Staring Through the Sword

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mulan.jpg
Try to poke my eyes now!

One of the Stock Poses: a character holds his or her sword upright, with the blade between his or her eyes, often followed by Stab the Sky.

The pose originates in the European Swordsmanship tradition. When saluting a superior, a Worthy Opponent, or the audience, the swordsman would bring his sword-holding hand in front of and close to his throat, with the tip pointing up and slightly forward, then slash down sideways, so the point stops near the floor next to his right foot. According to The Other Wiki, this custom originated during The Crusades, when the knights kissed their swords as makeshift crucifixes before charging into battle. Nowadays, it is mostly seen in competitive fencing, but has also seeped into all kinds of media thanks to the sheer awesomeness of the move.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Animation 
  • Played for laughs (as you might expect) by Prince Charming in Shrek 2.
  • Mulan does this after her Important Haircut. Her father does it as well, when he first retrieves his sword and armor. Both times it represents the wielder's internal conflict between duty and family.
  • Pulled of by Sir Orrin Neville-Smythe in The Flight of Dragons. Notable for being performed during a Badass Boast and maintained even as he is being burned alive by dragon fire!

    Films — Live Action 
  • Aragorn does this at the beginning of the battle with the Uruk-hai in Fellowship of the Ring. Viggo Mortensen makes it come off like a pre-battle salute.
    • Also invoked in part by Théoden in The Two Towers, when he first picks up and looks at his sword. The actor even clarified in the commentary that he was supposed to look past the sword to avoid looking cross-eyed. Followed by a glance at the held-down Wormtongue.
  • During the dueling club scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Draco mimic the classic fencing salute with their wands during the pre-duel, which incorporates this trope.
  • Frequently done in the original Conan the Barbarian, as well as Conan the Destroyer.
  • In Star Wars, practitioners of the Makashi style of lightsaber combat would sometimes perform a "Makashi salute" before fighting an opponent. The salute involves holding the lightsaber vertically in front of their face, then swinging it down toward the side.

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    Real Life 
  • In modern fencing, the salute has three steps, the first one is Stab the Sky, the second one is Staring Through The Sword, and the final one is Swipe Your Blade Off without the blood.
  • Saluting while carrying a sword results in Staring Through The Sword. The orientation of the blade is slightly different though.
  • Also used in professional military drill when an officer is called upon to present a salute with the sword. Example: officers of the household division (Guards) when saluting British royalty at full-dress events such as the Trooping of the Colours.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StaringThroughTheSword