Implausible Fencing Powers
Good thing he dodged that.

"You gotta hand it to Justice, it takes balls to use guns, usually guns suck against swords."
YouTube commenter on Afro Samurai

Implausible fencing powers are, collectively, the ability to do things with swords that really shouldn't be possible. This superhuman capability with a blade usually comes from pure skill in the art of swordplay and generally constitutes a Charles Atlas Superpower, though occasionally its backed up with explicit powers like Super Strength, Super Speed, and/or Combat Clairvoyance, as well. Often the purview of the Master Swordsman, implausible fencing powers are virtually a requirement to give swords a fighting chance in Guns vs. Swords.

The scope of implausible fencing powers is broad enough to be considered a Super Trope, covering a number of Sub Tropes. Below is a list of them:

  • BFS: Using a sword that's absurdly large, which would require impressive skill to wield as a sword instead of as an enormous, vaguely sword-shaped bludgeon.
  • Blade Run: Dodging an enemy blow by leaping up and balancing on the blade of their sword. Somehow.
  • Blade Spam: Attacking extremely quickly — sometimes to the point individual strikes are impossible to see with the naked eye.
  • Clean Cut: Making a single, perfect slash that bisects the target with ease.
    • Diagonal Cut: Making a single, perfect slash that results in a cut so fine, the target remains intact for a Beat before falling to pieces.
  • Cutting Through Energy: Slicing through intangible things, like Pure Energy or Hard Light.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Using fancy footwork and incredible reflexes to just dodge the shots entirely.
  • Ludicrous Melee Accuracy: Inhuman feats of accuracy, like deliberately causing Clothing Damage in lieu of injury (possibly pinning the target down in the process) or minor cosmetic wounds instead of landing a serious blow.
  • Parrying Bullets: Using a blade to parry incoming weapons fire.
  • Sword Beam: Using a sword to make a ranged attack by slashing in the general direction of something, likely as a form of Razor Wind or Ki Attack.

See Improbable Aiming Skills for the ranged weapon counterpart. Implausible fencing powers are the leading reason why Guns Are Useless. You might also want to check out our Useful Notes page on Swords.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Afro Samurai, this is evident within the first five minutes, and endemic throughout. Memorably, the title character cleaves a bullet, and the shrapnel kills several of his opponents, leaving him unharmed. Upon seeing this, the man who tried to shoot Afro quite rightly says "What the... that's impossible!"
  • In Black Butler, Tanaka shows off these skills during the Green Witch Arc, cutting a bullet in half. While its still in mid-air.
  • Sephiria Arks from Black Cat has demonstrated, among other things, the ability to juggle a filled wine-glass on the tip of her sword without spilling a drop, the ability to move her sword faster than the eye can see, the ability to create cuts with her blade that are thinner than the blade itself and, perhaps most impressively, the ability to hit something with her sword so hard it disintegrates.
  • In Bleach, high-level sword users have commonly been seen employing pretty much the entire list.
  • Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail has been shown to have cut through airspaces, redirect Evergreen's Flechette Storm, easily blocks bullets, uses feet to deflect/attack enemy attacks, she's also capable of Razor Wind, and easily wields BFS.
  • A lot of this shows up in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children to justify why anyone would have a sword when there are guns around. Other than the obvious reason.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, several stands are capable of doing this. Silver Chariot is capable of skewering flames on its blade, cutting through solid rock, and slicing bullets in half, along with moving so fast it appears there are eight copies of it at once. At one point it even makes a functioning clock out of a table and his opponent's flames. A later Stand, Anubis, is nothing but a sword, which possesses its users. Naturally, it ends up possessing Polnareff, Chariot's user, for some Dual Wielding action.
  • Shigure Kosaka from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Everything she uses (including an ordinary spoon) becomes an Absurdly Sharp Blade, and with said object she can cause massive Clothing Damage on multiple opponents without them noticing.
  • Goemon Ishikawa of Lupin III can do most of the things on the list. He can cut through anything with extremely rapid strikes and ridiculous precision, up to and including cutting automatic gunfire out of the air. He's also been known to cut through non-physical objects, like lightning bolts and tornadoes. Often, things he cuts apart will remain intact until he sheathes his sword and spouts his Catch Phrase.
    Goemon: Once again I have cut a worthless object.
  • In Naruto, multiple characters display this.
    • Madara Uchiha's Perfect Susanoo carries two gigantic katanas and the shockwave created by a casual warm up swing from just one of these blades can cut mountains in two.
    • Mifune's so fast with his sword he can blitz even seasoned Shinobi like Hanzo before they can even weave seals. And cut opposing blades in half with ease.
    • And then there are the Seven Swordsmen, who (as the name suggests) are all capable of various impossibly-awesome feats.
  • Most of the accomplished swordsmen in One Piece are shown to be capable of this in some form or another. Zoro gets to show it off most often, but any number of sword-wielding enemies get in on the action as well. Zoro wields three swords at once, one in each hand and the third between his teeth, most of the sword-wielding cast is capable of Parrying Bullets (from pistol rounds to cannonballs), and individual people have accomplished just about everything else on this page.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena uses this trope a lot. For example, cleaving a row of approaching cars just by pointing a sword in their general direction! Swordfighting in Utena is highly symbolic and has nothing to do with reality.
  • Unsurprisingly, almost all of the major samurai in Rurouni Kenshin exhibit one or more of the variations at one point or another during the show.
  • Samurai Champloo uses this extensively, both with protagonists Mugen and Jin and various antagonists that appear in individual episodes. Mugen and Jin especially use Ludicrous Melee Accuracy note  and both of them regularly dodge arrows fired at them and cut them out of the air, as well as taking on people using guns and winning. Individual enemies include a guy who kills his targets without cutting them (using Ki Manipulation channeled via his sword), and a Blind Weaponmaster in addition to more conventional Master Swordsman opponents.
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo is practically a showcase for every kind of implausible fencing power in existence and then some. As the series progresses, it gets to the point where one of Kyo's regular sword swings has enough power to produce explosions that outmatch most modern-day artillery.
  • A strong example would be the samurai in Samurai 7, whose most notable trait in the anime is that they can carve up cyborgs, powered armor, even gigantic floating warships, with katana. Several times, shells are cleaved asunder and the most skilled of samurai are enabled to deflect Wave Motion Guns.
  • The Weapon Types in Sekirei, in particular Karasuba and Miya. Expect to see them dodge bullets, deflect elemental attacks, slice through just about anything, destroy opponents' clothing without harming them, and produce Razor Wind with a swing of their weapons. Quite a few of them effortlessly wield weapons the same size — or larger — than them, thanks to Super Strength.
  • Gourry Gabriev from Slayers demonstrates implausible fencing powers on numerous occasions.
  • Sword Art Online: Kirito's abilities as a swordsman are pretty ridiculous. He uses a Laser Blade in the game Gun Gale Online (where, given that the focus is on guns, it's considered a Joke Weapon) and starts using it to deflect bullets while he closes the distance in order to slice people up. In ALFheim Online, he prefers a BFS because he claims other weapons are "too light", and eventually learns how to cut through spells in that game, as well.
  • The manga Vagabond has Miyamoto Musashi's implausible fencing powers as his ability to judge distance and range ("seeing one's sword"), his incredible constitution, and his unheard-of strength. When he takes on the four senior disciples of the Yagyuu, one of them actually believes Dual Wielding to be Awesome, but Impractical... up until Musashi breaks another disciple's sword (held in both hands) with a one-handed slash. Musashi later manages to split Yoshioka Seijuurou in two (from the left shoulder to the right hip), sever Yoshioka Denshichirou's left hand, and knock back opponents with one-handed strokes.

    Comic Books 
  • The protagonist of V for Vendetta (both comic and film) is capable of successfully attacking opponents wielding firearms while using only daggers himself. This is because Applied Phlebotinum, in the form of unspecified experiments performed on him when he was an inmate in a concentration camp, has given him superhuman reflexes, speed and endurance.


  • In the Forgotten Realms novel Daughter of the Drow the trope was used straight (drow), averted (berserkers) and subverted when one met another. A drow warrior flaunts his awe-inspiring mastery of two-weapon swordplay to The Berserker in the battle rage wielding a really massive (and magical) blade. Fyodor ends up very amazed, Brizznarth ends up very dead: some things are too heavy to be stopped by fancy parries and some people are too arrogant to consider this. Another shot him at least five times with hand crossbow, but he was accelerated enough to parry all with a club.
  • Drizzt from the R.A. Salvatore novels deflects arrows and does a variety of amazing things with his scimitars.
  • This is the signature ability of metalcrafters in Codex Alera. Especially Araris Valerian, widely recognized as the greatest swordsman in the world. Talented metalcrafters can move their swords absurdly fast, slice through just about anything, and tell the location of an opponent's weapon with incredible precision; the setting doesn't have guns, but they can and do swat arrows out of the air.

    Live Action TV 
  • Doggie "Boss" Kruger in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger can perform all these tricks with ease. In a minor subversion, though, it's learned in a Crossover movie that an injury to his spine forces him to miss 1 out of every 200 attacks, until fixed by one of the crossover characters.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 and its spinoffs use various versions of this. Most mundanely, there are a large number of units that wield swords larger than they are, though given the fact that most of them have Super Strength in one form or another and that advanced extremely-light-but-strong materials are available in the setting, it's not completely unreasonable. Wielding a glorified chainsaw as an actual sword is more difficult to justify, though. In addition, in several spinoffs it's possible for characters (even theoretically normal humans) to be capable of Parrying Bullets.
  • Shadowrun allows for this sort of thing, particularly with characters loaded up with cybernetic enhancements.
  • In Exalted, any Exalted that focuses on melee will be capable of literally impossible feats. It comes with the territory of Exaltation. Of particular note are perfect attacks and perfect defenses — which will let you hit (or block/dodge) literally anything... except each other. This typically happens with a daiklaive, which are roughly the size of an ironing board on the small end, as well.

    Video Games 
  • The Metal Gear franchise displays this frequently. Generally justified by the users being Cyborgs and wielding high-frequency blades. But it's Metal Gear, so the real justification is because it's awesome.
  • League of Legends offers a good amount of champions featuring this:
    • Most notable is Riven, being able to wield a BFS that, as her lore states: "was heavier than a kite shield". Her skills also include swinging it around like crazy and her ultimate which allows her to cast Wind Slash. Three guesses what it does, the first two don't count.
    • There is also Jax, a champion so masterful with a sword that he instead fights with a lamppost as a Self-Imposed Challenge. He still swings it around as if it were made of bamboo.
    • Jarvan IV can wield his BFL (Big Freakin' Lance) with 1 hand. This lance is as tall as he is (he towers above every other character except Nautilus by about 3 feet) and with only a couple of items he can swing it twice a second. There's also the mystery behind the fact that Jarvan can slam the earth so hard with it that the surrounding ground forms a ring without any visible damage to it, though it is implied to be made of dragon bones.
  • SaGa Frontier - Many of the more advanced sword attacks fall into this trope, but most notable is the swordsman Gen who, early in T260G's storyline, cuts a rope using a lead pipe. When T260G comments on the impossibility of this, Gen tells him not to worry about it.
  • In Warframe, the Tenno can use absurdly large weapons like the Rocket-Powered Weapon, the Jat Kittag, with only minor difficulty courtesy of their void powers and warframes - though some really huge weapons require the assistance of their Jet Pack, the Archwing. The Tenno can deflect projectiles with any melee weapon, including their bare fists, though reflecting projectiles back requires a specific warframe module. Amusingly, a long-gone Good Bad Bug allowed the Tenno to deflect projectiles so well that they could deflect suffocation from Continuous Decompression on Corpus ships with blown windows.

     Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Enriqueta-2856 from v4 of Open Blue was a Little Miss Badass Distaff Counterpart of King Bradley, having been trained since three via The Spartan Way, which included an expy of him as her sword instructor.
  • Able from the SCP Foundation uses a justified form of this. He has super speed, strength and toughness along with the ability to pull swords out of the air. He is baffled by the fact that anyone would use guns instead of closing to use swords. This is probably just because it sounds less fun.
    • SCP-572 is a katana which makes its wielder think that they have Implausible Fencing Powers. Not only does it not grant its wielder any powers whatsoever, it's poorly balanced and barely sharp enough to cut butter.

    Western Animation 
  • Samurai Jack is nearly unbeatable with his magic katana, slicing through virtually anything at will and occasionally deflecting all the bullets from several machine guns fired at him at once.
  • Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe: Renegades, being a ninja with a very heavy anime influence, can pull off multiple implausible sword stunts.
  • Six from Generator Rex, appropriately the sixth deadliest man on the planet, checks off several items from the list. And it is awesome.
  • Pearl in Steven Universe is a tame example since she doesn't really show off that she could do most things listed. But her Holo Pearl (a holographic version of herself with all of her abilities) proves what she is theoretically able to do. Among others, cutting through a tree with a balloon.