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Master Swordsman
aka: Master Swordswoman

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"The sword is a simple tool, but in the hands of a master it becomes the most versatile of weapons. And just as the imagination is limitless, so too are the possibilities of the sword."
Master Piandao, Avatar: The Last Airbender

This trope is a character noted for their mastery of the sword. They might be a deadly duelist, a skillful swordsman, or just someone who is notably better at putting holes in other people. They may or may not posses Implausible Fencing Powers depending on the level of realism within the work. Their weapon of choice might be a Cool Sword, katana, rapier, BFS or something completely mundane. Some might be undefeated and renowned as the best swordsman in the world, while others might be an anonymous badass trying to stay alive.

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Often a Mentor, often helping other characters Take a Level in Badass. Occasionally an Old Master. May be Badass Normal if there are superhumans to compare to. May well be the World's Best Warrior. The ranged counterpart is Master Archer. Note that this trope is abokut the character, even when the actors are Flynning badly.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Inuyasha: The ambidextrous Sesshoumaru masters any weapon the second he touches it, and sometimes even before. He advises the struggling Inuyasha on how to properly use Dragon-Scale Tessaiga after overhearing a single conversation and handles even Sango's Hiraikotsu with ease. The only weapon he ever struggled to master is his own sword Tenseiga, which requires mastering compassion instead of physical strength or skill.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the setting centers around a centuries long feud between human and demons (called Oni in-universe), wherein a dedicated order of humans, the Demon Slayer Corps, utilise swordsmanship disciplines (known as "breathing styles" to slay demons. One character in particular, Yoriichi Tsugikuni, the only person in centuries to ever come close to killing the progenitor of all demonkind, Muzan Kibutsuji, was a genuine Samurai from the Sengoku period, and an absolutely godlike master swordsman whose skill defied all logic and laws of physics, to the point that the demons, who on average are much stronger than their human opponents, were baffled at his inexplicable martial prowess, believing him to be divine providence given human form. In modern times, the Demon Slayer Corps employs a number of elite fighters, the Hashira, each of whom is the undisputed champion in his chosen breating style:
    • Water Hashira: Giyu Tomioka, the first Hashira introduced. Giyu is a stoic, pragmatic and unemotional fellow and is an all-rounder when it comes to swordplay. Water Breathing is said to be the easiest breathing style to learn for begginers, and was used to derive the greatest number of new Breathings except for the original Sun Breathing technique. It is focused on chaining attacks into a seamless, flowing link, with an emphasis on sweeps, cuts and slashes.
    • Flame Hashira: Kyojuro Rengoku. A Hot-Blooded Nice Guy Hashira, almost unusually cheery and upbeat no matter the situation, Kyojuro is energetic and prefers offense to defense. His Flame Breathing relies greatly upon the swordsman's mobility and is focused on swift dashes forward followed by a slash or a lunge to deliver a decisive blow.
    • Stone Hashira: Gyomei Hymejima, the strongest of the Hashira, a mountain of a man who prefers using a massive kusarigama to a sword, except the chain-end of his weapon ends with a massive spiked ball of nichirin metal, while the blade in his other hand is more simmilar to an axe than the typical scythe. As such, he favours massive, broad sweeps which aim at catching the enemy in between both ends of his weapon, as well as lightning-fast thrusts utilising the unusual length of his flail to the fullest.
    • Wind Hashira: Sanemi Shinazugawa, a mildly sadistic Blood Knight, his Wind Breathing is all about rapid, brutal cuts and slashes, with no thought spared for defense or fluidity of movement. A skilled Wind Hashira resembles nothing so much in combat like a raging typhoon, with similarly devastating effects.
    • Sound Hashira: Tengen Uzui, an Agent Peacock extraordinaire who is, ironically, the stealthiest of the Hashira, as befitting one of the last surviving shinobi. Tengen's unique style, allegedly inspired by Thunder Breathing, revolves around being able to gauge the opponent's "rhythm" of movements, then producing a new "rhythm" involving fast, direct cuts and stabs in a seamless link to disrupt and break the opponent's "rhythm". As an ex-shinobi, Tengen also frequently utilises several varieties of bombs, in order to confuse his opponents with rapid bursts of light and sound.
    • Mist Hashira: Muichiro Tokito, the youngest of the Hashira and probably the most naturally gifted swordsman of the present day, as beffiting of the last descendant of Yoriichi's twin brother Michikatsu, now Upper Moon Rank 1. Kokushibo. His Mist Breathing, derived from Wind Breathing, puts emphasis on confusion and lying with one's body language, meaning Muichiro relies on quickly landing a series of devastating slashes from unexpected directions, dispatching his opponents before they can mount a proper defense. Unfortunately, should they be able to anticipate his attacks, much like Wind Breathing, Mist Breathing has very little in the way of solid defensive techniques. Few enemies live long enough to figure this out, however.
    • Insect Hashira: Shinobu Kocho, a Creepy Good Stepford Smiler and the younger sister of the late Flower Hashira, Kanae Kocho. Shinobu is the self-proclaimed weakest member of the Hashira - while true in the sense that her physical strength is indeed lesser than that of most other swordsmen, she also uses this claim to her advantage, to goad her enemies into underestimating her. Her Insect Breathing is uniquely focused on thrusting, stabbing and inflicting shallow cuts, none of which would usually suffice to kill even the weakest of demons. However, Shinobu, being a talented Combat Medic first and foremost, has managed to create a poison made of wisteria flowers, lethal to demons in even small doses. A single cut with her slim poisoned blade is usually more than enough to grant even more powerful demons a swift, painful demise.
      • Despite Shinobu being appointed as Hashira after her sister's death, Kanae Kocho's style of combat was actually called Flower Breathing, and was more focused on weaving and spinning that Shinobu's more straightforward lunging and stabbing and more in line with the style she derived hers from, namely Water Breathing. These techniques are still practiced by the Kocho sisters' ward and adoptive sister, Kanao Tsuyuri.
    • Serpent Hashira: Obanai Iguro, a Weak, but Skilled Jerk with a Heart of Gold and the second weakest of the Hashira in terms of raw power, Iguro compensates for his lack of physical strength by focusing his style on locating and hitting the critical weaknesses within his enemies' defenses, using wavy serpentine movements involving a lot of slashing and stabbiing to slide his sword in between enemy counters and deliver maximum damage with minimal amount of force.
    • Love Hashira: Mitsuri Kanroji, a Girly Bruiser with a unique muscular condition which, ironically, makes her the second physically strongest of the Hashira, despite her small stature and athletic build. Her immense strength allows her to wield a unique, whip-like sword which bends whenever she swings it while remaining razor-sharp. Much like her mentor Kyojuro, Mitsuri relies greatly on her agility and mobility, with the added benefit of her whip-sword providing her with incredible reach. Despite her incredible skill, out of combat she is ironically somewhat clumsy and unfocused.
    • Thunder Hashira: While the position is vacant at the start of the series, the last Thunder Hashira, Jigoro Kuwajima, having retreated into retirement, one of the main characters, Zenitsu Agatsuma, is a prominent Thunder Breathing user and is expected to eventually inherit the title. Thunder Breathing is heavily inspired by real-world iaido, and its practitioners are usually lightning bruisers, expected to be able to perform a Flash Step and finish the fight with a single, decisive slash.
    • Though not a Hashira, the Upper Moon Rank 1. Kokushibo, formerly known as Michikatsu Tsugikuni, twin brother to the legendary Yoriichi, prefers to use his own style of swordsmanship, the Moon Breathing, being one of the founders of Breathing Styles. Due to being an immortal demon, Kokushibo is not only capable of greater strength, speed, agility and dexterity than any of the individual Hashira, but can also amplify his attacks with his Blood Demon Art spells, sprouting new blades from both his main sword and his body, creating slashing gusts of air, cutting through stone architecture like paper and expanding his cuts to ludicrous lengths and widths. Notably, he possesses at least sixteen different techniques, more than even the widely-practiced Water Breathing. Unsurprisingly, despite Muzan being the most powerful demon due to the sheer amount of damage he can endure and come back from, Kokushibo is usually seen as the most skilled enemy the heroes have to face, having become a demon for the explicit purpose of perfecting his swordsmanship and finally surpassing his legendary brother.
  • Future Trunks from Dragon Ball, to date the only main character to use a weapon in a world where someone's finger poke could topple a mountain. Mind you it's not as much of a gimmick as it could have been. Trunks has proven to use it effectively in battle, even getting several techniques utilising his sword in his video game skillsets.
  • One Piece: There are many master swordsmen in the series. Those of particular mention include:
    • Dracule "Hawkeye" Mihawk is the best swordsman in-universe. He could, upon introduction, effortlessly hold off the previously unstoppable tri-wielding Zoro with a three-inch dagger, or use his main sword to chop an entire fleet of at least fifty galleons in half from a distance. His main sword is a large cross-shaped affair that's longer than he is tall (he's 6'6"!), that he uses on whatever he feels like. He's skilled enough to deflect bullets with it, playing into his iconic line, "A sword without subtlety is but an iron bar."
    • Zoro himself also qualifies. While his main specialty is three swords, he is proficient at two swords and one sword as well, able to cut down a man made of steel, a legendary samurai, and bring down a government assassin. Despite having the second-lowest supernova bounty (now tied for 4th highest as of Dressrosa), even the other supernova are wary of him. His only major loss was against Mihawk, whereas even the main character has lost more times. While he was initially very power based, Zoro has honed his skills. After the time-skip, during which Mihawk personally trained him, Zoro has taken a few pages from Mihawk's book by casually slicing a ship in half while half asleep.
    • The Wano Country is a country unaffiliated with the World Government. Their special brand of swordsmen are called samurais, and supposedly are so powerful, even the Marines don't want anything to do with them. Didn't stop Kaido and his crew from conquering the nation.
  • Katanagatari:
    • Meisai Tsuruga, or Uneri Ginkaku . The mains characters have to duel them to get the twelves katanas of Shikizaki Kiki. Shichika consider himself one as well, despite not using a katana. he use a martial art in which the swordsman himself is the katana.
    • Hakurei Sabi in particular, is considered the best Swordsman of Japan history and is a in-universe Memetic Badass said to be able to cut anything.
  • Reborn! (2004): Sword Emperor Tyr, Superbi Squalo, Genshiki, Ugetsu Asari, and Yamamoto Takeshi. Sword Emperor Tyr was the original boss of the Varia before Squalo managed to kill him in two-day straight duel when he was fourteen. Squalo was thought to be the presumptive leader if he didn't step down for Xanxus. Yamamoto is also a Child Prodigy learning his father's "Shigure Soen Ryu", a style known to be invincible because it's forms branch out to be either be weak or strong depending on the master and student's contribution. Yamamoto learned the style in a week, and defeated Squalo by learning it's secret. Later, he was mentored by Squalo to further expand the style in the Future Arc.
  • Mifune from Soul Eater. Bonus points for having a set of literally dozens of katanas he carries around in over-sized holsters. Bonus bonus points for being the only full-blooded human to be able to go toe-to-toe with people and creatures with supernatural powers.
  • Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho cut Seiryu 16 times before his enemy knew what hit him. Keep in mind he could throw 100 punches in a split second! There's also the time Hiei cut Makintaro's arm off, and held said arm in the air, because Makintaro had no idea what was going on. Or the time Hiei stabbed Sniper in the abdomen, intentionally missing every vital organ and muscle, making the stab just enough to put him down.
  • Just about everyone in Rurouni Kenshin, with Implausible Fencing Powers out the wazoo. Special mention goes to the hero, Himura Kenshin (loosely based on Kawakami Gensai, below), Shinomori Aoshi, Hiko Seijuro, Saitou Hajime (loosely based on the real Saitou Hajime), Makoto Shishio, Seta Soujirou and Yukishiro Enishi.
  • Berserk features several notable masters of the sword:
    • The protagonist Guts stands out for his ability to wield his giant Dragon Slayer with as much speed and skill as someone who mastered the use of an ordinary sword, enabling him to cut down one hundred men in one encounter and slay giant Apostles. Besides his strength and speed he is surprisingly crafty and talented at improvising.
    • Griffith originally gets Guts to join the Band of the Hawk by fencing circles around him in a duel, managing to parry Guts' monstrous blows with his light single-handed saber through sheer skill and agility. However, after Guts becomes superior to him in skill as well as strength Griffith finally tastes defeat.
    • Casca was second only to Griffith as a swordfighter in the Band of the Hawk before Guts came along, and acquits herself heroically in the Hundred Man Fight, Battle of Doldrey, and the Escape from Midland. Her style emphasizes acrobatics and speed.
    • Serpico at first opposes and eventually aids Guts with his impressive sword skills, relying on speed, smarts, and analysis. He is especially adept at using the environment to put his opponent at a disadvantage, and against Guts' inhuman abilities he has no choice but to be a combat pragmatist whenever he fights him.
    • The Skull Knight is an ancient undead warrior of peerless skill with the blade, honed from centuries' worth of experience fighting against the Godhand and their Apostle minions. Wielding the Sword of Actuation, he fearlessly wades through The Legions of Hell on a regular basis, slices them apart in rapid succession, and makes the whole spectacle look damn easy.
  • Master Yupa of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is yet another very old swordmaster who manages to hold his own against small armies. His swordsmanship is an Informed Ability for at least half of the movie, until he finally lashes out and sweeps down an army full of enemy soldiers.
  • Many characters from Blade of the Immortal at least claim to be examples of this trope.
  • President Fuhrer King (Civilian rank, military rank, first name) Bradley in Fullmetal Alchemist. He routinely draws his sword and cuts his opponent down so quickly that most people don't even see him move before the other guy takes a fatal wound. The man can take on a tank and win with nothing but his saber, and it wasn't even an Absurdly Sharp Blade. He's later shown slicing bullets in half - and when Scar cuts off his arms, he holds the blade of the broken saber in his teeth and still keeps fighting! The proof of mastery for any other Master Swordsman in the series is crossing blades with Bradley... and surviving the first pass.
  • Jintetsu of Kurogane, despite being Just a Kid, is an extremely capable swordsman and renowned assassin.
  • One-Punch Man: Kamikaze, or by his hero name Atomic Samurai, is the most skilled swordsman in the world and can preform feats so fast, that's it looks like he never even moved.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Vicious is so skilled with his katana that he can hold his own in a future setting with a whole lot of guns, and is a match for Spike's shooting ability.
  • Saint Seiya Episode GA: the Gladiator, legendary warriors who fight with sacred swords. Shura, Capricorn Gold Saint, is stated to be one of them, even if he isn't happy nor interested about all of this.
  • Samurai Champloo:
    • The two heroes are master swordsmen, Jin, and Mugen. Jin is a traditional swordsman, while Murgen relies more on his incredible speed, unique and unpredictable fighting style, and killer instinct rather than any traditional martial arts. This is largely why Jin's hardest battles are usually classic sword duels, whereas Mugen is conversely pitted against unconventional foes who don't rely on swords.
    • Various antagonists also qualify. Chief among them are jovial mercenary swordmaster Inuyaka, the deadly Shaolin Tsujigiri Ukon and Kariya Kagetoki - a peerless swordsman of such great talent that he is known widely as the 'Hand of God'!
    • During Episode 21, Jin meets an old hermit called Matagi. Later, when the hermit is asked about his real name he quietly mutters that he is actually Miyamoto Mushashi - perhaps the most legendary Japanese swordsman in history! When Jin asks him to repeat himself more loudly the old hermit dismisses the topic.
  • Naruto:
    • Killer Bee can fight with seven swords at once by holding them in every possible place on his body, except for his hands.
    • Mifune is a master Iaijutsu Practitioner capable of holding his own against high level shinobi despite having no ninjutsu or genjutsu. His longtime rival Hanzo the Salamander (an infamous One-Man Army of a ninja) stated that Mifune's swordsmanship is so great that attempting to use handsigns (a requirement for most ninjutsu and nearly all genjutsu) against him would be a futile gesture.
    • Anyone who becomes one of the 7 Swordsmen of the Mist is this by default as well, particularly Zabuza, who probably has the most relatively normal sword out of the group, and was able to give Kakashi a run for his money even after his resurrection by Edo Tensei.
  • Yaiba is full of powerful swordsman, including the eponymous hero by the end, Takeshi Onimaru, Miyamoto Musashi, Sasaki Kojiro, Yagyu Jubei, Soshi Okita, and Kenjuro Kurogane.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub:
    • Ogami Itto. Being the former Executioner of the Shogun, he was expected to fight for the right to get such a cushy job, presumably besting every other swordsman in Japan for the right to be "the Shogun's right hand". Consequently, when he goes rogue, no man/woman/ninja hit squad can stand against him. At one point in the series he literally fights off an entire crowd of female assassins while drugged unconscious. Despite this, the series is fantastic for trying to find new, creative ways for the bad guys to provide some challenge worthy of him. His enemies, acknowledging him as the greatest swordsman in Japan, will attempt to send, say, the greatest rifleman in Japan against him, or some such.
    • Yagyu Retsudo, the series main antagonist, is also a master swordsman and Ninja.
    • Yamada Asaemon is the Shogun's sword-tester, and is thought to be the only swordsman in Japan who can match Ogami. He goes up against Ogami, and is only defeated because Retsudo secretly tampered with his sword. The creators later made a spin-off starring Asaemon, Samurai Executioner.
  • Oyuki from Lady Snowblood, is a Master Swordswoman who uses a short sword concealed in a parasol.
  • Lupin III:
    • Goemon Ishikawa XIII is the best of all. His demonstrations of Implausible Fencing Powers pretty much fit into every category, with his trademark moves being Parrying Bullets and cutting a group of enemies' guns, clothes, and hair before they can realize what happened, and it would actually be shorter to list the things he hasn't managed to cut in half. His fighting skills without the sword are nothing to sneeze at either. Part of Goemon's skills come from his Absurdly Sharp Blade. That said, he can block bullets with any sword, it's just that if he uses a common sword it's going to be ruined.
    • Lupin himself is no slouch. While not as good as Goemon, he's good enough to understand how he fights, and the rare times he has his sword he has been seen Parrying Bullets.
    • An episode of the second series had Oscar François de Jarjayes show up and fight Lupin, and she was winning before he got his hands on Goemon's sword, at which point Lupin used the invincible sword to cut hers.
    • Lupin III: The Italian Adventure adds another character to the swordsmen roster: Leonardo da Vinci, whose immense list of skills he mastered includes swordsfighting, going toe-on-toe with Goemon for a while before losing. He had the advantage that they were using his favorite Renaissance-era blades, that Goemon was unfamiliar with, but as other opponents with a similar advantage had previously gone down in seconds.
  • Bleach:
    • Captain Unohana is reputed to be a master swordsman even though she's the top Combat Medic of the Gotei 13.
    • Hisagi's fame with swordsmanship is solidified when he proves to be capable of defeating the also renowned swordsman Yumichika in a sword duel.
    • Jinemon Kotsubaki, former 7th Division lieutenant and father of 13th division third-seat Sentaro, was renowned as a master swordsman.
    • Yachiru is the name given to the only shinigami that ever mastered all known styles and forms of sword combat, who was also the person that founded both the 11th division and the "Kenpachi" title, which is given to the strongest captain in any given generation of captains. She is eventually revealed to be Captain Unohana.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Due to the setting centering around a conflict between humanoid abominations, the eponymous ghouls, capable of producing and manipulating a razor-sharp liquid-muscle organ in several distinct forms, and humans who harvest and reverse-engineer these to produce the most cost-effective ghoul-slaying weapons, close-quarters-combat expertise is a neccesary mainstay of the setting. While not all of the combat could exactly be called swordplay, as many kagune (the organs) and quinque (the reverse-engineered weapons) can resemble anything from tentacles and wings to whips and energy-guns respectively, most kokaku ghouls, whose kagune sacks are located below their shoulder, will choose to wield their kagune as a sword, and most of the mass-produced, standard-issue quinque resemble japanese traditional katana to some degree. Thus, blade-on-blade combat is common throughout the manga, with a few notable individuals standing out in particular.
    • Kishou Arima, the CCG's Reaper, is the undisputed champion in eliminating ghouls and has been since he was fifteen years old. Most of the quinques he has used throughout his career take the form of swords, from the katana-like "Yukimura" to the massive BFS "Owl". Arima is skilled enough to take the strongest fighters in the setting, protagonist included, head on and come out of it unscathed, and experienced enough to chide his pupil for his reaction speed being 0,1 second too slow. Of course, his half-human, half-ghoul physiology is responsible for a lot of that, but even among the hybrid assassins, Arima is stated to be an unparalleled prodigy.
    • Haise Sasaki, who is being groomed to become Arima's Superior Successor by the man himself, prefers to use the quinque gifted to him by Arima, "Yukimura", instead of his powerful but mentally debilitating kagune. His fighting style is noted to be simmilar to Arima's, with one observer stating it to be "as smooth as water."
    • Take Hirako, Arima's former pupil and an excellent Investigator in his own right, is notable in that, during the climax of the story, he is one of the only remaining characters who isn't a ghoul, a one-eyed ghoul, a quinx or a half-human hybrid, and can not only keep up with them, but actually takes out countless genetically superior enemies. Much like his mentor, Hirako's quinque-of-choice is "Nagomi", which takes the form of a broad, single-edged blade.
    • Shuu Tsukiyama, while not being nearly on the same level as the previously mentioned characters in terms of raw combat ability, is notable since he uses his sword-like kokaku kagune in a manner deliberately invoking fencing, as a part of his Wicked Cultured aesthetic.
    • Matsumae, the Tsukiyama family's Battle Butler and Shuu's personal tutor/servant/bodyguard, is capable of arguably even more impressive feats of swordsmanship than her master. She was personally trained in the art of kagune combat/swordplay by the family's patriarch, Mirumo, from an early age, in order to effectively protect her young master. Though being capable of detaching her kagune to form a wall of spikes, she prefers using it as very literal sword and shield combo, and is skilled enough to take on one of Arima's pupils head-on, along with several other Investigators, and almost manages to win despite the odds.
    • Yumitsu Tomoe, an Aogiri Tree member, known by her alias as "the Grave Robber", is unique among ghouls in that she prefers to keep and use the quinques of Investigators she kills, since her own bikaku kagune, while extremely sharp, also causes her to rapidly run out of stamina. Over the years, she has gained enough skill with all kinds of quinque types to be a serious match for even experienced Investigators.
    • V, the main enforces of the story's Ancient Conspiracy, are this collectively. Since almost all of their agents are half-humans, none of them possess a kagune, which they more than make up for with their Implausible Fencing Powers - Hirako himself tells Kaneki to think of each of them as "matured Zero Squad" (Zero Squad consisting exclusively of Arima's apprentices). Interestingly, most of them seem to wield regular katanas, though they don't appear to have much trouble cutting through the infamously tough skin of ghouls, suggesting they might be made of "quinque steel".
    • Kaiko, the ostensible leader and most prominent V agent, claims to have trained with Arima and demonstrates his incredible skill near the end of the manga. Even when fighting four-on-one against some of the toughest fighters the protagonists can field, he initially has little trouble fending them off and manages to wound several of them. He is even able to dodge incoming blows he is physically unable to see coming, all the while effortlessly Dual Wielding a katana and an ornate dagger.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh!:
    • Conrad is the 'best swordsman in Shin Makoku' and turns out to have an international reputation; he takes after his father, Dan Hiri, who was a widely known master in his day. Gunter, who is easily taken for a Squishy Wizard, turns out to be amazing with a blade as well. (Yuuri has still never seen him fight.)
    • In season three we learn Gunter trained Conrad—in his adolescence (i.e. maybe fifty years old?) he was getting to be cocky and bitter due to his social isolation and genius, and Gunter, who was still teaching back then, handed him his ass to show how much he still had to learn. Their only battle during show-time (probably best fight in the series) was inconclusive, since Conrad had a separate agenda and ran away at the first opportunity he could make.
    • Hube is also pretty damn good, and prone to cutting improbable things; he fixated on Conrad in his first appearance because he knew only a master-level fighter could defeat him.
  • Kuno, from Ranma ½, is a Kendo Team Captain and is capable of doing tremendous damage with a bokken. He is a scarily skilled fighter, despite his many personality flaws and general idiocy.
  • Kamika from Corpse Princess. Her sword skills earned her the in-universe title "Sword Princess" and she's even been shown capable of creating massive explosions just by drawing her twin katana's.
  • The Garden of Sinners:
    • Shiki Ryougi is mainly known for being a Knife Nut, but her skill with a sword was enough to surprise and eventually kill an immortal Buddhist mage who had basically set up an alternate reality to capture her.
    • Shiki's father is also implied to be one, since he trained her in the first place. We only see him in flashbacks and in one practice match with her that he wins handily, though.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Signum, the Magic Knight ancient leader of the Wolkenritter. She's introduced in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's as someone who could match Fate in melee combat even while holding back, and is later shown fighting a Post-StrikerS Nanoha on Blaster Mode Lv 1 to a draw even though she was fighting in standard form.
    • In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, Cypha was introduced as the master swordsman of the Huckebein group and, as a show of power, curbstomps Signum in their first duel after she's shown to be immune to all of Signum's attacks. And as it turns out Curren is even better, stomping Erio and Vita without even needing to go Super Mode.
    • Nanoha comes from a family of skilled swordsmen (including her father, brother, sister, and aunt), though she herself lacks any such training outside of the INNOCENT continuity.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • Hinagiku Katsura is the Kendo Team Captain in addition to being the Student Council President and has proven to have far greater skill than the rest of the club put together. She has acquired two magical swords so far. The first is Wooden Masamune which lets her cut ghosts and brings out its wielder's maximum potential, and seems to be semi-sentient as it is very fond of her, either for wielding it so well in battle or because everyone is fond of Hinagiku. The second is Shirosakura which seems to be made out of crystal and she's been shown easily slicing through boulders with it and it seems like it may be able to kill ghosts as well...and let's her fly (which she's used only once due to her intense fear of heights. Notably, she is able to pull these swords seemingly from nowhere, though we did get a humorous short of Isumi lamenting that Wooden Masamune keeps disappearing, shown to be from answering Hinagiku's call for it whenever she finds monsters and ghosts in need of a beat-down.
    • While he claimed otherwise early on in the series, Hayate himself is about on-par with Hinagiku. In a duel with Kotetsu, Hayate nearly killed him with the incredible speed and power of his strikes and in Greece he was able to one-shot a 12 foot tall Minotaur with little effort using only a decorative sword from a nearby suit of armor. Borrowing Wooden Masamune he could even deflect the Storm of Blades from the Greece Arc's Big Bad and defeat it without taking much more damage than he already had.
    • Athena may count as this due to being the one who taught Hayate. She certainly had skill in the End of the World Flashback arc but hasn't done much fighting in the present.
  • In Fairy Tail, there's Erza Scarlet, one of the strongest characters in the series, has lot and lots of swords. She usually Dual Wields two BFSes.
  • Lafarga of Magic Knight Rayearth is a swordsman with no magic, but he's strong enough that he can create Razor Wind just by swinging his weapon. Even Hikaru, who's pretty good with a sword, can't beat him while he's Brainwashed and Crazy. The title given to him in-universe is "Dal".
  • Shigure Kosaka of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is renowned for her immense prowess with any kind of weapon (even handcuffs), but she prefers swords above all. That said, she can make a weapon out of practically anything. Case in point, she can cut through someone's clothes with a wooden spoon!
  • Azumi, the titular character of the 1990's feudal Japanese manga, is a kunoichi who wields a dual-bladed katana with such skill that she can easily decimate dozens of soldiers by herself.
  • Gintama has quite a few awesome sword wielders: Okita (best sword in the Shinsengumi), Hijikata, Katsura, Takasugi, Nobume, etc. But Gintoki is the main character and big badass with his curry-stained, mail-order, frequently broken wooden sword. He'll use real swords when it gets really serious, and when he's serious, he's pretty much unbeatable.
  • K has Kuroh Yatogami and Yukari Mishakuji, both badass, both trained by the same master: Ichigen Miwa. He could have probably curb stomped both of his students but being a Post Humous Character (and previously an Ill Boy) means that won't ever happen. As is, Yukari is better than Kuroh (who can wipe the floor with everyone except for Kings) until the finale of the 2nd season where Kuroh manages to reach beyond him in skill. Bonus points for all of them invoking Samurai aesthetics in different ways.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • Zig-Zagged under most circumstances. In the realm of VRMMORPGs that translate nerve pulses directly into in-game movement, Kirito, Asuna, Heathcliff, "Red-Eyed" XaXa and Yuuki are strong enough to have each gained Red Baron status in the various games they play. In the real world, though, Kirito's mediocre at kendo, Asuna has never even picked up a sword, Heathcliff is the computer genius who made VRMMORPGs in the first place, including the combat system, XaXa's real body is too frail and sickly to let him effectively use a sword, and Yuuki is confined to a hospital bed.
    • Played straight by Suguha/Leafa, Kirito's cousin. In ALO she's one of the most skilled players despite technically having lower levels than one would expect, and in real-life she's an extremely skilled kendo player (national-level middle school quarter-finalist). In fact, her in-game skill comes directly from her real-life experience, and she started playing ALO specifically because it was a skill-based game rather than a level-based one.
  • Shizu from Kino's Journey is one, being able to deflect bullets with his sword just by moving it slightly.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children: Cloud, who expertly uses a composite BFS composed of six component swords, either individually or in Dual Wielding combos.
  • While there are a number of sword users in Snow White with the Red Hair the prince, later king, Izana Wistaria and the knights Sir Lowen Mitsuhide and Lady Kiki Serian stand out as expert swordsmen who have not been seen defeated even in practice and flashbacks to their youth.
  • Murciélago has Kurono Miyamoto, one of the toughest opponents Kuroko has ever faced. She is considered a prodigy when it comes to swordsmanship, and she constantly forces Kuroko, who's no slouch at fighting, to go on the defensive. A sniper even learns the hard way how adept Kurono is with the sword when she deflects a bullet right back into his skull.

    Comic Books 
  • Katana in The DCU. In addition to being a master swordswoman, her sword Soultaker can take the souls of those it kills, storing them inside the sword, where they can engage in limited communication with whoever wields it.
  • The Avengers:
    • The Swordsman and The Black Knight (Dane Whitman) in the Marvel Universe have this as their shtick, with Dracula commenting that Dane was one of the best swordsmen of all time. The latter also has to contend with the nature of his sword.
    • Faiza Hussain, the wielder of Excalibur, Dane's steward and eventual Love Interest, takes Dracula, King of the Vampires, in a sword fight, despite his Super Strength and Super Speed and the fact that he'd just crushed Dane. While this was probably partly thanks to Excalibur's nature as a holy weapon, it's still very impressive.
  • Fandral the Dashing of Asgard, though he rarely gets the chance to show it.
  • Don Cabellero, a Captain Ersatz of Zorro in DC Comics western titles.
  • Blade has his name for a reason: he's an excellent swordsman.
  • In The Tomb of Dracula (#49), the Count defeats both Zorro and D'Artagnan with the blade. Given the age of Dracula's birth and the length of his Unlife, it makes sense that he'd be a consummate duelist; as Groundhog Day showed, practice anything for enough centuries and you'll get really good. Then again, the story does leave us asking Or Was It a Dream?.
  • Batman foe the Cavalier is an expert swordsman, who sometimes wields an electrified rapier. In "Where Were You on the Night Batman was Killed?", he claims to killed Batman in a sword duel, and he is good enough that people are willing to give serious consideration to this claim.
  • Exar Kun of Tales of the Jedi is perhaps the greatest lightsaber duelist of the age, and he knows it too. He even defeats his master twice. Unfortunately for everyone else, Kun is also very evil and he goes on to kill many Jedi after his astoundingly unsurprising fall to the Dark Side.
  • Disney Mouse and Duck Comics examples:
    • Stories set in times where swords are a common weapon usually have Donald Duck as one, capable of slicing the weapons of an entire army with one stroke. Even modern Donald is no slouch but not comparable, as a stroke from his sword slices "only" a dozen or so enemy swords. Anyway, he's always the (relatively) Unskilled, but Strong when compared to Mickey (see below)
    • Mickey Mouse is also portrayed as one, with stories set in modern times establishing him as a hobbyst fencer of olympionic-level skills. Then there's the middle ages and fantasy stories that put him on the same level as middle ages Donald. The culmination was in "Mickey Mouse and the Invincible Sword", where he was so good that he was actually convinced he was wielding an invincible magic sword until the sword's smith explained otherwise (even re-enacting the I Am Not Left-Handed scene from The Princess Bride, with Mickey as the one who switched hands later), and its sequel "Mickey Mouse and the Sword of Time", where his opponent had an invincible sword that could block all attacks by seeing the future and he won by exhaustion (the sword made the wielder slim down until he disappeared. His opponent was Pete... And Mickey matched him for hours, until Pete realized what the sword was doing him and dropped it in horror). He's the Weak, but Skilled compared to Donald, relatively weak but more skilled.
  • Red Sonja's signature weapons are her broadsword and her fury, earning the name She-Devil with a Sword. At one point she meets a swordsman called Osric the Untouched because he's literally never been hit when duelling.
  • Mouse Guard features Lieam, a redfur who defeats an owl in single combat.
  • Colleen Wing was trained in the art of the samurai sword by her grandfather.
  • Barracuda is full of characters who are experts with a blade, but Flynn is almost universally acknowledged as being the finest swordsman in the Wretched Hive of Puerto Blanco.
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    Fan Works 
  • Blood and Honor: Only once does Sanguis meet someone who's nearly her equal in swordsmanship, and that is early in her career. All others - Sith or Jedi, Darths or Masters - are no match for her. She spends most of her free time improving her skills.
  • A Brighter Dark: The very first scene is of Corrin walking into a dungeon, arming three prisoners, and ordering them to try to kill her. At the same time. Naturally, she's able to defeat them all with barely any effort. And she's still no match compared to her brother.
  • Child of the Storm
    • Fandral the Dashing is reckoned as the best swordsmen in the Nine Realms - which, considering he's a Lightning Bruiser even by Asgardian standards, with millennia of experience, makes him utterly lethal in close combat. His only equal, in Asgard at least, is Sif, who's the resident War God.
    • Both Fandral and Sif were trained by the Lady Knight, a legendary immortal warrior and unwilling time traveller (as in, she'd suddenly jerk forward several centuries without any choice or warning).
    • Harry, who's being trained by Fandral, is developing into one in his own right in the sequel, having height, strength, speed, balance, lethally fast reflexes, and a talent for improvising.
    • Sir Dane Whitman a.k.a. the Black Knight, is as brilliant a swordsman as his canon counterpart. However, he's in his early 20s and described as being young and a bit excitable, which leaves him vulnerable. Also qualifying are Sir Michael and Sir Sanya, Knights of the Cross.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami has Commander Cathy, a mercenary hired by Keeper Mercury to train her troops and later Mercury herself.
    • The Avatar counts as well. While a lot of his powers come from the stamina and endurance the Light gives him, most of his real power comes down to well-trained reflexes, natural dexterity, experience and pure skill.
  • As per canon, Yoda, Mace, and Dooku all qualify as this in Star Wars: Lineage. Obi-Wan also deserves mention: Despite being in his early-mid 20's by the end of the series, he's an Adaptational Badass and even more of an One-Man Army than in canon, mowing down hordes of zombies and robot tanks and very nearly matching Qui-Gon, a Jedi Master three decades his senior, in ability.
  • The Desert Storm has several examples.
    • Ben Naasade a.k.a. Obi-Wan Kenobi from four years after Revenge of the Sith, temporally displaced to about six years before The Phantom Menace. Despite his body having been battered by about 15 years of warfare and 4 years of alcoholism (partway through the series he has to have practically every organ in his body replaced), he effortlessly dismantles pretty much every single Jedi he faces. This is especially after an open challenge is made - beat him in a duel and they get to take his padawan (ironically, his younger self, not that anyone but a few members of the Council is aware of it) to train for a month out of concern for his methods. It gets to to the point where in some cases he is noted to literally be Just Toying with Them. Even a young Darth Maul isn't immune, despite his vast skill and significantly greater physical advantages - Ben ends up dismembering Maul while making a point not to kill him. It's only because of some unwanted help that Maul escapes.
    • Both Yoda and Windu also qualify, with Ben being pretty open about how he's more or less certain that Yoda would destroy him. However, it never comes up as they make a point not to get involved in the above challenge, because they feel it's stupid.
    • Dooku is noted to be arguably the greatest swordsman in the Order.
    • Obi-Wan the Younger assumes that he's a terrible swordsman, and not a great Padawan in general, due to his master's insistence on a) training in secret, b) repeatedly drilling him in the most basic training form long after people progress past it, c) not focusing on a single style. Also, he has rampant self-esteem issues. As it turns out, Ben was invoking Achievements in Ignorance, as when Obi-Wan actually gets in a practice duel he finds to his own surprise that he's capable of flattening Senior Padawans with most of a decade of growth and experience on him. Later on in the series, he is considered arguably the best swordsman of any Padawan in the Order, and better than most of the younger Knights.
  • In The Weaver Option Lelith Hesperax, already a master swordsman in the source material, is given a massive upgrade in skill due to her new backstory. Rather than just a skilled wych thousands of years old, she is now the last surviving Aeldari from the time of the War in Heaven who has mastered swordsmanship to such a degree that she can warp space with just a slice of her blade.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • The in Prequel Trilogy: Qui-Gon Jinn displays quite a lot of skill, but even he's defeated by Darth Maul, who fights him and Obi-Wan Kenobi to a standstill at the same time. Obi-Wan later defeats the Multi-Armed and Dangerous General Grievous as well as the newly minted Darth Vader, neatly dismembering him in a single blow. Yoda also reveals himself to be an incredible swordsman despite appearing to be decrepit in the original trilogy. However, Darth Sidious (who earlier in the film defeated three Jedi Masters single-handed) fights Yoda to a standstill. Sidious himself meets his match in Mace Windu, who manages to defeat him when no other Jedi can. In episode II, Dooku easily handles both Obi-Wan and Anakin; in episode III, after Dooku incapacitates Obi-Wan, Anakin easily bests him.
    • The Sequel Trilogy: Luke delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to Kyly Ren in The Last Jedi, yet it's immediately subverted with the revelation that Luke was using Astral Projection the whole time. Kylo Ren is himself deadly with a lightsaber, taking on all of the Knights of Ren singlehandedly. Rey is also no slouch, quickly adapating to the lightsaber to defeat the wounded Kylo in The Force Awakens, tag-teams Snoke's imperial guards with Kylo in The Last Jedi, and displays roughly comparable skills to Kylo during their duel in The Rise of Skywalker.
  • The Princess Bride features two master swordsmen in the Man in Black and Inigo Montoya, who have a memorable duel. The film also name-drops a number of historical fencing masters during their duel, while they're commentating on (and complimenting) each other's skills.
  • Many characters from Kill Bill, especially the Bride, Bill, and O-Ren Ishi. The Bride uses her Hattori Hanzo sword, and of course every swordsman uses a katana.
  • Archibald Cunningham in Rob Roy is a master swordsman with sadistic tendencies. He spends most of the final Sword Fight toying with Rob Roy, dancing around him and bleeding him slowly until he's collapsing from fatigue.
  • Kyuuzou and Kambei from Seven Samurai are the best swordsmen of the seven, slaying many bandits.
  • Sanjuro from Yojimbo and Sanjuro is a badass ronin.
  • Madmartigan in Willow styles himself the world's greatest swordsman and makes a strong claim.
  • Hirayama Kujuro, Shimada Shinzaemon, Kuranaga Saheita, and Kitou Hanbei from 13 Assassins are the most skilled assassins of the thirteen.
  • Ichi, from Zatoichi, is one of the Trope Codifiers for Blind Weaponmaster and Handicapped Badass.
  • Blind Fury: The hero is a Blind Weaponmaster who wields a sword hidden in his cane in 1980s America. The character is an obvious Expy of Zatoichi.
  • Zorro is a master swordsman in all his incarnations and movies. It's helped in both the 1920 and 1940 versions of The Mark of Zorro, where he's played by Douglas Fairbanks and Tyrone Power, respectively, both of whom were expert fencers.
  • Nameless and Broken Sword in Hero are China's deadliest swordsmen.
  • Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy fights with his ancestral sword of kings and kicks ass.
  • Lancelot in Excalibur is the best fighter of Arthur's round table.
  • Braveheart: William Wallace occasionally uses other weapons, but he always goes into war with his signature claymore and never loses a fight with it in his hand.
  • Maximus in Gladiator uses his gladius to good effect.
  • Most of the immortals in Highlander have centuries of swordfighting experience.
  • Masters of the Universe: He-Man and the antagonist Blade are badasses with swords.
  • By the Sword is centered on a conflict between two fencing masters.
  • Most of the characters in Pirates of the Caribbean are all accomplished swordsmen. The creators ranked the swordsmen in the following order: Will is the greatestnote , followed by Barbossa and Norrington tied second. Jack is the least of the four, but he is enough of a trickster to match blades with anyone of the the aforementioned.
  • Both Ryunosuke Tsukue and Toranosuke Shimada in The Sword of Doom are the best swordsmen around, easily cutting down scores of other swordsmen.
  • In Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter, Kronos himself and Lord Hagen Durward (whose tombstone proclaims him the finest swordsman of his day). Unsurprisingly, the film ends with a duel between the two.
  • Blade in the Blade film series slices and dices vampires with a silver sword.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) was trained for gladiatorial combat and fights with his famous Atlantean sword.
  • Azazel from X-Men: First Class. Add the teleporting, and it's a deadly combination.
  • Star Trek (2009): Sulu announces that his close-quarters fighting experience is fencing, which causes Kirk some concern until Sulu starts wrecking Romulans with a fold-out saber.
  • Danielle de Barbarac of Ever After claims that her deceased father was an expert swordsman and taught her to be likewise. Given that her father died when she was eight years old, however, it's entirely likely that she's bluffing.
  • The "Samurai Trilogy" from Japan, starring Toshiro Mifune, is loosely based on Real Life badass swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. In first installment Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto he's shown to be innately talented from the beginning, fending off a half-dozen bandits all by himself.
  • In The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, Sigerson (Gene Wilder) and Prof. Moriarty (Leo Mc Kern) boast to each other about their swordsmanship and have a duel on a high ledge in the climax. Wilder, who also wrote and directed the movie, was a champion fencer in college at the University of Iowa, making him a real life example of this trope.
  • In the James Bond film Die Another Day, there's an intense sword duel scene between Gustav Graves and 007. Both Bond and Graves display mastery with a wide range of swords they grab from the walls of the complex, including rapiers, katana and longswords. Likewise, Miranda Frost is a former gold medal (by default) Olympic fencer and uses a sword during a climatic fight.

    Literature 
  • Many knights and some other characters are noted as such in A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • Ser Arthur Dayne is generally remembered as the quintessential "greatest swordsman," aided no doubt by his Thunderbolt Iron sword Dawn. Jaime Lannister tells Ser Loras Tyrell, "I served with Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, who could have slain [all six of the other current Kingsguard] with his left hand while taking a piss with his right."
    • Jaime Lannister himself is famed as possibly the best swordsman in Westeros in his prime. However, he may ultimately be a deconstruction of the idea, due to losing his sword-hand and consequently undergoing an identity crisis, as so much of his life and personality revolved around his skill in battle he doesn't know how to cope without it.
    • Syrio Forel is the former First Sword of Braavos, a culture that takes its fencing very seriously. He kills several armed and armored guardsmen with his wooden practice stick.
    • Ser Barristan Selmy, Lord Commander of Robert Baratheon's Kingsguard, is near the age of 60 and generally held as the last representative of a bygone age of chivalry and heroes. He's quick enough to kill two guardsmen without a weapon and is also no slouch with a quarterstaff. According to Word of God, Selmy in his youth could have fought even Dayne to a standstill, if the latter were armed with a normal sword instead of Dawn.
    • Qhorin Halfhand is a legendary ranger of the Night's Watch, famed for his skill with a sword. He's got his nickname when the fingers of his right hand were cut off by a wildling; he sprayed the blood into the wildling's eyes and killed him. He then spent years training his left hand with the sword, and became as good with his left hand as he had with his right.
    • Prince Aemon the Dragonknight is considered the greatest knight in Westeros' history, but even he was impressed by Lord Cregan Stark's swordsmanship.
    • Daemon Blackfyre is literally considered godlike when he had the Blackfyre sword in hand. The only one who came close to beating him in a sword fight was the Kingsguard knight Ser Gwayne Corbray who fought him to a standstill for an hour.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium has a lot of these. Stand-out examples are:
    • Maia Eönwë, the greatest swordman in Arda history, received the sword from Manwë himself.
    • Turin Turambar, slayer of Glaurung, destined slayer of Morgoth at the Last Battle, and the dude that accidentally married his sister, is generally acknowledged as the greatest swordsman in Middle Earth's history. The fact that his sword is probably sentient and possibly evil doesn't help.
    • Maedhros Feanorion is one of the greatest elf swordsmen, and responded to losing his sword-hand by training himself to become even more lethal with his remaining left-hand.
    • Earendil the Mariner, slayer of Ancalagon the Black, the greatest dragon in Middle Earth's history, in some versions the slayer of Ungoliant (giant spider, possibly an Eldritch Abomination, powerful enough to terrify Morgoth and require an army of Balrogs to chase off), and latterly Morgoth's prison guard, is also up there.
    • In the later days of Middle-Earth, Aragorn, especially while wielding Anduril, is recognised as an example.
  • In Desolate Era, the most powerful swordfighters are Sword Immortals. Although many immortal practitioners use a sword, a small number actually study and comprehend the Dao of the Sword. Of those that comprehend some of it, one character notes that no one in the entire world has fully comprehended it. In particular, one Sword Immortal, Immortal Northwalker, was so strong that he single-handedly fought against a supreme clan and won. Immortal Diancai, the one Sword Immortal currently in the Black-White College, had stated that he will only take as a disciple one that can commune with the sword-intent of Immortal Northwalker, which members of the College had taken to mean that Diancai would never take a disciple.
  • Dragon Bones: Stala is a master swordswoman, who surpasses men much taller and stronger than she, and is therefore the trainer and head of the guard of Hurog. Her pupils Ward and Tosten, at one point in the story, show off their prowess by fighting each other with their eyes closed. The more mature adults in the group are not amused, but it ends well, proving how good the both of them are.
  • The Wheel of Time: Blademaster is an actual title within the setting, earned either by being recognized as such by a group of pre-existing blademasters or by killing one in a duel. The Heron-mark sword is the symbol of a blademaster, and you're only supposed to carry one if you've earned it.
    • Rand is given a Heron-mark sword by his father, Tam (who doesn't exactly say where he got it), and earns his position as a blademaster after killing a Seanchan High Blood who's a blademaster in his own right at the climax of the second book. At this point in the series, he's still not very far removed from a being a simple sheepherder, so it's quite an accomplishment. He ends up as one of the best - arguably, apart from Lan and Demandred, the best - swordsmen in the series.
    • Lan is the stand out in the series—in the prequel to the series, seven men come to kill him. He muses to himself as he faces them that only in stories does one man face seven and come out unharmed... or alive. He doesn't do the former, but obviously manages the latter. There are many others, too, and having a 'Heron Marked' blade is the sign of a true master swordsman. It's notable that he's the one who trains Rand, who ends up as one of the best swordsmen in the series.
    • Other significant ones include Galad, Gawyn, and a couple of the Forsaken, notably Be'lal (who helped invent swordsmanship, or at least rediscover it as a form of combat, apparently) and Demandred, who proves himself in the last book to be quite possibly the greatest swordsman in the entire series, beating three master swordsmen in succession in one battle, and only dying because the third was willing to take a fatal wound in order to get close enough to deliver one in return. Commonly-taught Warder history is that a Warder named Jeroam was the greatest swordsman in history; in his lifetime he supposedly fought in ten thousand battles and duels, at one time defeating ten men at once, and lost only one of those fights (to a farmer with a quarterstaff).
    • Notably averted by the Aiel, who are some of the most badass people in the world, but refuse to use swords.
  • Dune: The planet Ginaz is famed for training the best swordsmen in existence.
    • The most famous of the Ginaz swordsmen is Jool Noret, the first true Swordmaster. His skill with a blade was so great that no man or machine could kill him. Only a massive tidal wave finally ended him.
    • Duncan Idaho. A Ginaz-trained swordsman, bodyguard and fencing teacher, who is entrusted with protecting and tutoring Paul.
    • Gurney Halleck (who notably is not Ginaz-trained), is also a master by any standard, perhaps even moreso than Duncan. While public perception is that Duncan is clearly better (if not much better), Duncan states that Gurney beats him six times out of ten when they spar.
  • Played with extensively in The Baroque Cycle. The Earl Of Upnor is generally regarded as the finest swordsman in England, but the book and characters within it point out that what that actually means is that he's a rich psychopath who endlessly starts duels with men who don't have the faintest chance of even scratching him, essentially just For the Evulz but sometimes in service to his friends' political agendas. Bob Shaftoe, who has survived battlefield after battlefield but has no real skill with his sword at all, trains up to try and fight Upnor, who has kidnapped Bob's fiancee, and is very definitely about to be killed by Upnor when one of his friends shows up with a long pole and unceremoniously beats Upnor to death with it, lecturing Bob all the while on the stupidity of expecting to win a fair fight with the man. A relieved Bob announces he will memorialize the moment; "Here lies the finest swordsman in England, beaten to death in a boggy field by an Irishman with a stick."
  • Benedict in The Chronicles of Amber. Most of the male members of the Royal Family of Amber are expert with a sword, but Benedict is universally acknowledged as being the greatest among them.
  • Telemachon in Black Legion is acknowledged as genius swordsman even by people who hate him. He's capable of holding back a powerful Khornate daemon, literally born of swordsmen's thoughts, with his two swords, and as Khayon puts it, if one can master Dual Wielding as practical art and not theatricsnote , he certainly qualifies for such title.
  • There is an ancient order of Mantids in Shadows of the Apt known as the Weaponsmasters. While many of them prefer the Claw (an Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age), there're a good number of rapier specialists - including Tynisa, by the end of the second book.
  • In the Tortall Universe we have Gareth the Elder of Naxen, who Alanna says is the best swordsman in the kingdom. Alanna herself becomes one later- the Protector of the Small series mentions that she's never lost a fight as King's Champion.
  • Codex Alera has several characters noted for their sword skills. It's unusual in that much of this skill comes from metalcrafting, magical abilities that can massively increase increase their focus, endurance and pain resistance, as well as allow them to sense metal and strike with remarkable speed and force. Although (almost) everyone has Furycrafting abilities, anyone who doesn't have tremendous metalcrafting skill has no chance against someone who does in a sword fight. Since most of the high lords are excellent metalcrafters, stone knives are favored for assassination attempts.
    • The best of them is almost certainly Araris Valerian, whose abilities are advanced enough that he can transform his skin into metal, something only one other character seems to be able to do.
    • Aldrick ex Gladius and Phrygiar Navaris are both only just below Araris in terms of skill, and are similarly famous for their abilities.
    • Sir Miles is also up there; before his leg got crippled, he was just below Aldrick (his crippled leg is thanks to his brother Araris pushing him in front of a cart so that Miles wouldn't be killed by Aldrick). Tavi is also pretty good after training from Araris, being able to kill Phrygiar Navaris, although that was largely through his words rather than his skill with a blade.
    • The duel that took place between Aldrick ex Gladius and Araris Valerian prior to the first novel took them all around the city and lasted for several DAYS (with the help of their metalcrafting). It is continuously cited as the greatest contest of skill ever seen in Alera, although Aldrick does not share that sentiment.
    • Princeps Gaius Septimus may in fact be the only person to equal Araris Valerian, its ambiguous whether Septimus is the most skilled swordsman to have lived or that Araris deliberately underplayed his abilities when sparring with the Princeps to give this illusion.
  • Alan Breck Stewart in Stevenson's Kidnapped.
  • Zorro, of course. In The Curse of Capistrano, he easily is the best swordsman in the area, and later works only cement his status as a Master Swordsman.
  • Hiro in Snow Crash. Says so right on his business card. The claim seems dubious at first. His success in VR seems to come from the fact that he wrote the swordfighting code himself. In the real world, however, he proves to be just about as good as he claims he is.
  • In David Weber's Flag in Exile, Steadholder Burdette was ranked among the top fifty swordsmen on Grayson. Unfortunately for him, he discovers the hard way that tournament rankings don't translate to skills in life-or-death battles, as it doesn't really engage the "kill or be killed" mindset.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Luke Skywalker has become so skilled with a lightsaber that one villain who thinks of himself as a god admits to himself that Luke is better with a lightsaber than he is. In Fate of the Jedi: Abyss, Luke is able to pick apart a Sith teacher in one opening while facing two highly skilled attackers simultaneously, despite having been weakened for several weeks. And when lightsaber sparring with his own son Ben, no slouch despite his youth, Luke defeats him without taking out his lightsaber for a very long time, and at the start doesn't even have to take a step.
    • Darth Tyranus (Count Dooku) is the unparalleled master of Makashi, the lightsaber form that is more or less fencing, good enough to match none other than Yoda to a draw and edge out Mace Windu.
    • Anakin's preferred form of Djem So, which involves inexorable advancement and pure kinetic power, proves to be the weakness of Dooku's Makashi, though he's also physically stronger.
    • Mace Windu's swordsmanship outshines Yoda and Darth Sidious. Furthermore, due to his use of the shatterpoint Force ability, Mace can see the weaknesses of nearly anything in life. These two things are what allow him to defeat Sidious.
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi is noted by Windu to be the ultimate master of Soresu, the ultimate defensive saber form, making him the best choice to take on General Grievous, who fights with four lightsabers at once, and later, a newly minted Darth Vader (who specialises in Djem-So). Despite being reluctant to fight Vader, he matches him blow for blow without taking a scratch, manoeuvring himself into an unassailable terrain advantage, before neatly dismembering him with a single blow - and that having warned him not to try it.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen, due to having Loads and Loads of Characters, has quite a few examples:
    • The Seguleh are a whole race of these; their culture focuses on swordsmanship to the exclusion of all else, to the extent that they're ranked according to their sword skill, and as such are regarded as some of the deadliest hand-to-hand combatants in the whole World of Badass. In Memories of Ice, the Seguleh send a Punitive Army to the Pannion Domin, which consists of... three Seguleh warriors, and one of them, Senu, is fourteen years old. They are confident that three Seguleh swordsmen are enough to kick the Pannion Seer's army in the butt.
    • Icarium Lifestealer is Famed in Story, though unfortunately not for his sword skills. But secretly, he is very capable with both his sword and his bow, and can take on Barbarian Hero Karsa Orlong with no problem, provided he can stay calm long enough.
    • Whiskeyjack is considered the best swordsman in the Bridgeburners and it is heavily implied that, at the end of Memories of Ice, he would have won his duel against the millennia-old High King Kallor had his leg not been injured.
    • Dassem Ultor used to be the First Sword of the Malazan Empire, a title equivalent to World's Best Warrior for the Malazans, putting him as the highest-ranked commander of the Malazan armies. He was so competent with his sword, in fact, that the T'lan Imass decided he deserved the original title of First Sword, which was theirs, and transferred it to him despite him being a mortal human.
    • High King Kallor is one hundred thousand years old, looks like one hundred, lugs a huge bastard sword around and is rumored to have never been defeated. However, Caladan Brood notes that this is at least partly because Kallor picks his opponents well.
    • Brys Beddict is considered the best swordsman in the Kingdom of Lether and has, by the time he is introduced in Midnight Tides, just recently been raised to the position of the King's Champion and personal bodyguard based on his skill and despite his unfortunate family connections. At the end of the book, he duels Rhulad Sengar and wins despite his opponent's Artifact of Doom sword which enhances his abilities. Not only does Brys win, he — while fighting — devises a plan on how to prevent Rhulad from dying and being resurrected by surgically targeting his opponent's tendons with his sword.
    • Anomander Rake is the Warrior Prince of the Tiste Andii and their best swordsman as well. Despite not being a Seguleh, he holds the rank of Seventh in their society after taking an afternoon stroll on their island and ending up having to fight his way off it because all the Seguleh wanted to test their skills on him. It is heavily implied that he could have gained a higher rank had he not gotten annoyed and teleported himself away. He is also the only living being capable of wielding the forged by the Elder God Draconus BFS Dragnipur that consumes souls.
    • Silchas Ruin, Anomander Rake's youngest brother, prefers to fight with two swords, Sarat Wept and Glory Goat, but is a Combat Pragmatist despite their funny names, and inclined to just kill his opponents at the first chance. Udinaas claims that if the Emperor of Lether knew who Silchas Ruin was, he would send ten thousand warriors after him.
    • Spinnock Durav is known as being an exceptionally good swordsman, one whom Anomander Rake considers his best weapon. Good enough, in fact, to send him to hunt a dragon. On his scouting mission to the continent of Assail, he fought his way through hordes of its inhabitants just to be able to leave it again.
    • Nimander, Anomander Rake's son, is not even aware of how good he is with the sword, because he's used to thinking of himself as a coward, but he — and his entire group of Tiste Andii, in fact — have been responsible for defending the Throne of Shadow, and in Toll the Hounds, he and his followers defend against the Dying God's saemankelyk addicts without breaking a sweat.
    • Fear Sengar becomes his tribe's Weapons Master based on his skill with the sword and, at the start of Midnight Tides, he is said to have won the most trophies among his tribe in the Unification Wars (and since wars among the Tiste Edur are highly ritualised, skill does matter more than in any other given war).
    • Onos T'oolan used to be the First Sword of the T'lan Imass before the title was transferred to Dassem Ultor. That changed nothing about his sword skills, though, and he is still able to fight off all three members of the Seguleh Punitive Army in Memories of Ice, though not all at once. When he becomes mortal again and marries into the Barghast White Faces, he becomes clan leader based on his martial prowess.
    • Lorn is a superlative swordswoman who uses her Anti-Magic otataral sword to defeat powerful foes who would otherwise rely on magic to augment their skills. However, she's completely flabbergasted when fighting a random soldier in the Crimson Guard, Corporal Blues, and discovers that he's more than her match without any aid of sorcery.
  • The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher:
    • Shiro, Knight of the Cross is only around for a single book, but in that book we see him as being a swordsman without mortal peer. In the space of a second and a half, he kills two mooks and holds a fallen angel hostage. He is so skilled that Nicodemus, a two-thousand year old Nigh Invulnerable villain possessed by a Fallen Angel, who has killed over a hundred Knights of the Cross, is scared of him. As Michael put it, "Shiro knew fencing like Mozart knew music".
    • Michael himself is no slouch, being quite literally the only other person who Nicodemus regards as even being a decent sparring partner. And it turns out that Nicodemus was understating it - all those times they fought, Michael was holding back, because the job of the Knights is to try and save those possessed by the Fallen, even if they're clearly collaborating - or quite possibly in charge, in the case of Nicodemus. When in Skin Game Nicodemus finally outright rejected Michael's plea to give up the coin and try and redeem himself, Michael went all out, and very nearly killed him, with Nicodemus only saving himself through 'sheer nerve' - he uses the Holy Grail as a shield.
  • In The Princess Bride, Inigo spends many years trying to become a Master Swordsman. When he's finished his training, he's actually graduated to the even higher level of "Wizard." Even still, the Man in Black defeats him.
  • In RA Salvatore's The Dark Elf Trilogy, the drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden is one of the greatest swordsmen in the Forgotten Realms. His primary disadvantage is that he is small and, while in excellent shape, not as strong as, say, an orc king or an ogre warrior. He starts training at sixteen; in most of the novels, he's around seventy or eighty, but for a dark elf that's still young.
  • Many characters in S.M. Stirling's Emberverse, notably Mike Havel, Norman Arminger, Pam Arnstein, Astrid Larsson and Tiphaine d'Ath. Rudi Mackenzie and Mathilda Arminger began training with swords in adulthood, and frequently comment on how scarily competent the "kids", who are in their early twenties but have trained since childhood, are.
  • The Three Musketeers, especially the hot-blooded D'Artagnan and the wise Old Master Athos. Porthos is prodigiously strong and Aramis is quite the Badass Bookworm.
  • John Carter of Mars, the greatest swordsman of two worlds, at least. He's not the only one, though, what with swordsmanship being an incredibly prized skill among the Martian races, almost all of whom are varying degrees of Proud Warrior Race. In particular, Carter complements the Therns for their swordsmanship (though it's the only thing he finds praiseworthy about them), and the Okar (Yellow Martian) elite guard Solan gives Carter a serious run for his money in the third book.
  • This is one of the things about Commissar Ciaphas Cain that makes one stop and wonder just how fair he's being to himself in insisting he's no hero. He's explicitly said to be very good at it, and all kinds of inhuman monstrosities and Super Soldiers have found their rampage stopped by one (usually secretly terrified) human officer wielding a chain sword who just won't die. The books acknowledge, in a roundabout way, that Cain in the tabletop game would be considered a Commissar Lord, a unit which has better ability in melee combat then a genetically modified super soldier. Cain proves this in the book in question twice over by holding off two Chaos Space Marines of Khorne, unstoppable juggernauts incapable of feeling anything other then pure rage.
  • Richard of the Sword of Truth becomes this due to the memories magically imbued in the titular sword, accrued from every single former user of the blade. He unlocks the knowledge in battle with thirty blademasters. Each one is also an example of this trope, coming from a culture that has been training for 3,000 years just to help Richard unlock the sword's power. Richard also becomes an expert with all sorts of bladed implements. His skill with the symbolic language of magic is ultimately explained by it being analogous to swordsmanship.
  • Lancelot from Arthurian myth, including literature such as Le Morte d'Arthur and The Once and Future King, is the greatest knight in the realm.
  • Gilbert of The Witch Watch appears to be this. He talks about swords frequently and trained with them from a young age. Being able to disarm someone by letting them stab you and just turning away is useful, but Prince Leopold is clearly in another class.
  • Lyonesse: Aillas doesn't come across as someone who's even interested in fighting, but when he encounters a legendary outlaw and swordsman sent to murder him, he suddenly reveals that he's just about the best swordsman in the land. A character who witnesses the duel warns her family that "he's a demon with a sword!"
  • Trapped on Draconica: In terms of skill Taurok outclasses everyone else in the setting.
  • Murtagh, Arya, and Oromis in The Inheritance Cycle qualify as this. Eragon runs into a problem in the last two books when he realizes that, while very good, he's still well below their level, and needs to make some serious improvements to his technique for when he needs to go blade to blade with opponents on this level. Even at the end of the series, after making his improvements, he grudgingly admits that Murtagh is still better.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Adolin Kholin is generally considered one of the best duelists on the planet, to the point where his religious purpose in life is dueling. Of course in Alethi culture, competition and being the best is everything, so many others won't admit his prowess even while doing everything they can to avoid being caught in a dueling ring against him.
  • The Riftwar Cycle has several. Among them, Prince Arutha in the early books is well-known for his skill with the rapier; in the later books, Talwin Hawkins and his son Tyrone are both declared Champions of the Masters' Court (that is, winners of worldwide swordfighting tournaments).
  • Elsabeth Soesten and Brother Hieronymus both are highly skilled with the sword, the former preferring the longsword, while Hieronymus prefers the sword and buckler. European Swordsmanship is a major influence.
  • In XVII century Poland, fencing was an important skill,so it comes to reason that most (male) characters in Sienkiewicz Trilogy are at least decent at it. But Michał Wołodyjowski is repeatedly stated and shown to be cream of the crop. Plot Armour is the only thing that can save you.
  • In Forging Divinity, Taelien is a Magic Knight with sufficient swordsmanship abilities to stomp any ordinary swordsman he comes across - or even several at once. He meets his match in Myros, the local god of battle.
  • Mellar from Jhereg was so skilled at swordsmanship that he successfully fought his way into the House of the Dzur: a task that required him to defeat seventeen of that battle-loving House's best warriors in one-on-one duels.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Percy Jackson is said to be one of the best swordsmen in the past few hundred years. He's survived fights with four Titans, beat Ares at the age of 12 (admittedly, it was only a flesh wound, but still), and carves his way through the Roman Twelfth Legion during war games.
    Frank: Can you hold them off?
    Percy: A small army? No problem.
  • Best Served Cold: The effete General Ganmark seems to be a "lead from the rear" type, but it turns out that he's one of the best swordsmen in the world, holding off both Monza and Cosca at the same time.
  • The Thousand Sons have Sanakht, the greatest swordsman in their Legion. During the Horus Heresy his skills were so great that Lucius the Eternal sought Sanakht out to challenge him to a duel, in which Sanakht soundly kicked his ass. His skills have not diminished over the centuries: he is a master of Dual Wielding and can hold his own against daemons and other superhuman opponents with just his swords and reflexes, and his psychic powers allow him to predict what his enemies are going to do and react accordingly.
  • There are a lot of skilled swordsmen in The Brotherhood of the Black Flag, but Michael McNamara and Captain Stephen Reynard definitely count as worthy of this trope. According to Word of God, Dona Catalina would be as well if she'd had the same level of training and experience - and she's still quite formidable with a blade.
  • In the Modesty Blaise novel A Taste for Death, one of the under-villains, Wenczel, is an egotistical master fencer who spends all his spare time practicing. Modesty goads him into a duel as part of her escape plan. She's not as good as him at handling a sword, but she wins by out-thinking him, and partly because he out-thinks himself (he makes things easier for her by deciding he'll show off by killing her with a single thrust through the heart, which makes him predictable and leads him to pass up opportunities to disable her less elegantly).
  • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: The badass career soldier Tristan realizes that if he's going to survive his trips in time to Elizabethan times, he'd better learn how to properly sword fight. When he runs into a group of historical fencing enthusiasts in the park, he recruits one, Mortimer, to train him. With Mortimer's tutelage, Tristan becomes quite the swordsman.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, Daylen was always a passionate duelist, and attained the highest possible rank—Grand High Master of the Sword, signifying that he's among the top fifty or so swordsman in his world. His abilities atrophied a bit in old age with the weakening of his body, but his newfound youth brings them back to their peak. What startles him is that Ahrek also attained the same rank, with the golden mark to prove it.
  • Second Apocalypse:
    • Kellhus, being Dunyain, has been conditioned from birth to be nigh-superhuman. As a result, he has superlative skill in swordsmanship. He can defeat large groups of lesser opponents with computer-like precision and is able to best even the greatest swordsman of his age.
    • Cnaiur is the greatest warrior of the Skylvendi, a Proud Warrior Race. In addition to being The Berseker who fights with Unstoppable Rage, he is also a skilled tactician, allowing him to lead armies as well as overwhelm every opponent save Kellhus himself in personal combat with a sword. In one particular battle, he fights as a One-Man Army, daring the enemy to kill him and stop the horror of his wrath as he slaughters untold numbers of their soldiers.
  • Redwall: Anybody who wields the Sword of Martin especially counts, including Matthias, who wields the sword in battle. Matthias notably used it to kill Asmodeus the Snake when he tried to hypnotize him.
  • Cradle Series:
    • Adama, the Sword Sage, was widely considered the greatest swordsman in the world—and since this is a world where weak swordsmen can parry arrows and cut boulders in half, that's really saying something. He died before we meet him, but his disciple Yerin is a main character, and she repeatedly punches above her weight class by sheer dint of the sword skills he taught her.
    • Min Shuei, Sage of the Frozen Blade school, is the other Sword Sage, using a combination of Sword and Cold madra rather than the pure Sword madra Adama used. She was also engaged to him, but he delayed their marriage until Yerin finished her training. Since he died during that training, Min Shuei is rather upset, but still considers Yerin an estranged daughter.
  • Michael Cheung in Rivers of London is a Legendary Swordsman — it says so on his business card. According to Nightingale, Michael's magical Implausible Fencing Powers have been the trademark of Chinatown's defenders for generations, but the postmodern bit with the business card is new. He's also training Constable Guleed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Nasir in Robin of Sherwood. Usually uses two swords at once, but is just as deadly with only one.
  • Super Sentai and Power Rangers have their share:
    • Hiba Takayuki from Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan
    • Doggie Krueger from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. In a police-themed series, he's the only character using a sword - and his first scene as a Ranger involves wiping out 100 henchmen without breaking a sweat. His American version matches up.
    • All of the Rangers in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Power Rangers Samurai seem to have more of a focus on swordplay than the standard Ranger team, but especially Shiba Takeru and Fuwa Juzo in the former and their counterparts Jayden and Deker in the latter. Understandably, Juzo/Deker sees Takeru/Jayden as a Worthy Opponent. An interesting partial subversion in Shinkenger is that Takeru is stated to only be the third most skilled swordsman of the team (and that was before the Sixth Ranger for the season showed up), but his Determinator status more than closes the gap.
    • Joe Gibken from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. Every member of his team starts out with a Sword and Gun, but prefer to swap weapons mid-battle (except their leader). He and Pirate Girl Luka are the ones who prefer Dual Wielding. At one point, Joe goes the extra mile by using all five heroes' swords at once.
  • From GARO, we have the protagonist Kouga Saejima, his father Taiga Saejima, and his rival-turned-best friend Rei Suzumura. Later, the second season introduced The Man in The Red Mask the one-off character Igari Juzo in episode 8, Kouga's mentor Wataru Shijima and Makai Priest Reo Fudou.
  • Ultra Series
    • Ultraman Leo: One of Leo's first opponents was the alien Tsuruk, who had two swords welded to his wrists that he used with deadly precision by butchering MAC members in the blink of an eye and pushing Gen through some of his most brutal Training from Hell in the series.
    • Ultraman 80: One of 80's most infamous foes was Emperor Galtan, ruler of the Rattler aliens and wielder of a massive scimitar that he used to great skill.
    • Ultraman Mebius tops them all with Zamusha, an alien warrior who fights to prove himself as the mightiest warrior in the universe. Although armed with nothing but his katana Hoshikirimaru, Zamusha has defeated countless foes and even sliced an entire comet in half with a single strike. The only person who has ever beaten him was Hunter Knight Tsurugi/Ultraman Hikari, who is no slouch himself, as he ha put his Knight Blade to excellent use against many a kaiju.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Syrio Forel is only this by reputation, at first. Eventually showcased in "The Pointy End" when he takes out five fully armed and armored Lannister guardsmen and takes on a knight of the Kingsguard with a wooden practice sword.
    • Jaime Lannister and Ned Stark both display high skill at swordsmanship, and are able to match each other blow for blow. Also, Barristan is impressed by Ned's skill. Jaime is ironically, one one of the few remaining knights of the Kingsguard who actually earned that position and isn't just a Lannister political appointee. However, after the loss of his hand, he's no longer as competent a swordsman as he once was.
    • For his part, Jaime Lannister describes the swordsmanship of Barristan Selmy with awe, calling him "a painter who only uses red." Ned mentions being glad they never met in combat, as the widow's life wouldn't suit Catelyn. He cut through Sons of the Harpy like they were nothing until some finally surrounded him.
    • In a flashback, Ser Arthur Dayne is shown to be quite proficient at Dual Wielding, cutting down several Northern men-at-arms with ease and almost killing Ned Stark, who was saved by his friend stabbing Dayne in the back.
    • As of Season 6, Jon Snow seems to be shaping up to become one of Westeros' most legendary swordfighters, slaughtering his way through three of the four major onscreen battles in the series, killing a white walker in single combat, and being called out by Ramsay Bolton as a living legend in the north.
    • The Clegane brothers Sandor and Gregor are also formidable for their combination of skill and brute strength. Sandor's style is rough, pragmatic, and absurdly brutal, abusing all his natural advantages and Lightning Bruiser capabilities, while Gregor just maximizes force in such a way that just one strike is unsurvivable.
    • Brienne of Tarth also shows significant skill, but is generally underestimated because of her sex. She's the winner of Renly's tourney, defeating all opponents, including Loras Tyrell, who is considered a great warrior. She quickly takes down the members of Renly's Kingsguard who try to kill her, and even the Kingslayer seems impressed when he first sees her in action. Come Season 3, she easily defeats Jaime. Granted, he was wearing manacles at the time and somewhat out-of-practice, but it's still no mean feat, particularly since near the end of their engagement, she actually looked slightly bored. She also beat Sandor Clegane, who himself is one of the few people who can match his brother, The Mountain.
    • Bronn is an extremely competent swordsman, due to a combination of honest skill and ruthless pragmatism.
  • Every Immortal in Highlander, since they depend on their swordsmanship to stay alive for centuries.
  • Richard in Legend of the Seeker can defeat pretty much anyone with the Sword of Truth, in large part thanks to the sword's abilities. The Big Bad Darken Rahl is also pretty good with a sword, although he is known to use magic to trick his opponents.
  • In Merlin (2008), Arthur, as may be expected, is this trope, as is Lancelot. Aside from Lancelot, only a few other characters in the entire series ever beat him in a duel.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Elnor's favourite weapon is the tan qalanq, the traditional sword of the Qowat Milat. Thanks to the specialized training he had received from the warrior nuns who terrify the Tal Shiar, he's so agile and deadly with it that he can defeat multiple opponents equipped with energy weapons.
  • Just like their literary counterparts all of The Musketeers, up to and including Captain Treville. Special mention to Athos who is considered the best in the regiment, with his protege D'Artagnan considered a likely successor.

    Roleplay 
  • Admiral Harper from Open Blue is a legendary swordsman. Unfortunately, at the height of his career, he was recruited as a trainer for special assignments by his government's intelligence agency. In order to justify his transfer out of the field, they faked an accident where he allegedly broke his leg. Because of his apparent lack of determination to recover from his 'injury', his reputation has since gone bad.
  • In Embers In The Dusk, characters with "Master Of The Blade" trait, like Fredrick Rotbart. Some characters, like General Leopold Schwarz, are Grandmaster Swordsmen. Arbitrator Jane Oakheart takes it even further, being a Paragon Swordsman. This level of skill allows her (and anyone else at or above her level) to perform outright physically impossible feats, which in Jane's case is the ability to cut Warp effects. (It even works with things that aren't her sword, like random kitchen knives, as long as they are sharp enough). It also gives her a chance of a One-Hit Kill on anything smaller than a skyscraper.
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    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The kensai/weapons master class kit is a subclass of fighter who forfeits all armor in favor of sword mastery. He can take five skill levels in a single weapon (other fighter classes can take up to two) and do, indeed, crazy things with swords. For example, a level 16 Weapons Master Dual Wielding katanas (which he is fully proficient with) with Haste buff can land as many as 24 successful hits in one round.
    • Any fighter that specializes in a sword will get a bonus to attack and damage while using a sword, turning him or her into, essentially, a master swordsman.
    • The Duelist prestige class from 3[[superscript:rd}} Edition is a master fencer. The class focuses on combat with a light weapon (usually a rapier), with the off-hand kept free.
    • The Player's Option Guide for 2nd Edition introduced Weapon Mastery, High Mastery and Grand Mastery for Fighters opening the door for Grand-Master swordsmen.
    • In Fifth Edition, the Battlemaster fighter is a capable battlefield controller who can disarm, knockdown, or intimidate enemies through swordplay. Any class can buy into a fraction of those skills with a feat. Other frontrunners in sword skills are the Kensei, a monk path that specializes in using martial weapons, and the College of Swords Bard, a Dance Battler who can do Flourishes and fight like a Martial.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • High Elf Swordmasters, an order of warrior-ascetics who wield massive two-handed swords with enough speed and dexterity to deflect arrows.
    • Sword wielding Champions of Khorne are similar, but don't fight in a particularly graceful manner. They can still easily match Swordmasters blow for blow.
    • Chaos Chosen in general fit fairly well with this trope, and have the advantage of superior durability over most examples.
    • Wood Elf Wardancers are some of the only infantry in the game up to par with the Swordmasters, though since they focus on Dual Wielding they tend to be more durable and hit with more attacks than the Swordmasters at the expense of some stopping power.
  • Many more examples from Warhammer 40,000. Games Workshop must love this trope.
    • The Dark Eldar Incubi. Unlike most Dark Eldar who fight for pleasure, souls or riches, the Incubi are a warrior sect who believe the fight is the reason. Their Weapon of Choice is a BFS which can cleave clean through Terminator power armour, and the Incubi wield this weapon with the grace of a cheerleader wielding a baton.
      • Lelith Hesperax, Wych Champion supreme. Well over 10 thousands year old, regularly participates in Wych arena performances note , raids in Imperial Space and internal power struggles with the later being the most dangerous. Notable for total abstain from use of combat drugs and lack of any scars to show for her trouble. She fights with a pair of short blades.
      • Drazhar, Living Sword. No one knows what he is, but he is wearing original Pre-Fall Incubi armor and the same sword, never speaks a word and can best Hierarch of Great Incubi Shrine with ridiculous ease. Rumored to be fallen Phoenix Lord.
    • The Craftworld Eldar Howling Banshees. Armed with similar weapons and similarly skilled as the Incubi, these ladies are utterly deadly. note 
      • Jain Zahr, the Storm of Silence. Phoenix Lord of Howling banshees. The founder of the Aspect and the single best swordsman of the Eldar race.
      • Avatar of Khaine has a superb weapon skill on the tabletop rivaled by none (except when he frequently is in the fluff). He often fights with a longsword made of molten metal.
    • While Tyranid Hive Tyrants, are armed with razor-sharp bone blades on arms, The Swarmlord takes this to an even greater degree, wielding FOUR swords at once and creating an impenetrable wall of whirling blades to anything that tries to engage it in melee.
    • The Tau are more known for their power at long-range combat, but they have produced a few skilled close-quarters combatants. Commander Farsight's Ace Custom Crisis battlesuit is armed with a huge sword, the Dawn Blade, speculated to be of Necron, Chaos or Eldar origin, and he's good enough with it to have fought the previously-mentioned Swarmlord to a draw.note  The Ethereal Aun'shi is a master with the ritual Honour Blade; in one battle where a mining colony was under attack by Orks, The Cavalry arrived just in time to find him at the gates to an Ethereal shrine, surrounded by Ork corpses, his Honour Blade slick with blood.
    • The Space Marines, both Loyal and Chaos, often wield swords of various kinds and are extremely proficient at wielding them. Specific examples include:
      • Abaddon. Joke about his arms all you want, he is the only living thing in M41 that comes close to the might of the Primarchs. His sword, Drach'Nyen was witnessed to destroy a Land Raider and flay souls of those it touched. It's an Eldritch Abomination in sword form.
      • The Blood Angels Chief Liberian Mephiston, is one of the best swordsman on the Imperial side. His stats including his weapon skill are crazy enough, without him being able to buff himself and attack his opponent with psychic powers. He's one of the only things in the game that can actually kill Abaddon reliably.
      • The Grey Knight's Brotherhood Champions ignore all other forms of combat to focus on theirs sword skill. Castellan Crowe takes the cake though, being so impossibly skilled that he can pierce any armor and wound anything, without using any of the near-infinite evil powers of his daemon blade, making it no different from a regular sword so long as he doesn't tap into these. Because he knows the moment he caves in and tries, the blade will probably corrupt him.
      • The Primarch of the Emperor's Children, Fulgrim, is a consummate Master Swordsman in keeping with his perfectionism. Both times he dueled a fellow Primarch he has come out on top: Ferrus Manus lost his head and Roboute Guilliman got a Slashed Throat (and fatally poisoned).
      • Lucius the Eternal, Slaanesh's Chosen Champion, follows in his Primarch Fulgrim's footsteps and is also an incredibly gifted swordsman. His reputation as a duelist is such that the above mentioned Lelith Hesperax wants to duel him, thinking he'd be a perfect Worthy Opponent.
    • Necron Lychguard take such pride in their skills with swords (or Warscythes) that they suffer a Villainous Breakdown if they fail to kill a target with a single strike.
  • The advantage Weapon Master in GURPS is designed for this exact purpose. Not only can you do more damage with your chosen weapon, but you're also proficient with anything similar to it.
  • Feng Shui, with the right Schticks, can create a character like this. The Leaping Storm fu path in particular is based on Wuxia and specializes in high-flying swordplay.
  • According to Ed Greenwood, the creator of Forgotten Realms, the top swordsmen in the Realms are in order: the human Harmel Artru of Sembia, the half-elf and son of Alustriel Maethrammar Aerasume of Silverymoon, the human Loaros Hammarandar of Narubel, the human Ember Tsartaera from Aglarond, the human Skoalam Marlgrask from Chessenta, and the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden. Artemis Entreri, Drizzt's nemesis, ranks around ninth. Greenwood also clarified that the rankings can change very quickly given that all of them are so close to each other in skill level.
  • In all incarnations of the Legend of the Five Rings, the Kakita and Mirumoto are entire families of master swordsmen.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • skills worth mentioning are usually rated from Average (+1) to Superb (+5), a one-point difference in modifiers is significant, and a two-point difference is a pretty good indication of who will usually win a straight dice-off.
    • According to his Our World writeup, Shiro Yoshimo has a baseline Weapons skill of Fantastic (+6)...plus easily 2-3 aspects invokable in combat for another +2 or a reroll each, assuming sufficient fate points...plus another couple of combat stunts and the usual holy powers of a Knight of the Cross on top of that, and none of this is really figuring in the innate powers of his Sword yet.
    • The other two Knights as well as experienced Wardens like Morgan are also sword masters, though not as great as Shiro.
  • Solar and Abyssal Exalted who favour Melee can do things with a sword that would make Miyamoto Musashi swear to be a better person for the rest of his life in exchange for just one lesson. Titan-slaying power is nice like that.
  • Silthanka duelists in Rocket Age, Silthuri who specialise in the use of the Silthanka sword, are the best swordsmen in the solar system, selling their services as champions to various royal families.
  • Old World of Darkness: Any character with five levels of the Melee skill and a specialization in "Swords" can be a master swordsman. Because the game is not as combat-focused as other tabletop games, a starting character can be a master swordsman.
  • There's quite a few in Yu-Gi-Oh!, but a standout card that exemplifies this is Gearfried the Swordmaster, a Level 7 Light/Warrior monster that can only be summoned by the effect of a related spell card. As it is, his 2600 Attack and 2200 Defense is only respectable...however he has the ability to destroy one monster on the field upon being given any equip card.

    Video Games 
  • Several from the Kingdom Hearts series, which shares many characters with Final Fantasy. Though the main characters wield giant Keys, they are functionally magic swords. In that vein, Mickey Mouse and Riku are Master Swordsman, as well as Terra, Xehanort, and Eraqus from the prequel. You also have Auron, Mulan eventually, Cloud and Leon, and Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa. However, the main character, Sora, comes to eclipse them all due to the sheer amount of experience he has whacking Eldritch Abominations and Disney Villains with his Keyblade.
  • The Final Fantasy series has plenty of them:
  • Tricolour in the second Freedom Force can take on the Nazi Army and keep up with Freedom Force's super powered heroes with just Olympic level fencing.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series' various In-Game Books mention several.
    • Each installment post-Daggerfall features numerous trainers who let you upgrade your skills, including swordsmanship, for a fee. Only a single master trainer, however, can usually max out a particular skill: the Buoyant Armiger Ulms Drathen (Long Blade) and Redguard Blade Todwendy (Short Blade) in Morrowind, Alix Lencolia in Oblivion, and the Orc Warchief Burguk (One-Handed) and the Inner Circle Companion Vilkas in Skyrim. Unless the respective game's PC maxes out their swordfighting skills, these individuals are generally acknowledged as the Master Swordsmen of the respective region.
    • This is the "hat" for the Redguards, a Proud Warrior Race of dark-skinned humans whose culture is a blend of the Moors, Arabs, and Samurai. They are acknowledged as the most masterful swordsmen in Tamriel, with their race's Sacred Scripture being a treatise on sword techniques. Even among the Redguards, there are some who take it to another level:
      • The Ansei, or "Sword Saints", were an order made up of the greatest "sword singers," Yokudan warriors who follow "The Way of the Sword," a martial philosophy on blade mastery. So great was their mastery of the blade that they could manifest a sword from their very soul, known as a Shehai or "Spirit Sword". Ansei of the highest ranks had Shehai which shined brighter and were much deadlier. Described as an "unstoppable weapon of great might" that could cut down foes like "a scythe through wheat", disarming such an Ansei could only be done by severing their head or taking their mind. (However, there was some evidence to suggest the Shehai of an Ansei could be shattered, leaving behind only its essence.) The greatest Ansei could use a technique known as the "Pankratosword," which allowed them to "cut the atomos" with their Shehai (and may have been responsible for the destruction of Yokuda). Considered to be a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, the Pankratosword has since been lost to history. (If it ever actually existed at all.) While the Ansei came with the Redguards to Tamriel, their numbers dwindled over time. There hasn't been a known Ansei warrior since the 2nd Era, and by the 4th Era, they are considered a myth.
      • Frandar Hunding was perhaps the greatest of the Ansei. Says Allena Benoch, another Master Swordsman, of Hunding and swordsmanship in general:
      "Frandar Hunding lists thirty-eight grips, seven hundred and fifty offensive and eighteen hundred defensive positions, and nearly nine thousand moves essential to sword mastery. The average hack-and-slasher knows one grip, which he uses primarily to keep from dropping his blade. He knows one offensive position, facing his target, and one defensive position, fleeing. Of the multitudinous rhythms and inflections of combat, he knows less than one."
      • Frandar is believed to be one manifestation of the HoonDing, the Yokudan/Redguard spirit of perseverance and "Make Way God". The HoonDing has historically manifested whenever it is needed to "make way" for the Yokudan/Redguard people. In all known forms, the avatar of the HoonDing has excelled at swordsmanship.
      • Another was Gaiden Shinji, a 1st Era leader of the Order of Diagna and founder of the Imperial City Arena (where he served as the first "Blademaster"). For Shinji, the title was not cosmetic.
  • The old Tales character cameo Bonus Boss in the Tales Series coliseums will invariably be billed as either a stupendously skilled foreigner or the greatest swordsman in the world. There are also these in actual canon, and often they will berate the Book Dumb main character for their crude self-taught technique instead of a "real" style. Early examples: Ras to Ried in Tales of Eternia, Kratos to Lloyd in Tales of Symphonia. Though in the case of the latter Lloyd manages to become one himself as he wins the last Duel Boss against Kratos, without him holding back.
  • Royal Guards and Elvish Champions from Battle for Wesnoth.
  • Suikoden: the Falcon Rune is a good indicator of the really skilled, accomplished swordsmen among the Stars of Destiny. Standout examples are Valeris (Suikoden and Suikoden II) and Belcoot (Suikoden V).
  • Suikoden V: Georg Prime. He has nations across two continents calling him "Deathblow" like it's his first name. There's a good reason that, in one of these games, you don't get him until pretty close to the end, and in the other, he spends about 2/3 of it unavailable to your party because he's on some 'secret mission'.
  • Fire Emblem: Most characters belonging to the Myrmidon class and its ascended class Swordmaster are portrayed this way.
  • The various Links in The Legend of Zelda series all become master swordsmen sooner or later (depending on the game). After all, they do wield the Master Sword at one point or another.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, there is a sword school in West Clock Town run by an Old Master Swordsman, who can teach Link sword techniques for a fee.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Orca is an old man living on Outset Island who spent his life studying swordsmanship. He teaches swordsmanship to Link and gives him the Hero's Sword. He grades Link's ability until Link surpasses him.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Link's mentor is Rusl, who is another master swordsman. There's also the Hero's Shade, who passes up to seven secret sword skills to Link. He's a previous incarnation of Link, having been the Hero of Time himself.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Eagus has the role of teaching the students of the Knight Academy everything about swordfights. As expected, Link is one of those students.
    • Link is explicitly referred to as such in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, several diaries make it a point to say just how skilled with a sword he is. Zelda's personal diary even mentions he was able to best fully grown opponents whilst he was still just a child.
  • Ezio Auditore from Assassin's Creed II. Certainly, one who can consistently strike the weak points of plate-clad opponents in a stand-up fight is no slouch.
  • Edward Kenway in Assassins Creed IV is skilled enough to Dual Wield swords.
  • Shay Patrick Cormac, the Assassin-turned-Templar protagonist of Assassin's Creed: Rogue is likewise a dual-wielding swordsman in the vein of Edward, but favours a sword and dagger combo.
  • Tyke-Bomb Ramirez from Skies of Arcadia. Coupled with his magic sword, Fina claims he is able to cut photons in half. His special ability involves him cutting a hole in time and using the moment of timelessness to beat up your entire party.
  • Several of the units in Disgaea start off with swords as their most effective weapons and definitely become this by the time you've learned all their moves.
  • Meta Knight from Kirby, although this characteristic is developed further in the anime adaptation.
  • From the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series, Zero's primary weapon is his signature Z-Saber, with which he is able to do many advanced techniques like a Three Point Combo and a Rolling Slash. By comparison, when X attempts to use it in X6, he swings it much slower and is much weaker with it.
  • Metal Gear Rising has Sam, who comes from a long line of sword martial artists. He is never seen using another weapon aside from his sword. Among other other impressive displays of skill, his most notable technique is a super fast draw with a gun-like mechanism built into his scabbard, allowing him to draw and slash his weapon with insane speed and force.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior player characters are reputed as the best in their faction for the entire galaxy by the end of their storylines. This is partly helped by the defeat or death of many of the other greatest swordsmen in the progression of the game's story.
  • The Sword Master, Carla, in The Secret of Monkey Island. Guybrush must defeat her in order to win a T-shirt and impress the pirate leaders- through superior repartee.
  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo there's Neo himself after having the sword skills downloaded. Along with the A.I. sword master who tests Neo's skills. "I was told a man legendary with a blade would come. Are you worthy of the blade, can you beat me?"
  • In Warframe, Excalibur is noted as being a "master of gun and blade", being the first Warframe ever made. Excalibur deals more damage with swords of all flavors, and has sword-themed powers. "Slash Dash" rockets him forward slashing enemies in the process, "Radial Blind" blinds enemies with light from his sword, "Radial Javelin" has him slam his sword into the ground, spewing out ethereal swords than pin enemies to walls, and "Exalted Blade" summons an energy sword that sends out waves of destructive energy with every slash.
  • Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes. He can deflect automatic-gunfire with his sword, slaughter scores of mooks at a time and is able to defeat virtually every other swordsperson he encounters.
  • Overwatch:
  • Path of Exile has Daresso, the Sword King, who was in life the greatest champion of the Grand Arena of Theopolis. He is still revered over a century after his disappearance, with both Vagan the Weaponmaster and the Duelist player character speaking of him with awe. He also provides a brutally difficult boss fight, being fast and strong and having the Resolute Technique trait.
  • A great many of them across the Dark Souls franchise, though many of the enemies you fight are a shadow of what they once were. In spite of this, the near-mindless Artorias nevertheless retains a vast set of skills and techniques that will force you on the defensive for the entire fight while fighting using his off-hand and without his signature greatshield. Dark Souls II upped the ante with Raime, Sir Alonne, and the Ivory King; all exceptional swordsmen who don't suffer from the mental handicaps Artorias did.
  • Rafe Adler, the Big Bad of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is very skilled in fencing. As he notes in the final battle, it's the only thing he has ever achieved on merit in his life. When the two fights, Nate is clearly outclassed by Rafe and he only wins due to sheer luck and Rafe's Evil Gloating.
  • Super Robot Wars X: Shibaraku as usual in his series, though he oversees both Suzaku and Shou's training in this game as well.
  • Several people in the Trails Series are this trope. Examples include Cassius Bright, Loewe the Bladelord, Arios MacLaine, Victor S. Arseid, Aurelia Le Guin, Rufus Albarea, and by Cold Steel IV, Rean Schwarzer.
  • Dante and his brother and rival Vergil from the Devil May Cry series. Dante wields his massive claymore with style and skill while Vergil is a katana-wielding lightning-fast Iaijutsu Practitioner.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • This a requirement to be summoned as Saber, the Knight class specializing in the use of swords. That said, the restrictions have evidently gotten looser with this installment, as there are several Unskilled, but Strong Servants included, such as Elizabeth Bathory (Brave) and Frankenstein (Summer). That said, not all of the examples in the story end up as Sabers.
    • The Shimousa pseudo-singularity focuses on this, as the primary antagonists are the Seven Heroic Spirit Swordmasters, seven peerless Japanese bladewielders. Albeit, most of them don't actually use a sword. Musashi, the most famous swords(wo)man in all of Japan, ends up getting her Day in the Limelight in this arc as well.
  • In Quest For Glory 1, the fresh-off-the-correspondence-course would-be Hero, at least when classed as a fighter, has the opportunity of learning from the Baron's Swordmaster. The Hero fights with a sword and shield, while the Swordmaster fights with just the sword (and insinuates that the Hero is inferior for using a shield...several times). By the end of the game, after both training and practical experience, the Hero is able to defeat the Swordmaster, who claims that he slipped, that it didn't count, and that he's still superior, before he runs away, never to be seen again. Throughout the course of the series, the Fighter (and later Paladin) Hero continues to improve and is eventually a world-class Swordmaster...who is still outshone by Elsa Von Spielburg in the fifth game.

    Visual Novels 
  • A few characters in the Fate/stay night-verse are explicitly referred to as master swordsmen, and all of them are different.
    • The Saber class, by definition, comprises nothing but Master Swordsmen. Every individual ever summoned in this class at the bare minimum is one of the most renown swordsmen of their era.
    • The Saber that features in Fate Stay/Night, in particular, is noted to be the best of the entire Saber Class. Seeing as she is actually the verses' version of Arthur Pendragon, this makes sense.
    • The standout example, ironicially enough however, is Assassin - actually some nobody who only got summoned because he was a master swordsman. He was the only person who ever really learned Tsubame Gaeshi - this being a technique which uses 'dimensional refraction' aka the Second Magic to let him deliver three simultaneous strikes. Assassin achieved this not through some magical artefact or hidden superpower; he just trained really hard for a really long time, and was rewarded with this beast of a technique, on par with a Noble Phantasm all by itself. In-universe, Tsubame Gaeshi is classified as True Magic, meaning that Assassin managed to break into the parallel worlds not via magic or divine miracles, but just by training the same sword strike over, over and over again until the universe gave in. Further, only have the bare minimum above-humon physical prowess needed to qualify as a servant, he scares Lancer and would have beaten Saber (who uses bursts of mana to stand toe-to-toe with Lightning Bruiser Berserker), only his sword bent. In Unlimited Blade Works it's mentioned he successfully fended off Lancer, Rider, and Berserker himself, again using nothing but his own ludicrous sword skill. In Fate/unlimited codes, he defeats and kills Berserker. Bear in mind that Berserker's "God Hand" ability means he has to be killed twelve times to permanently die, and he becomes immune to any previous method used to kill him. Meaning that Assassin had to take him down eleven times without Tsubame Gaeshi. In short, Assassin's swordsman skill is the only thing he has going for him compared to other Servants, but it's just that good.
    • Taiga Fujimura, of all people, is noted to be extremely skilled with a blade. She's nowhere near the level of a Servant (she challenges Saber at one point and is almost instantly defeated), but she is recognized as a world-class swordswoman (who, according to Word of God, is on par with Ryougi Shiki) despite her rambunctious personality.
    • The prequel novels Fate/Zero add another to the roster, specifically Berserker aka The Black Knight aka Lancelot. He has a skill called 'Eternal Arms Mastery', only awarded to the most masterful Master Swordsperson in his or her era, which means his skill with a sword (or indeed anything else) is so great that the insanity that comes with the Berserker Class, which would usually rob him of all tactical and combat skill, doesn't affect it. How good is he? His first appearance has him fight his way through the Storm of Blades coming from Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon without a scratch, using only weapons stolen from the Gate while they were flying at him. This is with random weapons he's picked up - using his own personal weapon, Arondight, he's even better - good enough to completely overwhelm Saber within ten seconds, though she was suffering from two handicaps at the time.
    • Had he not lost his skills due to Madness Enhancement, the original game's Berserker, AKA Herakles, would have qualified. This is discovered when Shirou copies his 'sword' and the skills coming with it and whips out his ultimate attack Nine Lives, that is three Tsubame Gaeshi executed at the same time. To add insult to injury, that's actually an inefficient adaptation, as Nine Lives was originally an archery technique that would strike one hundred times per arrow. In the anime version of Unlimited Blade Works and Heavens' Feel his skill is actually so ingrained it overrides the madness enhancement, allowing Herakles to still fight with remarkable form.
    • Archer considers himself neither a true swordsman nor a true bowman-indeed, Lancer claims his swordsmanship "lacks pride"- and deems himself a mage first and foremost, but this does not take away from the fact that his skills with a blade and bow are highly advanced, such that he can put up a good fight against both Saber and Assassin. This makes sense too, as his ace in the hole is basically a pocket dimension with an endless supply of magical blades- rather useless if one was not able to actually use said blades. His skill with these many weapons neatly contrasts Gilgamesh,whose Gate of Babylon gives him an endless supply of vastly superior blades, but since Gilgamesh is only decently skilled at swordsmanship and can't bring out their full power he prefers to just magically fire them from a distance.
  • Peko Pekoyama from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, being the Super High School Level Swordswoman and Fuyuhiko Kuzuryuu's bodyguard.

    Web Comics 
  • CHEVALIER in this romantic fantasy adventure Chevalier is a master swords-mouse. Here
  • Fighter from 8-Bit Theater is this. Despite having failed the school's philosophy, he's a natural born master of both sword and his creation: Sword-Chucks. His skill is so great He can use swords like shields, ranging from blocking pure dark energy to the planet itself.
  • Girl Genius: Jägergeneral Goomblast was seen during the Siege of Mechanicsburg, cornered by six Wulfenbach soldiers with poisoned swords, and proceeded to whip out a smallsword and kill all six with their own weapons.
  • Yu Mi-Ra of The God of High School is this, having sufficient skill to take on foes meant to slay gods with a blade sharp enough to cleave through mountains, clouds, and buildings that are nowhere near the target of the attack.
  • Gosu: As the successor to the Soseondang's Flying Flash Sword Style, Soh Jinhong is naturally a master of swordsmanship being able to effortlessly cleave through trees and solid rock as if they were paper.
  • Bro Strider, Dirk Strider, Terezi and Jack Noir of Homestuck. Bro's feats include slicing a meteor in half with a katana and cutting the disc on Dave's shirt without cutting the shirt itself. Dirk's proven to be no slouch as well holding his own against Hegemonic Brute and an army of imperial drones. Jack Noir however takes the cake, dueling Bro to a stand still and later defeating him out right. Terezi is capable of wielding her Cane Swords quite effectively. While blind.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Meti is the best swordswoman — or for that matter, the best fighter, period — in the entire comic, thanks to her extensive skill and knowledge of the Sword Law and training. Lots and lots of training. Among other things, she once fought and defeated ten thousand men at once while naked. By Word of God she could absolutely destroy any being in the comic, a category that includes a being stated to be entirely able to destroy the universe should he so try. However, she long ago came to the conclusion that the sword is just an ugly piece of metal made for killing people and its adherents (and pretty much everyone else, really) idiots, and that violence does nothing but breed more violence and that she wants no part in any of it anymore.
    • Maya ten Meti (aka Murder The Gods And Topple Their Thrones), whose name indicates she was trained by Meti, is no slouch either, managing to cleave through an Angel, the rest of the room, a significant portion of Mottom's floating palace, and the comic frame's border in one stroke using the broken stub of a sword. Although, by the comic's philosophy, a swordperson dependent on anything other the pure focused will that their opponent be cut is a poor swordsperson indeed. Like Meti, Maya regrets ever picking up a sword and personally wishes she was still a noodle merchant.
    • Meti had another student besides Maya, Incubus, who is also implied to be no slouch with a sword even if he does not quite reach Maya's standard. Meti is implied to have taken him on only to show Maya what not to do; namely, using his skill to become a self-serving killing machine.
    • The main competitor to Meti in the lore is the similarly deceased sword master Lord Intra, who was known as the "Sword-Saint" for his singular mastery of the blade. Similarly to Meti he is known to have obtained Royalty, had a highly odd outlook on mastery of the sword (his own technique was to be so bad at it that he wrapped around to being impossibly good) and communicated mostly in koans, and like Meti and Maya he spent much of his career drunk.
  • Julio Scoundrel, Elan's mentor in the ways of the Dashing Swordsman, in The Order of the Stick. Roy's grandfather is even better than he is.
  • Arie Hon from Tower of God developed a unique style of swordsmanship that Word of God stated can only be defeated by either overwhelming power or by someone else being more skilled in the sword style. As the creator of the style (among other things), this naturally makes Arie Hon the greatest swordsman in the Tower.
  • In Suitor Armor, Sir Baynard was the kingdom's undefeated champion swordsman, until a suit of Animated Armor was entered into the latest royal tournament and trounced him through shear might, being literally Made of Iron.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Master Piandao of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Backstory has him retiring from the Fire Nation Army when he grew sick of war. The Firelord sent a hundred soldiers to force him to rejoin, or kill him. He sent them all back.
    • Zuko is also a great swordsman being trained to use twin dao swords. He used this skill in his alter ego as the Blue Spirit and once dueled the hook sword wielding bandit Jet to a draw.
  • Jack from Samurai Jack definitely qualifies. He's a master of just about every weapon and martial art known to man, but his primary weapon is a sword. The Scotsman qualifies as well, by virtue of matching him blow-for-blow for three days on end without taking one scratch.
  • The Duelist in the ThunderCats (2011) episode "The Duelist and the Drifter," a man who goads less experienced swordsmen into duels, and uses his skill to divest them of their swords, which he keeps as trophies.
  • Pearl of Steven Universe prefers a spear in battle, but that sword collection of hers isn't just for show. Fencing is shown to be an avid hobby of hers, and she's skilled enough to teach Connie how to follow in her footsteps.
  • Rattleballs from Adventure Time is an old robot swordsman who's skill with the blade greatly surpasses Finn's. He can do a "Shadow Thrust", which can swiftly cut objects around a person without hitting them and in the fight against the Banana Guards, he manages to take them all down without fatally harming anyone. Finn is so impressed with his skill that he convinces Rattleballs to train him.

    Real Life 
  • Miyamoto Musashi, widely considered the greatest Japanese swordsman. He is legendary for perfecting the Niten Ichi-Ryu, or Dual Wielding a katana and wakizashi or two katana style. He wrote Book of the Five Rings on swordsmanship and was quite the Combat Pragmatist.
  • Sasaki Kojiro was renowned for inventing several sword techniques, most famous of which being the Tsubame Gaeshi, or the "Swallow's Tail."
  • Johannes Liechtenauer is often described as the grandmaster of western swordsmanship, though his mastery included a variety of weapons. Said to have been born in Liechtenau or Liechtenstein, Germany in the 13th or 14th century, he toured Europe to study various armed combat techniques under a variety of masters. The puzzle poem he wrote unified all these concepts and techniques and provides us with the earliest example of such an efficient sword art in the West. Many later fencing masters would go on to directly reference Liechtenauer, and many who didn't clearly retain elements of his art.
  • Hans Talhoffer was a German fencing master who was probably a student of Liechtenauer. He wrote a fencing manual that clarified many of Liechtenauer's concepts, and may have been a founding member of the Brotherhood of St. Mark, one of the most prominent and influential fencing schools in Europe.
  • Sigmund Ringeck was a student of Liechtenauer whose own fechtbuch is one of the earliest known to translate the poems into a form that can be used for practical teaching, and therefore is the foundation of the modern understanding of German martial arts.
  • William Marshal is widely considered the most skilled knight in history. He earned fame and fortune fighting in tournaments, where he claimed to have defeated 500 knights, and even killed the horse from under the future King Richard the Lionheart note . He prosecuted a number of wars for various lords and kings, and was still leading from the front lines at the age of 70.
  • Don Jeronimo Sanchez de Carranza is often called the Father of Spanish fencing, Destreza.
  • Camillo Agrippa was an Italian polymath of the Renaissance and a renowned fencing theorist. His Treatise on the Science of Arms with Philosophical Dialogue made radical changes to the fencing of his time, including the focus of turning the rapier into a thrusting weapon. His work is considered the foundation for Jeronimo Sanchez's Destreza.
  • Gerard Thibault d'Anvers was a Dutch fencer who wrote a highly detailed fechtbuch about his unorthodox style of swordsmanship. He was also a brilliant mathematician, and wrote that a knowledge of geometry is essential for true fencing mastery. Oh, and he wrote books on ritual magic too.
  • Salvator Fabris was a storied Italian fencer who served as the instructor of Christian IV. He also produced a very popular fencing manual.
  • Luis Pacheco de Narváez was the fencing master of Philip IV of Spain, as well as one of the most prolific fencing authors in history.
  • Francisco de Quevedo was one of the most prominent poets of his age as well as a pugnacious and highly skilled swordsman. His novel El Buscón lampoons a duel he fought with Luis Pacheco de Narváez, during which he knocked the fencing master's hat off.
  • Vincentio Saviolo, though an Italian, produced the first fencing manual written in English.
  • Fiore dei Liberi was a Medieval fencing master who wrote Flower of Battle, one of the oldest and most comprehensive fighting manuals in existence. New research suggests that Fiore may even have been a student of Johannes Liechtenauer, further spreading the latter's influence into the Italian school.
  • Ridolfo Capo Ferro was an Italian fencing master probably best known today for getting name-dropped in The Princess Bride. Oddly enough, Capoferro is well regarded today, but was largely ignored during the Renaissance when he was active.
  • Achille Marozzo was an Italian fencing master of the Dardi school, whose style was extremely influential in the 16th century.
  • Giacomo di Grassi was one of the foremost masters of the Elizabethan age, whose style was highly influential for its use of the smallsword, the use of a dagger as a defensive weapon, and the emphasis of defense in general.
  • Francois Vivonne, a celebrated swordsman of his day, is best known for being on the receiving end of the original "coup de jarnac." He was defeated in a duel by the Baron of Jarnac, a far inferior swordsman who learned a tricky cut to the leg from an Italian dueling instructor. Today, "coup de jarnac" is a French idiom for a deceptive or underhanded action.
  • During the end of the Bakumatsu era, the samurai Kawakami Gensai, Kirino Toshiyaki, Tanaka Shinbei and Okaa Izo became known as "the Four Hitokiri of the Bakumatsu", hitokiri translating into "manslayer" or "assassin." They were considered more or less impossible to defeat by normal swordsmen.
  • Supporting the Tokugawa shogunate during the Bakumatsu era were Okita Souji, Nagakura Shinpachi and Saito Hajime, who were all captains of The Shinsengumi and the three best swordsmen in that group. Nagakura is said to have later described Okita as a "sword of valor" and Saito as a "sword of invincibility."
  • Aladar Gerevich, a Hungarian fencer, is the only Olympian to win gold in the same event six times, and one of only two athletes to medal in six different Olympic Games. This is all in spite of missing two Olympics due to World War 2.
  • Fencing master Nedo Nadi won five gold medals in the 1920 Olympics. He held the record for most gold medals won in a single Olympic games for 68 years, having won gold in every event he entered.
  • An unlikely example is Josip Broz Tito, before he became the communist leader of former Yugoslavia. In his youth, during World War I, he won the silver medal at an Austro-Hungarian army sword-fighting championship.
  • The Yagyu Clan produced many of these in the Japanese feudal era, and were the official katana instructors for the Tokugawa Shoguns. Their most famous member is Yagyu Jubei, but his father Yagyu Munenori, grandfather Yagyu Munetoshi, and cousin Yagyu Hyogonosuke were all master swordsmen.
  • Julie d'Aubigny, a.k.a. La Maupin, is a rare example of a master swordswoman. She was trained in fencing by her father and supported herself while on the run by singing and giving demonstrations of her skills for audiences. She was a professional duelist and opera singer. On two separate occasions, she defeated three men at once.
  • Yamaoka Tesshu was a swordsman who lived at the end of the Edo era, and was briefly a supervisor to the Shinsengumi. After the end of the Edo period, he taught a style of swordsmanship in which purity and mastery of technique is everything, since there were no swordsmen left to fight.
  • Robert Roy Mac Gregor was a well-known swordsman and fought in a number of sword duels even before he got into his famous dispute with the Marquis of Montrose. At the time, it was often claimed he was invincible with a sword. Some attributed his skill to his long arms.
  • Sir William Hope was a famous Scottish fencing master who published many fencing manuals dealing with different kinds of swords.
  • The Chevalier de Saint-George was a mixed-race musician and conductor in 18th century Paris as well as one of the finest swordsmen of his day. He beat a fencing master who had insulted his race while still a student.
  • The Chevalier d'Eon was a famous 18th century soldier, spy and crossdresser who spent the second half of his life as a woman. He was also quite a swordsman, defeating the much younger Chevalier de Saint-George in an exhibition match while wearing a dress, though St George may have thrown the match.
  • Explorer, soldier and all-around Renaissance Man Sir Richard Francis Burton studied swordfighting with the same enthusiasm he pursued his many other areas of expertise. He wrote A New System of Sword Exercise for Infantry as well as his uncompleted The Book of the Sword.
  • George S Patton was the first United State Army soldier designated as "Master of the Sword." He innovated the military's swordfighting techniques, redesigned the Army's saber (giving us the Patton saber), and taught his techniques to other officers, including his superiors.
  • Hollywood swordmaster Bob Anderson. Chances are, if there was a swordfight in a film during his 50 years in action, he probably choreographed it. Star Wars, Highlander, The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings, Scaramouche, that's all him. He also served as a stunt double in many scenes he choreographed, filling in for the actors in wide shots or with his face obscured. He passed away at the age of 89 while teaching fencing to actors for The Hobbit.
  • Jean Baptiste le Perche Du Coudray was a French fencing master of the 1600s. He was considered the first "modern" fencer, emphasizing the importance of the riposte.
  • Isao Machii holds world records for a number of iaido stunts, including "most martial arts sword cuts to one mat (suegiri)," "fastest 1,000 martial arts sword cuts," "most sword cuts to straw mats in three minutes," and "fastest tennis ball (708 km/h) cut by sword." He can also cut airsoft BBs out of the air.
  • The tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh is remembered as a master of śastravidyā, the Sikh "knowledge of the sword." He was the Guru who introduced the mandate that all Sikhs carry a Kirpan, a curved sword, on their person at all times.
  • Alasdair Mac Colla was a Scottish master swordsman who is thought to have invented the Highland charge, the Scottish tactic of sprinting into English musket lines to hack the soldiers apart with broadswords before they could affix their bayonets.
  • William Machrie was known as "Judge and Arbitrator of all who make any publick Trial of Skill in the Noble Art of the Sword, within the Kingdom of Scotland" in the 17th and early 18th centuries.
  • As a very credible crossover with Badass Bookworm, René Descartes was a noted duelist (and, amusingly enough, dualist). Descartes' 17th century biographer Adrien Baillet recounts that the philosopher studied fencing in Paris, might have written a now-lost treatise on the art, and fought a duel with a man over a woman. He is said to have disarmed the man and spared him so as not to upset the lady in dispute.
  • George Silver was a 17th century gentleman and fencing master who championed the English system of swordsmanship. He heavily criticized Italian rapier fencing and wrote his own system focusing on the backsword, Brief Instructions on my Paradoxes of Defence, that was used centuries later to train soldiers in the Boer War.
  • Alfred Hutton was a Victorian military officer who was regarded as the best fencer in the British military from a young age. He helped improve fencing techniques in the army and popularize the revival of historical fencing.
  • Pietro Monte was an Italian fencing master and instructor who was described as "the true and only master of every form of trained strength and agility." None other than Leonardo da Vinci consulted him when working out the calculation of trajectory.
  • Baba Deep Singh is a hallowed Sikh martyr and a ferocious swordsman who, at the age of 75, is said to have personally led a defense of the Golden Temple. Both versions of the legend have him continuing to fight after being mortally wounded in the head. In one version of the tale, he fought with his severed head in his off-hand. His enormous Khanda sword is considered a holy relic.
  • Donald McBane was regarded as the best swordsman of his century. A career soldier, he participated in over two dozen battles and fought over 100 private duels. He also fought 37 times as a gladiator at London bear gardens against notable fencers of the era. He is now remembered for his colorful memoirs, The Expert Sword-Man's Companion, which provided the basis for Scottish fencing.
  • James Figg, best known as one of the fathers of modern bare-knuckle boxing and the first English champion, was also a skilled swordsman who fought a number of duels in the bear gardens of London.

Alternative Title(s): The Swordmaster, Master Swordswoman, Master Swordsmen

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