[[quoteright:350:[[Film/IpMan http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ipman_swd_vs_duster.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:If you think he's good at swordfights, wait till you see him do the dusting.]]

->''"Did we mention he had windshield wipers?"''
-->-- '''One of the many {{Mooks}} Creator/JackieChan whooped'''

Two people are in a duel. One of them pulls a fairly traditional weapon... a sword, spear, maybe even a gun. His opponent (usually the protagonist) picks a relatively "weak" [[ImprovisedWeapon equivalent]], something that's generally not lethal (something as dangerous as a broken bottle would rarely be seen in this trope). Sometimes, he may even go as far as to ignore real weapons that are lying around. He proceeds to kick the first guy's ass, showing off a clear difference in skill. The key to this trope, however, is ''skill.'' He doesn't win the fight due to the weapon being unconventional, quirky, or unexpected (like a [[Creator/JackieChan stepladder]]). The weapon is generally analogous to the user's own preferred weapon - like a wooden practice sword or an umbrella instead of a real sword. This allows him to show off the fact that he can apply the same techniques with a proper weapon if he chose to do so.

The fight will usually end before anyone's killed, but only after the person with the weaker weapon has clearly demonstrated his superior fighting technique. This is a route generally taken by [[TechnicalPacifist pacifists]] who are [[MartialPacifist good at fighting]] and want to end a fight without having to actually hurt anyone, though it isn't unusual for a WeakButSkilled player to take this route. There will probably be a lesson in humility during or after the fight, and the weapon master usually remains humble himself and uses the experience as a teaching opportunity.

Contrast CherryTapping, where the purpose of picking a weak weapon would be to humiliate their opponent. This is usually why WoodenKatanasAreEvenBetter; the weapon isn't better, but the user of the weak weapon is usually stronger. Also contrast ImprobableWeaponUser, someone who regularly arms themselves with wacky weapons, and OnceKilledAManWithANoodleImplement, where a character brags about or is rumored to have fought someone with an improbable weapon. See also ImprovisedWeapon.



[[folder: Anime & Manga ]]
* ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'', on at least two occasions, Utena has actually wielded a Shinai - [[WoodenKatanasAreEvenBetter that is, a bamboo-sword]] - against opponents using steel blades, and on both occasions, won. And in the movie she pulls the same feat off with a ''broom''.
** Though in the movie her opponent quickly slices the broom into pieces, and she wins only thanks to Anthy's timely interference - it's against the rules to duel without a sword, apparently.
* ''OnePiece'': First duel of Roronoa Zoro with Mihawk, where the latter defeated the former with a butter knife. Mihawk even apologized for not having a knife ''even smaller''! He then proceeded to block a heretofore considered unblockable attack with it, with minimal effort.
* ''Manga/TenjhoTenge'': After Soichirou and Bob are beaten by a fire-using Bully, Maya puts him in his place by kicking his ass with a twig she just pulled off a tree.
* In one filler episode of ''Anime/RurouniKenshin'', Kenshin made use of an umbrella as an effective weapon.
** In the main run, however, he at one point gets hold of a sword which he cannot unsheath due to his vow. He quickly gets a major upper hand on his adversary, Chou the sword hunter, without having to draw before Chou gets out his secret weapon (some sort of sword-whip). Only then does the fight get somewhat even.
* Done with firearms in ''Anime/{{Trigun}}'' when Vash shoots a group of attackers with a toy sucker-dart gun and they decide to give up before he starts using bullets.
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'': After Future Trunks kills Frieza by slicing him into little pieces, King Cold believes that his CoolSword is the source of his power and asks to take a look at it... before trying to kill Trunks with it. He's proven wrong; without the sword, Trunks kills Cold with even ''less'' effort than it took him to kill Frieza.
* In ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'', [[TheDreaded Arima]] is rumored to have once killed a ghoul with an umbrella. When asked if the story actually happened, Arima merely explains that IXA was still being repaired at the time.
* Shigure Kousaka from ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'', has done this multiple times. The first time is during her first training session with Kenichi. Miu gives them both small spoons for safety reason. As she proves her skill by cutting both Miu and Kenichi's clothes as well as the latter's spoon. Later on, she faces the Valkyries and pulls a similar feat with a wooden spoon.
* Used and lampshaded in ''Anime/{{Naruto}}'' Sauske is able to break Itachi's Genjutsu despite Itachi having the superior Sharingan. Zetsu states that this shouldn't have been the case. His other half tells him that the effectiveness of a weapon depends on how it is used.
** A similar instance occurs during Sauske's battle with [[spoiler:Danzo]]. He manages to win and Tobi explains to the dying leader that while Sasuke's jutsu was incredibly weak and nowhere near as refined as Itachi's, the way he used it (Basically making [[spoiler: Danzo]] think he could take one more hit and instantly recover from the damage when in reality he had used up all of his eyes) granted him the victory.
* ''LightNovel/SwordArtOnline'':
** For the majority of the ''Fairy Dance'' arc, Kirito had very low level gear, but is able to perform incredible feats like one-shotting enemy players, including holding his own in a duel against Eugene, the WorldsBestWarrior, and essentially beating him.
** He pulls this off masterfully during his final duel with Sugou/Oberon in the Fairy Dance arc. Using Kayaba's [[GameMaster admin privileges]], Kirito summons Excalibur, the InfinityPlusOneSword of ALO, and gives it to Sugou before choosing to use his own sword. For all of his bravado, Sugou has ''no'' combat experience whatsoever; even with the strongest weapon in the game, he fails to land a single hit on Kirito, who [[AnArmAndALeg literally]] [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe tears]] [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice him]] [[EyeScream apart]] in mere seconds.

[[folder: Comics ]]
* In ''Comicbook/TheUltimates'' 2 Hawkeye shows off this ability. First by killing most of a SWAT team with things he finds in his kitchen. Then when he escapes the holding facility he tries to find a gun. The last panel of him before he shows up for the finale is a naked Hawkeye with his fingertips stretching toward a pistol while dozens of armored soldier with assault rifles open fire from a couple feet away.
* ''Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}'' villain Bullseye is all about this trope. If it can be thrown or shot, he probably killed a guy with it. This includes arrows, guns, ballpoint pens, shards of glass, bits of his own broken teeth, etc...


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/CrouchingTigerHiddenDragon'': Jen is completely outclassed by Li, who is using the legendary Green Destiny sword. In order to give her a lesson on how the weapon doesn't truly matter without technique, he holds the sword behind his back and picks up a wooden stick off the ground, and continues the fight. He strikes her multiple times in areas that would have been fatal if he was using the real sword.
* ''Film/{{Fearless 2006}}'': in one of his many duels, Huo faces off against a guy wielding double broadswords, using only a short stick.
* ''Film/IpMan'': Ip Man defeats a skilled northerner (who has already beaten all of the town's masters) wielding a broadsword, while using only a feather duster.
* This scene is itself a reference to the scene in ''Film/GameOfDeath'' starring Ip Man's most famous student, where Bruce Lee takes on an escrima master with...a bamboo stick.
* ''Film/TheChroniclesOfRiddick'': Riddick uses a teacup to kill a guy wielding a sledgehammer. After that, nobody wants to see what he can do with his can opener.
* ''Film/GodOfCookery'' - when Stephen is accused of being a fake, he picks up a kitchen knife to threaten his accuser with. The accuser picks up a teaspoon and disarms him with it, explaining that long hours preparing food gives you strong hands and wrists, which Stephen doesn't have because he's a celebrity and not a proper chef.
* A recurring trope in Creator/JackieChan movies. The mooks (usually) have proper weapons and Jackie's character [[DeadlyDodging dodges]] and uses whatever's around to [[ThouShaltNotKill incapacitate]] them. One often-referenced example is from [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcvXqLrgf0k First Strike]], where uses a folding table, a jacket, Chinese dragon heads, a broom, wooden staves and finally a stepladder.
* ''Film/TheTwilightSamurai'': The main character beats Tomoe's abusive ex-husband using only a stick of wood verses the ex-husbands regular sword.
* Wong Fei-Hung from the ''Film/OnceUponATimeInChina'' series often uses an umbrella as a weapon of choice, even against crowds of mooks that take up entire streets. He almost always wins without getting a scratch on him, either.
* Wong Fei-Hung as a child also appears in ''Film/IronMonkey'', in which he takes on a gang of adult street thugs using, again, his umbrella. The street thugs never come close to standing a chance.
* ''Film/AlexanderNevsky'': Alexander Nevsky tells the armorer that it is a man's arm not the tempering that gives the sword its strength
* ''Film/SevenSamurai'' does this with a duel; two samurai duel with wooden sticks, and after they execute a simultaneous cut, one declares a draw. The second says no; if that sword were real, the first man would be dead. Out of anger and a stunning lack of sense (he thinks it will be a MutualKill, after all!), the first man picks up his katana. So does the second. The duel is repeated - only this time, the second man turns ever-so-slightly off the midline. It doesn't seem like this trope until one realizes all the onlookers knew the first man was completely outclassed just from watching the stick duel.

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''The Scavenger Trilogy'' by K.J Parker. Poldarn frequently goes into swordfights barehanded and prevails, (well-described) skill overcoming even this disadvantage. He even throws away weapons he gets off his attackers: they are heavy. Worse, they are covered in blood, which draws a lot of attention. He even reflects to himself that every time he needs a weapon, there's a weapon about.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'': Mat defeats a pair of very skilled swordsmen with a quarterstaff (at the same time). Upon their defeat, their master points out that the greatest swordsman in history was defeated only once, by a farmer with a quarterstaff.
** Though it's hard to call a quarterstaff anything other than a proper weapon; it's a stout, long stick which can crack bones and skulls quite well. Staff fighting is nigh universal and pretty much every culture devoted a martial art to it.
* In ''LightNovel/FateZero'', [[BlackKnight Berserker]] has the explicit power to treat anything he holds as an InfinityPlusOneSword which can damage magical beings, and to [[InstantExpert wield it as if he had trained with it all his life]]. He can do this with anything from telephone poles to other {{Infinity Plus One Sword}}s (gaining control of them in the process) to ''jet fighters''.
** Technically, the concept of "Reinforcement" within the {{Franchise/Nasuverse}} (especially as employed in the sequel story to ''LightNovel/FateZero'', ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'') allows any mage to do this: as long as you know the fundamentals of 1) deploying magic through any part of your body and 2) the basic structure of every single matter, you can make even [[ImprobableWeaponUser a rolled-up poster as hard as a staff or a sword]]--as protagonist Shirou Emiya does in the beginning. [[spoiler: This, together with his innate capacity for Projection, becomes the basis of his Reality Marble, ''[[FieldOfBlades Unlimited]] [[StormOfBlades Blade Works]].'']]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'''s Eliot disarms a man holding a huge knife, using a whisk. He then kills the man with an appetizer and a tray.
* ''Series/DeadliestWarrior'': Happens whenever there are matchups where one warrior is much more technologically advanced than the other.
* ''Series/MartialLaw'': Especially in the pilot, when Sammo demonstrates with a ''blackboard eraser''.
* An EstablishingCharacterMoment in the first episode of ''Series/TheMusketeers'' had Porthos fighting, and winning, a BarBrawl with a fork.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' story "Robot of Sherwood", the Doctor fights RobinHood for the [=TARDIS=] with a spoon, in what worked as both a parody of the usual first meeting between Robin and Little John in the legends, and an ActorAllusion given that Creator/PeterCapaldi had also played Cardinal Richelieu in ''Series/TheMusketeers'', which gave us the previous example.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Sometimes a TabletopRPG will forgo the traditional more or less lovingly detailed lists of weapon stats in favor of playing this trope quite straight. ''TabletopGame/SpiritOfTheCentury'' is one such example (as is the default version of the later Fate Core System, though adding weapons and armor with attributes, notably damage and armor ratings, of their own ''is'' discussed), ''TabletopGame/{{Risus}}'' another. In these cases the exact weapon used is primarily narrative cosmetic detail -- a lady may use a dainty .22 caliber revolver and a hulking action hero a Desert Eagle with all the attendant differences in "look and feel", but as long as both characters are equally competent with their chosen weapons they'll also be equally ''effective''.
** UnknownArmies sorta does this trope with its melee weapons list. See, its list is three questions: Is it big? Is it hefty? Is it sharp? Each yes means the weapon grants +3 damage in a game where an attack doing 6 damage is a big deal. As a consequence, whomping someone with a ridiculous object is as effective as a real weapon as long as the object meets some of those criteria; an office chair (big, hefty) is as effective as a baseball bat (same) and a large plush bear would be as effective as a knife (one's big, one's sharp). Furthermore, these would all tie to the same skill, Struggle, so a very skilled fighter will mop the floor with someone less talented even armed with something absurd.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* A variation occurs in most games with RPGElements that focus on weapon specialization. A specialist can use his or her signature weapon type to pull off devastating moves that are many times more powerful than the weapon's stats should justify while non-specialists would be stuck with the same weapon's typically meager auto-attack if they're allowed to wield it at all.
* The ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' champion Jax has a backstory where he is an outstanding duelist. After a streak of 152 consecutive wins, he was only allowed to fight with weapons the League deemed suitable. In response and to show the League that he holds their restrictions in contempt, he chose to employ this trope. For now, the list includes a lamppost, a chickenís foot, a spatula, and a fishing rod. Riot game Lampshades the trope in character's joke: "Imagine if I had a real weapon!"
* A somewhat bloodier-than-usual variant is possible in ''WayOfTheSamurai 3'' due to the SingleStrokeBattle game-mechanic. A correctly-executed counterattack can instakill any {{Mook}}, and if your timing is good enough, you can then proceed to do the same to any other nearby enemies. This means that, with the right skills (both for the character and the player), you can equip yourself with a random stick you picked up off the ground, and proceed to carve your way through an army of katana-wielding Samurai or bandits...
* In at least one ''AssassinsCreed'' game, you have the option of picking up a broom if you knock it from the hand of a random guy sweeping the streets. It's wielded like a sword, and does very little damage... but it can still be used for instakill counterattacks, once again enabling you to dispose of a horde of armed guards with a simple stick, just to show off your supreme skills.



* ''Webcomic/KillSixBillionDemons'': Taken to its logical conclusion. The greatest swordsmen don't need swords at all. They can cut through entire armies with nothing but their will alone. Auntie Maya, the greatest swordswoman the multiverse has ever seen, only drew a sword once over the course of the comic--to fight an angel, which is described as a living nuclear explosion trained in millennia-old martial arts. Even then, she only used a broken sword with barely an inch of the blade left.
-->'''Proverb:''' Beware the swordsman who carries no blade.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack once had to indulge a FakeUltimateHero [[JiveTurkey "Sa-mu-rai"]] in a duel. Not wanting to actually hurt the idiot, he insisted on a duel with bamboo stalks first, and managed to [[DefeatByModesty strip him naked]] with zero effort. He then dealt with an ''actual'' threat (a hundred robot assassins [[DualWield with scimitar-arms]]), [[RefugeInAudacity still using the stick]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "There's a Batman in my Basement," when the Penguin draws his [[WeaponOfChoice umbrella sword]], Batman ([[YouCanBarelyStand still injured]]) picks up a screwdriver.