"A J-Jedi doesn't... need eyes!
— Luke Skywalker, immediately after being blinded, Vader's Quest.
They hold their staff (or other Weapon of Choice
) like they know what they're doing, but since they're completely without sight surely they aren't that dangerous...? Wrong. The Blind Weaponmaster is one of the most deadly adversaries a character can face. In possession of supernatural senses born from blindness
or just Badass Normal
enough to compensate for their loss with other natural senses, the Blind Weaponmaster will surprise any overconfident character and make a hero push their skill to its limits. Their weapon of choice is stereotypically a staff, but other blunt weapons have been used as well. Blades are rare but not unheard of.
A subtrope of Handicapped Badass
. See also Your Eyes Can Deceive You
for a normally-sighted character having to fight without the use of their eyes.
Anime and Manga
- Haibane in Teiden Shoujo to Hanemushi no Orchestra.
- Irako Seigen in Shigurui.
- Usui from Rurouni Kenshin, literally known as "The Blind Sword".
- In Samurai Champloo Sara turns out to be an extremely skilled ninja.
- One of the Quirky Miniboss Squad in Ninja Scroll is a blind swordmaster. He can feel out the location of the sun and reflect it off his sword as a blinder, turning the tables on his seeing enemy. He loses when his attack is deflected by a knife that got stuck in bamboo earlier in the fight which he can no longer track by hearing, giving Jubei an opening.
- Shiryuu in a part of Saint Seiya.
- Mamoru from Until Death Do Us Part. A master of the katana to the point that he uses it as his only weapon IN ACTUAL MILITARY COMBAT and owns everyone's asses. And yes, he's blind without the special glasses that Igawa made which show him where objects are as wire frames on a perspective grid. He's almost just as good without them, though.
- Mousse in Ranma ½, not blind per se, but so short sighted that even with coke-bottle glasses he cannot distinguish between people and objects, fights with a range of deadly bladed weapons. Interestingly enough, while he's been known to mistake a bicycle for a long-haired Chinese girl, he has absolutely no problem fighting even deadly, fast-moving adversaries in the night and without his glasses.
- In Pandora Hearts Xerxes Break eventually loses his eyesight. Doesn't stop him from being (arguably) the most badass character in the entire manga/anime.
- Another blind swordsman is Kaname Tousen from Bleach up until his hollow transformation. Ironically, it was gaining sight that led to his downfall.
- Admiral Fujitora in One Piece is a blind swordsman and clearly based on Zatoichi. He also seems to have the power to control gravity.
- Uzu Sanageyama from Kill la Kill sews his own eyes shut when he finds himself relying too heavily on them, becoming even more badass in the process. He gains Hyper Awareness and becomes virtually impossible to hit or to dodge.
- In the penultimate episode, he has them reopened. His intentional handicap has been taken away, AND he's still got his proficiency with his other senses, making him insanely dangerous. Thankfully, the Devas have well undergone a Heel-Face Turn by this point.
- The title character in Daredevil, fighting with his cane/Escrima Stick/grappling hook.
- Also his teacher, Stick.
- And Stick's teacher, Master Izo ("Master" seems to be part of his name, he's that badass).
- Zato Ino, "The Blind Swordspig", in Usagi Yojimbo, can "see" things thanks to his sense of smell.
- In Old Man Logan, an elderly Hawkeye has lost his sight. However, as long as he can hear his target, his aim is just as deadly as ever.
- Cyclops of the X-Men has two options when he loses his glasses: Keep his eyes open and kill everything in sight, or keep them shut and beat the living hell out of his opponents while counting his footsteps so he can find his way back to where his glasses landed.
- In Vader's Quest, Luke is blinded, temporarily, but that doesn't slow him down, at least at first - a dozen or so people immediately try to kill him, and he beats them all without killing any of them. It's only later, when he's not fighting, that he has trouble.
- A variant in the Expanded Universe are the Miraluka species who, at best, have vestigial eye sockets. Their "sight" is entirely Force-based. They're usually pacifists, but if you see one packing a lightsaber, you're better off running the other direction.
- King Snake, in the Batman family of comics, was blinded by gunfire at an early age, but became one of the best martial artists in the 'verse in spite of it. He's so good that on one occasion where his sight was restored, it actually threw him off his game enough that Tim Drake's Robin could hold his own against him.
- The Blind Master from Marvel Comics G.I. Joe series.
- X-Men villain Destiny was a Blind Seer who fought with a crossbow, her precognitive power giving her perfect aim.
- Drizzt in The Dark Elf Trilogy meets and learns from one.
- A blind archer none the less.
- In Ea Cycle Atara becomes a combination of this and Blind Seer after she gets blinded by the Big Bad.
- In Neuromancer, Hideo the ninja is this, though not actually blinded until very late in the story.
- Maestro Killian, the trainer of Cursors in the Codex Alera book Academ's Fury. He compensates for his blindness through his furycrafting.
- Two of them in Swordspoint. One of them Richard is regretfully forced to kill, the other one is Richard. Later in life, anyway.
- One of the stories in World War Z details the life of a blind Japanese gardener who becomes a one-man zombie-killing army.
- On Covert Affairs, Auggie is a former Special Forces soldier who was blinded on a mission in Tikrit. He can also fight better than any sighted person in the entire series.
- Blind assassin girl on Angel "Blind Faith". She made herself blind living in a cave, but her infrared ability will still let her kick your ass.
- Subverted by an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Worf blindfolds a martial arts student as part of a test and tells her to anticipate his attacks. He kicks her ass until she quits, saying that the test is unfair. Worf admits of course you'll lose a fight if you're blind. The real test was getting the nerve to say that to his face.
- The Knight in Leslie Fish's "Cripple's Shield Wall." He cannot see, and must know his ground in a fight, but that's compensated for, he is scary good with the sword and unhampered by "dark, fog, or rain"
- Most fantasy or martial arts settings will have some way to build this character type.
- Pathfinder invokes this trope with the Swordmaster's Blindfold, which blinds the wearer to everything beyond weapon's reach, but does nice things for critical hits.
- In Legend of the Five Rings, Phoenix Champion Shiba Tsukimi is blinded by the sunlight off her opponent's blade in a duel toward the end of a war between her clan and the Scorpion. However, her connection to the Soul of Shiba and, possibly more importantly, to the Void allows her to see without seeing. As a result, she's still a powerful fighter and skilled duelist.
- Eltharion the Grim from Warhammer was briefly (c. 2001-2006) changed from his usual "grim Griffon-riding High Elf hero" persona and turned into a blind sword master (after Malekith, the Witch King of the Dark Elves, had his eyes put out as punishment for his unprecedented success in leading armies against Dark Elf cities). His original stylings were eventually reinstated, however, and the blinding incident retconned out of existence.
- Haborym, from Tactics Ogre.
- Kenshi from Mortal Kombat. However he makes up for it by using telekinesis to manipulate objects he can't physically see (including his sword).
- Visas Marr from Knights of the Old Republic II; since the Miraluka are all blind but "see" with the Force, any Miraluka could be this. Also, Kreia has let her eyes "atrophy from dis-use", using The Force to see instead. This does not limit her combat abilities.
- Riku spends the majority of Kingdom Hearts II (and an uncertain amount of time between Chain of Memories and II) wearing a blindfold. He wore it for so long, he forgot he was wearing it!
- The Asura subclass of the Slayer from Dungeon Fighter Online. Purchases powerful Sword Beam spells by selling his eyes to a demon parasite in his left arm.
- Augus from Asura's Wrath is apparently one of these. Albeit hard to notice at first because he and Asura tend to have white glowing eyes regardless, Asura's threat to "Rip out those blind eyes" and his lack of pupils makes it obvious.
- Xiao Long from Mace: The Dark Age.
- Master Rahm Kota in The Force Unleashed, once he snaps himself out of his Heroic BSOD enough to rouse himself from his drunken stupor, that is. He shows this more in the sequel.
- Adkin Chambers in Arcanum, despite having had his eyes cut out by Garrick Stout after losing a duel with him, remains a competent martial artist and the continent's foremost expert on dodging and defensive techniques.
- Demon Hunters in the Warcraft franchise, the most notable of which is Illidan (seen in the page picture), don't just wear blindfolds - their eyes are burned away by demonic energy, and they use Aura Vision instead.
- Hunter from Zeno Clash is a crack shot with a sniper rifle and explosive squirrels. Later, when you fight him in hand-to-hand combat, he starts the fight literally holding one hand behind his back. When he gets bored of that and starts using both hands, the fight turns into a Hopeless Boss Fight.
- Homestuck's Terezi is very handy with her cane. Though she's not entirely blind (she can see synaesthetically via smell and taste).
- Avatar The Last Air Bender: Toph is blind and fights using the power of earthbending to 'see' via the vibrations she feels through her feet. She's only 12, yet she is regarded as the greatest earthbender of her era, to the point of improving on the art by inventing metalbending.
- Subverted in The Boondocks with Stinkmeaner. In his first confrontation with granddad he kicked Robert's butt and Huey assumes it's because of this trope. Turns out he just got lucky and wasn't a good fighter at all. He literally died due to this misunderstanding.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: In the 2003 series, there is one episode where Donatello is sent to a Bad Future where the Shredder has enslaved the earth. This future Leonardo is heavily-scarred and wears dark, round shades instead of his mask, implying that he is blind. It doesn't stop him from being an excellent swordsman and nearly killing Karai.
- In the Bad Future episode of Gargoyles, Broadway is blind but can "see" using an echolocation collar invented by Lexington, allowing him to fight.
- An episode of Samurai Jack contained three blind, dog-like demons or rather men who were possessed by a magic well who were able to use arrows with supernatural accuracy due to their incredible hearing. Jack trains himself to fight blindfolded in order to combat them.