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Wimp Fight

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"Here's a radical idea; go old school. Challenge Stuart to a fight. Nothing makes the ladies hotter than two skinny white guys swatting at each other with their eyes closed."
Howard Wolowitz, The Big Bang Theory

A Fight Scene where the combatants have no fighting skill whatsoever, usually played for laughs, and at times in slow-mo, for additional comedy.

Especially silly versions may consist of nothing but the two characters standing at arm's length and flailing their hands at each other. They may also have their faces averted, which protects them from the minute chance of their foe getting a hit in on their face, but also prevents them from aiming at all. This is almost invariably harmless.

This can also be played dramatically: when two combatants have no skill, no finesse, nothing but a determination to kill each other by any means possible, it can make for a more realistic and compelling fight scene than the most choreographed kung-fu.

Compare Fight-Scene Failure, I Know Kung-Faux, and What the Fu Are You Doing?

If a character watching this fight actually thinks it's cool, they're probably Easily Impressed.

See also Combat Breakdown, when an initially-skillful fight devolves into this after going on for too long. A Catfight can be this, but isn't if the women involved are Action Girls. A Designated Girl Fight, however, is never this trope, as by definition, at least one combatant is an Action Girl.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon:
    • Subverted in episode 22 of Digimon Adventure. Patamon and PicoDevimon are both Child-level Digimon and neither of them are particularly powerful, but the fight itself is impressively choreographed and the environment plays a big role in the fight.
    • Played straight in episode 19 of Digimon Adventure 02 when Patamon and Wormmon fight each other, which is Played for Laughs and adorable, a huge contrast to their human partners having a serious fist fight/wrestle instead.
  • Early on in Fairy Tail, Lucy's first real fight against Sherry is basically this. Both have magic that involves using summoned creatures (and Sherry can turn Lucy's against her) but once both of them are out of magic it basically becomes the two indirect mages pathetically pummeling at each other, until Lucy finally gets a good hit in, being a slightly better fighter, though not much. 400 chapters later Lucy fights a similar gimmicky villain, but once the tricks are out and it turns into a fist fight again, she clobbers her opponent in one punch, showing how she grew as a fighter.
  • Shippou and Sōten in Inuyasha episode "Shippo Gets an Angry Challenge". First they "fight" by drawing caricatures of each other, then by aping stereotypical "ninja" fighting style (without much success), then by throwing mushrooms and acorns... both unable to do any real damage, they finally get exhausted and talk it out.
  • Nanoha's very first befriending in the original Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, which she did way back in kindergarten, long before she gained any magical abilities. After the initial slap, it quickly degenerated into two little girls tugging and pushing at one another. In this case, it's played for adorable.
  • Metal Fight Beyblade: In the episode "The Furious DJ Battle!?", the American DJ and Blader DJ both want to be the announcers for the upcoming Beyblade World Tournament and agree to decide the announcer through a Beyblade match. The gang thinks that the battle will be epic since they are announcers and all. But once the battle starts, they quickly see how wrong they are. The DJ's prove to have no skill at all with the tops barely spinning enough to move forward and making the tiniest of impact. What makes it more egregious is that even though the fight is clearly lame and the gang isn't impressed in the slightest, the announcers exclaim as if it's the most intense battle ever. Needless to say, this was Played for Laughs.
  • Early in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Kanna tries to kill Kobayashi so Tohru can return to their original world...except that since she's a young dragon (currently in the form of a elementary school-age human) and low on mana, her "murder attempt" consists of ineffectively batting Kobayashi with her fists, stopping for breath, and then starting again.
  • Miia and Centorea get into one of these in Monster Musume when arguing about Kimihito. Papi joins in because she's The Ditz and thinks they're playing a game. Given that monster girls have Super-Strength and Miia has some degree of martial arts training while Centorea is an actual knight, it's quite apparent that they're wimp-fighting deliberately so as not to actually risk hurting each other.
  • Downplayed in My Hero Academia during the tournament match between Izuku Midoriya and Hitoshi Shinso. Shinso's Quirk, Brainwashing, is worthless in straight combat, while Midoriya's Quirk, One For All, is Cast From Hitpoints (not to mention hitting Shinso with it would probably kill him). Once Midoriya manages to circumvent Brainwashing, the match devolves into an ordinary fistfight which Midoriya wins handily.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In a very early episode, both Ash and his opponent try to battle using Metapod, a cocoon Pokémon that's pretty much incapable of attacking. Both Metapod just sit there and harden their shells while Misty and Pikachu relax and catch some sun.
    • Subverted earlier in the episode when Metapod is able to beat a Pinsir only using Harden.
    • Amusingly averted in a Johto episode, where Gym Leader Bugsy uses a kung-fu Metapod, much to Ash's surprise.
    • Ash's Scraggy vs. Iris' Axew, both are very young and don't have much battling experience. Once Axew masters Dragon Rage, he defeats Scraggy with it two episodes later.
    • Ash's Hawlucha vs another Hawlucha, when the two have issues acting in a play.
  • Porco's and Curtis' post-air-duel boxing match in Porco Rosso quickly devolves into this: by the end of six rounds both men are so tired they don't even try to block each other's punches. It's essentially the "dramatic" version of the trope described above... except still Played for Laughs.
  • Shigurui starts with one of these being introduced, the blind and crippled swordsman Irako Seigen versus the one-armed and poverty-stricken Fujiki Gennosuke as the opening bout of a samurai tournament. The entire rest of the series is a flashback describing the history of the two men, how they acquired their handicaps, and how deep their enmity is. By the end, what looks like a short, embarrassingly clumsy duel to spectators is produced from Gennosuke performing a perfect feint to Irako's signature One-Hit Kill technique.
  • In Welcome to the NHK, Satou and Yamazaki get into a fight while high. Both of them are scrawny hikikomori so they fail to do any serious damage.

    Comic Books 
  • Alluded to in the MAD comic Twit-sters: "When two feuding meteorologists get into it, stand back! They might start slapping each other with Doppler weather printouts!"
  • X-Statix #24 had a sequence in which Tony Stark and Guy Smith throw down... while both are stark naked. And without their suits, Tony is just an alcoholic with a weak heart, while Guy is an otherwise-skilled martial artist with a staggeringly low pain threshold thanks to his Super-Senses. It doesn't go well.
    Guy: MY SKIN!
    Tony: MY HEART!

    Comic Strips 
  • In Beetle Bailey, a fight between Julius and Rocky is shown as pretty hopeless fist-poking. That's understandable with Julius, who's one of the wimpiest characters around — someone once remarked that if he and Lt. Fuzz were to fight, both would lose — but it's odd for Rocky, an ex-gang member and Psycho for Hire wannabe.
  • Garfield once watched "Collegiate Face-Slapping" on TV, which was exactly what it sounds like. One of the competitors was disqualified for poking the other guy in the eye, so he retaliated by poking the referee in the eye (with the commentator describing all of this as if nothing were wrong). Garfield turns to the reader and remarks that he hates niche sports.
    • Another strip consisted of two panels of the television emitting "SLAP, SLAP, SLAP" noises, with the final panel having it announce that "Ninja Sissies will return in a moment".
      Garfield: Where's the remote?

    Fan Works 
  • After Many Dates: Danny and Kim: Ron and Tucker's fight over the latter having badmouthed Bueno Nacho consists on them "slapping each other weakly like two children on the playground".
  • The Dragon Ball Z Abridged version of Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan emphasizes how futile the heroes' attempts to attack Broly are by replacing the standard battle foley in one scene with slapping noises.
  • In Djy 1991's version of Half-Life: Full Life Consequences, Gordon Freeman's "fightin the final bosss" is pretty much the two flailing their arms at one another. John Freeman's fight against The Dark Man/Gordon Freeman in the fourth installment is also animated in this manner.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin, Snape and Sirius's fistfight is described as "more of a slap fight" and "less than a minute of ineffectual efforts to hurt one another," since not only do neither of them have any skill at fighting except with their wands, which have been taken away, they are both recovering from serious physical traumas at the time. They end up stopping mostly because they're both just tiring themselves out to no real effect, so they might as well put the fight on hold until they get their wands back.
  • Rebloom: When the Cookies of Darkness try to get White Lily Cookie's dark magic back, Strawberry Crepe Cookie and Custard Cookie III's "fight" consists entirely of childish arguing.
  • Most of the characters in Stupid Mario Brothers such as UPS, Fed Ex, Luigi and Kamek fight using this. Kamek even referred to it as Slap Combat.

    Film — Animation 
  • In The Book of Life, although both Manolo and Joaquin are established to be fairly skilled fighters, their argument over who will marry Maria quickly devolves into ineffectually flailing at each other. While Played for Laughs, this also shows that even though the two consider each other rivals for Maria's affection, they won't seriously come to blows.
  • Brave: Young Macintosh and Wee Dingwall fight one-another in such a way during the throne room brawl, and it's especially comical given how much of a jock with a penchant for immaturity the former prince is.
  • In Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, arguments between Gru's Minions tend to degenerate into slap-fights, or childish brawls at worst.
  • The grand battle at the climax of the The Lion King can be interpreted as a glorified sissy fight. Scar has been established as very lacking in brawn and fighting skills, which is why he schemes and lets others do his dirty work; he also appears to be middle-aged or older for lions, out of his prime. Simba is malnourished from surviving only on bugs all his life, and has never been in a fight in his carefree "Hakuna Matata" life except for very briefly with Nala, which he lost when she pinned him. He struggles and almost loses against Scar, only "winning" essentially by getting lucky and kicking him off of Pride Rock instead of actually winning by skill. The lionesses and the hyenas are also not at their best, being malnourished from lack of prey. The hyenas are shown to be generally incompetent and very stupid, and the main hyena trio and some others lose to Pumbaa, one of the Plucky Comic Reliefs, and Rafiki, an elderly baboon, in a really humiliating way. So, most of the characters in this fight are not in their best condition. Who knows what could have happened if they were.
  • In Toy Story 3, as part of an escape attempt, Rex and Hamm get into one of these fights to distract Buzz in the daycare toy-prison they've become trapped in. Justified, in that Rex has very short arms and neither are exactly built for a rumble.
  • Played seriously in the fight between Carl and Muntz at the climax of Up, where two old men struggle as much against their arthritis as against each other. At one point, Carl gains the upper hand by spitting his dentures at Muntz.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Big Lebowski:
    • The Dude finally confronts Da Fino, a Private Detective who's been tailing him in a blue Volkswagen, and things get physical. If by "physical" you mean "standing about a foot away from each other, arms outstretched, and sort of flinching ineptly at each other for a few seconds".
    • The nihilists also turn out to be this; while they talk a good talk, they end up being completely outmatched by Walter, who single-handedly kicks their asses. The Dude's part in that particular fight consists of awkwardly flailing a bag in the other guy's general direction, while his opponent hops around kicking at nothing while making pseudo kung fu poses screaming "I fuck you! I fuck you in the ass!" repeatedly until Walter knocks him out with ease.
  • In the closing scene of Bowfinger, the two lead characters make a low-budget movie in Taiwan, where they are shown flailing and ineptly kicking kung-fu style, while hordes of obviously well-trained gang members are shown getting mowed down by the American heroes.
  • Bridget Jones Gives us an absurd slappy kickfight between two middle class British twats in the middle of uptown London. They gloriously fail to do anything other than humiliate themselves.
    Gay Best Friend: Fight!
    Confused Restauarant Crowd: [[No Response]]
    Gay Best Friend: FIGHT!
  • There's a dead-serious example in Chinatown, where Hollis Mulwray is held under water in a backyard fish pond and drowned by Noah Cross. Both men are pretty physically weak, especially Cross (who is, after all, a feeble old man), but in the end it's Cross who triumphs, as he is the aggressor and has the superior position. Even so, Jake Gittes's detective work establishes that the fight was pretty inconclusive for a while: both men's eyeglasses fell off in the struggle.
  • A Running Gag in The Cocoanuts is for Chico and Harpo to get into an argument and suddenly fight each other. This consists of blatantly-telegraphed windmill punches and half-hearted kicks to the nethers, all with the effectiveness of wet tissue paper.
  • Played for laughs in The Death of Stalin, since the "wimp" factor in this case is really only one-sided. Stalin's autopsy is interrupted by his drunken and idiotic son Vasily, who gets the wrong idea of what's going on and tries to stop it by grabbing a gun from a nearby guard. However, being a weakling as well as a drunk, Vasily is unable to grab the gun despite it being clear that the guard, who would obviously be able to wipe the floor with him otherwise, is clearly not relishing the prospect of having to give the son of Joseph Stalin a beating and so is using only the bare minimum amount of effort needed to stop him. The result is an awkwardly long fumble that everyone else present is forced to watch in embarrassment.
  • In Duplicity two bosses of rival companies slug it out after having read too many business magazines lauding them as 'tigers' and 'sharks', both being out-of-shape middle-aged men who haven't had a fight since grade school, if then.
  • Fanboys: The main characters get into a brawl with a group of Trekkies after one of them calls Han Solo a bitch. The "battle" is just as pathetic as sounds, with Windows chanting "time out!" as he was begging for mercy.
    Windows: I was channeling the Emperor.
    Linus: I don't remember the Emperor crapping his robe and screaming time out.
    Eric: Oh my god, that's right!
    Windows: There is such a thing as time out!
    Hutch: (imitating Emperor Palpatine) I can feel your anger growing and... oh, wait a minute. Time out, time out!
  • The first fistfight between Tyler and Jack in Fight Club has elements of this, but they get better.
  • Played with at the climactic scene of Her Alibi: the protagonist, who is undercover at the circus as a clown, gets into a no-holds-barred fight with another clown...who is actually a Soviet agent who's been tracking the protagonist's Eastern European girlfriend and her family (likewise dressed as clowns) after learning they are trying to defect to the West. It seems like a Wimp Fight (and the other clowns treat it as if it is, cheering on the combatants), but it's deadly serious.
  • Horse Feathers. Chico and Harpo attempt to kidnap two big football players on the opposing team. Chico gets Harpo into fighting mode until he's puffed up, huffing and cross-eyed with rage - and then grinning as he gives them each a little slap on the face. He then gets hurled across the room onto a couch.
  • A bad guy and a protagonist in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka square off sans weapons, but the bad guy immediately confesses he doesn't know kung fu. The good guy admits neither does he. "Want to fake it?" "I don't care." Cue hilarious movements that look like involuntary muscle spasms.
  • A serious, realistic version in Interstellar when Dr. Mann tries to murder Cooper. One’s a pilot, the other’s a scientist, neither has any combat training, and both are wearing realistic spacesuits; the “fight” is a clumsy wrestling match, with the two rolling around and shoving each other. It still manages to be pretty brutal and intense, in large part because one lucky hit can (and does) break their helmets, exposing them to the ammonia-filled atmosphere of the world they’re on.
  • Most of the fights in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, particularly the one between Russell and Hawthorne, where they take turns running away from each other, and hurt themselves almost every time they throw an attack.
  • Steven and Randy's scuffle in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.
  • Jurassic World has this as a Funny Background Event with two Parasaurolophus engaging in a comical "fight". Justified as Parasaurolophus, at least in the context of the overall franchise, are more docile in comparison to, say, the Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • Most of the title character's fight scenes in Kick-Ass consist of him flailing around a pair of sticks and surviving serious beatdowns. The showdown at the end between Kick-Ass and Red Mist has both combatants with very little skill. And in fact, they finally simultaneously knock each other out.
  • In the second act climax of Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy, the wimpy Dr. Cooper and the effete Don Roritor engage in an childish brawl. First, Cooper slaps Roritor's accusatory finger out of his face about twenty times in a row. Finally the pair awkwardly grapple and push each other for a few moments. When they finally break away, they're humorously flustered and gasping for breath, as if they'd been through a war. In a later scene, Roritor wears an outlandish full-arm splint for his injured finger.
  • The real-world fight between Neo and Smith-possessed Bane is in stark contrast to their supernatural Kung-Fu feats inside The Matrix. Relatively, of course, since the fight itself is extremely brutal.
  • Napoleon Dynamite features the climactic "fight" between Uncle Rico and Napoleon... in which Napoleon threatens to throw oranges at Rico, eventually throws one, and falls on his face trying to jump a fence. There is also the scene where Napoleon makes Kip show off his "cage fighting skills".
  • Python: John and Greg's Cock Fight starts out with proper fisticuffs, but quickly descends into hair-pulling territory, even continuing onto a playground. They eventually just stop when they realize how ridiculous they look, so they make up and become friends again.
  • The final version of the duel between the Samurai and the bandit in Rashomon. As portrayed by the Woodcutter, they are both cowardly and ineffective, and only engage in the fight at all after being shamed by the Samurai's wife. At one point they are reduced to crawling around on the ground (Not wrestling, crawling) and literally throwing dirt at one another. As with the other three tellings of the story the implication is that this is not a wholly accurate representation, as each person recounting their tale wanted to portray themselves in the best possible light.
  • The Room (2003) has Mark and Johnny's "fight" on Johnny's birthday party. All they really do is slap each other limply and make chicken noises, making what was supposed to be a dramatic revelation of Mark sleeping with Lisa into Narm.
  • Simon Pegg and Dylan Moran in Run Fatboy Run go back and forth between fighting like little girls, and attempting pro-wrestling moves on each other.
  • In Team America: World Police, two martial artist marionettes square off, and then are simply bumped into each other while their legs and arms flail about. DVD commentary reveals that this was done through an odd combination of Rule of Funny and Uncanny Valley: the puppeteers were perfectly capable of having the puppets do more complex, realistic motions throughout the movie, but it was deliberately oversimplified because it's funny and realistic motion was actually a little creepy.
  • The actual fight in the Kurosawa-penned film Vendetta for a Samurai between Kazuya and Matagoro, who are so scared to fight each other that Mataemon actually has to shout encouragement at Kazuya to finish him off. The fight between Rokusuke and another man is just as awkward and clumsy.
  • In The Wild Hunt, the LARPers don't actually know how to sword fight. Their in-game duels are just childish flailing, often followed by arguing. This is all subverted in the end, when things get dangerous.

  • In A Barrel of Laughs a Vale of Tears by Jules Feiffer, the hero and his enemy have a ridiculous "battle" in a forest of knee-high trees. The enemy is such a bad swordsman, the hero just moves from side to side, avoiding his blows, till he is too tired to fight anymore.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg and Rowley's interrupted "fight" toward the end of the first book amounted to this. Greg, who admits he's never gotten into a fistfight before, didn't know how he should hold his fists. Meanwhile, Rowley was just prancing around like a leprechaun (in Greg's words). Neither of them actually hit the other before it was cut short by the vengeful teenagers from Halloween.
  • The Tom Holt novel Falling Sideways has the main character get into a fight with another man on a UFO. Following both of them making asses of themselves and falling around, the non-protagonist one is defeated when he slides into the wall and knocks himself out. The narration actually lampshades how balanced it was, with neither having any meaningful ability to hurt the other.
  • The climax of Robert J. Sawyer's novel Frameshift involves a fight between the scientist hero and a fugitive Nazi war criminal. The scientist is suffering from Huntington's disease, and the Nazi is nearly ninety years old, so at least it's even.
  • The Iliad features a downplayed example in the duel between Menelaus and Paris—Menelaus is noted by Apollo to be a second-rate fighter, and Paris is good with a bow but otherwise weak and inexperienced. Consequently, the duel between the two is a rather pathetic affair, with both of them failing to do any damage with their initial javelin tosses (Paris misses entirely) before Menelaus breaks his own sword on Paris's helmet and resorts to simply trying to strangle Paris with his own helmet straps (Paris fails to respond to any of this). Contrast this with the duel between Hector and Ajax later on, both of whom are said to be among the best warriors on either side, and far more noticeably bring their A-game.
  • The catacomb fight between George and Joplin of Lockwood And Co (two unathletic academics, one of whom has broken his glasses) isn't actually shown on-page, but another character who saw it describes it as like "watching two schoolgirls squabble over a scented pencil".
  • Near the end of Lolita, a pair of middle-age perverts engage in a deadly version of this.
  • It's noted in The Lord of the Rings that the tussle between Frodo and Gollum on Mount Doom is a pretty sad arrangement. Not only are they both Hobbits and therefore not all that strong to begin with (and Frodo has barely any combat experience to speak of), but they've both been spending the past few weeks starving, stressed to the bone, and traveling over rough terrain, meaning they're very nearly at the end of their physical ropes; Frodo can barely even walk.
  • Towards the end of Perelandra, Ransom — an aging Oxbridge professor — fights the similarly unfit, but demon-possessed, Weston. It's the dramatic version of this trope, but that doesn't keep a few parts from being funny.
    Ransom: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, here goes — I mean Amen.
  • In the Christopher Shasteff novel The Secular Wizard, two characters wind up getting in a fight like this because they're unarmed but have only been trained to fight with swords so they haven't got the slightest idea what they're doing and just keep landing painful but ineffective blows.
  • In the The Infinite and the Divine, the first physical clash between Orikan the Diviner and Trazyn the Infinite is noted to barely avoid being this only by virtue of both having had their mind transferred to extremely strong and durable bodies millenia ago and that the sight of an old spindly nerd fighting a hunchback librarian would have been comical otherwise.

    Live-Action TV 
  • As stated in the audio commentary, any fights between the Bluth boys in Arrested Development were staged to show that none of them had any idea what they were doing.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Howard and Raj engage in a wrestling match to decide which of them would be the better superhero. They spend 45 minutes just circling each other, trading superhero-style insults, and never once make physical contact.
    • In "Hofstader-Cooper Polarization" Leonard and Sheldon get into a fight at a physics lecture, which gets recorded and put on YouTube by Howard. They are both embarrassed by how silly they look.
      Leonard: Oh jeez, does that suit really look that bad?
      Sheldon: Forget about your suit, look at my arms. I'm like a flamingo on Ritalin!
  • In an episode of Black Books, Bernard and Fran decide to settle a dispute in the usual way, which is apparently by turning their faces away and childishly slapping at each other until Fran grabs Bernard's hair and forces him to say "Peanuts".
  • Xander-vs-Harmony in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's, "The Initiative". Of course, even apart from the magic military skills, Xander was supposed to know how to fight. Harmony, naturally, was a moron even as a vampire. Notable for being one of the few times a vampire character averts Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting. The slow-motion and dramatic combat music makes the whole scene even more awesome.
  • Doctor Who: "Warriors of the Deep" has an interesting sequence where the Fifth Doctor defeats a whole platoon of guards in hand-to-hand combat while constantly making it look like he has no idea how to fight. Why the Doctor is projecting Obfuscating Stupidity while being in the process of kicking arse is unclear.
  • Drake & Josh occasionally has the title characters get into slap fights.
  • In Fresh Meat, Howard gets into an argument with a big, tough-looking bloke over a library geology textbook. He agrees to meet outside the library for to fight it out, but manages to get it put off a week... and spends the week desperately trying to learn how to fight, beginning with finding out whether you keep your thumb in or out when making a fist. The fight finally comes along... and it's over in five seconds when the other bloke dislocates his thumb, and Howard takes him to hospital. Turns out he didn't know how to make a fist either.
  • Friends:
    • Rachel and Monica have one in "The One After the Super Bowl" when they start fighting over Jean Claude Van-Damme's affections. Phoebe eventually steps in and gets both of them to stop by pulling their hair.
    • Rachel gets in another slap fight with her sister Amy in ''TOW Rachel's Other Sister" when said sister acts like way too much of an Alpha Bitch, going so far as to insult Rachel's baby daughter, which ends up setting her off. The two end up accidentally destroying one of Monica's fancy dinner plates, causing her to have a Heroic BSoD.
    • Phoebe's boyfriends, David (ex) and Mike (current) have a duel with their forefingers before Phoebe breaks it up "before someone gets hurt".
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Joffrey's so called fight with Arya. As described by Robert: "You let a little girl disarm you?"
    • When Sansa makes a threatening comment, Joffrey takes a step backwards. He retreats after a comment, made by someone who acted like an obedient puppy throughout the season.
  • In the Garfunkel and Oates TV Series, Riki and Kate come to blows with their former bandmate. All three of them are stoned out of their minds at the time, so the fight is an awkward slow-motion shoving match that ends when they all pass out.
  • In the 1989 Get Smart TV movie, a sidekick and a Mook grab decorative swords to fight each other, but they can barely lift them above waist level.
  • In the fifth-season opener of Head of the Class, Arvid and Dennis come to blows over the departure of Mr. Moore. For them, "coming to blows" involves a lot of weak slapping and nose-pulling.
  • A sketch in Important Things with Demetri Martin has two people attempt to break out fighting due to road rage, but neither is sure how to go about it, so they just keep yelling at each other to delay having to actually throw a punch or swing a tire iron.
  • In The IT Crowd, Douglas' first appearance at his father's funeral was marked by him knocking over the coffin and getting embroiled in a ridiculous slap-fight with the officiating vicar.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has Mac demonstrate his skills as a valued member of the group by acting as a bouncer and kicking Charlie out of the bar. Charlie proceeds to not fight back at all, and Mac proves so incompetent at extricating Charlie that he tires himself out trying to drag away a limp body, culminating in a chokehold so disastrous that he actually suffocates himself.
  • The dramatic version happens in Kamen Rider Kuuga: During the final battle, Yusuke (Kuuga) and N-Daguva-Zeba damage each others' Transformation Trinkets, forcing them to revert to human form. At that point, the battle goes from Megaton Punches and pyrokinesis to two ordinary men stumbling wearily and throwing clumsy punches that spatter their blood on the freshly-fallen snow.
  • Abe and Craig's Cock Fight in Malcolm in the Middle, mostly consisting of slapping and pushing.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Rival inventors Karl Schreyer and Ernest Harding have an off-screen fight that Harding embarrassedly describes as "a lot of arms flailing about. Neither of us were exactly pugilists."
  • In Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Ned and Cookie had a spat over a "spelling bee" clique taking Cookie away from Ned and splitting them up. They even had fight announcers trying to do a play-by-play but they quickly realized that the fight consisted of mostly Ass Kicking Poses and nothing else.
  • In New Tricks, Gerry and Brian get into one of these fights after an argument about whether one gets paid more than the other spirals a bit out of control. Sandra and Jack, who walk in on them partway through, are greatly amused, particularly when they sheepishly try to pass it off as tripping over a chair once they realize they've been caught out.
  • One utterly anticlimactic battle of the British Robot Wars series, no matter how much the announcer tried to play it up. Afterwards:
    Craig Charles: I was going to say, "Let's look at the highlights of that battle"... but there weren't any.
  • The Slammer: Happens when the Governor and the governor of the Russian version of the Slammer catch each other attempting to sabotage the props. It degenerates into them attempting to slap each other at arm's length.
  • Yes, Dear has Greg and a recurring minor character do this twice.

    Music Videos 
  • Gorillaz: In the video for "Dirty Harry", two of the kids from the chorus exchange blind slaps at one point.

  • Dice Funk season 3: Stellarosa arrives in Illium and her sister's wild magic clone immediately assaults her... it doesn't end with any dignity.
    Austin: [checks strength contest results] a 4 and a 1... it's the saddest slap fight in the history of mankind. They land zero blows and deal negative damage.
  • The Rifftrax version of The Matrix Revolutions briefly turns the climactic fight into one of these.
    Mike: And — fight!
    Kevin and Bill: [frantic, effete grunting] Enh! Enh! Enh! Enh! Enh!
    Bill: [childish whining] Cut it out, you knob!
    Kevin: [whining] No, you're the knob! MOM!
    Bill: [whining] Ow...

  • Hockey fights in general usually consist of both combatants doing something along the lines of "stand relatively still and punch him in the face until he goes down". Very often there's no punching, just two guys grabbing each other by the jersey, trying to pull the other guy's over his head.
  • Same can be said for the so called "brawls" in basketball and baseball; generally speaking in baseball, a player will charge someone, get tackled before or after he puts the player he was targeting in a bearhug, a dogpile happens, a whole bunch of people mill around while the more agitated players make a show of needing to be held back but making no effort to actually break lose, before both teams go back to their dugouts with zero punches thrown, while in basketball, the players will just grab at each other before teammates and refs pull them apart, if a punch is thrown, it'll be a sucker punch that sees the puncher then run the length of the court to avoid actually having to fight.
  • Pretty much any "fight" in soccer matches is embarrassing. Generally players square up to each other and are dragged apart by team mates/officials before anything major can happen. Sometimes even when they're on the same team.
  • Almost any wrestling match where two managers and/or comic relief wrestlers go against each other. Santino Marella and Chavo Guerrero had an ongoing feud that mostly consisted of these.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Unlike previous editions, in Fifth Edition it's possible to deal zero damage with a successful attack if your strength or dexterity score is low enough (perviously, any successful attack would deal a minimum of one point of damage regardless of the damage roll). Unarmed strike damage in 5E is 1+your strength modifier unless you have a feat, class, or racial ability that increases it. That means that a pair of characters with strength scores of 9 (which is a modifier of -1) or lower can get into a fist fight and be completely unable to injure each other.

  • In general, it's a lot easier for a theater to stage one of these than an expert-caliber fight. Slow, looping attacks are easily countered, so they're less likely to seriously hurt one of the actors.

    Video Games 
  • Ryu's default attack animation in Breath of Fire III at the start of the game. He holds his sword out at arm's length and turns away in panic as he waves it around. He does grow out of it pretty quickly, though.
  • In Bug Fables, during the fight with General Ultimax, when all of his troops are defeated, he will resort to attacking via slapping. He also does so when he pops out of his destroyed tank in Chapter 6.
  • In Bully, this is the fighting style of the Nerds. Goes without saying that they're the weakest enemies in the game.
  • Given the wide array of combat options and the quirky A.I., combat in Dwarf Fortress tends to resemble this, unarmed combat in particular. The A.I. is especially prone to grabbing any part of their target in reach, only to let go upon realizing what they grabbed can't be put into a joint lock.
  • Tifa vs. Scarlet in Final Fantasy VII. Tifa has punched robots to death and she engages in a slap fight. A bit ridiculous? Perhaps. Utterly satisfying? Yes! Of course given that Tifa can punch robots to death, it makes sense that she'd hold back on a completely normal human with no special training.
  • Often happens for comedic effect in videos made in Garry's Mod (using invisible thrusters attached to limbs).
  • LEGO Dimensions has LEGO Batman doing this with The LEGO Movie's Batman over who's Batman.
  • Fio Germi from Metal Slug is a subversion; she's a girly, note  but dangerous military officer with a huge body count. As such, her melee attacks include comical, timid slapping at enemies with her eyes closed… which is as lethal as when she decides to just stab them.
  • OMORI: Most fights in the real world are indicated to be these kind of fights, what with Sunny only being able to ineffectively punch and Kel just throwing a basketball at people. The only subversions come when either Sunny is daydreaming a power fantasy, or when one participant brings in a bladed weapon.
  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (and its equally goofy Battle Royale Game spinoff Totally Accurate Battlegrounds) feature characters who look like googly-eyed Gumby knockoffs. Lacking thing such as fingers, manual dexterity, or basic competence, the wobbly modeling-clay humanoids will often resort to very clumsy combat options if they run out of weapons or are otherwise unarmed. It's not uncommon for battles to come down to two or more procedurally-generated idiots attempting to awkwardly slap the other one senseless. This goes double for Battlegrounds, where weapon diversity is high and makes finding compatible ammunition difficult. This deliberately force players to deal with melee combat, often reduced to undignified noodle-armed flailing if they can't find a proper melee weapon in time.

    Web Animation 
  • The fight between Leslie and Marcus in Doraleous & Associates. Especially funny since it's Combat by Champion between the Wetalds and Callas (Neebs killed Callas' two best guys through a misunderstanding and suggested Worst vs. Worst).
  • In a Floating Hands Studios X-Men parody, one of these culminates… between Emma Frost and Dark Phoenix!
  • Hand-to-hand combat in the Full Life Consequences machinima videos mostly consists of this if the fanfic itself doesn't go into specifics.
  • On Les Kassos, the "Knights of the Horoscope" (parodying Saint Seiya characters) fight between themselves with light slaps — fittingly, as they're very much Camp Gay.
  • Robotbox And Cactus: In "X-Mess", after being built up with zoom-ins and speed lines, the fight between the Plant Monster and Santa Claus ends up being them each slapping the other while turned away and wincing.
  • In RWBY Chibi, Ruby and Weiss have a duel after they get tired of each other's shenanigans. They draw their weapons, charge at each other, leap into the air... then toss away their weapons and devolve into this.
  • ScientLOLojyuuichi!!, a satire of The Church of Happyology, depicts the final battle between Tom Cruise and Anonymous this way.
  • In Wither Skeleton Encounter by Slamacow Creations, Slamacow and the skeleton resort to the classing arm flailing slap fight after both of them end up dropping their swords into lava.
  • In X-Ray & Vav our titular heroes devolve into this after their frustrations towards each other reach their breaking point when X-Ray tries to zap Vav. Hilda says it's the most pathetic thing ever... until she sees Dragonface's fight with Dwayne. And for the record, Dwayne's a rock.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The 2009 Halloween story line on Gaia Online featured a huge war between two gods. By the end, they had both lost all divinity and were nothing more than mortals, and all their followers had abandoned them, leaving the two pathetically struggling to kill each other in the middle of an empty battlefield.

    Web Videos 
  • Sadly, this is what would actually happen if you gave untrained people lightsabers.
  • The Channel Awesome anniversary crossovers raise this to an art form. Though in Suburban Knights, the guy playing Malachite shows he actually knows karate. The Cinema Snob on the other hand averts the trope and these usually end up brutal and violent. The punch he gave to Obscurus Lupa was accidentally a real one. Unless Kung Tai Ted is involved, at which point the trope is played straight.
  • Turns out this is how penguins fight each other. As Cracked puts it:
    When they fight, it is the greatest thing in the entire animal kingdom, because there is virtually no effort put into it at all. They just kind of stand around halfheartedly squawking at each other until one of them gets up the energy and motivation to swing a flipper. If it makes contact, so be it. It just bounces off with a soft, barely audible *pop*, while the other penguin looks on with a disinterested "How dare you?"
  • Speaking of Cracked, the "Worst Fight Club Ever" sketch sees Dan O'Brian and Cody Johnston called upon to fight each other as part of the titular fight club. When their fight eventually degenerates into the two of them chasing each other round trying to get into one of these, they defend themselves by pointing out that they've never been in an actual fight before and so, unlike the characters in the movie, have no idea what to do.
    Dan: Yeah, I don't wanna... punch Cody.
    Cody: [horrified] In the face?!
    Dan: Yeah, that's probably what I would have done.
    Cody: No! I would have hated that!
    Dan: I figured! That's why I didn't do it.
  • Eat Your Kimchi: In their TL;DR video explaining that they don't fight has Simon and Martina fake a slap fight.
  • Epic NPC Man: The short "Temporary Power" leads to a sissy slap-fight between Greg the NPC and the Adventurer when the later refuses to let go of the temporary secret weapon. Mocked by the closed captioning, which reads "**masculine fighting sounds**" when this happens.
  • Hadriex attempts to fight like that in live action.
  • Kung Tai Ted is about a paunchy martial arts fan who dissects cinematic fight scenes while showing off his own complete lack of skills. Any fight he gets into with his equally unskilled rivals invariably falls under this trope.
  • Noob: La Quête Légendaire reaches a point where Sparadrap is trying to keep information away from his younger brother, who lives under the same roof as him in real life and really wants it. Sparadrap quickly gets tired of the harassment and decides the only solution is to "beat up" his brother. The combination of the "beating up" and his brother's self-defense ends up like this, to the point that when they start calming down and actually start talking about each other's reasons, they are still sluggishly hitting on each other with stuffed animals.

    Real Life 
  • House cats do this when they're trying to get each other to go away, hissing and batting each other with their paws but keeping their claws carefully sheathed to avoid actual injury.
  • Children engage in such fights often. Sometimes it's only playing and sometimes they have a legitimate argument.

Alternative Title(s): Sissy Fight, Silly Slap Fight Scene, Slap Fight, Zero Chops


Migleemo Breaks the Replicator

Migleemo spends the entire hate plague destroying the replicator in the bar for getting his order wrong.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / EnmityWithAnObject

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