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Percussive Prevention

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Jessica Rabbit: Oh, no! Where's Roger?
Eddie Valiant: Roger? He chickened out on me back at the studio.
Jessica Rabbit: No, he didn't. I hit him on the head with a frying pan and stuffed him in the trunk. So he wouldn't get hurt.
Eddie Valiant: Makes perfect sense.

Bob is about to do something that Charlie considers stupid — attempting a Heroic Sacrifice, becoming The Bait, otherwise putting himself in danger, or about to act like a Leeroy Jenkins. Charlie could try to reason with Bob and persuade him not to go, but he takes a much faster and more direct option.

He punches Bob in the jaw. (The gut and/or solar plexus are also popular areas.)

Nine times out of ten, this will put Bob out like a light, but even when it doesn't it still subdues him long enough for Charlie to take his place or forcibly remove him from danger. Bob may be cursing and raging (or even attempting to return the punch), but Charlie will brush him off and insist that he only did what he had to do.

A subtrope of Cruel to Be Kind, since this sort of treatment hurts, even if it saves Bob from worse. Since one hero attacking another looks really bad out of context, this is a common source of Superdickery.

See Kind Restraints for a softer version of this. Compare Percussive Shutdown when this tactic is used against an object rather than a character. Can result in Percussive Therapy if the recipient of the hit has been a source of frustration for the person doing the hitting. A common reason for this is that the character punching you out is More Expendable Than You. Compare Get A Hold Of Yourself Man, Dope Slap, Saved From Their Own Honor and Don't Say Such Stupid Things!.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Angel Sanctuary an already dying Kira punches Katou in the stomach in order to essentially commit suicide. Or maybe it was just a case of Taking the Bullet.
  • Bleach
    • While getting Orihime away from the scene of a battle between Uryu Ishida and Captain Kurotsuchi, a Soul Reaper knocks her out to keep her from going back to help Uryu.
    • When Ichigo tried to confront Captain Kuchiki outside Rukia's place of imprisonment, Yoruichi rendered him unconscious and escaped with him. She knew he wasn't strong enough to fight Captain Kuchiki yet and would just get himself killed.
    • Used again with Orihime and Chad during the Fullbringer arc. Urahara and Isshin were able to knock out Chad and Orihime since they were kinda distracted while Tsukishima was busy Mind Raping them.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta knocks Goku, Trunks and Goten out (in that order) to keep them from fighting Buu.
    • In the alternate future, Future Gohan knocks Trunks out to keep him from fighting the androids. By the time Trunks wakes up, Gohan is already dead.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Homer punches Panther in the face to prevent him from attacking their racist coach, which would get him kicked off the team and possibly out of the school. In a later episode, Tetsuma smacks Monta around to keep him from going ballistic on the referee and getting his team thrown out of the Fall Tournament.
  • Used occasionally in Fairy Tail, usually by Gray and Natsu on each other when one of them is too injured to fight but too stubborn not to. Erza also employs this on Natsu once to save him the pain of crippling motion sickness. Natsu inverts this on Erza, knocking her out with a punch to the stomach in order to fight Jellal for her.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka has Onizuka put bossy, self-righteous Vice-Principal Uchiyamada in a German Suplex for trash-talking some angry delinquents he'd had expelled from school. Which pacifies the delinquents and prevents them from doing anything worse to Uchiyamada.
  • In Inuyasha, the "sharp shot to the solar plexus" move was once used by Miroku to subdue a peasant girl whom he was trying to move to safety.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders:
    • Kakyoin shoots Polnareff with an Emerald Splash to knock him out of the way of Hol Horse's bullet. It happens again much later on: when Vanilla Ice is about to ambush the party of Avdol, Polnareff, and Iggy, Avdol smacks the latter two out of the way at the cost of his own life.
    • Polnareff knocks Kakyoin out when his attempts at telling the others that the Mannish Baby is one of Dio's minions forces him to try and make it expose its true colors. It ends up working in their favor since it allowed Kakyoin to bring his Stand to the dream world.
  • Naruto: Hiashi Hyuga's twin brother Hizashi knocks him out with a punch to the solar plexus in order to take his place as a human sacrifice.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy knocks out Mayor Boodle when the old man tries to challenge Buggy the Clown. Later Luffy violently forces Johnny and Yosaku down to stop them interfering during Zoro one-sided duel with Mihawk. Much later in the Dressrosa he knocks out Bellamy, effectively saving him from Domflamingo.
    • Nami does this to boy in her village. When he wants to avenge his father who Arlong killed, Nami whacks him down with her staff. Usually Nami wouldn't dream of hurting a child but in this case she was protecting him. Even when pretending to be evil she's still a Mama Bear. Later she pretends to stab Usopp to fool Arlong and save his life.
    • Doctor Kureha also uses these methods to keep patients from doing anything that will worsen their condition or even make them incurable. She violently floored Sanji to keep him from further injuring his back and paralyzing himself.
    • Sanji himself does this to Usopp in Skypeia, kicking him out of the way Enel's lighting blast which would've undoubtedly vaporized Usopp. Sanji on the other hand decided to take the blast himself. Later in Water 7, Sanji floors Chopper in his Heavy form to restrain him from getting involved in Luffy and Usopp's duel.
      • Much later in Zou Sanji nearly breaks his chivalry when he physically throws Nami, Chopper and Brook to safety out of Bege's body. Though he does tell them to watch their heads as they land.
    • In Thriller Bark, Zoro knocks Sanji out to keep Sanji from possibly sacrificing his life to a high-powered government thug in Luffy's place. Before that Zoro is often shown violently shoving Nami out of harm's way like in Alabasta and in Foxy filler.
  • In the initial arc of Saint Seiya, when Shun and Shiryu confront Ikki to retrieve remainder of the Gold Cloth he stole, Shun knocks Shiryu unconscious (in the anime, he simply wraps Shiryu head-to-toe in his chains) to prevent him from interfering with resolving his family affairs (namely, Shun plans to let Ikki kill him; it's complicated). It fails because Hyoga (with a gaping hole in his chest) and Seiya show up just in time.
  • Done a few times in Sgt. Frog, like in episode 2 where Keroro drops about a dozen metal wash basins on Momoka's head to stop her from pelting Tamama with volleyballs... and thus prevent her from provoking Tamama into retaliating violently.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: In the manga adaptation, Kiyal joins Team Dai-Gurren for the final battle against The Anti-Spiral. When she realizes Kittan is going to perform a Self-Sacrifice Scheme, she tries to talk him into letting her go with him. He immediately knocks her out and proceeds to ensure Dai-Gurren's victory and Kiyal wakes up in time to witness his sacrifice.
  • Vampire Hunter D: In the 1985 movie, when danger approaches Doris Lang's house she volunteers to fight alongside D. D uses the talking mouth on his hand to put her to sleep so she can resist Count Magnus Lee's summons.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has the first duel between The Pharaoh and Dark Bakura. Dark Bakura has just set Man-Eater Bug in defense mode (read, anything that attacks it sets off its ability, which kills any monster on the field, and it's set to go off next turn anyway). Tristan attempts to attack it and take the ability to save his friends. This earns him a sword hilt to the stomach, courtesy of Flame Swordsman!Joey, who proceeds to do it himself.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: Whenever Cacofonix looks like he's about to sing, there is usually another Gaul, almost always Fulliautomatix the blacksmith, ready to spare everyone else the horror by pummeling him into giving up (or unconsciousness, whichever comes first).
  • Batman:
    • Batgirl knocks Cassandra out to keep her from joining a serious fight, she's trying to protect her best friend but Stephanie ends up fed up with the Batfamily's attempts to dissuade her from crimefighting and test her competency, she ends up punching Batman for this, to her horror as she roofhops away.
    • When Barbara Gordon revealed to Cassandra Cain that she knew about both the murder she committed as a child and the death duel with Lady Shiva which she was fully intending to throw planned for that very night she stated that she was going to put a stop to the latter (presumably by calling in backup). Cass promptly apologized, shut down Babs' voluntary nervous system, settled her head as comfortably as possible as she reassured her the effects were temporary, and went to her death.
  • Daredevil kicks the new White Tiger off a building so she won't try to fight Bullseye.
  • During a Walt Simonson arc of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards refuses to escape from a site targeted for imminent destruction without rescuing Sue and Johnny first, prompting Ben Grimm to knock him out and cart him off to safety. After the place blows up and (apparently) kills the Storms, Reed predictably flips out at Ben, who justifies his actions in an unexpected reversal of their usual Red Oni, Blue Oni roles by reminding Reed that while the two of them would would have gladly died rather than leave Sue and Johnny behind, the entire universe is about to be annihilated and without Reed, the others along for the ride — Thor, Iron Man, and Ms. Marvel — would have no chance in hell of saving it.
  • In Green Arrow #24, Shado knocks Green Arrow to prevent him going to fight Count Vertigo while injured, then goes to fight Vertigo herself.
  • During an arc of Justice League of America, Captain Marvel punches out Superman in order to take his place on a trip to the 5th Dimension, where Captain Marvel's abilities are somewhat better suited to the task.
  • In the classic Sun-Eater storyline in Legion of Super-Heroes, Ferro Lad knocks out Superboy and takes the bomb into the heart of the monster in a Heroic Sacrifice, knowing that the red sun radiation from the Sun-Eater would have rendered Superboy vulnerable to the bomb.
  • In Star Fox, Falco knocks out Fox to prevent him from attempting to fly though the black hole, and offers to go in his place, arguing that Fox is a better dogfighter, but he [Falco] is a better pilot.
  • When the sheriff of Laastekist lets Frank out of his cell to fight the criminals infesting his town during The Punisher: Suicide Run event, Frank knocks him out so he won't be in the line of fire.
  • In Runaways, Xavin has on at least two occasions clocked out their teammates to prevent them from getting killed. The first time was during Secret Invasion, where they clocked all of the other Runaways in a panic after running into a past acquaintance. The second time was at the end of the "Dead Wrong" arc, where, Xavin clocked Karolina after the latter planned to hand herself over to the Light Brigade in order to convince the Light Brigade to spare the rest of the team.
  • Saga: Yuma knocks Ghüs out with a fire extinguisher to stop him from getting killed while fixing the fuel leak. She takes over him, saving the ship and getting to die as she lived: high as fuck.
  • Sin City
    • In one of the very few times that he hits a woman, Marv does this to Wendy in order to spare her from watching him torture her sister's killer to death, something that would "give her nightmares."
    • Lucille, Marv's parole officer, does the same to Marv earlier on to stop him from fighting the cops after the escape from the farm, saying that she's not going to let him get either of them killed. Unfortunately for Lucille, the cops sent to the farm turn out to be a death squad who proceed to murder Lucille after she tells them what she knows.
  • During Walt Simonson's run on Thor, Thor, Balder and Skurge (a former Thor villain known as the Executioner) lead an army of souls in a daring escape from Hel, the Norse underworld. The souls must cross the bridge of Gjallerbru, with an army of demon warriors on their heels. Thor orders Balder to lead the souls to escape while he holds the bridge. Skurge knocks Thor out and tells Balder, "You and Thor have a drink when you are next in Asgard and laugh Skurge's last laugh together. I will hold the bridge." Skurge then holds the bridge with two M-16s, going down in an absolutely classic Dying Moment of Awesome. Or, to quote the closing narrative;
    They sing no songs in Hel, nor do they celebrate heroes. For silent is that dismal realm and cheerless.
    But the story of the Gjallerbru and the lone god who defended it is whispered across the Nine Worlds. And when a new arrival asks about the one to whom even Hela bows her head, the answer is always the same.
    He stood alone at Gjallerbru. And that answer is enough.

    Comic Strips 
  • Modesty Blaise: In "Milord", Willie knocks Modesty out so she cannot interfere with a group of women taking their revenge on the men who raped and tortured them.

    Fan Works 
  • Better Bones AU: Breezepelt knocks out Crowfeather, so he can go on the dangerous journey to StarClan to fight Ashfur instead of Crowfeather.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Emily hits her husband Jack over the head with an aluminum pan to stop him from killing Mittens in "The Survivor."
  • A Knight's Tale as Inquisitor: During the sacking of Haven, the Inner Circle rejects Arturia's insistence on going outside to delay the Elder One's forces, with Cassandra being the most vocal about it. Arturia responds by knocking Cassandra out and make it clear that she's going, heavily implying that she'll do the same to the others if they try to stop her.
  • Manchester Lost practically runs on this trope. Crowley handcuffs Aziraphale in his Bentley to prevent a Heroic Sacrifice, then Aziraphale escapes and crucifies Crowley. Later, in the Armageddon fight, Raphael, Aziraphale, and Crowley toss this role around near-constantly.

    Films — Animation 
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Jessica Rabbit hits her husband Roger with a frying pan to keep him out of harm's way. It does make perfect sense in Roger's case; as he's a Toon, physical violence will only temporarily incapacitate him. The villains, however, are using Dip, which can kill him.
  • In Turning Red, after Mei throws a dodgeball at Tyler hard enough to give him a Close-Call Haircut, her friends subdue her and herd her away before she can do any more damage.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied in the movie Almost Heroes. Chris Farley's character attempts to do this to another character, but it doesn't knock him out. After he starts to pick up a big rock, he's told to just go ahead.
  • Armageddon (1998): A.J. (Ben Affleck) has to be the one to remain on the asteroid and detonate the bomb, after drawing the short straw. Instead, Harry (Bruce Willis) disconnects an oxygen tube from his space suit, forcing him to go back to the shuttle and let Harry do the job.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: Although the means of knocking Drax out is quite peaceful, Mantis otherwise pulls this trope off when Drax is about to act on a suicidally-bad idea to revenge-charge Thanos, using her sleep-inducing ability to subdue Drax.
  • Cradle of Fear: When Inspector Neilson announces that he going to Fenham Asylum to kill Kemper, his boss Chief Inspector Roper says—very sympathetically—that he can't allow him to do that. Neilson replies that he knows, and slugs Roper in the jaw, knocking him out.
  • In The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne is having a party in Harvey Dent's honour, and The Joker shows up at the penthouse looking for Dent. Bruce sneaks up behind Dent, puts a sleeper hold on him til he passes out, then locks him in a closet. This is presumably because Bruce knew Dent would try to put on a brave face in front of the Joker, and he just wanted him to be safe while he suited up and faced the Joker himself as Batman.
  • Demolition Man: Spartan zaps Huxley with a glow rod to keep her from coming after him when he goes into the Cryo-prison after Simon Phoenix.
  • In the 2016 remake of Grease, Danny deliberately hits Kenickie in the head with a car door so he can take his place in the drag race. He did this accidentally in the original movie.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 features a variation of this. When Gamora learns that Starlord is still on Ego as the planet is imploding, she attempts to go out, find him, and bring him back to the ship. Rocket however stops her by zapping her in the back and paralyzing her, knowing that Yondu has things taken care of...
  • In Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Helena punches the wounded Indy in the face and knocks him out to prevent him from remaining in the past as he wants to do.
  • In More Dead Than Alive, Cain stops Wes from joining the escape attempt, and probably getting killed, by punching him hard in the stomach and knocking him out.
  • In Murder by Proxy, Casey knocks out Phyllis (without warning her) to make it look like he has murdered her, so the killer will assume she is already dead and target him instead.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Elizabeth fights her way through a Bar Brawl started by Norrington in order to knock him out before he gets himself killed by the other bar patrons.
  • In Princess of Mars, Carter stops Dejah Thoris from staging a futile Last Stand against the Tharks by knocking her out and claiming her as his prisoner.
  • The Pumaman has the inscrutable Aztec hero knock out the Designated Hero so that Aztec can go on a suicide mission alone.
  • Punisher: War Zone has Frank doing this to a character before going in a house full of armed crooks.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Joe punches Polly to stop her from helping him destroy an art-deco flying rocket-ship ark. Subverted, as she isn't really knocked out, and ends up saving his ass... right before punching him back.
  • Star Trek:
    • At the climax of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the Enterprise's warp engines are damaged, and repairing them would require exposing someone to large amounts of radiation. Spock immediately heads to the engine room to try to make the repairs himself. McCoy attempts to stop him, but Spock nerve-pinches him and ends up sacrificing his life so the crew can survive.
    • Echoed in the new movie Star Trek Into Darkness, where Kirk thumps Scotty and straps him into a chair before going into the core himself.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi:
    • An extreme (and rather contentious) example: As the First Order attempt to break into the rebel stronghold with a gigantic laser, Finn flies a speeder into the beam and towards the emitter, aiming to pull a Heroic Sacrifice and destroy it. Rose Tico prevents this by crashing her speeder into his, totalling both speeders and knocking them away from the beam's path, and allowing the First Order to break in.
    • Leia knocks Poe out with a non-lethal Blaster shot when the latter attempts to incite a mutiny, based on the assumption that Holdo is taking the coward's way out after finding out she was preparing escape ships. She's not; she's setting up her and her ship's Heroic Sacrifice by first ensuring everyone on board is safely evacuated first.
  • In Sunset, Wyatt Earp knocks punches a drunk Michael Alperin in the face and knocks him out to prevent him from climbing out of the car when they are trying to spirit him away from the crime scene. Later, Tom Mix dives into the marina to save a drowning Arthur. Arthur can't swim and is panicking, so Mix knocks him out with a crank handle so he can tow him to safety.
  • In Tamara, Chloe sees that Kisha is on the phone to Tamara and asks her to lean in close so she can explain the plan, and then punches Kisha in the face to prevent her from telling Tamara their location.
  • They Live! has a scene similar to this, in which two barely acquainted people proceed to beat the crap out of each other for a full five minutes over one getting the other to put on a pair of sunglasses that let the wearer detect all the hidden brainwashing messages in popular media. This is largely Fanservice: one of the characters was played by Roddy Piper, and they were doubtless expecting a lot of pro wrestling fans to be watching.
  • In The Thin Man (from 1934!), Nick punches Nora out cold to get himself (and her, and Asta) out of a sticky situation. She's not too happy when she comes to, but she lets him off the hook when he explains. Then they have a drink together.
  • Tremors: Valentine elbows Earl in the stomach to stun him so Valentine can risk his life running to the tractor to save everyone (and risk being killed by the Graboids).
  • Underwater. When Norah is trying to force Haversham into the last Escape Pod she gives her a punch in the face; partly to force her back into the pod, but also to calm her enough that Haversham will listen to Norah's reason why Haversham should be the one to go.
  • One of the big scenes in Shane. Except instead of going down with one punch, Shane and Starrett end up in a knock down drag out fight to see which one of them gets to ride into town and face down The Gunslinger that's been hired to kill Star.
  • Van Helsing was originally going to punch Anna Valerious in the face to keep her from going out to hunt Dracula. When watching the dailies, director Steve Sommers realized how bad this looked, and reshot the scene so that Van Helsing used a spray of knockout gas instead.
  • Viva Knievel!: Evel's rival, Jessie, knocks him out to keep him from attempting a jump he (Evel) knows has been sabotaged. Jessie then dons Evel's uniform and performs the jump himself. And dies.
  • The War Wagon: When a drunk Billy is about to spill details of the planned heist in front of Pierce in the saloon, Lomax knocks him cold to prevent him talking; claiming that he had insulted a saloon girl as a an excuse.
  • In The World's End, when the group is attacked by "robots", Andy knocks Gary out to prevent him from trying to finish the pub crawl. Gary wakes up shortly after though, and manages to continue.
  • Yamato: When the order is given to abandon ship, Kamio wants to stay and fight to the death. Moriwaki and Uchida have to physically throw him out of the anti-aircraft gun nest in order to get him to go.

  • 1635: The Papal Stakes: When Cardinal Borja's forces are besieging the Castel Gandolfo, the Pope expresses his intention to stay and be killed in order to prevent a schism in the Catholic Church. Harry Lefferts punches him in the jaw and hauls him bodily out the postern gate.
  • Able Team. In Army of Devils, Carl Lyons does a mild version, shoving his Action Girlfriend off a helicopter just before it takes off. He should have knocked her out instead, because she gets pissed-off and commandeers another helicopter, which flies right into an RPG-7 rocket.
  • An instance of this trope can be considered the Point of Divergence in the Arcia Chronicles, which then has contained a pretty faithful Fantasy Conflict Counterpart of Wars of the Roses. Namely, during the Battle of Graza (Bosworth), Alexander Tagere's (Richard III) final Self-Destructive Charge is cut short by his Best Friend Raphael Kerna knocking him out and hoisting his body over a horse that'd carry him out of the melee. Thus, Alexander survives where Richard died.
  • In Animorphs #46, Ax knocks out Jake so that Jake won't have to bear the responsibility for Ax's plan to threaten Visser Two with the nuking of the Yeerk Pool (and therefore, the Animorphs' hometown).
  • BattleTech: Galen Cox slugs this trope in Victor Steiner-Davion's face when he is determined to return to the battlefield to save his command. He wakes up in a dropship leaving the atmosphere of the planet he was assigned to for safety.
  • Lelldorin in the Belgariad mentions to Garion, while describing his (Lelldorin's) flight from Vo Mimbrae, that he punched out a friend of his "because I didn't want to hurt him". (If the friend had had the chance, honor would have demanded he fight Lelldorin to the death.)
  • Near the end of Deadhouse Gates, the second book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Icarium is about to wreak havoc to the Azath and, in consequence, either be trapped by it or let all the beasties it's already trapped run free, so his friend Mappo just whacks him over the head. Ya know, just in case. It works.
  • Deathstalker: Captain John Silence insists he's going down with his ship, and there's nothing Investigator Frost can say to change his mind. She agrees, then knocks him out with one punch.
  • Discworld: Vimes does this in Night Watch at one point to stop his younger self from getting himself killed.
    • In Wintersmith, Tiffany's father is prevented from throwing himself into a bonfire by bystanders, who'd been watching him in case the fuel ran out, as he thought it would mean both his daughter and her patient would freeze.
  • Mary Russell: Holmes knocks Mary out to prevent her from attempting to dive into the river after him in A Monstrous Regiment of Women.
  • A Storm of Swords: Sandor Clegane knocks Arya unconscious with the flat of an axe to keep her from charging into the Red Wedding in a suicidal attempt to save her brother and mother.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Angel episode "Hero", Doyle punches Angel off a high platform to take his place in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Babylon 5: In "A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 2", Babylon 5 is at risk of being destroyed by the planet below blowing itself to pieces. Sinclair asks Garibaldi to make sure that Ivanova makes it onto an escape ship, even if Garibaldi has to knock her out and bodily toss her in. Fortunately, this proves unnecessary.
  • In The Boys (2019), Butcher learns that the Psycho Serum he and Hughie have been using is slowly killing them, and he knocks Hughie out and strands him in a gas station to keep him from taking any more.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy applies some to her watcher, Giles, on more than one occasion.
    • The original was in "Prophecy Girl", wherein after Buffy has her 10-Minute Retirement over her prophesied death and the associated She's Back moment, Giles tells her he is going to face the Master in her stead, and "there's nothing you can say that can change my mind." Buffy replies that she knows, and then roundhouse punches him. Thud.
    • Later, Giles' "unfortunate tendency to get knocked on the head" by friends and foes alike becomes a bit of a Running Gag.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Ark in Space": The Doctor and Rogin, a space technician, need to decide who stays and gets killed when the rocket they're working on blasts off.
      Rogin: You don't want trouble with the Space Technician's Union, Doctor! [thump] That's my job!
    • "Battlefield": The Brigadier one-punches the Seventh Doctor and faces the Destroyer on his own.
    • "Forest of the Dead": River Song knocks out the Doctor to prevent him from sacrificing himself, and takes his place instead.
  • One episode of Falling Skies saw the Espheni put out a bounty on Tom Mason's head, with the rest of the 2nd Mass being threatened with harsh retaliation is they refused to hand him over. He was all prepared to turn himself in... and then Tector clocked him and took his spot.
  • In Farscape, John fails to resist Scorpius, gives up and tells Aeryn he's going to turn himself in. Aeryn knocks him out.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • An accidental example: Tyrion Lannister, a man with dwarfism and no experience at combat, is about to personally take part in a battle on his father Tywin's orders. Thankfully (though embarrassingly), one of the charging warriors under his command accidentally whacks him upside the head with his hammer, rendering him unconscious for the remainder of the battle.
    • Played straight when Sandor Clegane does this to Arya when she tries to get to her family just as they're being massacred by the Freys and Boltons.
      Clegane: It's too late. [Bam!]
  • In Highlander: The Series, Methos once shot Duncan in the heart to keep him from participating in a duel where he was sure to get killed. This being Highlander, Duncan was none too pleased when he healed up.
  • Horatio Hornblower (1998 – 2003) has two examples from "The Even Chance" (AKA "The Duel"):
    • Mr Midshipman Clayton knocks Mr Midshipman Hornblower out with a tiller just before Hornblower is due to go fight a duel with Mr Midshipman Simpson, taking his place as his second. He thinks that as an older and more senior officer, it's him who should deal with Simpson, not Hornblower who is just a boy in his eyes. Simpson is wounded, Clayton is gutshot, living just long enough for Hornblower to come round, reach the shore and listen to his Last Words.
    • Later in the same episode, when Mr. Midshipman Kennedy is suffering a seizure while they attempt to sneak up on a French warship, Mr. Midshipmen Hornblower gives him a Tap on the Head, before leaving the unconscious man in the boat while they board the ship. Mr. Midshipman Simpson casts the boat adrift and we don't see the man again until two episodes later.
  • In Lost, Charlie knocks out Desmond when he tries to take his place swimming to the underwater Dharma station.
  • On Oz, in the long feud between Beecher and Schillinger, Schillinger gets his son to kidnap Beecher's children and kill one of them. In retaliation, Beecher arranges to have Schillinger's son killed, but feels remorseful afterwards. So remorseful, in fact, that when Schillinger is about to find out that Beecher was responsible Beecher decides to own up to it. Keller wants to confess to the crime instead so that Beecher won't become a target. Beecher tells him no. Keller knocks Beecher out so that Beecher can't stop him from taking credit for the murder and then runs off to do so.
  • Primeval: In the Season 2 finale, Stephen swings a punch at Cutter to stop the latter from locking himself in Leek's cage room with an army of creatures in an effort to contain them. Then Stephen locks himself in the room before Cutter recovers from the blow, playing this trope very straight.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Dimension Jump", Ace Rimmer does this to Kryten to stop him going out in heavy rain to fix the ship. (Kryten isn't waterproof and hence would be damaged.)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • In "Obsession", Ensign Garrovick tries to knock out Captain Kirk with a judo chop so he can be the one to lure the vampire cloud to the antimatter bomb.
    • In "The Empath", McCoy knocks out Kirk and Spock with Instant Sedation drug injections so he will be the one to be taken and tortured by the Vians.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "The Die is Cast", Odo does this to Garak when Garak refuses to leave his (evil) old mentor behind on an exploding ship.
    • In "Once More Unto the Breach", when Worf prepares a suicide mission to protect the crew of a Klingon ship from the Dominion, Kor knocks him out and does the Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "No Rest for the Wicked", during Sam and Dean's assault aimed to kill Lilith (who is currently possessing a little girl and holding the girl's family hostage), the family father refuses to get in the basement for his safety without his wife. Dean resolves the debate by punching the guy's lights out and then putting him in the basement.
    • In "The End", when Present Dean discovers Future Dean is going to feed his own friends into a meat grinder for the sake of his last-ditch desperate attempt to kill the Bad Future version of Lucifer, Present Dean makes it clear that he's willing to put a stop to it here and now rather than let Future Dean defeat Lucifer this way. Future Dean simply knocks Present Dean out while the latter is off-guard to resolve that complication, and by the time Present Dean wakes up, the attack is already underway.
  • The X-Files: In "Anasazi", Scully shoots Mulder into his shoulder to keep him from killing Krycek. And as he lampshades, he's lucky she has Improbable Aiming Skills because he comes out none the worse for wear.
  • In the first episode of Vagrant Queen, one of Elida's would-be followers whacks her in the back of the head in order to stop her from launching a rescue mission for a bartender who's being held hostage by Republic troops.

  • In Leslie Fish's filk Some Kind of Hero, there's one space suit left, and two people who need it. One character starts to suggest flipping a coin, when the other hits him/her from behind. When he/she wakes up, the other had put him in the suit, and sat dead smiling, "with the ice on her face and her hair."

    Video Games 
  • In the finale of Captain Rainbow, the island is facing destruction, and Hikari tells you to escape on the last wishing star. You can refuse, but Hikari will still insist you go. Since she won't take no for an answer, you knock her out, put her on the star and send her off to safety.
  • In Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory, when the Delicate and Sickly Erika insists on leaving the hospital to help the Player Character track down the Big Bad Arcadiamon, her partner Wormmon headbutts her unconscious and justifies it by saying she'd do the same for him.
  • At the end of Dino Crisis, Gail is heavily injured, but still insists on finding and capturing Dr. Kirk, even though the whole lab is about to blow. One of the player's options is having Regina punch Gail in the stomach to knock him out and let Rick carry him to the escape boat while Regina can either follow them or she can get Kirk herself.
  • In the early days of Dungeons & Dragons Online, the "Threnal" quest chain was infamous for a hold-the-line quest wherein you needed to protect an NPC who liked nothing better than to charge every group of monsters — and consequently draw too much aggro and get himself killed. Nowadays, he can be knocked unconscious with a dialogue option.
  • This happens in Dynasty Warriors 7 during Shu's story mode. At the battle of Yi Ling, Liu Bei tries to take on the entire Wu army by himself to get revenge for his fallen sworn brothers. Zhao Yun, who had pleaded with him to fall back, finally stops him with an elbow to the stomach, which knocks him out, leaving him to be carried away from the battlefield by some allied troops.
  • Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind: After Ayumi decides to personally confront a possible suspect in the murder case, she mixes sleeping medicine into Taro's drink to keep him from getting harmed in case something goes wrong, she rapidly apologizes after the medicine starts to affect him.
  • Galaxy Angel: In Moonlit Lovers, Chitose attempts this on Tact on the last mission, knocking him out temporarily and deciding to pilot the Final Weapon by herself, because she thinks it'll be a suicidal mission and she wants to follow her father's example. Tact has to convince her to let him in by telling her that her father never wanted to die, and she shouldn't throw her life away like that.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, Tony is ordered to kill several men with a supply of satchel charges. Knowing that he's drugged up and has no clue how to use them, Luis knocks him out and does the job himself.
  • Grim Fandango: In Year 2, Meche throws a champagne bottle at Manny to stop him from boarding the ship as Domino was planning to capture him the moment he went aboard.
  • Metal Gear:
  • Metroid: Other M: There's a controversial example when Adam shoots Samus in the back to prevent her from entering the Metroid breeding lab. The problem is that he could have easily warned her verbally instead, and stunning her like that allowed a Metroid to get within attacking range before he stopped it.
  • In Mother 3, once Flint learns of his wife's death, he goes into a denial-fueled rage; swinging a piece of wood around and injuring some of the villagers before getting knocked unconscious.
  • Sengoku Basara: At one point, Masamune gets injured during the fight with Nobunaga. He faints while riding away on his horse (don't ask) and his faithful retainer, Kojuro, gets him to safety. But when some of Masamune's men gets kidnapped, Masamune wakes up at the worst possible time and overhears the news. He insists on rescuing his men despite his weakened state, while Kojuro attempts to stop him. The two battle a bit, then Kojuro takes advantage of Masamune's still sensitive wound and knocks his lord out with a blade hilt to the head. One of the men who had managed to escape the kidnapping (and whom delivered the news) yells at Kojuro, asking him why he did that. Kojuro doesn't respond, but it's clear by the look in his eyes that his actions were done out of a deep love and sense of duty towards Masamune. Kojuro then borrows Masamune's swords, promising to rescue the kidnapped men himself.
  • Happens twice in Suikoden II once early in the game, Tsai of the Holy Spear may knock out two of the main characters to preventing them from fighting against Luca Blight, and later on the game Flik knocks out e major of Greenhill to prevent her turning herself in to the enemy army.
  • Halfway through the second arc of Tales of Vesperia, Brave Vesperia are about to embark on a dangerous mission to help address an issue that the new leader of the guild Altosk caused. When he says that he is coming with them, Raven decks him with a yell of "Like hell you are!"

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Mitzi knocks out Dan when he's suffering from the Knife Eye Attack.
  • In Everyday Heroes, Mr. Mighty knocks out Iron Jane to prevent her from committing murder for revenge.
  • Homestuck:
    • Dave and Rose get to arguing about which of them will undertake a suicide mission involving a giant bomb. Rose eventually beans Dave with her magic yarn ball to make him fall asleep, so she can go on the mission alone. He gets woken up when his dream projection is killed, and then joins Rose anyway.
    • Happens again when Kanaya knocks out Karkat shortly before the epic final showdown with the villians. This is done mostly to keep him out of the way, as he is apparently needed for an important mission later down the road. Though he gets woken up early and ends up fighting against Clover.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent has a magic-based variant. While Sharing a Body with Lalli, Emil becomes extremely vulnerable to a type of Compelling Voice that Lalli can resist, but not override if someone else falls victim to it. Lalli's preferred method to keep Emil from getting lured into deadly traps by the voice is to instead use magic to either give him a headache so crippling that his body can't move or outright drag his mind into the dream/spirit realm (which causes his physical body to outright collapse).

    Web Video 
  • Critical Role: While investigating a watery cavern beneath Vokodo's lair, Caduceus finds a hidden entrance to said lair, and falls victim to the thrall it emits, giving him the uncontrollable urge to swim to the lair itself. Fjord notices and tries to drag him out, but is shaken off when Caduceus casts Blindness on him before darting into the tunnel. Beau, who is fastest, gives chase instead, subdues Caduceus by clocking him upside the head with Stunning Strike, and drags him out of the tunnel with Caleb's help. Every time it looks like Caduceus is starting to come to his senses, she simply clocks him again.

    Western Animation 
  • Danny Phantom: Happens in "Reign Storm" when (in no particular order) Maddie, Jazz, Mr. Foley, Mrs. Manson, the mayor, civilians, and the police push each other to the ground fighting over who will fight Pariah Dark and possibly die in the Ecto Battlesuit. We even get this little gem:
    Danny: I thought I was going to have to blast everybody with a ghost ray, but this is much more efficient.
  • Justice League Unlimited: In "The Cat and The Canary", Arrow takes Canary's place in Meta-Brawl when he knows Wildcat won't hesitate to go all-out at her. It drags on so long that Wildcat supposedly killed Arrow leaving him with My God, What Have I Done?.
  • In the World War I-set Looney Tunes cartoon "Dumb Patrol", Porky Pig is selected for a dangerous air mission, but Bugs Bunny drops a brick on his head and takes his place.
    Bugs: Y'know, I just had to take his place. He's got a wife and six piglets.
  • In ReBoot, when AndrAIa and Mouse are about to enter a game with Enzo, the former pretends that her zipboard is losing power. When Mouse comes to help her, AndrAIa snatches her zipboard so she won't enter the game, and she later justifies this to Enzo saying that, since their icons are untested, there was no need for both of them to take the risk.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Entrapta's attempt to warn Hordak about his activation of the portal that would destroy reality is prevented when Catra's overgrowing obsession to defeat Adora forces her to knock her out with a paralyzer.
    • In the wake of Etheria being released from Despondos, Hord Prime launching a full-scale invasion, and the Sword of Protection being shattered; a powerless and increasingly reckless Adora charges three Horde clones solo only to be tranqed and carried off by Scorpia.
  • Parodied on The Simpsons, when Homer tries to stop Barney from driving drunk by knocking him out. After getting whaled on with fists, a tire iron, and finally having his head slammed repeatedly in a car door, Barney remains very much conscious and a little bit confused at what Homer is up to.
    Barney: Ow! Cut it out. Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! All right, here, take the keys.
  • In the Teen Titans (2003) episode "Haunted", the team finds a badly-injured Robin claiming that Slade is alive. Despite the team's clear evidence that Slade is not around, Robin angrily proclaims that Slade still is and rants that if they get in his way he'll fight them, forcing Starfire to hit him with an energy blast.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In "Parasitica", Donatello tells Michelangelo to knock him out if he starts to turn after being bitten. When he does, Mikey does it reluctantly.
  • In the first episode of the X-Men: The Animated Series cartoon, Cyclops orders a retreat, but Wolverine refuses to abandon Beast and Morph. Because going back would be suicide, Rogue uses her power on him, knocking him out; they carry him out as they retreat.