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Implausible Fencing Powers

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His defense is on point.
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:

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.
  • Claymore loves this trope. Warriors of the Organization are superhumanly strong, so much so they can easily wield their distinctive BFSes one-handed, even though the swords in question are usually longer than the users are tall. And that's not even getting into yoki techniques.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Yoriichi Tsugikuni, a legendary demon slayer, with swordmanship so inhuman that a combat training dummy modelled after him to train Demon Slayers had to be installed with six arms, with a blade in each hand, to even begin to emulate his techniques.
  • 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 wooden 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 catchphrase.
    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.
    • Killer Bee. He wields seven (later eight) swords at once, and is able to out-fence Sharingan-powered Sasuke, who's normally able to predict the incoming attacks, simply because there are so many blades moving too randomly for even him to follow.
  • 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.The World's Greatest Swordsman Dracule Mihawk sliced up a frozen tidal wave. Lengthwise.
  • One-Punch Man:
    • Spring Mustachio is a trained fencer. One of his moves is called "Tomboy"; it involves him coiling his sword and launching the blade great distances.
    • Atomic Samurai only needs one visible swing of his katana to cut a horde of monsters into shreds, with hundreds of slashes seen coming from all directions.
  • 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 Mêlée 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.
  • X-Men: Nightcrawler is a second-generation mutant with prehensile feet, a prehensile tail, superhuman agility and the ability to teleport (accompanied by a dark cloud of sulfurous gas). Combined with his skill at fencing (he fancies himself a fuzzy blue-black Errol Flynn), this lets him wield three (or in extreme cases five) swords simultaneously while potentially attacking from any direction while partially obscured.

    Fan Works 
  • Second Wind: Zoro, even more so than usual. He can cut seastone, which is as hard as diamond. As far as we know, not even Mihawk can do that, having failed to cut "Diamond" Jozu during the Marineford War in the previous timeline. That alone proves that Zoro would've probably beaten Mihawk at the Baratie had he been at full strength.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Star Wars, implausible fencing powers abound. Mostly justified by the fact that both Jedi and Sith are using lightsabers and have Combat Clairvoyance via the Force. This lets them parry blaster bolts (or just avoid the shot instead), strike with unerring accuracy and slice things apart with one blow as standard abilities. Non-Force users occasionally get in on the action by being combat droids or aliens with absurd (by human standards) reflexes.
  • Karl Ruprecht Kroenen in Hellboy (2004) is so skilled with his tonfa blades that he can cut through feet of solid material such as rock and steel and can kill gunmen by deflecting their fired bullets back at them.
  • Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine doesn't parry bullets. Instead, he cuts them in half in midflight, and each half hits and kills a different mook.
  • In The Court Jester, Hawkins' (Danny Kaye) alter ego "Giacomo" is astonishingly good. The one opponent we see him face at any length is Ravenhurst (Basil Rathbone), who is also quite skilled, but more at the "I've been practicing this for forty years" level as opposed to Giacomo's supernatural talent. The only reason the fight lasts more than a few moments is that Hawkins and Giacomo switch personalities at the snap of a finger, and whomever gets the upper hand in the battle keeps saying "And now, your life isn't worth that<snap>."
  • Yellowbeard: Despite being blind, Pew is able to extinguish a candle flame with one precise strike of his Sword Cane.

  • The greatest swordsman in the world is giving a demonstration of his skill to a crowd. As he draws his sword, his assistant releases a single housefly. The swordsman watches the fly buzz around, waits for his moment, and strikes! ...And then the fly buzzes away again. As the crowd groans, the swordsman holds up his hand. "Look again, my friends. The fly lives, yes, but he will never be a father!"

  • 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. Of special note is Homecoming where Drizzt has some aid from a psionically charged forcefield, but cutting Demogorgon to pieces with his tiny, tiny scimitars seems absurd nonetheless.
  • 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.
  • In Rivers of London this is legitimately a power; Michael Cheung, Chinatown's Legendary Swordsman, is a magical practitioner, just one who gets his mind in the right place by wielding a blade rather than reciting Latin.
  • Fencing enjoys some popularity among telepaths in In Conquest Born as a means of improving both reaction time and psychic sensitivity. The goal is to move faster than thought so your opponent cannot lift your intentions from your mind. One of the main characters has such an aptitude for this sort of fighting that she uses it to dominate a seasoned warrior in a duel when she is 11 years old.

    Live-Action TV 

    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 
  • Devil May Cry: Thanks to their demonic nature, Dante, Vergil, Trish and Nero can pull off some stylish and over-the-top moves that would require superhuman strength, speed, and reflexes. They have demonstrated ridiculous tricks with sword, like; catching and parrying bullets, tossing enemies away with a baseball swing, making blinding-fast stabs with one hand, creating portals and distortions out of thin air, sending shockwaves via slashes, tossing the sword and making it return like a boomerang, igniting the sword in flames without any side effects, using the sword to impale a demon on the ground and skate with it, propelling oneself forward in mid-air with a slash, etc...
  • Elden Ring has Malenia, Blade of Miquella, whose main claim to fame is that she is really good with the katana she has built in to her prosethetic arm. So good that it's said she has never known defeat, despite being deathly ill with the Scarlet Rot her whole life. If you fight her as a boss, you'll find that she hits like a tank shell, has a varied and elegant moveset, can chain individual attacks into combos, and has various nasty super moves- the most infamous being Waterfowl Dance (three successive sword flurries; it's incredibly difficult to dodge them all because of how she moves during the attack). She uses no magic until her second phase, but even her first phase is enough to curbstomp most players (and, if somehow pitted against them, most bosses).
  • 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.
  • Princess Peach: Showtime!: As Swordfighter Peach, she can fence with both speed and agility, as the trailers show.
  • 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.
  • The Soul Series' Mitsurugi has this. In the first game Soul Edge, he searches for the titular sword to help him compete with handheld firearms coming into play on the battlefields of Japan. By the second game, he's not the least bit scared of guns anymore because he's just that good now.
  • 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.
  • In Super Hot the player has to dodge bullets but with the katana you cut them in half while the world is in slow motion.
  • The Ronin Titan in Titanfall 2 can block a nuclear explosion with its sword. No, the sword is not six feet thick or radiation-shielded. It's just that good.
  • Any practitioner of the Eight Leaves One Blade style in Trails Series can cut through metal as though it was nothing. Best demonstrated with both Arios MacLaine who can cut through a metallic doll and Rean Schwarzer who can cut through a padlock silently. And he was still just beginner rank.
  • World of Warcraft: There are normally sized weapons in this game. But, a lot of the weapons used by the player character as well as prominent NPCs would very much qualify for Big Freaking Sword status. Special mention here to The Ashbringer: which is roughly the same size as it's wielder, despite having been made for a human to use. Even if we assume it is made of lighter than steel fantasy metal, it should be unwieldy simply on account of it's size. The characters are also implausibly skilled, even for people supposedly living in this incredibly dangerous world: routinely pulling off maneuvers that only the best Real Life weapons' masters dare attempt. One-Handed Zweihänder also occurs in Sylvanas' death cutscene. Ironically, they got the technique for using a blade of Frostmourne's shape correct. Rather than bring the edge down on Sylvanas, Arthas thrusts it at her point first: since it's a leaf-shaped blade this absolutely is how it should be used. However, he's on horseback, so he can't use the sword two-handed. He's using it the way that we see Byzantine kataphraktoi use their spathas in murals: but a spatha is literally half the size of Frostmourne! Arthas shouldn't be able to hold Frostmourne one-handed much less wield it effectively that way, given it's size proportional to him. That this occurs is particularly strange since it is intentionally averted by Varian Wrynn and Shalamayne: through the nifty mechanic of having the overly large Shalamayne split into two blades, that actually look perfectly plausible as one-handed swords due to being skinny.


    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 


Video Example(s):



Mihawk makes his Netflix debut by cutting up Don Kreig's forces and hurling his big sword to take out one of his ships.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BFS

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