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Stepping-Stone Sword
Rachel works without a net.

As the name suggests, this is when a sword (or any weapon, improvised or not) is used as a stepping stone, ladder, or perch for a character. Whether it was thrown there (and naturally landed point first and penetrated, whether or not the weapon is made for throwing), shot there, or the character used it to slow his fall, he can then run, jump, spin, or climb off it and get right back into the fight.

This is actually Truth in Television, as this method was used by Frederick Barbarossa's soldiers to climb a crag during the siege of a bandit stronghold on the Adige in northern Italy, as recounted in Otto von Freising's Gesta Friderici. (Spears were used in this case.)

See also The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In, Blade Brake, and Blade Run, which are commonly coupled with this trope. Related to Throwing Your Sword Always Works. When a sword is deliberately plunged into the ground, it's Sword Plant. When one steps on it in midair, it's Projectile Platforms.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • During the Eclipse in Berserk, Guts climbs a tower apparently made out of human heads with his knife in a bid to reach Griffith.
  • Hellsing has vampire Nazis crossing a minefield this way.
  • In Naruto, Sasuke does this on a minefield, both to give him something to jump off of and to test his theory that the electrically charged blade would make the earth based mines stop working.
    • Zabuza's entry scene has him throwing his BFS into a tree and then standing on it.
    • In Shippuden, Hidan uses his scythe to break his fall, just out of reach of Shikamaru's shadow.
  • Asuna did this in one issue of Mahou Sensei Negima! thanks to her Super Strength and BFS.
  • In Soul Eater, Mifune set up a Field of Blades and then ran across their hilts to attack Black Star. He uses them more traditionally in his battle against Sid, using his katanas to climb a cliff.
  • Asuka does this in her Evangelion, using her Progressive Knife and axe to climb to the top of the building that's sinking into the ground (which is actually an angel).
  • One episode of Digimon Tamers had Vajramon (a bull centaur digimon and one of the 12 zodiac animal Deva warriors) tries to battle Renamon with his twin BFS. Due to her swiftness, lithe body, and small size she is able to land right on the flat side of his sword after taking a swing at her.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has the protagonist due this to Sanosuke Sagara while fighting him and his BFS, while lecturing him on how the sword he uses is so big and heavy that it can only be swung down or sideways, making it very easy to predict.
    • In the manga, one of Enishi's techniques involves sticking a sword upright in the ground, jumping off the hilt to achieve higher elevation, and hanging on to a tassel on the sword so he doesn't have to leave the sword behind.
  • Zangetsu in Bleach is shown standing on his sword, while in Ichigo's Inner World.

    Comic Books 
  • In Astérix in Switzerland Asterix completes a mountain-climb by sticking a sword into the mountain as a handhold when there's not enough proper climbing gear to go around.

    Films — Animation 
  • Princess Mononoke: San begins climbing the wall of Iron Town by planting a spear in it.
  • Happens constantly in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
  • Flynn uses crossbow bolts to scale Rapunzel's tower in Disney's Tangled.
  • Aladdin And The King Of Thieves had Aladdin falling down a cliff and using his dagger to slow down. The guy who threw him down then uses his special claws to slow his fall down so that the fight can continue. Al wins by using his dagger, which is still in the cliff, as support while he kicks the other guy into the ocean.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Tai Lung is imprisoned on a pillar at the base of a cylindrical cavern, isolated from all doors and elevators, only accessible by a drawbridge. When he unlocks his restraints, the guards try shooting him with really big crossbow bolts, but he dodges them all, picks up the bolts, and kicks them into the cavern walls, creating a series of springboards to reach the elevator and upper walkways.
  • One of the Adorable Evil Minions in Despicable Me uses a plunger during the credits to try to reach the screen across a chasm. Another minion jumps nearby, causing the plunger (and the minion on it) to fall.
  • Stefano the sea lion pulls this off in the climax of Madagascar: Europe's Most Wanted.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Giselle throws a sword into the side of a building for Robert to use this way in Enchanted.
  • In The Matrix Reloaded Morpheus uses a sword stuck in the side of a truck as a perch. Balancing on the sword handle and the side of another truck, he grabs the Keymaker off Trinity's bike, throws him up onto the top of the first truck, then jumps up after him. And whips off his Cool Shades. He's Laurence Fishburne, he can get away with it.
  • In Mystery Men, Blue Raja can throw forks... but not very well, until special training by the Sphinx allows him to throw them effectively enough for Mr. Furious to climb on them.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow teeters on a thrown sword to avoid being hanged.
  • Kirk Douglas does it in The Vikings, with Axes.
  • Happens in The Warrior's Way. The Colonel thrusts at Lynne; missing her and getting his sabre stuck in the wall. Lynne uses his sabre as a step to retrieve her own sword, which is stuck higher up in the wall.
  • Kasumi in DOA: Dead or Alive throws a katana to stick in a wall, runs on the backs of her clansmen, then jump to the sword, and uses it as a springboard to jump over the high walls of the palace.
  • Destan uses crossbow bolts to scale the city walls in the film version of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
  • In Kill Bill, Pai Mei jumps onto the Bride's sword while she is holding it and quips "From here you can get an excellent view of my foot" before kicking her. While still standing on her sword.
  • Duel to the Death uses this trope in a humorously illogical way during the final duel: each combatant jumps high up into the air, then puts his sword beneath his feet and pushes off in midair to Double Jump.
  • Ladder Of Swords, Exactly What It Says on the Tin, the main character (a down-on-his-luck circus performer on the run from the law) climbs a ladder made of swords both metaphorically and physically. He uses it as one of his acts and shows his skill off to his love interest.

    Literature 
  • Teppic in Pyramids mentions that using knives for this tends to be impractical. You have to find a place just tight enough for the knife to get properly stuck, and you usually end up losing knives when you do it. Of course, he has to do it at the end of the book in order to assassinate a pyramid.
  • A sword is used to cross a canyon in Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart (circa 1170).
  • In Cue For Treason, Peter Brownrigg uses half a dozen daggers to climb the side of an Elizabethan wooden house, to enter it surreptitiously from the river side.
  • A particularly nasty variant is used in Anthony Horowitz's Power of Five series: as part of a test to find out whether the protagonist is the Chosen One, he has to climb a ladder of swords...blade up. Apparently the last guy to attempt it only got to three swords, but it's OK, they managed to save some of his fingers.
  • In The Long Ships, Toke uses spears to climb the palisade of an enemy stronghold.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, Shardblades are sometimes used in this way. Since they cut through any nonliving matter like a chainsaw through butter and are totally unbreakable, they are considerably more useful for this than a regular sword.

    Live Action Television 
  • Inverted on one of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation programs, in which the victim turned out to have been kicked to death by someone who'd been wearing tree-climbing spurs strapped to both ankles.
  • Done in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. Xena is scaling the wall of an enemy stronghold and, when it looks like she is about to fall short, her allies fire arrows into the wall that she uses as rungs to scale the last few feet.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons supplement The Complete Thief's Handbook has "climbing daggers" that can be stuck into walls to make it easier for the thief to climb them.
    • In 4e, rangers can get the power Archer's Stairway to shoot arrows at a wall and make it easier to climb.

    Theater 
  • In Cirque du Soleil's Ka, there's a scene in which arrows embedded in a wall (actually props pushed out from the back of it) are used to climb it.

    Video Games 
  • Spears are used in LEGO Indiana Jones as ladder rungs to reach higher and farther areas.
  • This is required in Wario Land to get to a secret exit that leads to Sherbet Land.
  • Donald Duck in Quackshot uses a plunger gun to scale walls quickly.
  • The fight against Pete in Mickey Mania involves jumping on his thrown sword to reach a lever.
  • Throwing spears in the video game Prehistorik Man.
  • There was a Teamwork Puzzle Game called Bubba 'n' Stix whose gameplay frequently involved this trope. Stix is, as the name suggests, a wooden stick, who can be used both as a weapon and as this trope.
  • Duster from Mother 3 uses Wall Staples to create ladders and uses them in battle.
  • In Brave Fencer Musashi, climbing with swords is the ability granted by the first piece of Legendary Armor.
  • Tidus of Final Fantasy X plunges his sword into the ground and uses it as a springboard during his Blitz Ace Overdrive.
  • In the opening cutscene of Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning throws her sword into a floating rock, then swings from it onto another floating rock to confront her enemy Caius.
  • In Depict, this is the real purpose of the spikes that your Voice with an Internet Connection claims will kill you if you touch them. Throw them at the wall, then jump up onto them!
  • Worms lets you do this with arrows.
    • As does Lemmings 2 - and of course, it's almost always necessary to beat the level.
  • in Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light spears from your never-ending supply of throwing spears can be thrown at walls and jumped on to reach higher areas. You'll be doing this often.
  • Dante does this several times with Rebellion in Devil May Cry 4 including during one of the cutscenes of the Savior fight.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic has to jump on the arrows fired by Robotnik to defeat him in Aquatic Ruin Zone.
  • In one level of Psychonauts, the player has to swing on swords attached to a spinning wheel in order to advance. This is made harder by the fact that the swords are only thrown by enemies. The player has to dodge in order to get the swords to land properly.
  • Kratos climbs walls many times using his swords in the God of War series.
  • Possible in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion thanks to a bug that makes paintbrushes stay in midair when dropped. Entire staircases can be built with paintbrushes.
  • One of the three uses for ninjato swords in Tenchu: Shadow Assassins (along with breaking locks and last-resort defense) is jamming them into certain walls to help scale them.
  • Mega Man 1 and 5 had the Magnet Beam and the Super Arrow, respectively. The Magnet Beam shot a beam that stayed suspended in mid-air creating a platform for you, and the Super Arrow shot an arrow that stuck into a wall to create a place to step.

    Web Original 
  • Rachel uses her hammer as a standing stone on a wall while waiting for the fight to reach her in Dead Fantasy.
  • Monty Oum must like this trope. The Meta uses his (bladed) gun as a climbing tool (after performing a Blade Brake maneuver with it) during the penultimate Oum-animated fight sequence in Red vs. Blue: Revelation. Note that this maneuver normally requires two such sharp objects...

    Western Animation 
  • In Simpsons Bible Stories, Bart (as David) uses a pair of corn on the cob holder's from Goliath's (Nelson) giant cob to climb up the side of a castle, by stabbing them into the wall and pulling himself up.
  • Code Lyoko: Happens a few times with Ulrich's katanas; sometimes for himself, sometimes for other characters. Everyone also seems to use William's BFS for this whenever he gets it stuck in a wall.
  • In the title sequence for Hanna-Barbera's Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har, Lippy, holding Hardy by the collar, scales a tree up a ladder of spears that have been thrown at the pair by angry natives. Unfortunately, the last of them is being held by a giant gorilla.
  • The Day My Butt Went Psycho: In "Basic In Stink", Zack fires a series of plungers on to the Butt-squatch before running up them to kick the Butt-squatch in the face.
  • Adventure Time: In "The Eyes", Finn's sword gets stuck in the wall. Jake uses it as a springboard to jump off and attack the Ice King.
  • In an episode of Wakfu, Evangeline uses a Shushu-possessed BFS this way while jumping across rooftops.

    Real Life 
  • Supposedly a valid tactic in ancient Japan, but considering the source, it's probably hearsay.
  • A possible variant, stepping stone rifle, was used in WWII, when the axis mountain divisions would string their rifles into rope ladders.


Staring Through the SwordSword TropesSwipe Your Blade Off
Skeletons in the Coat ClosetImprovised IndexTheme Park Landscape
Stepford SuburbiaAdded Alliterative AppealStepping Stones in the Sky
Dead FantasyImageSource/InternetDraw With Me

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