not surprised when the Knights of the Cross refuse, and had brought along handcuffs to keep them prisoner.
    • Harry does this to Quintus "Snakeboy" Cassius, beating the crap out of him with a baseball bat to get information. Probably his least heroic action in the whole series, even if the victim really deserved it and was pulling an I Surrender, Suckers.
    • In Dead Beat, Luccio recounts, with great fury, how the Red Court sent enslaved humans to attack wounded members of the White Council.
  • Ender Wiggin in Ender's Game did this early on, to "win" all future fights with Stilson. It comes up again in Battle School, when Ender is cornered by a gang of older (read: bigger) students who don't care that he's the last, best hope for humanity (in fact, they hate him more because of it.) Ender doesn't find out until years later that the brutal beatdowns he delivered actually killed both Stilson and Bonzo. Note that, unlike most examples, this is played sympathetically. In both cases Ender is confronted by an older, larger boy with a posse of older, larger boys at his back. He's perfectly aware that neither Stilson nor Bonzo will stop attacking him until he's dead, so he ends the conflicts permanently — even if he's unaware at the time just how permanently.
  • The official novelization of Godzilla: King of the Monsters portrays Ghidorah blowing up a Navy battleship with his Gravity Beams after he's torn the ship in half and effectively neutralized it as a threat.
  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince note , Draco Malfoy paralyzes Harry with a petrificus totalus spell and not only kicks him in the face, but actually stomps on his nose and breaks it while he's lying helpless on the ground. Even for the series' Darker and Edgier later books, such crude brutality was quite shocking.
  • In Homer's The Iliad, after Achilles kills Hector, he and the rest of the Greeks kick and desecrate Hector's body—in front of Hector's mother, father, brothers, and wife, all of whom are hysterically crying. (Cultural note: proper burial rituals were very, very important, to the point of it being worth risking your life for at least a token burial of a family member.)
  • What Eragon does to Sloan in the Inheritance Cycle. Murtagh is also found of this tactic, going so far as to behead one of his enemies while the man is on the ground.
  • Julie Kagawa's The Iron Fey: In The Iron King, Quintus torments Ash with Cold Iron after he's prisoner. Tertius orders him to stop because of orders, and Quintus jeers at him as weak.
  • In Dan Abnett and Mike Lee's Malus Darkblade novel Daemon's Curse, Malus informs Brettonian captive, Mathieu, that he is going to let him go free thanks to his fiancé. But he then proceeds to tell him that she made the mistake of saying she would do anything to save him. Because Malus is a compassionate fellow 'anything' included being gang raped and tortured by most of the Dark Elves on board. Once everyone was done with her Malus killed her and flayed her face off, which he saved for Mathieu. He waits for it all to sink in, then throws the poor sod overboard and straight into the arms of man-eating mermaids.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Michael O'Halloran, Mickey recounts how a nurse abused a little girl, one of her charges, and then one of her brothers kicked her when she was down. He did not know any street kid who would kick a little girl when she'd been beat up.
  • In the Night Huntress books by Jeaniene Frost, "Always kick them when they're down" is one of Bones' rules, and likewise anyone trained by him.
  • In Prince Caspian, onlookers are not entirely pleased that Peter steps back to let Miraz rise. Then two of Miraz's treacherous nobles claimed that he had stabbed Miraz In the Back, and one of them stops rushing to attack Peter in order to stab him himself.
  • The RCN series' attitude:
    Admiral Torgis proved he understood as well as Woetjans did that the first rule of brawling is that you always kick your opponent when he's down.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Defied by Pete Reston at the start of volume 7. He intervenes in a fight between four newly admitted first-year students, initially to instruct them on Kimberly Magic Academy rules on dueling—mainly, have an upperclassman present to referee and heal everyone up after. When the winner tells him "I don't remember giving you permission to heal anyone" and that he plans to use the losers to practice his pain spells, Pete administers a Curb-Stomp Battle to teach him that the dueling rules are not optional.
    Pete: Count yourself lucky it was me you fought. Some students here would have done far worse than a mere pain spell.
  • The Shahnameh: More like 'stab' them while they are down... Sohrab pins Rostam to the ground in their first wrestling match and takes out his dagger. Rostam tells him that the Persian custom is to kill one’s opponent the second time he is defeated. Sohrab accepts due to the affection he feels for the man, his naiveté and his code of honor. When they next fight Rostam gains the upper hand and does not hesitate to stab Sohrab in the side. Although he does this to save Iran, this the only instance in which Rostam resorts to trickery to win a fight.
  • Slapshots: Chipmunk spends most of the third book trying to prove an undefeated rival player is lying about his age, and exposes him after the Stars beat that rival's team anyway and he is being a Graceful Loser.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • In A Game of Thrones, a guard promises Arya she would be safe because each northman with her father was worth ten southern soldiers. When she finds that soldier dead during the Lannisters' palace coup having killed only a single foe, she starts kicking his corpse and calling him a liar.
    • Theon Greyjoy's Establishing Character Moment is when he kicks the severed head of an executed deserter, causing it to fly across the yard.
  • This is one of villain of Space Glass Marvelous Dagon's favorite moves.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • After running Kirito through with his own sword, Sugou/Oberon decides to twist the knife by first changing the Pain Absorber to torture him, then to mess with him even further by molesting Asuna right in front of him. Later, when he attacks Kirito in the real world, he literally kicks him multiple times after Kirito falls to the ground. Both times, Kirito manages to turn the tables on Sugou and subject him to a major Humiliation Conga.
    • PoH pulls this off during the Alicization arc, brutally beating Kirito up right in front of Asuna and the rest of his friends and slapping him in the face purely to spite them, while Kirito is paralyzed and incapable of fighting back. The minute Kirito recovers and gets back to fighting form, he returns the favor, curb-stomping PoH and subjecting him to a Fate Worse than Death by turning him into a tree and leaving him to rot in Underworld.
  • In An Unkindness of Ghosts, Aint Melusine has taught Aster that this is the best time to attack someone. When a middecker tells her she's not supposed to do that, she's surprised, as she's never heard of such a rule.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Gaunt's Ghosts:
      • In First & Only, when Jantine Patricians sneak-attack the Ghosts on shipboard, one Ghost sees two Patricians clubbing a wounded and helpless Ghost — as part of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that kills three Ghosts and leaves another one critical. To say nothing of the one they dragged off for Cold-Blooded Torture and attempted Mind Rape.
      • Later in First & Only, a Naval trooper kicks Caffran while he is down, before bringing his gun to bear. This time, it means that Bragg can get at the trooper before he shoots.
      • In Ghostmaker, Gilbear, walking the pickett, beats two Ghosts he disapproves of, in an eruption of their regimental rivalries. He kicks one while he's down. When Corbec interrupts, he brings Gilbear down and in Revenge, kicks him.
      • In Blood Pact, Kolding's Back Story: his father was a doctor during the war, and the Chaos forces broke in to murder him and the wounded. (Kolding saw it; he was sixteen at the time.)
    • In Ben Counter's Horus Heresy novel Galaxy In Flames, in an attack on the betrayed loyalist Space Marines, Eidolon and his troops start their attack with the Apothecary and the wounded. He takes particular glee in killing those who had belonged to his Legion.
    • In James Swallow's novel Deus Encarmine, Iskavan, having learned the Warmaster sacrificed him and his forces as a lure, sets out on a rampage, deciding to start with women, children, and the wounded.
  • In The Warlock in Spite of Himself, Tuan indignantly rules out a mildly sneaky move by comparing it to kicking a man in the head when he's down. Rod decides it's not the time to mention he's done that and worse in a fight.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In the season two finale, Ward knocks an already tortured and drugged Bobbi through a door and even though she's down and not posing him a threat anymore, proceeds to kick her hard in the leg/knee area, hard enough to break the bone. Not that what he did doesn't count, but to be fair, Bobbi was already drugged and tortured when she started to beat the crap out of him (he was only saved by Agent 33). Letting her have the chance to get up again would be a bad idea, given how dangerous she just proved to be.
  • Arrow: In Season 4, Oliver Queen is disturbed to see his little sister Thea putting the boot in after taking down criminals, a sign that she's losing control of her bloodlust after being resurrected by the Lazarus Pit. When Oliver himself does the same in later episodes it's a sign that he's losing control of his own emotions.
  • Babylon 5: In "The Long, Twilight Struggle", Londo Mollari may be disturbed seeing his ally, Lord Refa, bombard the Narn Homeworld with illegal mass drivers to devastate the planet, but it does not prevent him from carrying out the declarations of the brutal occupation of the planet in council on Babylon 5 with a complete hardass and unyielding demeanor. Sheridan was quite willing to continue beating a deserving target long after he'd been knocked to the ground.
  • Banshee: Lucas, the protagonist, tends to do so as a means of making sure that his opponent stays down and in the future thinks twice about taking Lucas on. In a flashback to Lucas' time in prison we see a sadistic albino inmate do this to Lucas. After beating Lucas in a fight, the albino proceeds to kick, punch and stab Lucas to emphasize that he now "owns" Lucas and can do anything he wants to him for as long as Lucas is an inmate. When Lucas fights the albino again and this time wins, he makes a big show of finishing off the already dying opponent in front of all the inmates so they know that Lucas is someone who cannot be "owned".
  • BattleBots: It's generally considered poor form to attack an opponent's robot once you've clearly disabled it instead of letting it be counted out, although some do it to Make Sure He's Dead (at least one contestant has lost by standing back from an apparently immobile opponent, only for said opponent to spring back to life before the 10 count is up and turn the tables on them). However Ray Billings of the phenomenally destructive spinner bot Tombstone made a habit in the 2015 series of seriously putting the boot in to already crippled opponents to entertain the crowd, often Trash Talking his opponents as he did so. He stopped doing this after defeating Bronco in the semifinals when, after taunting them with "You want more?" he went in for one more blow on the already-disabled Bronco, only for the recoil force to hurl Tombstone violently across the box, blowing it open and spilling its internals across the floor. Residual aftereffects from this damage were believed to be a major factor in Tombstone coming up short against Bite Force in the grand final. Learning from his mistake, Ray mostly left defeated opponents alone in the next season- until he knocked out Bombshell in the 2016 grand final and, with nothing left to worry about, proceeded to obliterate its entire left side.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Faith is introduced as wanting to beat the bad guys a little too bad.
    • In "The Gift", Buffy pounds on Glory with the Hammer of Olaf again and again after she's been downed. She's a Physical God, so waiting for her to get up again is a very bad idea. Not to mention that using a Slayer's sister for a ritual Human Sacrifice is also a bad idea.
  • In an episode of CSI: Miami, an investigation of the murders of two sorority members lead to a young woman working on a ranch. It’s revealed that she used to be a sorority member as well and was a victim of the murdered girls’ constant harassment and manipulative Initiation Ceremony tactics to ruin her social life. They wanted to get rid of her since she had sorority legacy over them. Even after returning home to her family’s ranch to try and start over, the two members join the ranch simply to continue their harassment which would lead her to her attempt suicide. She is saved by Horatio when it's revealed that they were killed by the girl’s father as a message to everyone in the sorority.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • The concept of overkill is brought up a few times: if a killer commits violence against the corpse of their victim, it's considered a sign either that they have a great deal of anger, or they're really starting to lose their mind. Or both.
    • In one episode, it's considered significant that a murderer has stopped the practice of repeatedly stabbing his victims after they're dead.
    • In "100" Hotch, in his Unstoppable Rage, kept attacking the Reaper after their intense life-or-death struggle, even though he was clearly already dead. Justified Trope in that it was better to be safe than sorry, and the Reaper had killed Hotch's ex-wife minutes earlier and was threatening to kill his young son next. Morgan had to pull him off while he was still beating the corpse.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: "Brotherly Love" sees a policeman kicking a suspect who's just been arrested and wrestled to the ground, and having to be restrained. Somewhat justified in that he's apparently just brutally killed one of their number.
  • Doctor Who: In the serial Underworld, the Seer does this to Herrick to verify he's alive for Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Drake & Josh: One episode has Josh ordering their father to wrestle Drake, who was injured. This is because he discovered his injuries from a dune buggy accident when their parents had forbidden them to drive it.
  • Firefly:
    • In the first episode, the Fed agent hits Book a few more times after he knocks him out just because. Joss actually said in a commentary that they added this to emphasize just how psychopathic the guy was.
    • On the other hand, Mal taunting and jabbing a fallen Atherton Wing at the end of their duel in "Shindig" is Played for Laughs (mostly because Atherton deserved it):
      Mal: Mercy is the sign of a great man. [stabitty] Guess I'm just a good one. [stabitty] Well, I'm all right...
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Gregor Clegane's reappearance in Season 4 sees him slaughtering prisoners of war in "combat training". The remaining prisoners soon begin falling on their knees and begging for mercy. Dead all the same.
    • After the Curb-Stomp Battle that was House Bolton vs. House Baratheon of Dragonstone, a wounded soldier from the latter's army declares his surrender when Ramsay approaches him. Ramsay "accepts his surrender" before driving his sword in him.
    • In the aftermath of that same battle, Brienne of Tarth comes across Stannis Baratheon sitting against a tree and kills him for his assassination of Renly, all the while Stannis is too heavily wounded to stand and fight.
  • Harrow: In the flashback to the fatal fight in "Mens Rea" ("Guilty Mind"). Quinn kicks Harrow in the ribs while he is down on the floor.
  • House of Anubis: Joy was completely heartbroken by Jerome dumping her in front of the entire school during a play and turned to Fabian, her long time best friend, for advice. He instead hurt her even worse, because being a sinner, he had no sympathy for her and instead tore up her self-esteem when it was low to begin with. The other villains tend to do this a lot, too.
  • How I Met Your Mother: This sort of behavior ultimately gets Barney banned from Laser Tag.
  • Leverage: During their fight, Mr. Quinn makes a point of trying to kick Eliot into submission after he's already knocked him down. Eliot quickly turns the tables.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
    • Rita's choice of monster themes was often done simply to troll the heroes. For instance, after wrecking Kimberly's flower-themed float design, she created the Spitflower just to rub it in. Later, when Billy was bummed after getting a B on a test, Rita used a Grumble Bee monster, simply to be mean. (Most times, however, this resulted in a case of The Dog Bites Back.)
    • During the Alien Rangers arc of Billy is eventually able to put together a device that can reverse the spell that turned him and the other original Rangers into children, but their Power Coins have to be used as a focus for it. After managing to use it on himself, however, Rita and Zedd show remarkable savviness and ambush the group, stealing and destroying the coins. (From Bad to Worse doesn't even begin to cover how bad that is.) The two villains then decide to rub Billy's nose on it by turning the now-inert device into a coin-themed Monster of the Week called Slotsky, just to spite them. (The Aquatar Rangers deal with him rather easily, but it's cold comfort at this time.)
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: In the "Scott of the Sahara" sketch Scott does it to the lion while fighting it.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: At the end of "Beginning of the End", TV's Frank kicks Dr. Forrester while he's down in the middle of their boxing match, after knocking him down from behind.
  • Pushing Daisies: The first episode has Chuck lightly kick the corpse of her murderer. It's more adorable than disturbing.
  • Revolution: Averted Trope by Sebastian Monroe of all people in the first season finale. He could have just killed off Miles Matheson right then and there while the guy was unconscious, but Monroe waited for Miles to wake up before attacking him.
  • Robin Hood: After the Cat Fight, Kate squeezes Isabella's face and shoves it to one side with a nasty smirk on her face, despite the fact that Isabella's surrounded and incapacitated.
  • Robot Wars: Once a robot is declared immobilized (and has therefore lost), the house robots usually come out to play with it for a bit before either tossing it with the flipper, placing it in the Drop Zone, or dumping it in the pit.
  • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: Manipulative Bastard Akumaru is cut down by Juzo right as the former's centuries-long Xanatos Gambit is about to come to pass, thereby ruining it. As Akumaru falls to the ground, and tries to comprehend how Juzo could be so rotten and evil to the core, another villain whom Akumaru doublecrossed and brutally beat up, Dayu, comes along to give a quick, but smirking "The Reason You Suck" Speech, telling him how foolish he was to trust the human emotions of an inhuman monster like Juzo. She then promptly gives Akumaru a swift, and well-earned kick in the ribs.
  • Silk Stalkings: In "Going to Babylon", Chris gets gets knocked down by someone he surprises searching the Victim of the Week's apartment. Chris grabs his attackers foot in an attempt to stop him escaping, but the attacker kicks Chris in the ribs to dislodge him.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Lore does this to Data in "Datalore", kicking him it the face twice while mocking him for envying humans. Of course, seeing as Data has been "shut off" and can't hear him, it seems pointless.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One", Jake quite literally kicks Sam in the side while he is lying on the ground. When Sam knocks Jake out, he raises his arm to strike Jake again, but then lowers his arm and walks away.

  • Eminem's "Quitter," a diss track aimed at Everlast, has Eminem promise that the feud is done and apologize, but "I just believe in kicking a man while he's down."
  • Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" has the refrain: "Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down, kick 'em when they're stiff, kick 'em all around,"
  • From Muse's "Liquid State": "Kick me when I’m down / Feed me poison, fill me till I drown." Though granted, it was a metaphor for his alcoholism.
  • Said almost word by word in The Smiths' "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore".
  • Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" contains the line "The first kick I took was when I hit the ground."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • During the kayfabe era (pre-mid 1990s), when the staple of a wrestling promotion's television programming was matches pitting top tier and mid-level talent vs. jobbers, a promoter frequently would push a villain as an unstoppable Monster Heel by having him continue to physically punish a jobber well after he had scored a victory over him, often by performing a powerful finishing move on the hapless opponent one or more times. This was always to demonstrate said move's power, establish the heel's credibility as invincible and – the end goal – set up a showdown with the promotion's lead face (seemingly the only one who could withstand the evil man-monster's might). Well-known examples of wrestlers making encore use of their powerful holds/moves after getting the win:
    • Earthquake (John Tenta) and his running seated senton (the "Earthquake Splash"), sometimes as many as five times after the match was over, usually resulting in his opponent having to be carried out on a stretcher. During his heel run, Earthquake famously did this to Hulk Hogan outside of the ring, setting the stage for one of the biggest feuds of the time.
    • Yokozuna (Rodney Anoa'i, a mammoth-sized Samoan wrestler with a sumo wrestler gimmick) and another form of the senton, this one jumping from the second rope to land in a seated position on his prone opponent's chest. At his peak, Yokozuna would repeatedly "Yokozuna splash" his unfortunate opponent up to four times after the initial win-securing move. (At least once, Yoko continued to sit on the opponent's chest, as an in-ring interview with Mr. Fuji took place.)
      • Rikishi (who's also rather large) also did the banzai drop. During his brief heel run, he gave The Rock several banzai drops in quick succession.
    • Big John Studd, the wrestler who claimed he couldn't be slammed, would often bodyslam his opponents several times after a match. Other times, he would continue to use his submission hold, an over-the-shoulder backbreaker, until the jobber passed out from the pain.
    • Sid Justice's finishing move was a powerbomb, where the opponent is hoisted into the air and slammed onto his back. During his pre-WrestleMania VIII run as a heel, Justice used the move up to three times on his foes post-match.
    • Ox Baker, who used a move called the Heart Punch (a powerful punch thrown to the opponent's chest) to knock out his opponents, was known to repeat the move several times (and "further damage" the poor guy's cardiovascular system).
    • Far smaller than the above opponents, but Greg "The Hammer" Valentine was often fond of re-applying his submission hold, the figure-four leglock, on a defeated jobber; the formula was that he would release the hold to accept the victory, then — usually to push him as sadistic — push the referee aside, grab the writhing-in-pain jobber's leg, and put him in another figure-four leglock (ostensibly to "break the leg").
      • For a time in the late 1980s, Valentine wore a steel brace over his knee, claiming it was to help heal a knee injury, but the intent became clear once he began applying his figure-four leglock and jobbers were in even more pain. This included during the match as well as post-match punishment.
    • Baron Von Raschke was a Greco-Roman specialist, but was more fond of using his brain claw to force his beaten opponents into a painful submission. At times, he was even more fond of keeping the pressure applied until he drew blood.
    • Demolition (Bill Eadie and Barry Darsow as the KISS-influenced Ax and Smash, respectively) would do their "Demolition decapitation" finisher — Ax drops an elbow from the second rope, while Smash holds the unconscious opponent over his knees — on occasion. The most famous example was to jobber Brady Boone, whom Vince McMahon happened to point out was the "cousin" of Billy Jack Haynes (a mid-carder that the WWF was trying to push as part of a tag team with Ken Patera). In the Boone example, Haynes came out for the save ... only to be on the receiving end of a beatdown and at least two Demolition decapitations; Patera then came out to stop the assault, but he too got it!
      • More often than not, several of the above examples would sometimes feature the jobber being carried from the ring on a stretcher (and sometimes for added effect, "blood" would be added to simulate internal bleeding), in a further attempt by the promotion to demonstrate the power and sheer evil/unstoppability of the monster heel. Carrying the trope even further, sometimes the heel wrestler would, after watching the medics tend to the "injured" jobber, grab the wrestler as he's being taken to backstage (for "medical attention") and deliver the powerful finishing move again in the entrance aisle — and more than once, the heel wouldn't stop with just one at this point.
      • Occasionally, this trope would be reversed, with the face punishing a heel wrestler — especially if he were the Monster Heel that sadistically sidelined the rest of the hapless jobbers and terrorized the faces — to both give the heel his comeuppance and send the audience home happy. In 1981, then-beloved babyface André the Giant continued to punish an obviously beaten Killer Khan in retaliation for breaking his leg; three years later, he spent 15 minutes torturing hated villain The Iron Sheik, and had him beat long before he finally decided to pin the bloodied, battered and bruised Iranian. During his first WWF Heavyweight Championship run, Hulk Hogan was known to continue punishing such vile villains as "Dr. D" David Schultz, the Iron Sheik, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff and Randy Savage, long after he could have easily pinned them.
  • The "stretcher match" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin – an opportunity to continue beating your opponent into a comatose state, long after victory would have been assured, to force him to be carried out on a stretcher. The most famous was the Andre the Giant vs. Killer Khan stretcher match in 1981 in Philadelphia.
  • Another gimmick match, Money in the Bank, gives the winner a title shot any time they want during the next year. It usually gets cashed in right after the current champion just got thoroughly beaten up by someone else.
  • In the WWE, Bret Hart's Face–Heel Turn was sealed by viciously attacking an unconscious "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
  • Bryan Danielson's going to kick your head in. Before he got famous for that, though, he had a particularly mean example with the butterfly suplex, the start up to which is a potential submission hold itself, which Danielson would often hold in long after the opponent had submitted, till they passed out or the referee demanded a break, and then suplex them. Sara Del Rey has also taken up this use of the butterfly suplex, naturally. A third Danielson signature resembles an inverted stump puller, only instead of pulling, the emphasis is on him stomping on your chest/neck/face, frequently part of his Five Moves of Doom.
  • Randy Orton's second Finishing Move, The Punt, is performed exactly when this Trope says.
  • Alberto Del Rio has a habit of assaulting people whom he's just beaten or right after they've had a grueling match with someone else, ramming their shoulders into the ringpost or barricade, then putting them in his Rolling Armbar over and over again.
  • Similar to Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry, as a Heel, and especially during 2011, often assaults people. He'll ram them into things, hit them with his World's Strongest Slam and Running Splash over and over again, then wrap a steel chair around their leg and jump on it.
  • At No Mercy 2004, Billy Kidman defeats Paul London with a Shooting Star Press, causing London to cough up blood. Paramedics load London on a stretcher and attempt to cart him away... when Kidman shoves them away and gives him another Shooting Star Press.
  • In a 2005 no disqualification match pitting Triple H against television commentator Jim Ross, Triple H — at the height of his monster heel run — bloodied Ross and attempted to pin him. Taking advantage of another "rule" where the only way to win was by pinfall, Triple H repeatedly pulled Ross up at the two count to continue the punishment ... that is, until Batista arrived to knock out Triple H and help Ross get the win.
  • This was actually used against Triple H in his two-on-three match with him and Shawn Michaels versus the McMahons and The Big Show. Vince, who by this point had practically lost his mind trying to get back at DeGeneration X, repeatedly teased a pin with Triple H throughout the match, only to continue the onslaught. Similarly, this only caused his downfall.
  • This tease was actually used by a Face in the John Cena vs John Lauranitis match in 2013. Even more surprisingly, this also ended up being used against them, with the Big Show knocking out Cena after a very prolonged beatdown.
  • At No Mercy 2004, Dawn Marie and The Dudley Boys faced Charlie Haas, Rico and Miss Jackie (Gayda) in a six-person mixed tag match. This was during the time when Dawn was claiming that she and Charlie were having an affair.note  Prior to the match, Dawn walked into a locker room where Jackie was getting dressed and was topless with her arms wrapped around her breasts. Dawn proceeded to cut a promo on Jackie, who was essentially defenseless. Dawn literally could have done anything she wanted to at the time and Jackie would be incapable of countering or defending against it, since she'd risk exposing herself in the process.
  • One of Seth Rollins' finishers, the Blackout/Piece Of Mind/Curbstomp, has him stomp on the back of a hapless victim's head, forcing them to kiss the floor or any hard objects in the way.
  • This was the lead in to a Pet the Dog moment in World Wonder Ring STARDOM. Dark Angel had been pretty rough with rookie Yuhi while defending the Wonder Of STARDOM against her at the "Golden Age" show, but she respected the fight Yuhi had put up and tried to show her respects afterwards. When Yuhi tried to kick her away, Angel stomped her still and then proceeded to give her encouragement.
  • Pretty much any time a Heel wrestler tries to pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here mid match and walk off, you'll bet the Face, whatever level of one they are, won't have it and without fail will drag them back to continue the beating.
  • When Kurt Angle had a steel cage match with Ken Anderson, Kurt managed to render Anderson unconscious. Kurt opened the door and prepared to win via escape, but paused to stomp on Anderson's groin.
  • While teaming with Adam Pearce in the World Wrestling League, Samoa Joe described Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian) as scum and insisted that stomping on them while they were down was the only way to deal with them.

  • One of the big differences between Mixed Martial Arts and other combat sports is that combatants are still fair game when they fall to the floor. Striking a man on the ground is perfectly legal, though kicking or kneeing the head of a grounded opponent is against the rules under the Unified Rules. On the other hand, even "soccer kicks" to the head are legal in some Japanese promotions.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The flavor text of the Magic: The Gathering card Whipkeeper reads, "If you don't hit your adversaries while they're down, they might get up again.'' In terms of game mechanics, certain Magic cards like Memory Lapse/Lapse of Certainty, which put an attempted spell back on top of the opponent's library, work best as kick 'em while they're down cards; if someone doesn't get enough land cards to cast anything and they finally DO get something they can cast, these spells don't let them play anything that turn, and ensure they get no land next turn.
  • The List of Character Survival Techniques Version 1.5 (written for Tabletop RPG players) suggests the following:
    Confirm your kills!
    In gun games, ammo is rarely so scarce that you can't spare two bullets to splatter a body's head. If ammo is scarce, refer to fantasy rule below.
    Fantasy rule: behead anything you think you've killed. If you're really nasty, take a hand with the head. That way if it does come back, at least it's pissed. Always confirm your kills if possible. If you didn't confirm the kill, don't be surprised when you see him/her/it walking down the street or crawling through your bedroom window.
  • There's a set of gear in the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons that gives a + 5 Damage bonus to those who've been knocked prone when the set is complete.
    • Also, the coup de grace. A full-round action that can only be done to utterly helpless opponents (not just knocked down or pinned, but completely immobilized or unconscious) which is an automatic critical and forces the target to pass a high-level fortitude save or die immediately.
    • Mercifully the fourth edition rules discourage the DM from doing this to players. Monsters are forbidden for finishing off down players while other heroes are still around to fight.
    • In 5th edition, a downed (0 HP) character has to roll death saving throws every turn until they fail or succeed three times (dying in the former case, "stabilizing" to unconsciousness in the latter), and receiving even a single point of healing lets them get back up. Much drama has ensued from players arguing that an enemy would rather focus on the still-alive characters than take out a downed one (as taking damage while downed is equivalent to failing a death throw) and Killer GMs arguing that Double Tapping is a necessity in a world where Critical Existence Failure is the norm.
  • Pathfinder introduces a brutal fighting style, utilized mainly by monks, brawlers, and others who utilize unarmed strikes, which focuses on this. The Vicious Stomp feat allows an immediate attack of opportunity against an opponent who falls prone nearby - this includes tripping attacks made by the stomper in question. If this is combined with Greater Trip, this is two attacks taken against a single target just for falling down, with more that can be made while they try to pick themselves up. With enough people in a melee, it can turn an even fight into a beating.
  • Champions — The recovery mechanics of the hero system are such that an enemy that is knocked just a few points into unconsciousness can get up and continue fighting in just one or two actions, assuming the GM doesn't just declare them out. So if you just barely knock out a big threat after a long fight, it is essential to hit him again so the rules for really unconscious characters kick in.
  • GURPS's Martial Arts supplement features a Stamp Kick maneuver.
  • In Blood Bowl, this is one of only two forms of violence that are officially disallowed (using weapons is the other). Of course, even when fouls do happen, the player doing it won't get ejected unless the notoriously myopic, easily bribable referee sees him/her do it.
  • The BattleTech rules practically invite this — kicking a prone adjacent BattleMech with another is basically free all-but-guaranteed extra damage, and is often the only physical (as opposed to weapons) attack you can make against them by the game rules anyway. Of course, since we're talking about Humongous Mecha here, the emotional impact may not be quite the same.
  • The wound system in Mordheim is an open endorsement of this. Enemies are unlikely to be taken out in one shot; without a critical hit, the odds of a given successful unsaved wound taking the target out of action are a mere one in three - less if the target is a dwarf - with survivors being knocked down or stunned. However, against a target who is already knocked down or stunned, you can bypass a couple of the usual rolls and take them out more easily. There are prohibitions on doing it if they have friends in the combat who are still active threats, at least; if you're facing two enemies and one is lying stunned on the ground, you have to buy some breathing room by fighting the other one before you can start the stabbing.

    Video Games 
  • In Fighting games, moves that ignore You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again fall under this, and are called "On/Off The Ground" moves in the community (usually abbreviated OTG) depending on if the attack brings them up on their feet or not.
  • A key technique in many 3d Fighting Games. The term 'okizeme' is at times used to describe what to do to the grounded guy; 'wakeup options' are what to do when the grounded guy tries to get up. Options run from a simple kick to low blows to tossing them downrange.

    Similarly, games that allow this also have a fun way of dealing with an opponent after you win the round ...
    • One such example comes from the Soul Series, as Nightmare can either stomp his foe repeatedly, or charge it up for an Unblockable Attack in the second title. When being split off from Siegfried in Soul Calibur 3, Nightmare keeps the charged stomp, whilst Siegfried gets the repeated stomp.
  • Professional Wrestling games often fall under Fighting Games, and have this as well. Naturally, you do have to get down and either pin him or bend him in ways God didn't intend when the human body was designed.
  • In Assassin's Creed II you can kick downed enemies when using fists, or attack them in a more lethal fashion with other weapons.
    • Enemies downed with sleep darts will eventually wake up unless you stomp them before then.
    • In the multiplayer modes in later games, if another player kills your target, you have a few seconds to get over there and lay a boot into the dead character to get a few points anyway.
  • In the first module of The Bastard of Kosigan modules, a small kid takes the opportunity to beat up the dead body of his abusive boss after you kill him. Your reaction (either gently discouraging him or handing him a knife so he can have more fun) nets you alignment points.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight Batman can sometimes lock onto downed enemies and start punching them.
  • In the Battlefield series, the AI bots in single-player have no qualms about charging in and killing a medic and the wounded soldier he's treating. Particularly pronounced in the Project Reality mod, where soldiers take several moments to be restored to full health after being revived.
  • Battletoads demonstrates this in a quite a few of the 'toads games.
    • The NES original had the toads turn their foot into a boot to smash kick foes away. The SNES game, Battlemaniacs, opted to give Pimple the boot attack, whilst giving Rash a sweeping leg kick (his foot becoming a spiked mace head for good measure.)
    • The crossover with Double Dragon has the Lee Twins perform a double knee-drop onto downed foes to finish them off.
    • The Arcade game is where things got really different: each toad could boot kick foes around, but had different finishers; Zitz drills a hole through his enemy's face, Rash sharpens his fingers and claws the enemy's face out, but Pimple elects for a Finishing Stomp — after turning his foot into a one-ton weight.
  • As par for the pragmatic course it's a very viable move to perform a crouching medium/kick attack on a downed opponent in BlazBlue since this is likely to result in them getting lifted off the ground, setting them up for (yet another) combo. In fact, a few characters have moves exclusively meant for usage against downed opponents. E.g., Ragna pulls them up to their feet and socks them in the gut, Noel shoots the downed opponent and Tager magnetizes them and drags them up to their feet with one finger.
    • Hazama gets an all new super attack in Chronophantasma that is basically just him exemplifying this trope by stomping the opponent in the head many and several times repeatedly before kicking them away. When performed in his Overdrive form he adds insult to some additional injury (caused by increasing the number of stomps) by leaning down, grinding his heel against the opponent's face and mocking them before finishing the combo.
    • His alternate/true form, Yuuki Terumi, has one special attack with which he violently curbstomps the downed opponent and then kicks them away (he uses it in a couple of his Victory Poses, too). He also has his own variation of Hazama's above-mentioned super attack, but Terumi's version is, for added bonus points, usable on downed opponents.
    • Storyline examples from Hazama: He has done this twice, to girls on both occasions. The first time was to Rachel, although she did a very good job of snarking at him until he kicked her. The second time was to poor Tsubaki, after she'd just died of injuries sustained from a Heroic Sacrifice, no less.
  • Defeat a prefect in Bully, especially when no others are around to nab you (what with your Wanted Meter being quite full for defeating a prefect). It's very hard to not put the boot in afterward. Also fun for other targets, too!
  • Bug Fables: Mothiva's sole physical attack has her trip up, then brutally stomp on her victim several times. And it deals a pretty hefty amount of damage. Thankfully, at least the kicking part can be averted if you block in time.
  • In Bushido Blade, attacking a downed opponent is one of the acts forbidden by Bushido that damages your invisible Karma Meter.
  • In Civilization IV this is one of the default responses if you demand (and successfully get) tribute from a weak player or vassal state.
  • In Dark Messiah, finishing move deals massive damage against a prone opponent. Expect to use it a lot whenever there's no conveniently placed spikes around.
  • Dawn of War: Units will continue to shoot at knocked-down units in range, but will engage in melee if specifically ordered to attack a downed target. Given the Crippling Overspecialization of most shooting units, this can quickly end in disaster.
  • Dead Space not only lets you do this, it encourages it. Those damn Necromorphs can and will come back, even when you've unloaded an entire clip into it's face. You dismember it's limbs, it can't go anywhere, therefore removing it as an immediate threat. The sequel also lets Issac get in one hell of a Cluster F-Bomb as he pounds a body's face in with his boot. EA threw it in because it was sound advice, and incredibly therapeutic to both players and Issac himself.
  • This is a common technique in Dragon Age, to a point that the AI is actually designed to prioritize grounded targets to make use of their momentary vulnerability.
  • In Fear Is Vigilance, attacking an unconscious opponent this way gives you the "Making Sure" Merit Badge.
  • If players loses to the final boss's last form in Freedom Planet, he quickly finishes them off, causing them to explode into a cloud of flower petals.
  • God Hand allows you to do this, either with some normal attacks or the Stomp Action Commands, which although normally a stomp can be made into a boot-grind or kick with use of the analog stick. It seems that God approves of this, as one of the God Reel/Roulette/Wheel moves is God Stomp.
  • Grand Theft Auto in particular lets you attack other people in various ways, some of which inevitably knocks the victim down to the ground. What you can do later to the grounded pedestrian ranges from a simple barrage of punches and kicks, to gunning them relentlessly, to even saw them off in half with a chainsaw, right in the ground, most of which will be incapable to escape their fate while they get smacked around.
  • The beginning of Half-Life: Episode Two introduces the Hunter, a gorilla sized synthetic enemy who delivers a Game Breaking Stabbing to Alyx Vance. And then when she's down and gasping for help, it stomps on her hard enough to put her in a near-fatal coma.
  • Each playable character in Hard Edge has an attack that allows them to hit downed enemies by pressing Forward, Back+Attack. Alex will shoot his opponent while they're down, Michelle flip kicks them, Byford stomps them, and Rachel slams her butt down on them.
  • Hybrid Heaven, with its unique action/turn-based combat system based around learning a massive variety of punches, kicks and throws, also included a selection of "newaza"note  attacks that could be performed on downed opponents, ranging from a simple soccer-ball kick to the head or curb stomp, to an array of body drops or grabs and pins like an arm bar or crucifix hold. Since the only way of learning new techniques was to have them performed on you first, obviously the enemies could do them to you too.
  • Many characters in Injustice: Gods Among Us do this for their victory pose. The Flash lifts his defeated opponent up with a whirlwind and uppercuts them off screen, Ares skewers the loser with a flurry of swords, Black Adam puts a foot on their chest and electrocutes them, the Joker douses them in gasoline and tosses a lit match on them, and Harley Quinn literally kicks them while they're down.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], just about everyone currently missing-in-action via Heroic Sacrifice gets this treatment - courtesy of the sheer Happy Ending Override against Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts coded, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. And Master Xehanort's But for Me, It Was Tuesday and Evil Gloating about said characters certainly doesn't help, either.
  • Technos' Kunio-kun Beat 'em Up games (two of which were localized in the west as Renegade and River City Ransom) and its various spin-offs allow you to do this, from sitting on them and punching them, stomping on them, picking them up and use them as makeshift weapons etc, etc.
  • Lie of Caelum: After Kyou's Duel Boss against Kenzo Vanguard, the former can choose to kick the latter. Doing so repeatedly is necessary to get all the Drake drops that Kenzo stole.
  • Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals allows the heroes to do this, and even has a passive that doubles damage inflicted to knocked-down enemies. Of course, enemies can do this too (and Gades is particularly fond of it). Both player characters and enemies have a defense against being stunlocked, though; player characters get a brief bit of Mercy Invincibility upon standing up and most monsters go berserk and become much harder to knock down for a while.
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, successfully tripping a foe will put them in a prone state, allowing you to perform a unique melee combo that does double damage until they get up. All of the heroes have the same animations, though, and it's just weird seeing characters like Doctor Strange and Silver Surfer pummeling the hell out of a helpless grunt with their fists.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has many moves that can hit a grounded opponent, but the one that fits this trope best is probably Super-Skrull's Worm Squash, where he stomps the opponent and grinds them under his boot. It can only hit characters that are knocked down, and due to its low damage and the difficulty of continuing a combo after it, it's more of a Cherry Tapping attack or taunt, which is fitting for such an arrogant character.
  • Max Payne 2 features Big Bad Vladimir Lem kicking Max in the ribs after losing his gun. Max recovers as the Big Bad leaves, revealing that he took the kick primarily to hide the lost gun: it was under his chest.
  • In Max Payne 3 enemies will attack Max while he's sprawled on the ground. You can return the favour on downed enemies and have no reason not to.
  • In Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, Vile repeatedly stomps on X's seemingly unconscious head and kicks him around the room after their battle during a cutscene. You only see that during Vile Mode playthrough.
    • Vile's intro stage also features this. After you beat X, Vile spends some time shooting X around with his Shoulder Cannon.
  • No More Heroes and its sequel reward the player for doing this to fallen Mooks. You can stomp on them while they're supine, and you'll get extra money out of them, or you can just stab them and kill them as they lie.
  • In Bungie's Oni, Konoko has no problem doing this to fallen foes — and they have no problem doing it to her either.
  • In Persona, All Out Attack functions like this. A viable tactic for both the player characters and the monsters they fight, when all opposing units are weakened by hitting their elemental weakness or ailing them with status effects, the entire party can gang-up an extra Almighty-elemental hit on the downed opponents without a mean to defend against. The same mechanic is used in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey.
    • A similar function in the Press Turn games of the core franchise is halving the Press Turn instead of fully consuming it when striking at an enemy's weakness or landing a Critical Hit.
  • The Dark-type Pokémon move "Assurance" works something like this—it does more damage if the opponent had already suffered damage on the turn the move was used.
  • In Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2, you can continue to hit your opponent several times even after you've knocked them down, due to their lengthy "falling down" animation. You can even do this when you activate "RUMBLE" Power, which lets you give harsh beatdowns such as this. Also, while you're doing this, you can actually get more RUMBLE power by taunting or using heavy attacks.
  • Possible in Samurai Warriors, surprisingly enough. Every characters jumping charge attack involves slamming the ground in one way or another, and some don't even need to jump to hurt someone who's lying down. Musou attacks also end with the character releasing an aura, hitting everyone immediately around them, standing or not.
    • As it includes SW characters, Warriors Orochi also allows you to do this (though not all Dynasty Warriors characters always have such an attack as easily usable as SW characters. Some don't even have one that can hit enemies lying on the ground).
  • Saints Row 2 has a scene where Gat beats the crap out of the injured Shogo, telling him to get up in between each hit. It culminates with Gat putting him through a tombstone and giving him a Texas funeral. As sociopath as Gat can be, this is actually portrayed as a Pay Evil unto Evil moment due to Shogo not only killing his girlfriend Aisha, but then interrupting the funeral to try and kill Gat and the Boss.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours. One mission requires Tony to steal cassette tapes but not kill the owner. After doing so, he returns -twice- to wildly kick the downed and dazed enemy. In 'return', failing the 'hassle the cops' mission sees them give Tony a wild beat-down. Of course, success sees the cops plunge into the ocean. Really well done success sees most of them explode.
  • Slurpers in Silent Hill 3 knock Heather down, attack her while she's down, then possibly knock her down again when she gets back up; a potential Cycle of Hurting.
    • Silent Hill in general lets you kick an enemy while it's down as a finishing attack of sort, since the fallen but Not Quite Dead monster may get back up again unless you truly drain all its health.
    • Silent Hill: Downpour of course had it as a game mechanic to finish off incapacitated but still living enemies which ironically you don't want to do, as actually killing so much as one enemy in this manner makes it impossible to get the best ending.
  • In Sleeping Dogs, this is one of the more mundane things Wei can do to a downed opponent. The other things include slamming the hapless fool's head to a nearby steel railings or just plain shooting them. If you're really into revenge, you can run their head over with an armored car. Squee!
  • While you can win a battle in South Park: The Stick of Truth just by downing all enemies, almost every enemy can self-revive or help other up. It's much more practical to give them an extra whack, prompting them to leave the battle entirely.
  • Most of the party members and some monsters in Star Ocean: The Last Hope have attacks that are able to do this (In the case of Edge, he literally kicks them). They can be spammed to create what would be an infinite combo if not for the target's ability to eventually activate Rush mode and become Immune to Flinching after getting hit enough times.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Galeem and Dharkon, two Big Bads of the World of Light, do that to each other in the True Final Boss battle. When Galeem gets stunned, Dharkon smashes his core with a hammer, and when Dharkon gets stunned, Galeem impales his eye with a needle.
  • This is actively encouraged in some games of the Tales Series for the purpose of lengthening combos. Some artes specifically have the property of being able to hit knocked down targets, while others force them to stand up so they can't benefit from the Mercy Invincibility they get after remaining there for a brief moment, while others go even further and ignore aforementioned invincibility.
    • Mithos does this to a recently defeated Yuan after he's revealed as a villain in Tales of Symphonia. He even piles an insane Evil Laugh on top of it, just for that 'cramming this villain's evilness down your throat' feeling. If you don't skip the dialogue, the villain keeps doing this over and over again.
    • Senel from Tales of Legendia has no qualms about grabbing downed enemies and slamming them into the dirt again (Repeatedly, in the case of certain monsters like dragons). These throws are his most powerful attacks, but allow the enemy to stand up after they connect.
    • An enemy that's especially fond of doing this in Tales of Vesperia is the Griffin with its Infinity Beak attack, which as the name implies, will keep hitting a downed party member until they're dead or someone interrupts the attack. There's also Yeager, who will end his combos with a pointblank shot from his rifle if his target gets knocked down near him.
    • A number of artes in Tales of Xillia 2 will score a guaranteed critical hit if they connect with a downed target. Most of them are ones look like they would be extra painful if they hit someone on the floor, like Ludger's Gougashou, which has him jump forward and stab the ground with one of his swords, or a number of his hammer artes that smash the ground with an overhead swing.
  • Total War has this be the preferable state of affairs for your own troops (War Is Hell, don't you know) - units that (Break Meter run out of morale) will rout and run away from the enemy, attempting to run off of the edge of the battlefield's map or escape enemy contact long enough that they can rally and be put back into the fight. Units that are shattered have their morale so damaged that they will only run off to try to avoid the enemy and to reach the edges of the map, no longer capable of rallying. Routing units that are under attack are prevented from rallying and can cause them to become shattered, and units cannot fight back while they routing. Therefore, the more of a battle which consists of your own units trying to Kick Them While They Are Down to the enemy, the less costly of a victory it will be.
  • Urban Reign allows players and enemies to strike downed opponents with low attacks and other moves specifically designed for that purpose, as well to mount and pummel them.
  • Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume - Part of your pact with single-L Hel is to rack up "sin," and the main way to do it is to do keep smacking foes after they've already taken enough damage to die. Each level has a set amount of sin that must be accumulated, and hitting that amount gets you a small reward. Hitting 150% or 200% of the amount gets a much larger reward and a message that you have greatly pleased Hel—it's up to you whether to be ashamed. On the other hand, repeatedly failing to hit that amount results in your fighting a Doppelgänger with much better stats than you, and if you want any hope of beating it you'll probably have to use the other method of acquiring sin and sacrifice the life of one of your allies for a tactical advantage. Pretty much played straight, since the protagonist's a Byronic Hero at best.
  • From Virtual-ON: Oratorio Tangram introduced the ability to attack downed opponents within melee range and when one of their weapon indicators turns green.
  • In Warframe, enemies will knock you down and gladly continue whaling on you. You can return the favour, and there are even special finishers usable against downed enemies.
  • Metallia in The Witch and the Hundred Knight routinely delivers this both verbally and physically to those who dared and failed to oppose her destructive quest. Actual savage kicks to a disabled opponent is actually one of the milder things she may do.
  • The World Ends with You has it in the first day of the third week where Neku is left to face the Noise alone, therefore making the Reaper's Game Unwinnable by Design (integrated into the actual game mechanics by disabling all of his pins). Beat, who is a Reaper, can't take that kind of event so he turns back to a Player and makes a pact with him.
  • The Yakuza series has several Heat Actions for enemies on the ground, ranging from a swift but hard kick to a punch to the head. If Kiryu's health is low enough, he will even get on top of a foe and pummel their faces for as long you can mash the button prompts.

    Web Animation 
  • Natraps XYZ has Thomas gratuitously stomping on Mr. X's head after defeating him.
  • RWBY: Exploited. Mercury purposely loses to Yang during the Vytal tournament and Emerald uses her hallucination Semblance to force Yang to see Mercury attack, prompting her to strike him down in self-defense. However, the spectators only see Yang break Mercury's leg without provocation. This was part of Cinder's plan to create negativity and attract Grimm to the city, made extra devious by the fact that Mercury's legs are prosthetics, so he was never injured.

    Web Comics 
  • '32 Kick-Up: Margaret's "Dazzling Iconoclast" is just landing on someone's face feet first when they're already down.
  • Done in the obscure Sprite Comic AkumaTh, where Mega Man has this done to him by one Jenny Wily. For hours on end.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl had Confrontation: if Lucy hadn't stalled him, Alejandro would have crushed Mike's skull while down. Later, after they win the fight, they instead turn it on the bully.
  • In Bob and George, the third party consisted of standing in line to wail on a defenseless Mega Man.
  • El Goonish Shive had it done in flashback to Justin by school bullies after he was outed; this pisses off Bully Hunter Elliot, who comes in to break the fight up.
  • Girl Genius:
    • In this strip, Violetta expresses her fury by kicking the wounded Tarvek — who is not actually down, but can't really fight back because they are on the same side.
    • It's all over the place, really — unless someone's bitten by Chronic Hero Syndrome or in a hurry.
      Tarvek: Oh, nonono no, you do not "give up!" YOU DIE!
    • Martellus repeatedly shoots Rerich at point blank range after unnecessarily attacking him with ten spark hounds and injuring Rerich to the point that he is no longer able to get up.
    • Despite being an undead monstrosity by the time he shows up Andronicus considers opponents trying to attack when someone has been knocked down by another dishonorable:
      "You Jackals think to attack me while I lie helpless? Cowards! You are not worthy of battle only of DEATH!"
  • In Goblins, it's Min Max and Forgath's refusal to this that ultimately leads to Kin the Yuan-ti finishing off Dellyn Goblinslayer.
  • In Grrl Power, an enemy tries to attack Sydney when she's down and without glasses -- and then she has to be warned against carrying it out more seriously.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • During the first battle against Xykon, after Durkon uses Thor's Might to take out a bunch of goblins that Belkar had just been gearing up to attack, Belkar proceeds to stab one of them in the face even though they're already dead. Well... yes, he is evil.
    • Later, he kicks Miko after Roy knocked her unconscious. She's probably very lucky for the Mark of Justice.
    • Belkar also does a verbal version of this to Hinjo, calling it an "insult of opportunity".
    • Belkar also desecrates the dead, by giving a slaver a shot of his 'marinade' and making good on his threat at the beginning of the strip. Technically the slaver was still alive, just beheaded and in the process of dying. Note the lack of Xs in his eyes.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, when the Boy prods Ricardo to see if he's alive, Ricardo calls it villainy to attack a man in a weakened state.
  • Slightly Damned:
    • Even after swiftly defeating Cliff Sinclair, Haury stomps on his back with a sadistic grin on his face.
    • Dakos smacks an unconcious Buwaro into a wall with his tail, and like Haury above, he's smiling the whole time.
  • unOrdinary: John's signature move seems to be kicking, punching or stomping on unconscious enemies. This is what gets other high tiers to act like he's going over the line, but really that kind of behavior is encouraged by the hierarchy enforced by the Authorities, their problem with John is who he attacks and how many people he attacks, drawing undue attention to an inherent problem with the current system. When lower tiers attack each other it doesn't draw as much attention, which is why the Authorities had him Mind Raped into something resembling compliance.
  • In Weak Hero, Ben is barely left standing after a brutal fight against Jake. Naksung takes the opportunity to strike Ben with a wooden beam across the head, a play so dirty that everyone in the vicinity, both on Ben's side and against, are aghast.
  • Yorick of The Word Weary often makes fun of John when he's feeling most vulnerable, but in this issue, he does it to a homeless man.

    Web Original 
  • In "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl" of the Whateley Universe, Phase is down and injured. Matterhorn has a mage put a paralyzing spell on Phase so Phase cannot move or use any of her powers. Matterhorn then uses his powers to grow to twenty feet tall before stomping on Phase's knee and arm.

    Western Animation 
  • Beavis and Butt-Head were shown to constantly snark at old music videos that were way past their prime when the show's episodes premiered in The '90s. Of course, they never spoke ill of the videos that were trending at the TV channel airing their program back then.
  • Another rare heroic example in occasional episodes of The Dreamstone. While usually pacifistic, the Urpneys trying to take away the Noops' good dreams seemed to be hit a big Berserk Button and even after protecting the stone they would sometimes decide they needed to be "taught a lesson" ("Blob's Incredible Plan" dedicates almost half the episode to kicking the Urpneys after they had already outsmarted them). Subverted at least once, when Amberley calls off an angry Rufus since they already got back the stone.
    • The one time the Noops actually lost to the Urpneys in a feud was a direct result of doing this, in "The Dream Beam Invasion", the heroes find the shrunken (and already helpless) Frizz and Nug inside a dream and follow suit to give them their usual beatdown. By the time they finish, the Urpneys' shrink spell wears off, making them giant in comparison to now-far-less-willing Noops.
  • Droopy:
    • 1949's Seńor Droopy had Droopy and the Wolf as matadors, both trying to win a bullfight to impress a woman they admire (in this case, actress Lina Romay); unfortunately for Droopy, the bull doesn't care to fight a runt like him, pushing him aside to focus attention on Butch, who proceeds to get clobbered. Eventually, Droopy starts sobbing over the picture of the woman he longs for, and the bull notices... Then takes a pen and draws a moustache and beard on it. (And then starts laughing his head off.) Droopy's response to the bull? "You know what? That makes me mad." Followed by him beating the crud out of the bull.
    • The same thing happened in One Droopy Knight where Droopy and Butch were trying to slay a dragon to impress a princess, and ended the same way.
    • In "Homesteader Droopy", Dishonest Dan manages to capture and tie up Droopy and his wife, and is about to shoot them, but then he notices that Droopy's infant son is drinking milk that is being siphoned from a cow via a long tube. Just to be mean, he grabs the siphon hose and blows on it hard, causing the cow to inflate like a blimp. And then he starts laughing his head off. (Unaware that this time, Droopy's son is the one who realizes that's made him mad...)
  • In an episode of Garfield and Friends, a neighbour is so riled up by Garfield continuously stealing food from him, he beats Jon to a pulp, and is ready to keep it up even after Jon's heaped up on the ground, however Garfield manages to scare him away.
    Neighbour: Now I'm really gonna let you have it!
    Jon: *haggard* That wasn't it?
  • Played for Laughs in the Invader Zim episode "The Wettening". After Dib splashes Zim with water to burn him and Gaz gets caught in the crossfire, she swears revenge. At the end of the episode when Zim levels the city with a meteor-sized water balloon and Dib's floating defeated in front of the ruins of the school, Gaz comes along and drops another water balloon in his face with a smirk.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Korra pulls a particularly brutal heroic example — when Tarrlok is hanging from a balcony (after she put him through a wall), she destroys the balcony, leaves a crater in the floor in her continued pursuit, mocks him for being helpless, then tries to set him on fire. Fortunately for him, he wasn't quite as helpless as he seemed.
    • Even when her Berserk Button hasn't been pushed, she's generally pretty ruthless. She once stepped on a downed Mook's back/neck in her haste to get back to the fight, and she has no compunction against attacking enemies whom she's incapacitated.
  • Buttercup was lectured by her sisters for this in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls (1998), giving Fuzzy Lumpkins a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown despite him surrendering. The doctor tending to him even more or less labels her a monster.
  • Rick and Morty: Played for Laughs at the end of "Rickmancing The Stone". Summer develops a relationship with the leader of a band of post-apocalyptic humans but eventually creates a new civilization when Rick reveals that the MacGuffin that was causing the episode's conflict could be used to power everyone. Summer's relationship with the leader falls out, and she leaves him heartbroken. Before Rick jumps through the portal, he steals the energy stone and robs them of electricity just because he can.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer's new Jerkass neighbor tried to hit Ned, who swiftly incapacitated him leaving him on his knees begging him to let go (Ned was bending his wrist back). Homer then smashes a chair into him leading to this exchange:
    Neighbor: Why would you do that? I was begging for mercy.
    Homer: I saw my advantage and I took it. That's what heroes do. (complete with Horatio Caine style hero pose).
    • In "The Boys of Bummer," when Bart accidentally costs them the Little League championship, the entire town of Springfield relentlessly bullies and harasses him, eventually driving him to a Bungled Suicide and landing him in a coma. Even then, the townspeople refuse to let up and gather outside his hospital room to continue ragging on him, even if he's completely unable to hear or react to them. By this point, Marge has had enough and tells off the whole town with an epic "Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • In one of the Show Within a Show movies, McBain is fighting Commie Nazis, he lands on a plane and breaks open the windshield and the pilot immediately surrenders. McBain simply replies "not so fast" and breaks his neck.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars, "Hostage Crisis": When one of the Temple Guards who survived Bane's grenade tries to crawl out of the room he'd been in while wounded, Aurra Sing shoots him in the head.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "The Honourable Ones", this is brought up twice.
    • After crash-landing on Bahryn, Zeb notes that he could just kill Kallus right then and there since Kallus broke his leg in the crash. However, he'd rather wait until he's healed up so he can beat him in a proper fight.
    • Kallus reveals that in his past, his first unit was slaughtered by Saw Gerrera's Partisans on Onderon, and that a Lasat mercenary working for them went around making sure everyone was dead. Kallus doesn't know why he survived.

    Real Life 
  • At one point in a supposedly friendly soccer match between L.A. and Sydney, a player was on the ground, an opponent stepped on his outstretched arm, noticed, and continued, temporarily putting all his weight on the poor guy's arm. Wearing spiked soccer boots. Ouch.
  • Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been punished twice for stomping on a downed opponent (both members of the Green Bay Packers). Another time he performed a Groin Attack, kicking a quarterback while he was down.
  • Overkill is a criminalistic term to describe actions of murderers that would have been lethal to the victim if they hadn't been dead already. E.g. when someone is killed with a knife and there are 100+ stab wounds found on him, clearly many of them were post-mortem. The term "Overkilling" is usually tied to serial killers, because they tend to follow their own ritual when committing a murder and the ritual most often doesn't end with the victim's death. Overkill can be presented as evidence of premeditation in a murder case, seeing as someone usually doesn't shoot a person 15 times without really meaning to. Such evidence can also be used as an aggravating circumstance at sentencing, permitting the prosecutor to ask for a harsher sentence than usual.
    • This is also fairly common in crimes of passion: a person who is suddenly pushed that one bit too far can grab a knife and hit the victim until he/she regains his/her senses, shoot at someone until the gun empties, or punch until he/she runs out of power or is stopped.
  • Attacking someone on the ground automatically voids any claim of self-defense in most jurisdictions, for obvious reasons. In the UK and many other jurisdictions, doing this also violates what can be considered reasonable force, as if the attacker is incapacitated or otherwise rendered incapable of causing further harm, continuing to attack them turns what would have been self-defence into aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harmnote , or even grievous bodily harm.note 
  • Historical European grappling manuals rarely included ground-level techniques, because when you've successfully thrown the opponent to the ground, you could presumably just kick the snot out of them.
  • To paraphrase a hunter's safety guide, a good hunter knows it is morally wrong to shoot a sitting duck. It is however acceptable to shoot a flying duck, because a small bird in the air is an equal match for a hunter with a rifle.
  • According to The Laws and Customs of War, wounded troops are considered hors de combat (literally "out of the fight"), and are given special protections under various treaties. Pilots and crew abandoning doomed planes and ships are likewise given similar protections. Wounded soldiers can still fight, however, which leads to some moral and legal grey areas, and why Playing Possum is considered a war crime since it encourages soldiers to attack downed enemies in case they're faking it.
  • In recent times, note that when dealing with a uniformed enemy (i.e. one obviously a member of a "real" army), shooting a wounded soldier not obviously a threat is still considered illegal. However, with the proliferation of terrorists and other irregular forces who refuse to follow the various warfare conventions, the Double Tap has become common for all military (especially Special Forces) and law enforcement types when dealing with such opponents. The theory generally goes that such enemies have demonstrated their willingness to break other (more significant) combat rules, so expecting that they won't shoot you in the back is unrealistic, and better safe than sorry. As part of the rules are that they only apply if BOTH sides honor them, such actions are technically not illegal.
  • The LINE system of martial arts, used by the Marines but abandoned in 2000 due to its lack of non lethal takedown options, is essentially this trope deliberately applied. The technique consists primarily of ways to neuter an attack by almost breaking an appendage, tripping and/or throwing that opponent to the ground with you still standing, then viciously stomping their face or head for the kill.
  • The Roman Empire was well known for its gladiator games, insane emperors, and insane emperors who like to play gladiator. So what did Emperor Claudius, a genius cripple obviously too infirm to fight as a gladiator, do? Fight against a beached whale.
    Pliny the Elder's Historia Naturalis: A killer whale was actually seen in the harbour of Ostia, locked in combat with the emperor Claudius. She had come when he was completing the construction of the harbour, drawn there by the wreck of a ship bringing leather hides from Gaul, and feeding there over a number of days, had made a furrow in the shallows: the waves had raised up such a mound of sand that she couldn't turn around at all, and while she was pursuing her banquet as the waves moved it shorewards, her back stuck up out of the water like the overturned keel of a boat. The Emperor ordered that a large array of nets be stretched across the mouths of the harbour, and setting out in person with the Praetorian cohorts gave a show to the Roman people, soldiers showering lances from attacking ships, one of which I saw swamped by the beast's waterspout and sunk.
  • W.E. Fairbairn advocated the "bronco kick" as a Finishing Move.
  • Willy Monteiro Duarte, an 21-year-old Italian of Capo Verdean origins, was killed by a kick on his head while he was down, after he had come to the rescue of a friend who was being beaten up by the same group of guys who will end up killing him.
  • A particularly cruel example came in early railroading history in Britain. In 1892, Signalman James Holmes had spent 36 hours awake trying to tend to his deathly ill daughter, including finding a doctor when the local one in the area wasn't available. She tragically passed, and he told his supervisor he wouldn't be able to make it in to work. His supervisor telegraphed the Assistant District Signals over in York to ask for a relief signalman, but they wouldn't and ordered him to work his scheduled shift in spite of the fact he was grieving and deathly exhausted. As a consequence, a goods train that Holmes had forgotten about when he dozed off was hit by a local express. Luckily, in a reverse example of this trope, the jury acquitted Holmes and held the railway responsible for such a callous act.
  • Similarly, in 1918, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company was dealing with a motorman's strike, so they forced Antonio Edward Luciano, a dispatcher, to work the trains. Like the Holmes example above, he was dealing with the loss of his young daughter to the Spanish Flu, and was recovering from having it himself, but was forced to cover the lines anyway. Like with Holmes, Luciano's fatigue got the better of him, and a subway train on an unfamiliar route, driven by a man who had little training on how to run them, jumped the tracks and killed over 90 people.

Alternative Title(s): Kick Them While Theyre Down


Abbacchio Joins the Kicking

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