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Blade Brake

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The character is using a blade as a brake or an anchor to stop their movement. This is done by ramming the blade into a wall or the floor, depending on direction of the character's movement. Bonus points if the movement is not stopped abruptly and long sparkly "skid marks" occur; the weapon may carve a long gash in the surface until its wielder comes to a halt.

This is more difficult than it looks for being such a common trope. In real life, a blade big and heavy enough to serve as a brake would require a bigger and heavier wielder, and it's their momentum that matters. Planting the sword is easy, but it's equally easy to lose grip of the sword or even damage/break it from the sudden stop unless both wielder and weapon have fantastic strength and durability, respectively. It's theoretically Truth in Television, but not nearly as easy as Rule of Cool would have you to believe.

A variation is when the character slows their fall by stabbing their blade into a tall banner (or, on a sailing ship, the sail). The "stab the sail" version shows up in a bunch of old pirate movies and was busted by the MythBusters.

If the weapon is later used as a perch, to swing back up into battle, or to climb off of, it's a Stepping-Stone Sword. Not to be confused with the manga Broken Blade, or with literally breaking a sword.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Deunan does this with a military knife in some Appleseed incarnation to prevent herself from sliding down a very high dome.
  • Chane Laforet of Baccano! uses a pair of daggers to stop her fall off of a moving train.
  • Berserk:
    • In the Eclipse, when Guts falls from the side of a tower covered in living faces, he stabs his dagger into the tower so that he slices through a long swathe of faces on the way down, eventually coming to a stop from the friction. He then uses the dagger as a climbing pick to drag himself back up, causing much bleeding and wailing from the faces as he does so.
    • When Guts fights the Kushan wizard Daiba in the harbor of Vritannis, Daiba uses a water spout to throw him into the air, to such a height that even the water below won't save him from the fall. Schierke manages to snap him out of his armor's mindless berserk mode just in time for an Indy Ploy: he uses the incredibly broad blade of his BFS to steer his fall by air resistance, targeting the mast of a ship. He uses the sword to tear through every bit of mast, yard, and sail he encounters on the way down, coming to a very rough yet non-fatal landing on the deck.
  • Bleach loves this trope. A few times characters have done a blade break IN MID-AIR. (Justified, since Soul Reapers and Hollows are spirits who usually run on air.)
    • Kenpachi stabs his zanpakutou into a wall once after Ichigo knocks him back.
    • Ichigo does a long one in his fight with Ulquiorra just after the latter unleashes his Resurreccion, stabbing the roof they're fighting on while he repairs his mask. It doesn't seem to slow him down, though, and he eventually just pulls his sword back out of the roof to block the next attack.
  • Lancer of Fate/stay night stops himself from dying again in Carnival Phantasm by assisting his dragster brake with stabbing the floor of the car and the ground using Gae Bolg. He still crashes, but survives this time around.
  • In The Castle of Cagliostro, the Count uses his sword to stab the rocks, saving his butt after falling off the Clock Tower's hands.
  • A horizontal version in the anime adaptation of Claymore: Clare has gained Super-Speed but can't control it, so she slows herself down by stabbing the ground.
  • Happens in Highlander: The Search for Vengeance where the hero gets thrown off a skyscraper. Doesn't work, mind you, and he still goes plummeting to his would-be-death-if-he-wasn't-an-immortal.
  • Inuyasha: When Inuyasha first encounters the Wind Tunnel, he rams Tessaiga into the ground to prevent himself from being sucked into it. In one of many amusing examples of just how alike the two brothers really are, when Sesshoumaru first experiences the power of the Wind Tunnel, he reacts in exactly the same way (and since he's holding Tessaiga at the time, he even uses the same sword).
  • In Kill la Kill:
    • When Ryuko Matoi falls through a trapdoor, she tries to slow her fall by sticking her blade into the wall, but it doesn't work and she hits the bottom hard anyway.
    • When the stairs Ryuko and Mako are climbing suddenly flatten out, Ryuko grabs Mako with one arm and sticks her blade into the floor. It works.
    • Sanageyama somehow manages this with a bamboo sword and a concrete wall.
  • Naruto: Sasuke does this a lot with his katana. Other characters do it with kunai, as well.
  • Asuna of Negima! Magister Negi Magi does this after the wings Haruna gave her expire a tad earlier than she expected. Note that her sword is big enough that she can simply stand on the blade rather than just hang from the hilt.
  • Subverted when Zoro does this in the 7th One Piece movie after being dropped off a tower. Turns out his sword is so sharp it cuts straight through the tower and barely slows him down!
  • Not exactly a weapon, but Elie in Rave Master sticks her arm in the ground after being used as a Fastball Special by a bad guy so as to avoid hitting any of her friends. Of course, she breaks her arm, but it works.
  • Ranma : A very strange example occurs when Ranma finally reveals himself in male form to his mother. They're both falling off a cliff into water, and he embeds Nodoka's still-sheathed katana into the cliffside to land foot-first on the handle. When Ranma thinks he can keep his transformation secret, Nodoka bows down in gratitude, causing the blade to unsheathe, dropping them into water that turns Ranma into a girl.
  • Rebuild World: When Akira is searching for relics in a Precursors skyscraper, he suddenly loses contact with his Virtual Sidekick Alpha and is ambushed by a cyborg terrorist who outguns him. To try and reestablish contact with Alpha, Akira jumps out the window, uses the Lost Technology katana he got from a friend to slow his fall, and does a Wall Run back up at his opponent using using his Powered Armor's Sticky Shoes and Bullet Time, before the scene cuts as they clash. Akira wakes up after falling unconscious, his opponent having been too scared of him Playing Possum thinking What the Hell Are You? to finish him.
  • In Re:Zero, Subaru jabs a sword into a cliff face to arrest his fall. However, even though it drops his momentum to non-lethal levels, Surprisingly Realistic Outcome happens when the blade breaks, causing him to free fall the last few feet.
  • In Riding Bean, Bean's Cool Car has this type of assisted braking in the wheels.
  • Kanbei does this with his katana early in Samurai 7.
  • In episode 10 of Sands of Destruction Morte uses her sword as one when she and the rest of the World Destruction Committee are forced over the railings of a tower while fleeing robots.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, Yuji falls through a ragged hole in the floor on top of a building. Shana dives after him, grabs his hand, and halts their fall by thrusting her blade into a steel girder on the way down.
  • Maka, from Soul Eater, loves to do this with Soul. She once tries to do it to prevent the Big Bad escaping from an underground prison. The Absurdly Sharp Blade of Soul's must have gotten pretty battered being dragged through the earth like that.

    Comic Books 
  • Damien Wayne's origin story in the New 52's Batman and Robin #0 shows him blade-braking a skydive (after cutting his own chute) with two katanas in opposite walls of an icy crevasse. He's not even a teenager yet.
  • In Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #2, Hawkeye has temporary super-strength and gets knocked off the edge of the building. He slows his path by jamming two arrows into the wall and sliding down, gouging furrows in the wall till he stops.
  • Runaways used a variant, in that Old Lace used her claws to slow Chase's fall. Amazingly, Molly predicted this.
  • Wolverine occasionally does this with his claws as well. Ditto for X-23.

    Fan Works 
  • After taking inspiration from TV, Nav uses this in desperation in Diaries of a Madman, to stop himself from falling down a mine shaft. He's quite surprised when it works.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters: Raythor stops his fall in the Abyss of Shadows by striking the wall with his sword, slowing his descent long enough for him to take a hold of the wall before the sword breaks.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Katana does this by stabbing her swords into the ceiling when thrown skyward by Mei's rampaging robot.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: During one of the VR games they play in Episode 18, Iggins does this to avoid Gaz dropping him into a pit of lava.
  • While falling down an endless pit with the other Phantom Thieves in Black Star, Akechi pulls this off with, of all things, a Laser Blade, thanks to the Metaverse's Clap Your Hands If You Believe nature. Ryuji even complains about how little sense it makes, but Akechi reminds him that they really shouldn't dwell on how impossible the feat should be, lest they make it wear off.

    Films Animation 

    Films Live-Action 
  • Errol Flynn does the "stab the sail" version in Against All Flags (in a clear homage to Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate). Brian Hawke is cornered in the rigging of the Scorpion, with pirates coming from three directions. He walks out across the yardarm and stabs his rapier into the sail, and then rides it down to the deck. This was apparently the only stunt in the film Flynn did not do himself.
  • Alita: Battle Angel: As Alita and Hugo are falling from the cable leading to Zalem, Alita grabs Hugo and slows their fall by wedging the Damascus Blade into the side of the giant cable.
  • Batman uses his gauntlets for this effect while rescuing Ducard in Batman Begins.
  • The "stab the sail" technique originated in the 1926 silent movie The Black Pirate starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • In Aquaman, Arthur uses his trident in this manner to escape from Orm's armlock and manages to maneuver himself above Orm to kick him into the lava floor, which Orm narrowly avoids.
    • In Zack Snyder's Justice League, Steppenwolf uses his axe on the walls of the tunnels during the Battle beneath Gotham harbour to slow down his fall.
    • The Suicide Squad: As Jotunheim is crumbling around them, Harley Quinn uses her javelin (that Javelin passed to her upon his death) to stab a concrete wall and spare herself from falling.
  • The Fairbanks scene is referenced in The Goonies, when Sloth comes sliding down the sail via blade brake.
  • Gramps Is in the Resistance: At the climax, Super-Resistant makes his Big Entrance by stabbing a swastika banner with a dagger and sliding down. He flubs the landing, though.
  • Into the Grizzly Maze: When the bear attacks Rowan and Kaley in Kaley's tent, it starts dragging the entire tent away with them inside. Rowan draws his hunting knife and digs it into the ground to anchor himself, so the bear drags the tent off him.
  • In Last Action Hero, The Reaper does the "stab the sail" with his scythe at the movie premiere.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther uses his claws to slide down the side of a building during a chase.
    • Thor: Ragnarok:
      • When Thor gets thrown around by Hulk in the arena, he slams one of his swords into the ground to cease his momentum.
      • During the escape from Sakaar, Valkyrie jumps from spaceship to spaceship to incapacitate them and plants her sword in one of them to prevent falling off.
    • Black Widow: When Natasha is sliding down the rapidly tilting floor in the crashing Red Room, she jams the blades of both her kama into the metal floor to arrest her slide.
  • In Pacific Rim, a damaged Gipsy Danger plants its sword in the ground during the Final Battle to avoid being knocked over by the shockwave of Striker Eureka's nuke detonating.
  • In The Pirate Movie, a parody of The Pirates of Penzance, at the end of "The Pirate King" song, the Captain uses his dagger to slide down the main sail, hits the deck, turns and says to Ruth, the nurse, "Sew that up, love!" Her expression shows that this wasn't the first time it's happened.
  • Will Turner uses this in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest when the Kraken attacks.
  • Star Wars: Jango Fett has retractable blades in his gauntlets, apparently for exactly this purpose (they're too short and oddly-shaped to be much good for anything else).
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon has Sentinel Prime do something like this to slow his descent down the side of a building.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: Wolverine averts a fall off the Statue of Liberty by hooking one of the points of the statue's crown, then spinning around it to land on top. The point falls off only after he's done.
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine has the title hero do this to make a hard turn on a motorcycle. Interestingly, it's one of the rare times his claws don't just go clean through.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Psylocke narrowly survives what would have been a fatal fall by using her energy sword to slide down a building. It still takes her out of the fight, though, allowing Mystique to impersonate her.

  • In The Last Command, the third in Timothy Zahn's The Thrawn Trilogy, Luke Skywalker pulls a trick like this with his lightsaber. Specifically, he uses the saber only to cut a groove in the wall, grips it with his other hand (which he's wrapped in layers to for protection), and cuts a curved path to control his speed.
  • In Marlfox, a boat is stopped from going over a waterfall when one of the heroes wedges the Sword of Martin in a crack in a rock.
  • In Scarecreow, Mother uses a knife in this fashion to stop herself from sliding off a mahogany boardroom table that's hanging out a window on the 39th floor of Canary Wharf whilst fighting a bounty hunter, with a helicopter hovering a few metres directly underneath. It's that kind of book.
  • Student Assassin Pteppic uses this to survive the Emergency Drop in Pyramids. He stops his fall by jabbing a knife into the course of mortar between two lines of bricks, and holds on for dear life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Robot of Sherwood", Robin Hood makes his Big Damn Heroes arrival at the Sheriff's castle by sticking his knife into a tapestry and sliding down to the ground.
  • In Kamen Rider OOO, Eiji henshins midfall from a skyscraper and proceeds to embed his Tora Claws in the building to slow his fall.
  • MacGyver: MacGyver once got down from a catwalk by sticking his pocket knife through his wallet (as a guard) and then that through a curtain.
  • MythBusters tested the pirate movie version of this, where one uses a blade to slide down a sail. Myth busted. Specifically, too sharp a knife cuts too well to slow a person down, and no matter how sharp the knife was, hitting the seams in the sail caused the knife to jump out of the sail no matter how prepared the holder was. Also, as one of the historians pointed out, the guy who spent weeks making the sail would murder you when he found out.
  • In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Mike is presumed to have perished in an early episode by plummeting into a ravine. It is eventually shown via flashback that the Magna Defender — who was already down there — rescued him this way, although it was only to steal his physical body.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • The Abyss Watchers from Dark Souls III weaponize this for increasing their maneuverability with their BFS, it also resembles the movement of a wolf hunting its preys, just like their founder, Artorias.
  • All Prince of Persia games since Warrior Within have the Prince doing this with a wall hanging.
  • Lady does this with a bayonet in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. How she managed to then get it out of the wall and get down the rest of the way safely is a mystery. Dante's done it at least once, but he usually doesn't have to thanks to his inherent gravity-defying skills.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning does this to regain her balance after a Behemoth knocks her away, and naturally since she's a badass, it works.
  • After the first phase of Ghostrunner's first boss, the Ghostrunner breaks his fall to the bottom of the arena by stabbing his cyber katana into the wall and sliding down.
  • Kratos in God of War does this a lot throughout the series.
  • In GunZ, this is an available move for swords and daggers. It's one of the most basic ways to scale a wall or save yourself from falling into a Bottomless Pit if you haven't mastered a more advanced technique.
  • At one point in the Henry Stickmin Series, Henry and Ellie jump out of the Toppat space station just before launch, and Ellie stabs a knife into the side of it to slow and stop their fall. Unfortunately, this leaves them hanging off the side of the space station seconds before launch, and they end up getting carried into space where they suffocate.
  • Terra from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep attempts to do this with his Keyblade in the secret Final Mix II video as well as in-game, and ends up taking a section of the cliff down. A whole spinning tornado of Keyblades slamming into him kind of knocks him completely off the cliff though.
  • Featured in a Lineage 2 trailer-movie where you don't just get the screeching, sparking skid-gash in the rock face, - it's also used to leap back up for an attack. Extra points for dual-wielded Absurdly Sharp Blades.
  • Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: In her introductory scene, Edge single handily fights off a group of Stooges and ends with her planting her sword in the ground to launch herself 180 degrees to finish off the final enemy.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • When Jarek returns in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, it's revealed he survived being dropped off a cliff by Jax by using his axe to slow the fall.
    • Kenshi does this in Mortal Kombat X after being knocked out of a military personnel carrier in the first chapter. Lacking other options, he does this against the very aircraft he's hanging on for dear life.
  • Hotsuma in Shinobi (2002) doesn't feel like using a parachute to leap off a helicopter, and instead uses his sword like this on a skyscraper to get to ground level.
  • All playable characters can do this in Sonic and the Black Knight, but they can also climb back up the wall and go left and right. Sonic jumps up while his sword's in the wall, then pulls it out and thrusts it back in, Lancelot does the same, Gawain alternates stabbing the wall with his dual swords and Percival just runs.
  • Subverted in Tales of Hearts when Shing tries to use his sword to avoid being sucked into the maw of a monster. He then stabs through his foot, which works better.
  • In Tales of Monkey Island: Rise of the Pirate God, Guybrush uses his Hook Hand to cut through a ship's sails, while sliding down them.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has DLC character Sephiroth able to use his forward aerial on a wall, which can help him back onto the stage if he's launched off.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ittosai saves Sayori from the fall off the watchtower by jamming his nodachi into the wall, essentially destroying both sword and wall, in his Good Ending in Yo-Jin-Bo.

    Web Animation 
  • Used by the Meta in Red vs. Blue: Revelation to make his way back up to the top of an ice sheet after the portion he was standing on got blown apart and started falling into the abyss below. To elaborate: the Meta saw his gun falling in the open air along with him, lunged off the falling ice block to grab the weapon, and stabbed the pointy end into the main ice sheet before falling again. Grif later uses a similar technique (though unseen) when the Meta pulls him over the edge in a Taking You with Me maneuver.
  • RWBY:
    • Ruby tends to stab her scythe into the ground to stop herself, since her gun's recoil is powerful enough to send her flying.
    • Ren uses the blades from his weapon to stop a fall by spiraling down a tree trunk.
    • In his Volume 3 fight with Winter, Qrow anchors his BFS to mitigate being pushed back several feet away by her attacks, wrecking a fair part of the courtyard.


    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Azula stabs her hairpin into the side of a cliff to arrest her fall in "The Southern Raiders"
    • Sokka tries to do this too using his sword, but this demonstrates why an Absurdly Sharp Blade should not be used for such.
    • Piandao does this when he and Master Pakku come Back for the Finale, using his sword to maneuver on a wave of ice Pakku creates while freeing Ba Sing Se.
  • Kevin does this on a collapsing space station in the Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Vendetta".
  • Tahu does this with his sword while falling down a rock wall in BIONICLE: the Mask Of Light.
  • Code Lyoko:
    • In the first episode, "TeddyGozilla", Odd jumps down to catch a falling Aelita, and then slows them both by using his claws on the side of a cliff in the Desert sector.
    • Ulrich does a Blade Brake in episode "Bad Connection", by thrusting his katana into a cliff of the Mountain Sector — and then catching Yumi — before they'd fall in the Digital Sea.
  • The "stab the sail" version is altered in Duck Dodgers, episode "Shiver Me Dodgers", when the Cadet (Porky Pig) is doing it with a Laser Blade on the metal sail of a space pirate ship.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Avast Ye Eds", Jonny 2X4 slashes through the Kanker sister's bed-sheet sail with Plank, a piece of 2x4. All this does it punch a big hole in it and gives them another reason for him to Walk the Plank. Literally.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) has He-Man doing this. He jumps down a cliff to catch the king who had fallen. "He-Man... you can fly?!" "Uh... no." (The funny thing is he didn't think of the Blade Brake until after he caught the king.)
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: In "Princess Prom", Glimmer gives Adora a large hairpin to wear in her ponytail as part of her prom outfit. This ends up being useful when an attack leads to her falling from a ledge, and she uses the pin to stop herself from falling further.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In one episode, General Grievous plows four lightsabers into the ground to resist a Force Push.
  • Steven Universe: In "Change Your Mind", Connie does one with her sword down the side of the Diamond Mecha.

    Real Life 
  • Firemen are taught to use fire axes for this if they're working on a steep roof.
  • This is essentially the purpose of an ice axe.
  • During World War II, high-caliber assault guns (usually no more than siege cannons mounted on top of a tank chassis) had what looked like a dozer blade mounted on the rear of the vehicle. When fired, this blade was dug into the ground to keep the gun's recoil from sending the entire vehicle flying backwards.


Video Example(s):


Barely Braking

Zoro's sword is too sharp to slow him down much at all.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BladeBrake

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