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A popular visual trope often associated with martial arts. After performing a particularly cool move, or dropping from a great height, the character lands on the ground in a crouching position, feet wide apart and supporting their weight with one hand on the floor while the other hand is outstretched away from their body, usually pointed diagonally upwards. Extra coolness points are added if said hand on the floor is a fist that actually causes damage to the ground you land on.
Very common in manga, anime, and video games, but can also be seen in movies -- especially those with visual styles inspired by them.
A pun on "three-point landing," an aircraft landing in which both the main gear (the wheels further back on tricycle gear aircraft like airliners) and the nosewheel/tailwheel touch down on the runway at the same time, which is seen as a mark of skill among pilots. Also not to be confused with the skydiving three-point landing, where you land on your feet and then fall on your ass.
Anime & Manga
- In Kurogane Pukapuka Tai, Commander Kuki lands like this after sliding down a rope to repel boarders, just before kicking ass overboard.
- Mahou Sensei Negima uses this twice on one page in volume 3; when Asuna face-kicks Evangeline on the bridge, both of them execute a three-point landing. Asuna with rotation pivioting around her right foot, while Evangeline has to bleed off momentum. And this was a few pages before Asuna enters the probationary pacto with Negi.
- Juliet from Romeo X Juliet, after bursting through a prison skylight to free one of her friends.
- Subverted in Asuka's debut episode in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Unit 02 destroys an Angel while underwater (an environment the EVA is not designed to handle), launches itself into the air via the resulting explosion, does a perfect three-point landing onto an nearby aircraft carrier... and then collapses into a useless heap as its power supply runs out.
- Subverted in Slayers: Amelia tries to perform acrobatics, but accidentally lands head down, and it hurts.
- In Change 123, when Hibiki (merged with Zero) chases Sora, at one point she does a spectacular three-point landing (presented on a double page spread, no less) after jumping off from a moving truck.
- Yu-Gi-Oh You're on a soon-to-explode artificial island, running for your life towards the blimp that is your only means of escape, but your Morality Pet kid sibling can't keep up. What do you do? If you're Seto Kaiba, the answer is: pick him up and throw him onto the blimp's ramp with one hand, then jump clean over him and land like so. Seriously.
- In Eyeshield 21, Sena unintentionally pulled this off as he was thrown into the air and thus making his Big Entrance against the first game of the tournament against the Cyborgs.
- Spider-Man does this frequently.
- X-Men: Nightcrawler too.
- As do almost all of the "animalistic" characters like Wolverine, Beast, Creeper, Sabretooth, X-23 and so on...
- Iron Man does this so often it is his signature pose, although unlike most characters, his legs aren't widely spread apart. And his fist usually ends up in the ground as opposed to on top of it, since Iron Man usually does this at high speed and wearing heavy, durable armor.
Films -- Animation
- The Animatrix uses this, in particular Last Flight of the Osiris.
- Major Kusanagi does it when she's pursuing a guy in the first Ghost in The Shell movie.
- Tifa does it against a wall in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
- Jim from Treasure Planet does this when the ship sets sail into space. There's a few seconds where he and the rest of the crew start to float in the air, before Captain Amelia has the gravity turned on and everyone gets a quick drop to the ground. Jim's the only one who does it, while most everyone else just lands on their feet, unfazed (and Dr. Doppler lands on his head with a loud crash, because of the clunky space suit he was wearing)
- 7 in Nine finishes her proper introductory scene with one of these, showcased on her character poster. It is incredibly badass.
Films -- Live-Action
- Trinity from The Matrix does this a few times, most notably when she spectacularly makes this landing in front of a small building, having just backflipped off a motorcycle moving at an extreme speed through the air. As she lands, the motorcycle smashes into the building and explodes.
- The Bride does this at one point in Kill Bill.
- Chun-Li does this in Street Fighter the Legend of Chun Li
- Iron Man does this basically whenever he lands at high speed (and at one point, hovering at head level before cutting thrust and literally dropping himself into this pose); Black Widow does it in Iron Man 2, as seen in the page image, but it's not a landing; she's actually getting up from a slide along the ground.
- Jet Li does it a lot, but hell he and Vicent Zhao (who also does it here) have a whole fight scene almost entirely crouching in Fong Say Yuk.
- Donnie Yen and almost everyone in Dragon Tiger Gate.
- Whenever the girls from Sucker Punch land from leaping out of their transport during the dream sequences. Also, after Baby Doll kills off a samurai.
- The Man from Nowhere features a three-point landing onto the hood of a fleeing car.
- Over the run of Tron: Legacy, this is seen being performed by Quorra, Sam, and Rinzler. This seems to be carried over to Tron Uprising.
- Conan the Barbarian does this from time to time since he'd rather hit the ground a bit harder than be disarmed.
- Lara and her sisters from The Dresden Files does this on one occasion in Turn Coat. From a helicopter. Without descent lines. It was flying above treetops before it reach the drop zone.
- Devil May Cry
- Dante does this at the beginning of Devil May Cry 2.
- In Devil May Cry 4, both Dante and Nero land this way every time an enemy knocks them off their feet.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, while fighting the Storm Rider in Mulan's world, one can perform an reaction command which will stun the Storm Rider. Afterwards, Sora lands in the described way. It can be seen in this video.
- Mace Windu's jump attack in Star Wars Battlefront 2 looks like this, except that the hand in question is holding a lightsaber. And it does area damage.
- Samus Aran from Metroid does this several times, usually after a spinning jump in the air. Kind of the only way for her to land, given that one of her suit's hands is an Arm Cannon and therefore lacks a hand.
- The Elite Beat Agents do this often.
- Blood Elves in World of Warcraft do this after jumping.
- Iron Man does this when landing at high speed in the 2008 Game of the Movie.
- Snake, Raiden, Drebin, and just about everyone from the Metal Gear games do this all the time.
- Vincent does this a few times in the cutscenes from Dirge of Cerberus.
- Crisis Core
- Zack does this twice in the intro train cutscene -- once when he jumps out of a helicopter onto the roof of a speeding train, and once when he dismounts from the train after it stops.
- Sephiroth also finishes his Octaslash attack with this.
- The Prince from the 2008 Prince of Persia lands like this after finishing a mid-air combo.
- Captain Falcon in Super Smash Bros Brawl. Heck, most athletic characters in the game do this, but Falcon tends to be a more obvious example.
- Kasumi from Mass Effect 2 lands with one of these after disabling Donovan Hock's Mantis gunship's shields. Funilly enough, this is less impressive than the moves she pulled to get onto the gunship just before.
- Satele Shan from Star Wars: The Old Republic performs one, complete with area of effect damage, during her Big Damn Heroes moment in the Return cinematic.
- Link does this from long falls in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, like going to the ground from the sky, or entering Skyloft.
- Ryu, the player character of Ninja Gaiden, can be seen in this position frequently.
- The characters of Section 8 (video game) will do this if, while dropping in from low orbit in nothing but your Power Armor, you think "You know what? I don't need airbrakes." As awesome as it looks, it does leave you immobile for a second while your character and his armour recovers from the landing, which isn't always a good thing in a multiplayer shooter.
- Dead Space 2: Isaac Clarke manges this after being fired from a rocket ejector seat, flying though space, crashing though a vent and firing his rocket boots to slow his descent. Watch it here or here for context.
- In Crysis 2, whenever someone falls for a long but not quite fatal distance they do this, especially while in Armor Mode.
- Oni's Konoko lands like this after jumping from an airplane to infiltrate the Big Bad's base. Without a parachute. Bonus points for ground shatter.
- The second opening cutscene of Assassin's Creed: Revelations has the protagonist Ezio Auditore freefall from several stories up only to land like this with no negative physical effects.
- Adam Jensen of Deus Ex Human Revolution falls into this stance every time he uses the Icarus Landing System.
- Player Characters in DC Universe Online do this after drops from great heights, including a proper spray of dust and debris.
- Stephen Fry jumps down the loft.
- Kareem of Project 0. Ciro opts out.
- Elliot of El Goonish Shive performs one of these while sneaking into PTTAPUTASF.
- Dan's Crowning Moment of Awesome here in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, although the wings probably helped.
- Tiren, of Dubious Company, jumps off the airship, does several flips and lands this way between a cornered Sal and advancing Izor. Too bad the acrobatics gives her motion sickness and ruins the moment.
- In the Happy Tree Friends episode "Flippin' Burgers", Flippy does this after his burger joint massacre
- The Powerpuff Girls often do this.
- In the Metalocalypse episode "The Revengencers", when the band manager Charles is thrown out of a third story window, he lands in a perfect three-point landing.
- Aang, from Avatar: The Last Airbender, sometimes lands this way.
- True to the comic, film, and video game examples, Iron Man pulls this off fairly often in Iron Man: Armored Adventures, too.
- This guy does it a lot in his presentations and competitions though Your Mileage May Vary on the "real" part of such things.
- It exists in real Wushu and could be a variation of the "ZUO PAN BU" stance.
- Quest Crew did this at the end of this performance.
- If you have forward momentum, jump down as little as six or seven feet, you'll put at least one hand out to help slow your landing. Try it by running and then jumping down about a dozen stairs -- though for safety's sake, try it with smaller numbers of stairs first so when you land badly and fall, you won't break yourself.
- If you have a lot of forward momentum, then you might be forced into a roll on landing, in which case having one hand out on landing would be more or less necessary to stop you from just splaying out instead. You probably don't want to try this at home.