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Blade Lock

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At any given time during a Sword Fight, expect the two blades to lock together, with extra points for Sword Sparks.

This usually works best if the swords are crossed horizontally between the combatants, who stand close together and push against the clinch, each trying to knock the other off balance. It can also be done in a knife fight, with grabbing wrists or fists instead of locking blades. If a character is Dual Wielding, they will usually place one blade behind the other in an attempt to use both arms for leverage.

This is the ideal moment (since Talking Is a Free Action) to address the combatants' mutual issues with some confrontational dialogue, or to toss out taunts or threats. A Combat Pragmatist may instead let slip with a Groin Attack or Glasgow Kiss, since the other can't really defend against it. Or the two fighters may simply stand there, stare at each other menacingly, and bulge some biceps. If both combatants are super-strong, or sometimes even if they're not, the blades might grind against each other with sparks or even visibly glow.


Technically, this is called tsuba zeriai in kendo and anbinden or simply "bind" in the medieval German longsword tradition, where both parties try to gain a position for an attack by jockeying around so that the 'strong' (the half closer to the hilt) of one's blade is pressing against the opponent's 'weak' (the other half); the kinds of attacks that can be launched from this position vary from thrusts and snapping cuts around the opponent's blade to trapping (including the famous Groin Attack), grappling, and tripping/throwing movements. Also called "corps à corps" (body to body) in fencing/stage combat. But take notice that in Real Life, such blade locks are ideally brief moments before transitioning into the moves just mentioned, and not the ideal chances for extended conversations or pushing contests that fiction usually depicts.


Compare Beam-O-War and Brawler Lock.


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  • Lyrical Nanoha does this with the characters' staves, and any other device that could be swung around as a melee weapon.
  • Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust features a blade lock between D's sword and the vampire Meier Link's cape complete with sparks and heated blades.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • When this happened to Yahiko, he did the smart thing and kicked Gohei in the nuts.
    • When this happened between Kenshin and Saito, Saito shoved Kenshin against a wall and nearly managed to push the blade into Kenshin's throat until Kenshin kicked him away.
  • One Piece. Most dramatically used in the Zoro and Mihawk fight, where Zoro, who wields three swords, is completely denied a hit by a basic knife.
  • Happens in the openings of Gundam SEED Destiny
    • It happens twice in the show too, both with Kira facing Athrun and later Shinn. Both times neither combatant is able to overpower the other. With Athrun Kira pulls a second saber and slashes him with that, while Shinn pulls back to try to surprise Kira with a rifle shot.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Gp01 vs. Gp02 fights are also famous for having blade locks.
  • In one of Naruto's first story arcs, Zabuza and Kakashi locked blades for a minute or so. Zabuza had a great carving knife of a sword, bigger than he is. Kakashi had a kunai, a stubby dagger about as long as your hand. If the battle had stuck to the rules of real life Kakashi would now be "the Two-Fingered Ninja".
    • This also happens when Sai attacks Naruto out of nowhere. Sai takes advantage of this moment to question whether Naruto has any equipment.
    • Also happens in the Pain arc. Ebisu blocks Pain's chakra blade with the point of his kunai for several minutes.
  • Soul Eater shows a decidedly pragmatic approach when Mifune locks with Black Star, grabs one of Black Star's hands, and breaks two of his fingers.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Sayaka and Kyoko get into one. To illustrate how completely outclassed Sayaka is, she holds her sword with both hands and Kyoko holds her spear with one hand. Sayaka cannot budge Kyoko, then Kyoko shifts her arm and sends her flying.
  • In Bleach, when Kenpachi tried to get into one with Unohana, she drew a dagger with her free hand and stabbed him.
  • In Brave10, it usually appears as an excuse during fights to keep up the Trash Talk and dialogue exchange, as exemplified by Hanzo and Saizo's second fight.
  • Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]: Shirou and Gilgamesh get into one. Gilgamesh becomes shocked that Shirou, a mere human and "Faker", is able to rival him. After explaining how he has the advantage, Shirou shoves him back and breaks his sword.

    Fan Works 
  • Fate/Harem Antics:
    • Saber does this against Berserker several times, but since Berserker is stronger than her, she is forced back each time.
    • Archer and Gunner get into one. Archer is shocked by how strong Gunner is despite her small size and starts getting pushed back, but Archer kicks her right in a wound on her torso, making Gunner stagger back.
    • Assassin with a dagger and Temptress with a spear get into one, but Temptress is so strong that Assassin has to drop her dagger and back away before she is overwhelmed.
    • Berserker and Ruler get into a few. Just like Saber, Ruler is forced back.
  • In Son of the Sannin, Sasuke and Karui get into a couple of these during their fight in the Chunin Exams finals, even channeling elemental chakra through the blades. Karui's Thunder Blade overpowers Sasuke's Burning Edge and breaks his sword, forcing him to pull out a spare one. Sasuke then uses the Sharingan to copy Karui's jutsu and they clash again, but this time she can't break it.

     Film — Animated 

     Film — Live-Action 
  • Subverted in Robin Hood: Men in Tights of all places. When Robin Hood and the Sheriff were in the middle of one, they talked for a bit and the Sheriff tried to use a knife.
    • Probably a homage to The Adventures of Robin Hood, in which Robin Hood and Sir Guy of Gisbourne similarly talk at intervals throughout their duel; during a Blade Lock Sir Guy stealthily pulls a dagger out and tries to stab Robin with it. Robin being an honorable sort, but not Lawful Stupid, when the dagger ends up missing Robin's head, Robin runs Sir Guy through with his sword.
    • Or possibly to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, when the Sheriff raises his blade for a killing blow on the prone Robin, who pulls out the Sherriff's own dagger (He had given it to Marian, who had then given it to Robin) and plunges it into his heart.
  • Parodied in Spaceballs, where Helmet and Lone Starr's Schwartz blades (akin to lightsabers) not only get locked, they twist up. "Shit! I hate it when I get my Schwartz twisted!"
  • Subverted in Kill Bill Vol. 2. When the Bride and Elle lock swords in their final battle, the Bride simply takes the opportunity provided by the drop in defenses to snatch out Elle's eye, the other one having been snatched out by the late Pai Mei for disrespecting him.
  • Frequently in the Star Wars films. (Indeed, among writers for Star Wars movies, this Trope seems to be required by law when choreographing a dramatic lightsaber duel.) Note that this is an unbelievably stupid idea, as the lack of a crossguard on most sabers would mean that if their opponent slid the blade up they'd probably lose half their hand, not to mention quite possibly having their lightsaber destroyed. But then, many sources claim that a lightsaber can only be properly used by someone with Force powers and anyone who does not risks killing himself anyway.)
    • Obi-Wan does exactly this to cut off two of General Grievous' arms in Revenge of the Sith. (But then, as previously stated, Obi-Wan is a Jedi, while Grievous is one of the few non-force users to wield a lightsaber with any amount of skill.)
    • Consensus appears to be that two lightsabers stick together when locked, preventing (or at least making difficult) that kind of move. Obi-Wan appears to twist his blade, rather than simply sliding it downwards.
    • The Force Awakens: Kylo Ren's lightsaber also addresses the issue with a beam crossguard that he can use to stab opponents while locking blades with them.
  • Done in Streets of Fire with sledgehammers rather than swords.
  • Done in By the Sword as a Breaking Speech to Villard by Suba about what really happened the night Suba killed Villard's father.
  • Thorin and Azog get into one in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Justified in this case as Azog's blade is forked and Thorin is on the ground pushing up with both hands.
  • Anne of the Indies: Occurs when Anne and Blackbeard are fencing in the tavern. Blackbeard breaks the lock by twisting Anne's nose.

  • Subverted in The Saga Of Darren Shan. In one book, Darren gets in a sword fight with a vampaneze and tries blade locking. The vampaneze simply runs his blade down the length of Darren's and maims his hand.
  • Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark. Discussed when Aurelianus attempts to explain to the protagonist Brian Duffy, using Blade Lock as a metaphor, why epic magic is impossible when there's another powerful wizard of opposing alignment in the room. Duffy, a gritty old soldier, remarks: "I wouldn't just stand there straining. I'd knee the bastard and spit in his eyes."
  • The Iron Teeth” web serial is set in a fairly standard fantasy universe, so it has a lot of sword fights. This trope in particular happens while Blacknail is training.
  • In the Modesty Blaise novel A Taste for Death, Modesty gets into a sword fight to the death with one of the villains, which includes a moment where this happens.
    For a moment they were perfectly still, faces inches apart, blades locked at the pommels and pointing vertically up. It was then that Modesty Blaise lifted her knee and hit him very hard in the crotch.
  • Tortall Universe
    • Often used against Alanna in Song of the Lioness, probably because she's a head shorter than most opponents and (after giving up the Sweet Polly Oliver disguise) female, making her look weaker. It doesn't work, though, because she's a highly skilled swordswoman.
    • Used in Lady Knight, though in this case it was glaive versus double-headed axe. Kel was up against one of the few opponents who is taller than her 5'11", and she was wounded, so she did a leg sweep to regain the advantage.
  • Occurs during one of Princess Carline's fencing lessons in the first book of The Riftwar Cycle. Her teacher tells her quite flatly that she never wants to get in that situation in a real fight - the only people she'd be likely to end up facing in a real battle would be professional soldiers who would be much stronger than she is.
  • The Heroes: Bremer dan Gorst and Whirrun of Bligh lock blades during their fight. As they strain against each other in perfect impasse, the Blood Knight Gorst wishes that the moment could go on forever.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens in the Dollhouse episode "Spy in the House of Love", during a sword fight between Victor and Dewitt.
  • Game of Thrones.
    • In Season 1, Jaime Lannister catches Jory's sword this way, then stabs him in the eye with a dagger held in his other hand.
    • In Season 4 after Jaime has his sword hand amputated, he gets a magnificent gilded-steel hand to replace it and trains with sellsword Bronn in fighting with his left hand. Jaime regularly gets his ass kicked, but at one point he catches Bronn's blade in his own and grins, thinking he's finally got the advantage. Bronn reaches down, twists off Jaime's fake hand and smacks him in the face with it.
    • Karl Tanner spits in Jon Snow's eyes and then kicks him in the shin when they lock blades.
  • Wonder Woman: In "The Return of Wonder Woman", Dr. Solano (Fritz Weaver) and Wonder Woman are in a pitched sword duel. They lock blades! And he's able to physically throw her back a few steps which reveals that he has switched places with a Dr. Solano robot!

     Tabletop Games  
  • In Lace & Steel, parrying an attack with a special Lock Hilts card allows you to make a Strength contest against the attacker, potentially seizing the initiative and stealing two cards from their deck if you succeed.

     Theme Parks  
  • In the finale of Poseidon's Fury at Universal's Islands of Adventure, this happens during Poseidon's sword fight with Lord Darkenon, with the locking of their weapons creating a noticeable glowing effect. The two briefly exchange words between each other before breaking it off.

     Video Games  
  • Attack at the same time as your enemy in No More Heroes and you go into a blade lock, which you win by moving the Wii Remote in a circle. If you lose, you get hit; if you win, you can instantly hit the enemy with a Death Blow. Of note also is the real ending, in which Travis and Henry have a conversation while running down a whole city block with their blades locked together.
  • The Blade Lock is used as an actual game mechanic in the Star Wars Jedi Knight series of Video Games, in which you push against a "lightsaber lock" in an attempt to shove your enemy back and/or down and gain a free shot. Losing one against the tougher ones can instantly cause death. There are ways of breaking the lock, though, such as a well-timed Force Push which is handy if you know you're going to lose in a lock. Probably the flashiest move performable from the lock is when one party has two lightsabers and manages to throw one to circle around their opponent and slice them from behind.
  • In Gun Grave, the three playable characters get in a three way weapon lock, that being Grave's guns locking with Jujy's Blades and Billy's Guitar, and they all spark.
  • Similarly, there is a move in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess called "chance" that basically initiates this. It's the easiest way to beat the final boss.
  • In Suikoden V (and probably earlier ones in the series too) during a one-on-one "duel" battle, your protagonist almost always gets in at least one of these, requiring you to mash buttons as fast as you can to push the opponent back until the lock is over. Note that at least in this particular iteration, the protagonist doesn't actually use a blade, nor do many of his opponents, and yet you still get the "weapon lock" showing up.
  • Your battle against Cowardly Boss Koji Shindo in Yakuza 2 has you doing this during the final phase of the battle, which takes place in a Japanese courtyard, when Yayoi throws you a sword to use against him.
  • Happens all the time in the Samurai Shodown series. It's (probably) the only way to disarm your opponent too; though it's a little silly when the claws disarm the giant beads.
  • Done with every possible weapon and a few impossible ones in the Dynasty Warriors series.
  • Happens at the end of a "boss" minigame in WarioWare: Smooth Moves.
  • This is an ability in Super Robot Wars. A pilot with this ability in a machine with a bladed weapon has a chance to block another robot's blade attack. With the Blade Lock animation and everything.
    • Another Century's Episode had this in games 2 and 3 when two machines with melee weapons tried to melee each other at the same time; the player has to mash the Melee button to break the lock and stun the enemy, or he himself will be stunned instead.
  • This tactic features prominently in Kingdom Hearts. A notable instance occurs in the second game, where Cloud and Sephiroth blade lock while Cloud is on the receiving end of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Even though he uses knives, Leon locks blades quite often when facing up against Krauser.
  • You can lock chainsaw bayonets with an enemy in Gears of War 2. Mash B to win.
  • Commonly seen in cutscene fights between Dante & Vergil in Devil May Cry 3.
    • During the first encounter, they were pushing against each other with so much force that the blades visibly heated at the contact point from the friction.
  • Happens almost every single battle in Sengoku Basara, particularly if the two characters are rivals like Masamune and Yukimura or Motochika and Motonari. Sword Sparks are always present.
    • The third game introduces something like this combined with Flynning where characters start clashing their weapons against each other until one of them wins the duels.
  • Kirby's Return to Dream Land has a variation. When Kirby delivers the final blow with his Ultra Sword to Magolor in his first form, Magolor tries to defend himself by conjuring a shield that results in one final struggle before Kirby manages to overpower him.
  • In Saints Row 2, this happens during the cutscene for the mission "Bleed Out". It also occurs in the Saints Row: The Third mission "deckers.die".
  • Used in the game Dark Messiah, though there it's referred to as a "contest of might."
  • Beautifully subverted in the Deception trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, the main villain of the trailer momentarily locked his blade with the leading Jedi he was facing off with, whom immediately breaks the lock by turning slightly to one side, loosing his blade and smashing Darth Malgus in the face with the pommel of his saber hilt. Ala the counterattack described below in the Real Life section.
  • You can end up locking your gun to Kai Leng's blade in your final boss fight with him in Mass Effect 3. The final boss of the Citadel DLC can involve an omni-blade lock, depending on your class.
  • Warhammer Online. The announcement trailer featured a Chaos Champion and a Sigmarite Warrior-Priest doing this with maces. At a certain point they lock their weapons and it seems as if the Warrior-Priest will win. In true Warhammer fashion, the Champion then knees him in the side while he's distracted, sending him down to the ground and then crushes his skull with his mace.
  • Occurs in Prince of Persia (2008) during battle, particularly when fighting against the Mourning King, which requires mashing a button to defeat him.
  • In Dark Siders, War can lock blades with one of the enemy angels. It's also necessary to win the final fight against Abaddon.
  • In the original game from the Soul Series, Soul Blade, when you clashed swords it'd happen two things, a clash in which both weapons repelled each other, but on the other hand is the attack was fierce enough, usually while doing a heavy slash. The swords'd lock and then red lightning'd appear while both combatants pressed againt each other, and finally one has to be quick enough deliver the finishing blow. It's as awesome as it sounds.
  • In the final boss fight of God of War, Kratos and Ares end up doing this several times during the third round. Winning the confrontation gives the winner a big chunk of the loser´s life bar.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Nemesis Orc Captains will do this if they're introduced during a fight.
  • Sonic Rush has Sonic and Blaze doing a variation of this with their heads towards the end of the boss fight at Dead Line, aiming to push each other off the platform.
  • Happens a few times in Trails Series.


     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

     Real Life  
  • Conversely, in Olympic fencing, this sort of overdramatic parry is sometimes referred to as a Hollywood parry or Star Wars parry. Students are reminded to stop looking cool, disengage, and stab him already.
    • The angle needed to parry an attack varies between weapons, but is almost always much less than the average person suspects. Fencing is a fast enough sport that even a hint of movement in the wrong direction can mean a touch against you; exaggerated movements will get you hit.
  • Contrary to most sport fencing today, longsword fencing in the German styles practically required this. Combined with other techniques like using the pommel and guard as blunt instruments and surprisingly advanced grappling, this was practically the only way to effectively fight an opponent in full armor. The general strategy was to bind, smash or throw your opponent to the ground, and then make a thrust at the now (slightly more) exposed gaps in your opponent's armor. Several techniques involved putting one or both hands on the blade of the sword, for extra leverage. However, this sort of blade contact was transient, usually with one fighter either disengaging or winning the bind, most often though superior technique.
    • The main reason that this technique (called "binding") works is due to the edges in both swords ever so slightly "biting" into one-another, allowing leverage in directions other than forwards.
    • As opposed to the face-to-face brute-force contest of strength that is often portrayed in cinema and video games, winning the bind doesn't mean overpowering your opponent, so being "strong" in the bind doesn't automatically mean a position of advantage. A sword blade will always follow the path of least resistance, so a fighter "weak" in the bind can win simply by allowing his opponent's sword to push through...while angling his own blade so his opponent's sword runs off somewhere it won't do any damage (thus using the opponent's own strength against him). This is a part of the concept called fühlen (literally: "feeling"), and essentially boils down to countering weakness with strength, and strength with weakness.
    • There are some times where the historical sources advocate parrying with the flat (rather than the edge), however these are usually more deflecting than stopping actions, and don't involve much bind-work
  • To a lesser degree, this is also a valid tactic in kenjutsu (not so much in kendo). As a matter of fact, the blunt side of the katana's blade usually plays a major role. Like in German style, putting one hand on the blade for extra leverage is a very common technique. However, since it's safe to slide the hand through it, there is a bigger variety of techniques for both winning or breaking free from these situations.


Video Example(s):


Link vs Ganon

The two warriors lock blades in their final battle

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Example of:

Main / BladeLock

Media sources:

Main / BladeLock