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A Fight Scene where the combatants have no fighting skill whatsoever, usually played for laughs, and often in slow-mo, for additional comedy.
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.
See also Combat Breakdown, when an initially-skilful fight devolves into this after going on too long.
Anime and Manga
- Nanoha's very first befriending in the original Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, which she did way back in kindergarden, 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.
- In a very early episode of Pokémon, 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's 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.
- Curtis vs. Porco in Porco Rosso eventually devolves into this. Both men are ace pilots, yes. Neither of them are particularly good at boxing, especially after going at each other for a couple of rounds and being too stubborn to quit.
- 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 final version of the Sword Fight in Rashomon, which depicts the duel as far more chaotic and desperate than gallant.
- The fights between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant's characters in both of the Bridget Jones movies.
- Simon Pegg and Dylan Moran in Run Fatboy Run fight like little girls, as seen here.
- 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".
- In the second act climax of Kids in The Hall's 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 outlanish full-arm splint for his injured finger.
- Played seriously in the fight between Muntz and Carl at the end of Up. A fight 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.
- The first fistfight between Tyler and Jack in Fight Club has elements of this, but they get better.
- Most of the titular 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.
- 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.
- They're both expert fighters, but at one point in The Bride and Elle's fight they start chucking stuff at each other.
- Most of the fights in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
- In 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.
- In Toy Story 3, Rex and Hamm get into one of these fights to distract a guard in the daycare toy-prison they've become trapped in as part of an escape attempt. Probably justified, in that Rex has very short arms and neither are exactly built for a rumble.
- In The Wild Hunt, the LARPers don't actually know how to swordfight. Their in-game duels are just childish flailing, often followed by arguing. This is all subverted in the end, when things get dangerous.
- 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.
- Near the end of Lolita, a pair of middle-age perverts engage in a deadly version of this.
- 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 Parkinson's disease, and the Nazi is nearly ninety years old, so at least it's even.
- 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.
Live Action TV
- Xander-vs-Harmony in Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode 4.7, "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.
- One utterly anticlimactic battle of the English 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A sketch in Important Things with Demetri Martin has two people attempt to breakout 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 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 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 arm and forces him to say uncle.
- In The IT Crowd, Douglas' first appearance at his father's funeral was marked by him getting embroiled in a sissy slap-fight with the officiating vicar.
- 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.
- Yes, Dear has Greg and a recurring minor character do this twice.
- Drake and Josh occasionally has the title characters get into slap fights.
- The Cha boys in Protect the Boss
- Abe and Craig in Malcolm in the Middle fight by slapping and pushing.
- This NHL fight.
- 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".
- This one.
- We really have no idea what's going on here.
- They're playing a game where they stand on one leg and try to knock someone over.
- It's called flamingo fight.
- Viola vs. Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
- 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.
- Tifa Vs. Scarlet in Final Fantasy VII. I mean, Tifa has punched robots to death and she engages in a slap fight. A bit ridiculous? Perhaps. Utterly satisfying? Hell yes!
- Often happens for comedic effect in videos made in Garry's Mod (using invisible thrusters attached to limbs).
- In Bully, this is the fighting style of the Nerds. Goes without saying that they're the weakest enemies in the game.
- In El Goonish Shive, when Tedd and Susan finally end up coming to blows... over Star Trek. In the strip named "Red Alert: Insert Original Series Duel Music Here" and referred to as a "sissy slap-fight" ever after. Return of the sissy slap-fight! Over the same subject. This time complete with a facepalming witness.
- When Dexter and Mandark finally square off in Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi, they start out with some dramatic poses and then end up in a sissy slap-fight, as a direct reference to the original show (see below). THEN they pull out all the stops for a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown with advanced combat technology.
- This strip of Questionable Content. "It's like a pathetic real life version of Scott Pilgrim..."
- Shortpacked has Ethan and Jacob getting into a nerd fight over who has the better rogues gallery, Batman or Spider-Man. Robin still finds it erotic.
- In this Floating Hands Studios X Men parody, one of these culminates...between Emma Frost and Dark Phoenix!
- In Djy1991's version of Half Life: Full Life Consequences, Gordon Freeman's 'fightin thr final bosss' is pretty much the two flailing their arms at one another.
- Hand-to-hand combat in the Full Life Consequences machinima videos mostly consists of this if the fanfic itself doesn't go into specifics.
- The That Guy With The Glasses anniversary crossovers raise this to an art form.
- 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 eachother in the middle of an empty battle field.
- Most characters in Stupid Mario Brothers such as UPS, Fed Ex, Luigi and Kamek fight using this. Kamek even referred to it as Slap Combat.
- Kung Tai Ted, a spinoff of The Cinema Snob, 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.
- On Dexter's Laboratory, when Dexter and Mandark engaged in unarmed hand-to-hand combat, they would primarily stand there slapping ineffectually at each other.
- Something similar happens whenever Ron Stoppable and Dr Drakken get into a fight in Kim Possible (while Kim and Shego are engaging in a much more serious and skilled battle).
- South Park features a few:
- In "Tweek vs. Craig," the boys engineer a brawl between Tweek and Craig, but are disappointed when the boys hopelessly slap and push each other, having no idea how to fight. The bout is postponed so the combatants can train.
- In "It's Christmas In Canada", Cartman challenges Kyle to a fist-fight for "ruining Christmas". Kyle lightly taps Cartman on the nose, and he begins crying.
- And then the EPIC SHOWDOWN in Cartoon Wars- Part 1 ended with a teaser for a truly epic mano-e-mano fight. What we actually got... was a bitch-slapping contest that took 5 minutes before they became exhausted. But they still manage to crash through walls.
- Featuring such gems of Badass dialogue as "Time out! Time out! ...Time in!" and "No hitting in the balls!"
- This was subverted in "Breast Cancer Show Ever", where the entire episode led up to a fight between Wendy and Cartman, which was expected to be a Wimp Fight. Instead, Wendy beats Cartman down in a parody of the climactic boxing scene from Snatch.
- Also subverted in the eponymous scene in "Cripple Fight", which turns into a shot-for-shot remake of a scene from They Live.
- In The Venture Brothers, Dean attacks Dermott for insultingly hitting-on his would-be love interest Triana. Dean fights like a total sissy, with tears in his eyes and snot coming out of his nose, ineffectually punching with his tiny little fists...and wins. Dermott may talk a big game, but he sure as hell can't back it up.
- He later claims the only reason he won was because he was sick.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Student Starfish", Patrick and SpongeBob start a fight as a chanting crowd gathers around them. They soon stop chanting and disperse as they see that the two are not even standing close enough to make contact.
- Celebrity Deathmatch's main event fight between Jerry Seinfeld and Tim Allen. The "fight" devolves into purple nurples, at which point the announcers and audience are happy when the cast of Seinfeld interferes to kill Jerry for canceling the show.
- The fight in the Family Guy episode "German Guy" between Herbert the elderly pedophile and a Nazi he knew Franz Gutentag who was holding Chris hostage, it results in an Overly Long Gag because they are both quite weak and elderly and at one point they stop to take their medications.
- One of the Cutaway Gags in another episode has Peter musing on what an old-fashioned pistol duel would be like without the pistols. Cue this trope.
- Time Squad had Otto and his past self deciding to fight since their friends are fighting. They looked at each other, shrugged, and started slapping each other.
- Batman the Brave And The Bold: Bat-Mite versus Joker-Mite in "Emperor Joker!".