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A.k.a. Demolition Fu; redecoration through battle. Sheet of Glass meets Punched Across the Room, the Rule of Cool and Made of Iron: In a hand-to-hand fight in a furnished room (e.g. a Bar Brawl), as many props as possible will be destroyed. This may or may not exclude the walls themselves. Luckily, this is covered under Hero Insurance.

Furniture in movies is actually incredibly rickety; no furniture maker would get away with stuff so easily broken. Except the kind that makes stuff out of balsa wood and sugar glass for the movies, that is. Of course, the intended effect is to make the fighters look so badass that they can break solid furniture.

Higher-powered versions of the trope involve the destruction of entire buildings, and from there we go to fighters re-arranging the landscape.

When two characters use this to resolve their UST, it's Destructo-Nookie. Allowing this in Video Games results in Die, Chair, Die!.

Examples of Kung Shui include:

Anime & Manga

  • Tends to happen a lot in ~Ranma ½~, even moreso in Fanfic. The Tendō home tends to bear the brunt of many fights.
    • The very first time Akane expressed her feelings towards Ranma, it was with the dining room table. It just went on from there.
  • A mild example in Fruits Basket. Shigure's front door seems to get destroyed if somebody even thinks about fighting near it. This is heavily lampshaded by Shigure himself.
  • In later arcs of every incarnation of Dragon Ball, the(weaker) fighters will often smash eighty-meter-high mountains to rubble. Midway through Dragonball Z, Piccolo actually destroys the fucking moon. Because it was a softer target than his moon-powered opponent(Gohan-oozaru).


  • One Lucky Luke album has a running gag of the bar owner removing the large mirror behind the bar, only for it to be broken accidentally after the fight.
  • Pretty much every superhero comic includes a measure of this
    • Anything happening in the same county with The Incredible Hulk. The understatedly-powerful Ferrigno version busted a lot of barrooms. The comics, movie and video game versions bust a lot of buildings and military equipment.
    • Ont of the recurring jokes of the X-Men during Chris Claremont's run was the amount of property damage inflicted upon the environment. Especially the habit to bust the walls instead of using doors.
  • This happens one issue of Gold Digger, where the annual Explorers' Society banquet results in the hall being demolished every year. During the free-for-all, Brianna comments that the titanium alloy reinforced tables were a great improvement in cover compared to the wooden ones they had the last time she was there.

Films -- Live Action

  • The fights at the pub and dojo in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
  • Many, many Jackie Chan movies (e.g. the casino room fight in Rush Hour 3).
    • Arguably parodied in The Tuxedo when he accidentally activates "demolition mode" on the eponymous suit, which proceeds to destroy everything in sight.
    • Interestingly inverted in some movies as well. Rush Hour and Shanghai Knights have fights take place in rooms filled with priceless artwork, and the combatants go out of their way not to break anything.
  • The fights between the Bride and Vernita Green, and between the Bride and Elle Driver in Kill Bill.
    • The big fight at the House of Blue Leaves also qualifies, mainly in the furniture destroyed by Go-Go Yubari's flail.
    • It was averted somewhat in the second film, however, when Beatrix needed to practice in order to eventually punch a hole through a wood board from close range.
  • How about those 1940s action serials? Especially ones directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Fred C. Brannon. Anything that is not nailed down will get thrown or smashed during a fist fight.
  • The toilet fight in Casino Royale, in which James Bond and his quarry manage to go through several cubicle walls and smash at least one sink.
    • Bond does it so often in fact that 00- license might as well be the license to cause severe property damage.
      • "You have a licence to kill, not to break the traffic laws!" was how Q put it...
        • Then again, in Goldeneye he says something along the lines of blowing up any vehicles he gets into being a "standard procedure" for an MI6 agent... it is uncertain if this is meant to be ironic.
      • It's cheerfully lampshaded in Die Another Day: Bond and Gustav Graves trash a fencing club during a duel which gets out of hand; after the fight, as various ruined furnishings are carried out, a bellhop remarks, "The place needed redecorating anyway."
  • True Lies had a fairly amusing bathroom fight scene. After Arnold and his foe had taken the fight elsewhere, an old man emerges from a toilet stall with an expression of shock and bewilderment.
    • The opening of Casino Royale may have been inspired by this scene...
  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines for obvious reasons. Between the two time-traveling robots of death, property damage essentially ranges in the quadrillions of dollars, total nuclear annihilation notwithstanding.
  • The fights between Inspector Clouseau and his manservant Cato in the various films of The Pink Panther series, in magnificent slo-mo, with zero martial arts skill.
  • The bathroom fight between Morpheus and Agent Smith in first Matrix yet.
  • The fight between Ramirez and Kurgan in the first Highlander movie.
  • John Woo's gunfights frequently result in the scenery getting torn apart, and in the game Stranglehold, even your punches have this effect, smashing columns if you smack someone into them this way.
  • After Lara's mansion gets shot up in the first Tomb Raider movie, her two assistants are seen sweeping up the next day, and she remarks "I just woke up and hated everything." to a deliveryman.
  • The fight between the Beast and the Landlords in Kung Fu Hustle, and then the Beast versus the Chosen One.
  • It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World uses this to demolish a gas station.
  • Lampshaded in Sunset since the scene is actually being shot in a film about Wyatt Earp, in the presence of Wyatt Earp himself who comments on how unrealistic it is.
  • Both used and defied in Ip Man. At the start of Ip Man's fight with Jin, the former is merely evading Jin's blows, which happen to fall on the stuff in his house. After a while, his son comes in and conveys a message from his wife to get serious or all the pottery etc. will get smashed... so he does. No more vases are lost.
  • An old TV is smashed against someone's head at one point during Legion. Doubles as an in-movie Hilarious in Hindsight given some of the lines earlier in the film.
  • Iron Man 2: Rhodey tries to shut down Tony's drunken partying, and Tony doesn't mind showing his disagreement by first asking his DJ for some asskicking music, then proceeding to toss Rhodey through a window. Rhodey doesn't give up so easily, so the fight proceeds on to the weight room, the boxing ring, and through ceilings. Of course, both are wearing Powered Armor, which makes it double the awesome.
  • Red: There is a scene where Frank pays a visit to CIA headquarters, and decides to introduce himself to Cooper. Being the Combat Pragmatists that they both are, nearly every piece of furniture in the office(from an innocent telephone to a wall-mounted flat screen television) ends up destroyed.
  • Most wuxia films, hence the "kung" part of the trope name.
  • In The Matrix, Resistance fighters will often take shortcuts through sheetrock walls to attack their opponents. Agents will do this to concrete subway terminals. The final brawl of the trilogy takes this to Dragon Ball levels - the fighters knock down skyscrapers by throwing each other into them, and one body-slams the other so hard he punches a six-foot-deep, sixty-foot-wide crater in a city street.
  • The titular Mr. and Mrs. Smith do everything except destroy their house before the scene segues into Destructo-Nookie.


  • Justified Trope in Young Legionary: Keill and Oni are young members of an entire race of highly trained soldiers. The two of them have a game called Demolition where they would destroy every piece of furniture in a room as quickly and stylishly as possible using nothing but their martial arts. Later in the story, they gleefully trash the tacky, pretentious lounge area of the antagonists' spaceship.
  • Defied Trope in Exile's Honor: the furniture in The Broken Arms is so sturdy that in a fight against a charging bull, the bull would come out second. This is to avoid having to replace furniture after brawls.
  • Subverted in one of The Dresden Files books. Harry hits somebody with a barstool in MacAnally's, and remarks that "When you hit someone with a chair, it doesn't break. Whoever you hit with it is the one that breaks."

Live Action TV

  • Happens several times in The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Somewhat justified in that the combatants are super-strong, super-tough robotic assassins from the future. Punching each other will do little damage, so they tend to try and pick each other up and throw them through walls, out windows, and even through floors and ceilings.
  • Among many, many, other examples, Buffy's first fling with Spike is somehow engendered from this.
    • Made into some sort of Lampshade Hanging / Character Development combination, as in later seasons Xander became a talented carpenter, due to all the experience he had repairing and replastering Buffy's house.
    • Mentioned in "Dirty Girls":

 Faith: Whoa. Memory Lane. Same old house.

Buffy: Yeah, well, every piece of furniture's been destroyed and replaced since you left, so, actually, new house.

  • This occasionally happens in Star Trek during fights on the ship, making some people wonder why they still use breakable furniture in the future.
    • Because if they didn't, somebody could get hurt.
  • Charmed tends to have furniture destroyed and windows bashed open when a demon teleports into the house. Slightly averted in that the characters can fix it using magic (maybe they use magic to make the local furniture more comfy to land on if thrown across the room).
    • Their guardian angel is a handyman.
  • In what has been dubbed "the best girlfight ever" by Alias fans, Sydney and Fake Francine had a spectacular fight in their shared apartment, using or breaking just about everything that wasn't nailed down.
  • Inverted in Red Dwarf, in the episode "Backwards": Lister and company step out into an utterly-destroyed bar, at which point a fight begins - and since time is running backwards in this universe, the fight fixes everything. (There is a bit of Fridge Logic, though - the fight starts because Lister "undrank" someone's pint... which, if time ran forwards, would only happen after the fight was over.)


  • The Mountain Goats song "Oceanographer's Choice" has the Alpha couple doing this to their run-down Tallahassee home.

Professional Wrestling

  • Destroying furniture is a time-honored tradition in Professional Wrestling. Nothing says Badass like bodyslamming your opponent through the announcer's table.

Video Games

  • The arcade version of Ninja Gaiden has your hero able to throw enemies into telephone booths, crates, signs, vending machines, and barrels, all to get powerups inside (and causing no additional damage to your enemies, oddly enough).
  • In Blood Rayne 2 you can throw opponents onto spikes and out windows...or simply toss them through the occasional breakable wall or other scenery. One office area is a room full of cubicles, all of which can be smashed by flying Mooks.
  • Bayonetta. Even full cities get destroyed.
  • A major gameplay element of Power Stone. Some characters had moves meant specifically for environmental destruction.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

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