• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
"I bet I can take you both with my hands tied behind my back!"
Aang (who promptly does so), Avatar: The Last Airbender

So you've captured the hero, and have him at your mercy, but don't kill him just yet. So tie the guy up and leave him, he'll be harmless for now, right?

Wrong! What Were You Thinking?

Most heroes are so Badass that they can outfight your Mooks even while they're physically restricted. Their hands might be tied, but they can still kick. Chained down, they can still dodge. Shackle two together and you'll just have Back-to-Back Badasses. Plus the odds are pretty good that they'll make clever use of their binding, as garottes, club, or flails. And also that they'll be Breaking the Bonds.

In some modern works, this is parodied by having the characters willingly impose a handicap to make things "fairer" for the enemies.

Examples of With My Hands Tied include:

Anime & Manga

  • Though he's not technically tied, the effect is much like it: in the first arc of Naruto, the nerves from both of Zabuza's arms are effectively nullified, rendering him unable to fight while Kakashi gives him the standard "surrender, you can't keep fighting" lecture... until he catches a kunai with his teeth and proceeds to gut an entire army of mooks with it.
    • Deidara, too, gets one arm crushed and the other blown into an alternate dimension... and still fends off four ninja. Later, he tries to strangle Tobi with his legs.
    • Danzo can only use one of his arms to full functionality (most of the time), but still manages to kill a 17-man team of assassins. One particularly memorable part was when he took out the first wave of them, and when the second came he used the head one of the first wave who survived his attack as a sword holster so he would have a free arm to use the guy's body as a human shield.
  • Dragon Ball Z subverts this at the beginning of Goku's fight with Frieza. Frieza initially offers to fight Goku without the use of his hands. By the end of the episode he finds himself forced to break his pledge to counter an attack by Goku. Goku offers him a chance to try again, but Frieza refuses.
    • Frieza was more successful when he took on Nail with one hand behind his back.
    • Later on, near the start of the Buu Saga, Trunks made a bet with Goten that he could beat him using only one arm. He couldn't.
    • Vegetto makes a similar bluff to Super Buu, which is part of a larger plan to simply annoy him so much that he'll try to absorb Vegetto, allowing him to rescue the others Buu has absorbed. This is also why you might find Vegetto's fighting style includes a lot of kicking in the videogames.
  • Before the Z, at the climax of the initial Demon King Piccolo storyline in Dragon Ball, Piccolo gets Goku to stand and take his long distance attacks by threatening to kill Tenshinhan. Goku had already had one leg broken at this point, and Piccolo uses the circumstances to break Goku's other leg and one of his arms before taking off to finish Goku with death from above. Goku manages to use that one working arm tou counterattack, punching a hole through King Piccolo.
    • Earlier, right before the climax of the Red Ribbon storyline, the Red Ribbon Army newest mercenary assassin Tao Pai Pai combined this with the Worf Effect by fighting and killing a soldier who had nearly killed Goku... By using his tongue. Witnesses are obviously spooked...
  • The titular character of Rurouni Kenshin has at one point had his hands tied to a tree.
  • Mukuro from Yu Yu Hakusho manages to become a demon king despite having her hands in shackles for centuries. Huh?
    • Face it, she's just that Badass.
    • In the manga, she does not have her hands shackled together. She can be clearly seen with her hands at her sides in several scenes, such as when she strips naked and reveals her true form to Hiei, or when she sends him flying with one hand in a chapter not adapted into the anime.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Hiruma plays the second half of the game with the Hakushuu Dinosaurs with a broken right arm. Keep in mind that he's a quarterback (the position which throws the ball) A month later, at the Christmas Bowl, it still hasn't exactly healed, so he'll have to keep off it... causing the star running back of the opponents, the Teikoku Alexanders, to say he'll also play without using his right arm. And while this ultimately turns out to have been a ploy by Hiruma so the Alexanders would underestimate him, Yamato keeps using only one arm until he's forced to do otherwise, to show he doesn't need to try to kick ass.
  • In one episode of Vision of Escaflowne, Van got himself tied with his hands up. He pulled the one of his guards' sword from the scabbard with his legs, throwing it so it would cut the rope he was tied with, and then proceeded to off the soldiers aroung in industrial quantities.
  • Ranma One Half: Kodachi tried to hinder Ranma's agility by shackling her to Akane's pet piglet P-chan. It backfired spectacularly since it provided Ranma with a piggy-shaped flail.
    • She might have assumed Ranma wouldn't want to hurt the cute innocent widdle pig. "Pig is VALID weapon...." Cue the squealing....
    • Near the end of the manga, Ranma's hands and arms were held in place and encased in nigh-indestructible crystal, product of Saffron's metamorphosis. He was still able to fight almost to his full abilities, even wielding the spear-like Gekkaja with his toes and cut a giant Phoenix statue's neck in half that way.
      • Ranma actually does a lot of things with his toes in the manga, one chapter had him hanging from a rope with his arms bound by the aforementioned rope while going up against the Principal, using his toes to maneuver himself and kicking.
  • Badou Nails from DOGS Bullets and Carnage once gunned down several people while his arms were tied behind his back and bound to a chair.
  • Happens with Okoi in Basilisk. Despite being tied to a pole, she starts draining Rousai's blood when he touches her. She further traps him between her legs when he tries to retaliate, and finally kills him by draining all his blood.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist ch 105, Wrath loses both his arms, but still manages to stab Scar by holding a sword in his teeth.
  • During One Piece's current arc (Fishman Island), Luffy manages to beat down Vander Decken with both his arms and legs tied together.
    • Before that, Big Bad Hody Jones wipes out a whole pirate crew (Albiet underwater where fish-men have an advantage, and pumped up on stimulants) with his hands shackled together. One pirate realizes that the handcuffs are to show just how outmatched the crew is compared to Hody.

Comic Books

  • In a Story Arc that takes place over a few issues of Marvel's G.I. Joe comic, Snake-Eyes's wrists are manacled together with a long chain, which is then thrown over a hook a few feet up a stone wall. He manages to feign death by slowing his heartbeat — which of course annoys the would-be torturer enough that he lets his guard down — steal a poker from the torturer, leap up to the hook, pry it free of the wall using the poker, and then use the chain to steal a sword from a guard. At that point, it's all over.
  • In a variant used in an early Captain America story, Cap once got his hands untied, but his feet were still bound together. Even so, he was doing well fighting a small army of goons under that circumstance to the point when he got his legs free, the crooks know they were now really in trouble.
  • Doomsday, only partially out of the super-strength straitjacket he'd been buried in for millennia, manages to decimate the Justice League literally with one hand tied.
  • When Gambit is captured along with the other X-Men in mutant-enslaving Genosha and is hanging by his shackled arms, he deliberately allows himself to be impaled with a steel spike-- which he works out, drops and catches it between his feet, then with his feet over his head picks an electronic lock and frees himself.
  • Hawkeye in the "Ultimates" continuity. They should have taken his fingernails.
  • Black Widow in the "Ultimates" continuity. Bonus points that not only was she bound at the hands and feet, she was hung upside-down from a ceiling. She manages to dispatch several of her captors nonetheless. When one pulls a pistol and aims it at her, she shoots him a "I'm upside down, tied- and you need a gun? How pathetic are you?" look.
  • In one issue of Cable & Deadpool, Deadpool and Weasel play on this trope by kidnapping a bunch of high-ups from the military, etc., who might need to hire a mercenary, then showing them that Deadpool can beat the Taskmaster with his wrists and ankles manacled. It backfires, though - the military types already knew how good Deadpool was, but they won't hire him because he's too unstable. Also: Weasel lost the key to the handcuffs. Oh dears.
  • At one point in the latest run of Thunderbolts, Mr. X riles Headsman into fighting him, and nearly kills him with both hands behind his back.
  • In the latest issue of Superman/Batman, Lois Lane makes up for years of helplessness when she's about to be burned at the stake by a bunch of loonies who think Supes is a god. Still tied, she breaks off the stake, knocks a guy out with it and threatens to break his neck with her bare feet unless they release her. It's the timely arrival of Batman which scares them off moments later, but still.
  • One Star Wars comic showed a young Ki-Adi-Mundi tracking down a group of bandits on his homeworld. Being a young and brash man, he boasted that he could beat the leader with his hands tied behind his back. So she takes him up on it, and Reality Ensues.
  • Infinity Gauntlet. Captain America is stuck up to his ankles in pavement and still faces down the God-Level Thanos. He gets his shield shattered and smacked to death but still...

Film — Animated

  • In Disney's Peter Pan, during the climax, Peter fights Captain Hook with one hand behind his back.
  • In Quest for Camelot, Kaylee kicks the feet out from under one of Ruber's mooks and drops him through the floor while tied up.

Film — Live Action

  • Pirates of the Caribbean has an early scene where Jack Sparrow engages in a daring escape and sword fight while his hands are shackled. At one point he fights while one hand is stuck to a moving cogwheel. In the second movie, he doesn't do much fighting, but he still manages to pull off quite a lot of crazy stuff while tied to a pole.
    • Jack actually wanted to be shackled, just so he could escape (first thing he did was use them to hold Elizabeth in front of him so he wouldn't get shot. Second thing was to use them as a pulley to slide down a rope). As soon as they got the cuffs on him, he says "Finally".
  • The film of Charlie's Angels had Drew Barrymore's character fight off a group of minions while tied to a chair. Why didn't they simply grab her from the back?
  • Done beautifully in a deleted scene from The Lost World in which Roland picks a fight with a womanizing man who harasses one of the waitresses at the bar/restaurant they are both at. The man sizes up Roland, then boasts he could beat Roland with one hand behind his back. Cut to Roland having a hand tied behind his own back, then as the other man attempts to correct Roland's "mistake", gets punched out, slammed into a table and a pole or two, then has his nose broken by Roland's single hand crushing it with his index and middle fingers.
  • Jackie Chan, in Rush Hour, had a nice battle with both his hands cuffed to a (removed) steering wheel. He also manages to go over a twelve-foot wall with his hands still chained. The post-movie blooper reel has a screamingly funny outtake of the wall climb...
    • Only one hand was cuffed to the steering wheel, which just made it an unusual weapon/thing to try and conceal.
    • Not the first time he's done this either. In Who Am I?, he escapes from his captors and makes his way down a three-story building by turning himself into a human yo-yo with his hands cuffed behind his back.
    • And in Mr. Nice Guy, near the end, the Big Bad ties a bunch of ropes to him so he can beat him up without worry, but Jackie still manages to get the upper hand once.
    • He likes this trope. In The Tuxedo he ends up wearing only the pants of the titular tux and activates "pants only combat".
      • From that same movie, he was fighting off a bunch of mooks from all directions while keeping the movie's plot device from escaping by keeping it in a glass that was pressed up against the compulsory lady love's face.
  • In the first Lethal Weapon film, Riggs manages to kill Al Leung while tied up and hanging from the ceiling.
  • In a slightly unusual variant on this, The One has Jet Li practice kung fu (apparently hsing yi chuan) while wearing handcuffs.
  • In a Villainous version, the film X Men the Last Stand has Mystique breaks the neck of a Mooks with her legs because she's hanging from the wall by her arms.
    • Earlier, she tries to strangle a police officer who's interrogating her, with her handcuffs.
  • In Anaconda, Jon Voight strangles Kari Wuhrer to death with his legs while handcuffed to a pole.
  • It takes Anton Chigurh a horrifically long time to finally strangle his arresting officer with a pair of handcuffs in No Country for Old Men. Never wonder if he's a Complete Monster again.
  • FX: Murder by Illusion (1986). The protagonist is able to knock out the hitman and ties him up with his hands behind his back; but when the hitman revives he's able to partially free himself (in the middle of their struggle) by leaping up in the air and whipping his bound hands underneath his feet in one movement.
  • In the first live-action Hellboy movie, Hellboy has to hold a box of kittens out of the way during part of the fight in the subway station. Less well done in the second film, where he vaults around a building fighting a giant monster while holding a baby in his stone hand.
  • In Ip Man 2 Wong Leung manages to handle himself decently while bound by kicking things at his attackers.
  • Not tied up, but in The Presidio, Sean Connery wins a bar fight using only his right thumb, explaing that his "left is much too powerful".
  • In Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, Romeo has his hands chained behind his back while he fights a large Frenchman. Romeo dodges his attacks, flips the chains to his front and takes the man down with a submission.
  • In The Avengers, Black Widow's reintroduction is, after being the Play-Along Prisoner for an indeterminable amount of time, her beating up a gang of Russian thugs while tied to a chair. It's amazing.


  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Jaime Lannister, an in-universe Memetic Badass and widely considered to be the greatest fighter in the Seven Kingdoms, gets into a sword fight with Brienne of Tarth, whose first on-screen action was to defeat something like forty other knights, including a young knight who is generally thought of as the new Jaime. Jaime's hands are shackled together at the time, and he'd been locked in a dungeon for some time prior to the fight. Brienne is arguably also hampered in that fight by her oath not to do any harm to Jaime until they reach their destination, and is on the defensive until he starts to taunt her. They fight for what's implied to be the better part of a day, and by the time they're done they've both lost their swords and been injured. It only ends when they're interrupted while grappling. Most fans give that fight to Brienne, as she was (successfully, until the interruption) trying to drown Jaime in a creek. Each is astonished at the other's skill, with Jaime later judging the strength of his oponents by Brienne (and finding them wanting,) and Brienne mentioning that no knight she's ever faced would be able to withstand Jaime at his full strength.
    • Leading to the funniest exchange in the whole book (paraphrased):

 "You can't hurt him. I swore that I would get him safely back to King's Landing."

"When we caught you, he was in shackles and you were holding his head under water."

"Well, he was getting on my nerves!"

    • It's been not so subtly hinted that Jaime Lannister is (or was, in his youth) the greatest living blade on Westeros. Brienne was no slouch but its implied that most of the warriors of the new generation haven't learned to fight in real battles. The distinction between being good in tournaments and being really good is lampshaded by Jaime and Barristan Selmy.
  • In the first book of the Sword of Truth series, several characters are captured, and one in particular, a boundary warden named Chase, has his hands tied behind his back (because he'd already killed five of the nine attackers on his own). When a suitable distraction happens, he tackles one of the captors and snaps his neck with his legs before being beaten savagely by the captor's leader. He's standing up again within minutes, leading one of the other characters to remark that he's far tougher than he has any right to be.
  • Parodied in Men At Arms:

 Cuddy: I could beat you with one hand tied behind my back!

Detritus: You get opportunity! I tie BOTH hands behind your back!

  • In Mossflower, Martin the Warrior, Determinator that he is, fights off guards who are dragging him into Tsarmina's chamber over the course of three chapters or so.
  • Spenser fights a tough mook in Crimson Joy with one hand, using the other to keep his gun trained on the guy's buddies so they don't jump in. Slightly subverted when he cheats a little by switching the gun from one hand to the other, but he still never uses more than one hand at a time.

Live Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has done this, on more than one occasion, including kicking Drusilla while she's chained in a dungeon. On another occasion, when the town attempted to burn her at the stake, she simply unearthed the stake and impaled a monster on it.
  • In Lost Sayid's Moment of Awesome is where he manages to break a man's neck...with his legs, while he is still tied up from being held at gunpoint moments before.
  • In a mild example, one episode of the classic '60s Batman show featured the Caped Crusader fending off mooks while holding a cat in his arms. Sure, he could have just set the kitty down before kicking ass, but where's the fun in that?
  • Xena: Warrior Princess had this more than a few times. Of course, Xena was contractually required to display as much badassery as possible, so it's no wonder the bad guys were allowed to capture her occasionally.
  • In Professional Wrestling, any wrestler who says something like "I could beat you with one/both hand[s] tied behind my back" will inevitably be put in a match with that stipulation. Quite often, this will then be used to trip said wrestler up further by rearranging the match stipulations even more.
  • Arrested by a Control Freak Alliance officer in the Firefly episode "Bushwhacked," Mal is sent into a ship to deal with a lunatic aboard, who survived an attack by the horrific Reavers. The officer leaves him handcuffed and follows him in with extra guards. Naturally, the lunatic gets behind them, takes out the guards, and is about to kill the officer when Mal snaps his neck with the cuffs.
    • Also in the Firefly episode "Ariel," Jayne, Simon and River are being escorted (with hands cuffed behind their backs) through a police station after Jayne's attempt to turn the latter two in for the reward goes wrong and he is arrested right along with them. They go through a door into a smallish room, and Jayne attacks. He knocks one guard down (allowing Simon to kneel on his throat), then beats the other one senseless before snapping his neck.
      • Also notable for his feat in getting from hands-cuffed-behind-back to hands-cuffed-in-front. It's amazing because he is so TALL and it looked hard to do.
      • Point of interest is that, as of The Movie, River could have done the above, if her mind hadn't still been horribly broken by that point.
  • Steve of Kate Modern gained major Badass points when he fought off the Shadow Terrence whilst chained up and gagged in "Precious Blood".
  • Amanda did this on Highlander, savate-kicking several mooks unconscious before breaking the chair she was bound to.
  • Tony combines this with What Kept You? in the NCIS episode "Under Covers," managing to kick a Mooks unconscious before the rest of the team could come to his rescue, in spite of the fact that he is tied to a chair.
  • The Professionals. Played for laughs in "The Female Factor" where Bodie fights a drunk in a pub without putting down or spilling the pint in his hand.
  • Battlestar Galactica. Leoben breaks his cuffs and gets the drop on Kara Thrace simply to show he can during his interrogation. Cylon prisoners after this episode are always excessively chained and restraint-collared.
  • In Dollhouse, Ballard manages to deliver a pretty thorough beating to a pair of large thugs despite having his hands cuffed behind his back.
  • On Dexter, the title character is kidnapped, tied up and thrown in the back of a van by a dirty cop trying to force a confession out of him. Dexter kicks the into his face, then manages to wrestle the man's knife from him and take him down with his hands still tied.
  • Played with in one episode of Get Smart, where Max and his friend Sid are shackled by their hands in front of a deathtrap. Max frees himself by releasing the fake hands that were bound by the shackles.

 Sid: "Oh, the old false-hands-in-the-chain trick!"

  • Occurs in the Bones episode "Two Bodies In The Lab". Brennan does it trying to escape Kenton in the warehouse. It works for a while, until Kenton gets the upper hand on her.


  • Just about everyone in Warhammer 40000, hence why more... exotic... measures are commonly employed.

Video Games

  • Regal from Tales of Symphonia bases his entire fighting style on the fact that his hands are shackled, and he's not going to take them off.
  • Ryuji Yamazaki of the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series kicks copious amounts of ass with one hand in his pocket.
    • Jhun Hoon always fights with one hand behind his back, and because he's a Taekwondo practicioner, he doesn't even use that.
    • Iori Yagami has the legs of his pants tied with a belt, and he still has an awesome footwork, although in his case it's more of a fashion statement than an intentional handicap.
  • Cody from Street Fighter Alpha 3, a recently escaped convict, wears handcuffs. In one of his taunts, he easily slips them off and on again.
  • Oro from Street Fighter 3 has one arm tied inside of his . He refuses to use it until and unless he finds an opponent his equal.
  • The first time you meet the Big Bad of SquareSoft's The Bouncer, Dauragon C. Mikado, he shows off by fighting with one hand chained behind his back. This does make him somewhat easier, but beating him just reveals that, like any self-respecting Corrupt Corporate Executive, he's got a Trap Door installed in his private suite. Later on in the game, he's shown to actually use the chain as a weapon, too.
  • Raiden does this a few times in Metal Gear Solid 4: first with a couple of Gekkou which have tied down all his limbs (Snake frees his arms, but he breakdances hard enough to sling the Gekkou around anyway), next against Vamp (Vamp pins his arms to his back with knives, but he holds him off long enough to free himself) and then with a squad of knife-wielding FROGs ( having lost both arms previously, he fries some of them with electricity, then takes his sword in his foot and fights the rest off.)
  • In the first Baldur's Gate, bandits and guards are occasionally heard quipping "I can take Drizzt with both hands tied behind my back.". With a cheat code, it is possible to summon Drizzt and prove how terribly wrong they are, as Drizzt is totally Badass in this game...
  • Lisa from Resident Evil on the Game Cube has her hands shackled, but can deliver extremely powerful blows on the player.
  • Kuroda Kanbei in Sengoku Basara combines this with Epic Flail. He fights with manacles on his wrists, attached to a giant steel ball which he can swing around with ease. A Running Gag is his failed attempts to remove the shackles.
  • In Star Wars Battlefront 2, Grievous will occasionally boast, "I could do this with one, two, no, THREE ARMS TIED BEHIND MY BACK!"
  • There's a section near the beginning of Batman: Arkham City where Bruce Wayne gets arrested on bogus charges for speaking out against Arkham City, and after he gets thrown into the prison himself, you to fight off a few groups of goons as a still-handcuffed Bruce.
    • There's also an in-game handicap available during campaigns called With One Hand Tied: in combat maps, it disables counter icons, and in predator maps, it makes silent takedowns from behind unavailable.

Web Animation

  • In Homestar Runner, one of the questions Strong Bad asks Homestar in the short "The Interview" is "Who would win in a fight: Strong Sad or The Cheat?". Homestar's response comes with a cutaway to a brief demonstration:

 Homestar Runner: Oh, man. That's not even fair. The Cheat would win with both hands duct-taped behind his back, and little pieces of duct tape covering his eyes, and Strong Sad can have a spear, even!



  • Subverted in The Princess Planet: see the bottommost strip of this page.
  • An extreme version of this appears in Goblins: K'Seliss gets captured by an undead abomination that eats liquefied and dissolved flesh. After getting both his arms destroyed by a disease the creature uses to create its 'food', the creature leaves him to slowly die and rot away from the disease, unwilling to confront him further. Even with that handicap, K'Seliss manages to kill it by jumping onto its back and biting its head off even as his feet and tail are rotting away. He dies shortly after as biting it spreads the disease to his head.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang's first meeting with prince Zuko involves his taking out two guards, evading others and finally breaking his bonds with the spiky helmet of one last mook.
    • In another episode, Iroh gets captured by soldiers from the Earth Kingdom. After a first clever but failed escape (he asks one of the guards to tighten his shackles, superheats them by blowing steam out of his nose, and burns the guard's hand), he is soon caugh again and has to be rescued by Zuko. Once freed, however, he proves his Badass fighting skills (alongside with Zuko) by using his long shackles to beat up all the guards in a matter of seconds.
    • Bumi beats both by taking back the city of Omashu while being trapped in a metal box and able to move nothing but his chin.
  • In The Venture Bros., Brock kills two Mooks this way: One of the mooks was giving him a cavity search. Brock tightens up (enough to make the guy scream in pain), swings the guy around like a flail, and knocks the other guy out, all while being in shackles.
    • This scene also wins awards for quite possibly the best dialogue in the series.

 Pirate 1: Where are the keys?

Brock: They're in my ass.

Pirate 2: Really?

Brock: Why don't you reach in and find out?

Pirate 1: Well...what are you waiting for?

Pirate 2: What if he's lying?

Pirate 1: Oh, and it would be better if he was telling the truth?!

  • In the second part of Justice League's three-part Grand Finale, half the team gets a chance at this. Wonder Woman, impressively, manages to free herself while tied to a pole by throwing the enemy's knife at the control panel with her teeth.
  • A similar concept is seen on Danny Phantom. Vlad says, "Oh, please, Daniel, must I actually defeat you with one hand behind my back?"... as he literally does just that! Talk about adding insult to injury.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Batman is forced to beat up two burly orderlies while in a straitjacket and held for treatment in Arkham.
    • Another episode had Batgirl and Catwoman working together. When the badguys tie the duo up, Catwoman uses her claws to free herself and start a fight. Batgirl fights, too, but with her hands still tied behind her back, making it a very literal case.
  • There was an episode of Samurai Jack where Jack and the Scotsman were literally shackled together. They argue a bit at first, but when push comes to shove they get over it and pwn the bounty hunters and the robot hordes chasing after them.
  • In a Halloween episode of The Simpsons, Lucy Lawless beats up a villain while encased in a giant Mylar bag.
  • Ahsoka Tano does this to a round-dozen corrupt Mandalorian Police after being captured in "The Academy", even managing to capture their leader in the process, all with her hands bound.
  • In an episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Applejack ties down Rainbow Dash's wings to keep her from flying during a race.
  • Discussed and parodied in one episode of Mutant League, when Razor Kidd tells the strong Badass, "I can beat you with one hand tied behind my back!" Of course, the strong guy rips off Razor's arm as a literal response, and the latter snaps back, "Hey! I said tied!" Razor even tries to kick the strong one, who quickly rips off his leg as well!

Real Life

  • The Brazilian martial art of Capoeira was originally created on the assumption that the practitioner might well need to fight with hands bound, since the art began as a means of self-defense among Brazilian slaves, and so emphasizes fighting with the hands close together, as well as foot strikes and highly acrobatic attacks and movements.