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Punch Parry

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Nope, there is no punchline here.

You and your rival get yourselves into a fist fight. You each throw a punch simultaneously and, through some wild fluke, strike one another squarely on each others' fists. What happens?

In Real Life, of course, the result would be two broken or at very least very bruised hands/knuckles and the fight would end in a draw. In anime, video games, and other heavily stylized works, on the other hand, the punches cancel one another out and both parties are unharmed. In fact, one or both parties probably did this on purpose. This is a Punch Parry. It may be justified if both punchers have Nigh-Invulnerability or Invulnerable Knuckles, but more often than not the only explanation is the Rule of Cool. If both combatants have Super-Strength, expect to see a shockwave / hear a sonic boom when their fists meet.

Often results from Fearful Symmetry if two identical combatants are attacking each other. If done several times in rapid succession, may overlap with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs. Compare with Cross Counter and Pummel Duel (The Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs variant). See also Blade Lock. Not to be confused with fistbumping. Can sometimes result in a Kung-Fu Sonic Boom if the two opponents are of equal Super-Strength.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • A variation occurs in Baki the Grappler when Baki fights Hanayama, who has such gripping power that his large fists are extremely hard and destructive. So Baki aims for a punch parry where he first crushes Hanayama's pinky, making his foe unable to use an effective punch.
  • The Big O. Occurs during the fight between Big O and Big Duo in episode #24.
  • Black Clover: Lucifero counters Zora's punch, empowered with Lucifero's stolen magic, using a punch of his own. The recoil from the impact injures Zora.
  • Bleach:
    • In episode #12 of the anime, Chad and a Hollow swing at each other and hit each others' fist. In a variation, the Hollow has its arm ripped off.
    • When Chad tries this again much later, near the beginning of the Arrancar Arc, his arm is the one that's smashed.
    • Also, might be justified in the fact that his punches fire a beam of energy as well as deal physical damage. Thus that might have been what caused the damage, rather than the punch itself.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Justified. Accelerator has a Touch of Death, while Touma has an Anti-Magic right hand and only an Anti-Magic right hand. When Accelerator tries to grab him, his only real option is to punch Accelerator's hand. By the end of it, Accelerator has a few broken fingers.
  • Happens in Digimon Data Squad between Masaru and Kouki.
  • Happens all the time on Dragon Ball Z. Justified in that all major characters are at the level of Nigh-Invulnerability.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), the super-muscular Major Armstrong does this to a giant fist made out of stone! True, he was wearing a metal gauntlet, but even so, his punch actually manages to stop the stone fist (which is easily the size of his entire body) in its tracks. The force of their fists colliding is so great that Armstrong's shirt is blown completely to shreds by the shockwave.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Arise. Motoko does this while fighting a cyborg armed with an Arm Cannon, which successfully deactivates the weapon.
  • Gundam:
    • Gundam Build Fighters does this quite a few times:
      • The battle between Nils and Sei/Reiji, since due to Combat Breakdown they've been reduced to supercharged punch attacks. It's every bit as awesome as it sounds.
      • Again, due to combat breakdown, the battle between Fellini and Sei/Reiji ends with a Double Knockout and both the Wing Fenice and the Star Build Strike disabled. If anything, this entire battle is even more awesome than the one against Nils.
      • Happens again twice in the bonus OVA "GM's Counterattack,'' first with the Star Burning Gundam going fist to fist with the Psyco GM, then again at the end of the episode when Reiji takes control of the Star Burning to battle Sei in his Build Strike Cosmos, giving them the fight they'd promised each other.
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam loves doing this one, especially whenever Domon and Master Asia fought.
  • Subverted when Bean Bandit does one of these to an impostor in Gunsmith Cats. Bean ends up looking absolutely badass - the impostor ends up with a fistful of compound fractures sticking out of his hand.
    • Best part? Bean points out that the impostor is used to having his hands protected by boxing gloves, and he felt the bones in the guy's knuckles crack when he took a shot to the jaw. He's been bare-knuckle fistfighting his entire life, and his hands are exponentially more durable.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is the Trope Codifier for most japanese media, usually in reference to the final battle between Dio and Jotaro. This example and subsequent homages overlap with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs.
  • Subaru and Ginga from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S do this. It's justified as both of them are wielding Powered Armor gauntlets. The fact that they're both combat cyborgs also helps.
  • My Hero Academia has this between All Might and Nomu, which not only creates a shockwave that nearly blows everyone away, but lets All Might realize that Nomu's quirk was shock absorption, not nullification, thus, there was a limit to how much abuse Nomu could take before All Might could completely overwhelm him.
  • Naruto
    • Sakura and Ino do this during their Chuunin Exam fight.
    • In the final battle between Naruto and Sasuke, the two perform this in their titanic Tailed Beast Mode and Susanoo forms respectively.
  • Occasionally shows up in One Piece, most notably in the Luffy vs. Rob Lucci fight. Justified for Luffy because his bones are made of rubber and thus virtually unbreakable.
    • When Luffy confronts a mirrored version of him in Whole Cake Island, their entire fight consists of this as the mirror duplicate always perfectly reflects Luffy's moves, and at times even surpasses his in strength.
    • The Lucci vs. Luffy example gets a Call-Back hundreds of chapters later during a rematch between the two, with a nearly identical panel layout. Except now, both combatants have mastered Haki and awakened their Devil Fruit powers, resulting in the hits being much stronger and the destructive blowback much heavier.
  • In Sakigake!! Otokojuku, the main character, Momotaro, does this on purpose, and it's sold by the bystanders as his big-time secret technique. Its net effect is to disable the opponent's fist. It works great. Momo's Evil Mentor Senpai, Date Omito, uses something almost like this against a guy who attacks with his fingers, with the twist that his fingers are so strong that fist vs. fingers is an even match (his fingers are so strong that Date accounts for "overtraining" as one his opponent's weaknesses.) This leads to the great moment of Date's opponent doing Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs with his thumbs.
  • In the Street Fighter III manga, Ryu does this to Dudley. Although in that case, Ryu completely broke Dudley's arm.
  • Tekken: Blood Vengeance tried to up the ante on this by making it three-way between Jin, Kazuya, and Heihachi Mishima, causing a massive shockwave. Though, for three people's fists to meet in the center, at the same time, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. They would have to be either trying to meet in the center, aiming for thin air for some reason, or just being uniquely indecisive about who they want to punch most. To be fair, all of these are actually possible in context.
  • This happens in the final fight of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's first arc- between giant robots, so it's justified. Then Gurren Lagann produces some drills and wrecks up Lazengann's hand anyway.
  • Happens frequently in Transformers: Cybertron to represent a direct confrontation of sheer power, but the final battle between Galvatron and Starscream takes it to another level, with massive Battle Auras on both sides and a Sphere of Destruction sufficient to destroy a SMALL planet where their fists meet.
  • The Doma arc Yu-Gi-Oh! introduces Valon, who wears Armor monsters when he duels so he can pummel his opponents. Jounouchi conjures his own suit of battle armor, revives one of Valon's gauntlets and infuses it with with his own arc-themed superpowered card. Both duelists leap headlong into this trope, and the resultant shockwave is visible from several blocks away. Jounouchi destroys all of Valon's armor and wins.

    Fan Works 
  • Boldores and Boomsticks:
    • Grendel effortlessly blocks Yang's punch with its mace hand.
    • Tapu Koko and Yang do this during their first fight. Tapu Koko goes limp and throws Yang off balance as a demonstration of his greater tactical ability.
  • The Bridge has Equestria Girls Applejack intercept a punch by a humanized note  Monster X with one of her own. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome as while both have Super-Strength and a degree of Super-Toughness, X on account of keeping a portion of his true self's powers and Applejack from Equestrian magic, punching someone else's fist really hurts and both quickly recoil in pain. X's greater lowkey Healing Factor helped him recover later but Applejack needed a splint for several days.
  • In Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse, after realizing Masami is a match for her in speed and power, Ranma starts deliberately parrying her punches. Each parry is depicted as realistically painful and damaging, but Ranma's training gives her a higher pain tolerance so she can outlast Masami.

    Film — Animated 
  • Happens approximately halfway through the battle between Superman and Doomsday in Superman: Doomsday.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Bud Spencer's character "Hippo" Tom in Im For The Hippopotamus does that in his first fight on screen, with the mook being the one the worse for the wear.
  • The kung-fu movie The Boxer From Shantung has this happening between Ma Yong-zhen, the titular boxer and a huge Russian brawler during a cage match.
  • Wolverine does this in a cage match in X-Men, on purpose no less. Justified because he has an adamantium skeleton and a potent healing factor, so instead of bone meeting bone, it's more like bone meets a solid wall. The contender is every bit as injured as he should be; if Logan's knuckles are bruised, they've already healed by the time we see them again.
  • In a bizarre variation, when two boxing gloves do this in the trailer to Rocky IV, they explode.
  • Happens between Hellboy and Mr. Wink in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Justified since Hellboy's hand is made of extremely tough stone and Wink's is metal. Despite them both being superhumans, Surprisingly Realistic Outcome as Wink breaks his metal fingers in the attempt while Hellboy's hand is bruised.
  • In It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Russel and Hawthorne do this when they get into a scuffle. In a note of realism, it clearly hurts a lot.
  • The battle between the titular Wolf, Man-Hin, and the first Mook Lieutenant in Legend of the Wolf, the latter whose fist is wrapped around a chain.
  • The Matrix: Smith and Morpheus' first fight.
  • Speed Racer: Racer X versus his ninja. Twice. In one shot. (The Wachowskis love this trope.)
  • Kung Fu Hustle invokes this during the fight between the musicians and the Landlord, by way of Deadly Dodging to make the two musicians hit each other. They end up both hurting their hands very badly.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, this happens between the Hulk and Iron Man (With the latter using the Hulkbuster/Veronica armor), creating a shockwave that shatters glass windows and even pushes around civilians that are near the fight. Both Tony and Bruce seem unaffected but, given who they are, it's justified.
  • In Iron Man 3, Iron Man and the Extremis-powered Aldrich Killian does this move, and Killian's arm breaks, but his Healing Factor swiftly repairs the damage.
  • In Replicant, when the serial killer and his clone finally come to blows, they try hitting one another, only to result in this trope (also, strangely, their movements are exact mirrors of one another, which makes zero sense, as one would expect them to punch with the same hand). They both end up hurting one another's hand/leg and then move on to something else.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel. While in a comical Bar Brawl with some Italian thugs, Spike hits Angel, causing the two long-time rivals to start pounding on each other while "Take Me in Your Arms" is sung by Dean Martin — until they accidentally punch each other's fists and the fight comes to a painful halt.
  • A staple of the Kamen Rider franchise is two Riders launching their Rider Kicks at the same time and colliding to the point of being the franchises' equal of a Beam-O-War. Sometimes both are knocked aside and other times one overpowers the other on impact. However, a strange example occurs were the two attacks fight back and forth, each trying to overhelm the other until one finally wins, though this is often energized Rider Kicks that are somehow propelled forwards.
  • In Ultraman Taiga, this is the schtick of the Tri-Force's main powerhouse, Ultraman Titas, given his muscular strength and immense power. The episode where Titas battles Alien Gapiya notably had their fists connecting — and because of the massive difference in power, Gapiya ends up flying halfway across the city.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Melina Perez and Layla discovered this trope while feuding on Smackdown and WWE Super Stars when they both tried to kick each other in the head at the same time and accidentally knocked shins. Perplexed, they tried to kick each other two more times before Melina just let Layla whiff and then kicked her. In the next match where they accidentally blocked kicks, Layla immediately slapped Melina. Low Ki and AJ Styles had a similar spot in AJ's Ring of Honor debut but in that case they knocked ankles, leaving them both hobbling in pain. Kenny Omega and one of The Young Bucks had once tried to super kick each other, resulting in their legs getting tangled up and each hopping around trying not to lose balance, which ended up being Omega when the other Jackson then kicked him in the head.
  • On the 37th episode of ROH TV, Kenny King and Cedric Alexander, having come to a stalemate in grappling, put tried spinning heel kicks at once. The former thought it was funny.

    Theme Parks 
  • In the Marvel Super Heroes 4D show at Madame Tussauds is London, this happens when the Hulk and a giant robot swing blows at each other. The robot comes off the worse out of the exchange.

    Video Games 
  • Some fighting games (such as Super Smash Bros. and Guilty Gear) have a "clash" mechanic which effectively amounts to a Punch Parry.
  • In Asura's Wrath, Asura and Augus perform this twice during their fight on the moon, right before getting right back into it at Pummel Duel level. As demonstrated here. Asura also does this to counter Chakravartin the Creator's punch after he stops time (Which initiates a QTE).
  • Happens between Paul's Phoenix Smasher and Bryan's Mach Breaker in the Tekken 6 opening, resulting in a Kung-Fu Sonic Boom.
  • Happens in the Quick Time Events of the final boss of MadWorld The Black Baron. Please stop starin'!, which takes place in a boxing ring elevated miles above the city and boy is it AWESOME.
  • Street Fighter
    • Parrying is a gameplay mechanic in Street Fighter III. Only some of them are Punch Parries though, others are more sensible parries, and a couple are No Sells.
    • In the opening cinematic of Street Fighter IV Ken and Ryu perform one of these.
  • The Soul Series has this as a gameplay mechanic, although with weapons instead of fists; if two attacks of the same type and height hit each other, the weapons will clang and nothing will happen. Quasi-realistic in that it doesn't work with kicks/body contact moves.
  • Slightly subverted in Injustice: Gods Among Us. During a clash, both players must bet their super meter. If they both bet the same amount, the punches cancel. If one bets more, they win the clash.
  • Under the name of "Reflect Attack", Akatsuki Blitzkampf also features parries as a general mechanic. Again, not all of these are punch ones; i.,e, Sai just shrugs and raises his hand while Mycale summons a Valkyrie with a shield.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the counter to the final bosses' punching attack has Bowser do this. The fact that this generates a shockwave (which hurts neither combatant) indicates just how strong both of them are.
  • Bayonetta and Jeanne do this in their last fight of the game, but not just with their own fists. Each punch is accompanied by their respective contracted demoness' giant fists clashing above them, until the player messes up or completes the quicktime event, at which point one of the two will fail to block and get flattened by a literally huge punch.
  • The opening of BlazBlue: Central Fiction climaxes with Terumi and Ragna throwing a punch at each other, which forms the title. Happens again in their Final Battle near the end of the story.
  • Done at least once during the climax of Yakuza 4, where succeeding in the QTE causes your character to punch hard enough to break your opponent's hand. It would seem over the top in any other gritty crime drama, but given that it's part of an elaborate fight sequence between various men on a skyscraper surrounded by raining money, it fights right in.
  • The reveal trailer for King K. Rool in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate ends with him performing one against Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, which results in a shockwave that shakes the entire jungle they're fighting in.
  • In ULTRAKILL, it's possible to parry a punch attack of the layer 2 boss, earning the player a +DOWN TO SIZE points bonus. It's notable that the fingers on his hands are larger than the player, let alone his entire hand.
  • Every Devil May Cry game features a secret mechanic where the player character can deflect enemy attacks by striking at the same time an attack hits them. Results vary from enemy to enemy — sometimes this merely cancels out the opponent's attack and puts both parties back in a neutral state, while other enemies will recoil and be left open for punishment. Learning to utilize this technique is necessary for completing a secret mission in the first and fifth games.

  • In The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon, Jack and Max do this unintentionally in a fight. Which leads to both of them clutching their fists and screaming in pain. Max, being Max, celebrates this as "the best fist bump ever".
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: Done during the fight between Vegito and Broly.
  • In Kill Six Billion Demons White Chain and Solomon do this at the climax of their duel. His punch shatters her arm and the rest of her stone shell, but her soul keeps going and strikes him in the face before somehow manifesting a new body, winning the fight (at least in the eyes of the crowd).

    Web Original 
  • This happens with a couple of characters in the TGWTG Year One Brawl.
  • In season 3 of RWBY Arslan Altan and Yang Xiao Long do this during the Vytal Festival Tournament. Justified since any damage they would have taken would have simply affected their Aura instead of their hands.
    • Even earlier than that, Yang’s semblance is charged enough to pull a punch parry against a Mini Mech 10 times her size.
    • The Incredible Hulk vs Doomsday opens with one of these. The resulting shockwave knocks over everyone in the city.
    • The match between Balrog and TJ Combo has the two engaging in several such exchanges during their boxing-turned-deathmatch. Being who they are, their blows start breaking the stage under their feet.
    • Thanos and Darkseid does this while they are big, causing the energy from the parry to recreate the universe.
    • Lord Beerus and Sailor Galaxia start their fight with a Finger Poke of Doom parry. It escalates into a rapid-fire finger poke parry before both parties hurt themselves and realize they need to take each other more seriously.
    • Hulk gets into another one in his return to Death Battle, this time against Broly. It happens right near the end of the fight, and, in this instance, given the sheer power of both combatants, even reality itself is unable to handle the power being thrown around, and shatters.
    • Saitama vs. Popeye ends with one of these. Popeye's toon force transmutes Saitama into a bunch of eggs to end the fight.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Happens in "The Copycats", between Nicole Watterson and the mother of the copycat family.
  • Happens in The Batman during Bruce's first fight with Killer Croc... and it results in the former being blown back.
  • Bender does this with his "evil" twin Flexo in Futurama, but all they accomplish is hurting their hands.
  • Roadblock and Heavy Duty do this in G.I. Joe: Renegades. Both immediately recoil in pain.
  • Popeye and Bluto would do this all the time.
  • In one episode of Quack Pack, Huey, Dewey and Louie get superpowers, and their team salute is to punch their fists together in a triangle. At the end of the episode they lose their powers, and try to do the gesture again. It's much more painful without powers.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "The Rise of Clovis", during the fight between Rush Clovis and Anakin Skywalker, one of these happens. Clovis, however, is the only one to recoil in pain: Anakin had used his artificial hand.

    Real Life 
  • Children in the USA and Canada play a game called "bloody knuckles", where they punch each other in their fists (it's more of a downward closed-fisted slap, not a straight punch like this trope usually depicts). The loser is the first one to get bloody knuckles. The lighter version is "whoever gives up first". It's a lot harder to play when you play with a kid with little muscle on his/her knuckles as while there's less skin and muscle protecting it there's a lot more bone to strike with. Children with more experience tend to have more calluses on their knuckles also.
  • Naturally, this can happen during an actual fight, but it is almost always an accident. While it will usually result in both fighters being injured, it's not uncommon for one to be more hurt than the other due to: improper punching, loose wrists, weaker bone density, or bad form.


Bowser vs Dark Bowser

Bowser and Dark Bowser clash fists.

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