. Alternate title suggestions: Ambidextrous Fighter
, Ambidextrous Warrior
, Combat Ambidexter
[Murchadh] grasped his two valiant strong swords, that is, a sword in his right, and a sword in his left hand, for he was the last man in Ireland who had equal dexterity in striking with his right and with his left hand. He was the last man in Ireland that had true valour.
-–The War of the Irish with the Foreigners
Ambidexterity is the ability to use either hands equally well for any task. It follows it is a highly prized talent for any activity that requires or rewards the skillful use of both hands, such as various sports or musical instruments, juggling, knitting, and—fighting.
Cue the Ambidextrous Badass, a warrior that fights equally well with either hand. They may even be able to do so at the same time. If this is said about a character, it automatically establishes them as fighters of truly awesome prowess.
To capitalize on their rare talent, Ambidextrous Badasses often choose to Dual Wield
or use Guns Akimbo
. But not every character that fights with two weapons is ambidextrous; to qualify for this trope, it has to be actually said that the character is equally good at fighting with either hand.
Ambidexterity is said to be an extremely rare natural talent, although it can be acquired by intense training
. For example, naturally left-handed people who have been trained (or trained themselves) to use their right hand can achieve ambidexterity. How this talent is acquired is not relevant for the trope.
Ambidexterity is not the same as mixed-handedness, which is when a person prefers different hands for different tasks. However, the distinguishing line between mixed-handedness and ambidexterity is somewhat dependent on the strictness of your criteria, and whether perfect ambidexterity exists at all in real life is dubious. Also, real-life ambidexterity does not include the ability to coordinate both hands simultaneously, which is just as much of a challenge to an ambidexter as it is to the common single-hander.
Contrast The Southpaw
, who may draw advantage from use of the left hand, but still has a preferred hand.
Has nothing to do with Ambidextrous Sprite
Anime and Manga
- According to Heimskringla, King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway "smote equally well with both hands and shot two spears at a time."
- According to War of the Irish with the Foreigners, Brian Boru's son Murchadh (a.k.a. Murrough) "was the last man in Ireland who had equal dexterity in striking with his right and with his left hand", which is why he fought with two swords in the Battle of Clontarf.
- One of J. R. R. Tolkien's posthumously published essays about Middle-earth ("Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals") reveals that Tolkien at least for a time entertained the idea that elves are ambidextrous (although this never actually showed in any of the Middle-earth books).
- Subverted in Gor: Tarl's master-at-arms wants him to train to cast a spear and otherwise fight with his non-dominant hand, in case he's injured during battle. This is the one combat-related skill Tarl never masters.
- John Reese in Person of Interest is equally accurate shooting either right- or left-handed. On a side note, his actor Jim Caviezel is ambidextrous in real life.
- Ambidexterity is a common perk in Tabletop RPG systems, such as Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS. It allows you to Dual Wield weapons much more efficiently than otherwise, even if you're already trained for it.
- Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying games like Deathwatch cast Space Marines, genetically enhanced super soldiers and arguably the main heroes of the setting, as equally capable of using any weapons with either hands thanks to their extensive training.
- World of Warcraft: 'Combat' specialization gives Rogue class players a passive ability called 'Ambidexterity' that increases damage done by offhand weapons. Warrior class players with 'Fury' specialization have analogous abilities in form of 'Crazed Berserker' and 'Single-Minded Fury'.
- Prince of Persia: In the Sands of Time continuity, while he wasn't initially, by the time the prince came to the Island of Time he was able to use both hands alike, to the point of wielding the dagger in his right hand and two-hand sword in his left in the climax of the Two Thrones.
- Self-defense gun instructors insist on practicing firing one-handed with both hands, so that you are at least passable with your non-dominant hand, should your dominant hand/arm be disabled.