Blind Weaponmaster

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"A J-Jedi doesn't... need eyes!"
Luke Skywalker, immediately after being temporarily 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, right? 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. A Blind Weaponmaster may invoke Your Eyes Can Deceive You by fighting in a visibly challenging location such as fog or total darkness which would even out the drawback or even reverse it on their opponent instead. 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 the aforementioned Your Eyes Can Deceive You for when a normally-sighted character having to fight without the use of their eyes.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Downplayed Trope in Berserk. Guts has only lost his right eye, which still affects his depth perception and leaves him with no field of vision on his right side. Guts has learned to use his hearing to compensate.
  • Bleach: Kaname Tousen, up until his hollow transformation. Ironically, it was gaining sight that led to his downfall.
  • Kill la Kill: Uzu Sanageyama 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.
  • Ninja Scroll: One of the Quirky Miniboss Squad 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.
  • One Piece: Issho, a.k.a. Admiral Fujitora is a blind swordsman and clearly based on Zatoichi. On top of his swordsmanship and Haki, he's a Gravity Master.
  • Pandora Hearts: Xerxes Break eventually loses his eyesight. Doesn't stop him from being (arguably) the most badass character in the entire manga/anime.
  • Ranma ˝: Mousse is 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.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Usui, literally known as "The Blind Sword".
  • Saint Seiya: Shiryuu, at least for part of the series.
  • Samurai Champloo: Sara turns out to be an extremely skilled ninja.
  • Shigurui: Irako Seigen.
  • Teiden Shoujo to Hanemushi no Orchestra: Haibane.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul:Re, Kishou Arima turns out to be a downplayed version of this trope. Glaucoma has robbed him of the sight in his right eye, and his left is beginning to fail as well....but he manages to conceal this from all but the most observant enemies. Other than a slowing in his movements and a slight favoring of that side when fighting, he seems to have compensated enough to remain a nigh-unstoppable killing machine.
  • Until Death Do Us Part: Mamoru is 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 as skilled without them, though.
  • ''Basilisk:
    • Gennosuke's uncle and Big Brother Mentor Hyouma Muroga has severe eyesight problems, though the exact source and effects vary per media. In any case, he's still not to be trifled with.
    • Koushirou Chikuma falls victim to Eye Scream halfway through the series, but learns to use his hearing to compensate. That lets him defeat and kill the aforementioned Hyouma, a man who can only open his eyes briefly to use his poersd... which don't work on blind opponents like Koushirou.

    Comic Books 
  • 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 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).
  • The Blind Master from Marvel Comics' G.I. Joe series.
  • Best Tiger from Invincible is a subversion...he can see perfectly well, but chooses to fight blindfolded because that's the only way combat is any kind of challenge to him.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • 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.
  • Zato Ino, "The Blind Swordspig", in Usagi Yojimbo, can "see" things thanks to his sense of smell.
  • 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.
  • X-Men villain Destiny was a Blind Seer who fought with a crossbow, her precognitive power giving her perfect aim.

    Fanfiction 
  • Though A Bird Cant Fly chronicles Kuina's struggles with becoming this.
  • RWBY: Reckoning has this in one of the story's original characters, Professor Kor. He's the teacher of weaponry at Beacon Academy, and is described as having bandaged eyes. It's later revealed that he was blinded due to a Goliath attack.

    Film 
  • Ray Charles in The Blues Brothers. Fires a couple of warning shots at a would-be guitar thief.
  • Rutger Hauer's character in Blind Fury is a blind modern day swordsman who manages to singlehandedly destroy a crime syndicate. It's essentially a Western take off on Zatoichi.
  • The titular Eli, from The Book of Eli.
  • Being blind himself Matt Murdock in Daredevil uses this trope through out this movie, though he technically cheats by using echolocation to see.
  • Parodied in Dinner for Schmucks, where one of the eponymous "schmucks" fancies himself a blind Master Swordsman. He isn't.
  • The titular Master of the Flying Guillotine, who's also an Improbable Weapon User.
  • Sheldon Sands in the last third of Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
  • In Scent of a Woman blind retired Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade shows his nephew Randy that you don't insult Slade's caretaker Charlie. When Randy does so, Slade manages to get up from the dinner table, grab Randy by the throat, and slam him against the nearest wall and demonstrate a chokehold he learned in the Army.
  • Star Wars: Rogue One: Former Guardian of the Whills Chirrut Îmwe is blind, but takes down stormtroopers five at a time with his staff. How?
    "I'm one with the Force, and the Force is with me."
  • One of the title characters in the Wuxia film The Warrior and The Blind Swordsman.
  • Ichi from Zatoichi.

    Literature 
  • See No Evil in A Lullaby Sinister. His eyes are closed shut by rusty cables but he somehow manages to maneuver through the halls of the Surrogate School with little difficulty as he slaughters his way through students. Furthermore, trigger him by making the slightest noise and he will make a beeline straight towards you.
  • Drizzt in The Dark Elf Trilogy meets and learns from Montolio "Mooshie" Debrouchee, who is an expert with the sword, shield, and bow (His pet owl helps him aim).
  • In Ea Cycle Atara becomes a combination of this and Blind Seer after she gets blinded by the Big Bad.
  • In Neuromancer, Hideo is able to use Zen archery to hit a target in complete darkness, or after being blinded by a laser.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars Legends had the Miraluka. They appeared human, but living on a planet with infrared light had left them blind. They could use the Force to sense and 'see', but were otherwise blind and usually wore dark glasses or a blindfold. Inquisitor Jerec was one notable character who fits this trope. A Jedi turned Dark Jedi, he was referenced first as a blind human, but was retconned to being Miraluka. There were a few Miraluka Jedi, but they also had their own Force tradition.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When not smilingly speaking wisdom, Master Po from Kung Fu swings a pretty mean staff.
  • 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.

    Music 
  • 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"
  • The Pinball Wizard from The Who's rock opera Tommy was a deaf dumb and blind kid who was the champion pin baller.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Sirhan Dogen from Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth is a blind assassin. It helps when you've trained your seeing-eye dog to kill for you, but he is also quite deadly with a knife.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dark Souls I has the legendary Hawkeye Gough, one of Gwyn's Four Knights who shot down countless dragons with a bow and arrow (it helps that he's a giant as big as a house and his bow is as big as he is). When you meet him in Artorias of the Abyss, he has gone blind and now spends his days making wood carvings, but is still a good enough shot that he can snipe the dragon Kalameet out of the sky on his first attempt, incapacitating him enough so that you can finally have a (somewhat) fair fight with him.
  • 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.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: The Moth Priests - monks who read the Elder Scrolls, going blind as a result - are the only faction in the game to use Akaviri Dai-Katana other than the Blades.
  • 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!
  • Xiao Long from Mace: The Dark Age.
  • Kenshi from Mortal Kombat. However he makes up for it by using telekinesis to manipulate objects he can't physically see (including his sword).
  • Hangan in Onmyōji
    Hangan: Though my eyes don't reflect, my heart feels.
  • Gaichû in Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong is a ghoul, and therefore blind. He was also a highly accomplished swordsman before his ghoulification, and being suddenly struck blind slowed him down for a few weeks at most before he was able to compensate with his new senses.
  • Voldo from the Soul series is a blind man who wields a pair of katars with great skill.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • 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 disuse", using the Force to see instead. This does not limit her combat abilities.
    • Master Rahm Kota in The Force Unleashed, once he snaps himself out of his Heroic B.S.O.D. enough to rouse himself from his drunken stupor, that is. He shows this more in the sequel.
  • Haborym, from Tactics Ogre.
  • 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. In the expansion pack Legion, they are set to become a playable hero class.
  • 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.

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck's Terezi is very handy with her cane. Though she's not entirely blind (she can see synaesthetically via smell and taste).
  • Dame Goodlaw from Rusty and Co. always closes her eyes when she's fighting. Nobody's really sure why.
  • No Need for Bushido has Ryoku, a blind swordsman, (he's essentially an evil version of Daredevil, if Daredevil was a samurai assassin) and Cho, a blind martial arts master with a preference for using a Simple Staff who claims to be guided by the Tao itself and may be the best fighter in the series despite being not only blind but also a first class Cloud Cuckoolander. The unlikeliness of there being more than one man like this is parodied at one point, when Ken, one of the main characters, is knocked out, and while he's unconscious Ryoku kidnaps Ina. When he comes to Ken is told that "the blind fighter guy" took Ina, and immediately turns on Cho and demands to know why Cho betrayed them. When told that it wasn't Cho but someone else, Ken is completely dumbfounded at learning that there are (at least) two such "blind fighter guys" in the country.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: 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.
    • Played straight in the same episode with Huey's dream of "The Blind Nigga Samurai".
    • Averted, afterward he went to hell, and learned martial arts and weapons combat becoming a master in both, from the devil himself just so he could kill the Freeman family. Though really he was just doing it for For the Evulz.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles2003: 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 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) Shredder's right hand man, Hattori Tatsu, is a blind ninja swordsman and an expert at combat. He is able to hold his own against seven opponents at once. The turtles and crew are only able to beat him by taking away the only thing that lets him fight, his hearing. Leo, Raph, and Donny use Casey Jones's explosive pucks to cover Karai's footsteps as she runs towards Tatsu and deafens him with a head strike before taking him down. When Tatsu is deafened the entire world looks like a White Void Room letting Karai take him down with little trouble.

    Real Life 
  • This guy, a champion of blind judo who beat up a mugger.
  • One of Cracked's 5 People Whose Major Disabilities Only Made Them Stronger is a blind sharpshooter.
    • That he's not a rara avis but just a very noticeable example of a whole sport (carbine shooting for the blind, using acustic "sights") doesn't make it less but more awesome.
  • King John the Blind of Bohemia - blind (or almost blind) for a decade - lost eyesight in 1336 but was still fighting in tournaments - before being killed in the battle of Crécy.
  • The whole point of the Spanish-origin martial art DisFiSen (from Disminuidos Físicos y Sensoriales, "physical and sensory disabled persons"), taylor-designed for people with disabilities, specifically blindness.
  • The (Spanish) description of this video states it's a sparring session of a blind woman fighting with medieval flail before her actual combat at a reenactment event. It also states she won the actual fight, to the surprise of some jerkass in the public who thought the fight was a comedic one.

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