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Reverse Grip

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Also known as "icepick" grip, this means holding the grip of a dagger, a sword, a katana or whatever so that the business end points the direction opposite to the thumb, in contrast to the usual point-up or "saber" grip.

There are advantages with this style of wielding a knife, namely that it facilitates certain grappling maneuvers (you can use the blade as a hook to assist in maneuvering the enemy, or to inflict damage during a grapple), defensive maneuvers (you can lay the blade against your forearm and let that take the blow of a heavier weapon instead of your wrist), allows for more powerful downwards and inwards strikes, allows for extreme angles of attack at extremely close range, and has sometimes been viewed as more intuitive (and thus easier to learn and apply) than the regular grip. That said, the wielder's reach is reduced compared to a forward grip, and it makes direct thrusts from below more difficult. Both point up and point down have their uses, and one may quickly switch between grips.

The reasons for using a reverse grip vary, depending on the character and work. The grip might be a tactical choice to facilitate blocking, grappling, slicing, downward stabbing motions or any combination thereof. It might be used in conjunction with Dual Wielding to provide a more diverse range of strikes. It might be the most convenient grip to use on a weapon that is drawn quickly. It might be used to indicate that the user is a hardened or experienced killer. Of course, it also simply looks cool.

The use of a sword in reverse grip takes the cool factor one step further, making for an exotic display of slicing in a figure of eight with a swimming motion of the arm and wrist. It can also be combined with spinning or dual wielding; a character with two swords can hold either one or both of them in reverse grip. Perhaps this is supposed to be the secret technique unknown to all those chumps who swing their sword the usual way. In reality this is Cool, but Inefficient. Biomechanical limitations as well as the different nature of how swords are used in fighting cause the reverse sword gripper to lose reach, cutting power, ability to parry or exert leverage in the bind, and ability to protect the sword hand. Admittedly there are useful historical techniques that involve reversing one's grip on the sword, but these are more situational and limited in application than what you tend to see in movies. See the Analysis page for details.

Related to Gangsta Style, with the difference beyond weapon types used being that the Reverse Grip can actually be practical if used in the right context.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Many ninja in Naruto hold kunai in this position, generally for melee combat.
    • Asuma Sarutobi's and later Shikamaru Nara's trench knife-style "chakra blades" are designed to be used this way.
    • Post-timeskip, Sasuke holds his sword very often this way.
  • Kensei Muguruma of Bleach does this, most prominently in the chapters where Ichigo is battling his inner Hollow. Appropriately, the shikai form of Kensei's zanpakuto is a bowie knife.
  • Alita/Falis from Murder Princess does the katana+wakizashi variety and switches from saber-grip to reverse-grip and back all the damn time with ease.
  • In Gekiganger 3 they used the Gekigan Sword this way against a ninja-like robot once.
  • Kadaj of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children does this with a double bladed (as in the blades are side-by-side) katana, despite the fact that this would be incredibly difficult in Real Life. He gets away with it, though, thanks to the Rule of Cool.
  • Kaku of One Piece occasionally uses Reverse Grip Dual Wielding on a pair of katana. Also "Bohemian Knight" Doma who reverse-grips a saber in each hand. His fighting style seems to center around defeating opponents from behind him.
    • Admiral Fujitora also wields his Sword Cane this way when in battle and appears to use it to control his Gravity Master powers.
  • Caldina from Magic Knight Rayearth favors this style when she's not just manipulating her foes into offing themselves.
  • Digimon:
  • Integra Hellsing reveals just how badass she can be by facing an army of vampires holding her saber in a reverse grip.
  • Aoshi Shinomori from Rurouni Kenshin normally grips his kodachi the standard way, but will switch to a reverse grip for his Finishing Move.
    • Enishi Yukishiro reverse-grips his Chinese sword for his Finishing Move.
  • Kallen Kozuki and Li Xingke from Code Geass actually have their Humongous Mecha hold their blades this way.
  • This is the usual grip for Lupin III's Goemon Ishikawa XIII.
  • Old Man Fuu, Ling Yao's manservant from Fullmetal Alchemist, wields his sword this way. He is, after all, a ninja-like character, despite being from a nation that's an Expy of China rather than Japan.
  • Take a look at the standard cover for Princess Mononoke. Either Ashitaka has the strongest wrists in the world, or things will become very unfortunate, very quickly.
  • Rival player Yuujirou Kai in The Prince of Tennis plays normal-grip right-handed at first, but reveals he is actually Reverse Grip LEFT-handed during his match with Kikumaru.
  • Ryougi Shiki of The Garden of Sinners often switches her grip several times over the course of a fight, and at one point even throws her knife from a reverse grip.
    • Similarly, Tohno Shiki from Tsukihime (Same universe, no relation, though similar names intentional due to similar powers) sometimes reverses the grip on his knife. This is actually a sign his Nanaya side is taking over.
  • Kureha from Tokkô usually wields her twin daggers with a reverse grip.
  • Death the Kid from Soul Eater wields his dual pistols reversed. Yes, he pulls the trigger with his pinky.
  • In the Fate/stay night movie, Shirou switches between several grips while fighting Archer, including reverse grip on one and two blades.
  • Meanwhile, in Fate/Zero, there's a brief but cool moment where Saber does this against Lancer during their second duel.
  • Akira of Togainu no Chi holds his knife like this whenever he's fighting.
  • Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo: Fumio Kirisaki does this, as the series' title indicates, with a chainsaw.
  • Gundam characters will on occasion use this style, and it's usually a mark of extreme skill on the part of the pilot, since the MS's are usually designed to wield their swords normally. Users include Anavel Gato during his mid-show duel with Kou, and the Gundam AGE-1 Spallow, which does this by default. Mu la Flaga (in the Perfect Strike) is also shown using this method during the Eyecatch.
  • In Attack on Titan Lance Corporal Levi does this with the sword he holds in his right hand when he utilizes his Spin Attack technique. This style comes in handy toward the end of the series, after he loses all the fingers besides his ring and pinky finger on his left hand. He picks up his blade in his typical reverse grip, with his remaining fingers on the trigger of the blade, and says, "Two fingers is all I need."
  • In Battle Angel Alita, Alita wields a pair of elbow-mounted Damascus-style swords during her Motorball career, making it a cross between this and Blade Below the Shoulder. After she leaves Motorball, she keeps the reforged single blade wrapped in cloth in her apartment until she discovers Ido has been kidnapped by Desty Nova. When she is blown up by a doll bomb at the end of the original manga, it is assumed to be lost forever, along with Alita. In Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Desty Nova integrates the heavily damaged blades into her new Imaginos body, allowing her to summon one for each arm at will.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, whenever Ash's Froakie/Frogadier/Greninja uses Cut attack, he creates two blades that he holds this way. Perhaps he studied with Ahsoka Tano.

    Comic Books 
  • Cutter in ElfQuest uses his short curved sword New Moon in a reverse grip to slash his opponents. Panel 5 of this page from #15 of the original series (WARNING: violent battle scene) is the first time we see him use this technique note 
  • The ninjas from Empowered also do it this way.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Blind swordspig Zato-Ino typically holds his sword this way.
  • Drax the Destroyer tends to favor this grip. Given that he fights with knives instead of something longer (and that he isn't overall very concerned with avoiding getting hit, being a Stone Wall), it suits him.
  • In one short story of The Punisher, Frank provides a running commentary of one of the many fights he's involved in as part of his job, and one of the goons tries to stab him by wielding a knife in this fashion. Frank prefers to call this stance "the Anthony Perkins" for obvious reasons and labels the guy a complete amateur for using it (or at least for charging blindly while doing it).

    Fan Works 
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, one of the new Pokémon Ash catches that he didn't have in the original timeline is a Farfetch'd (a Kantonian one, unlike the Galarian one he'd eventually catch in canon) whose fighting style revolves about wielding three leeks at once, one in each wing and the third on the beak. He's often depicted wielding the left leek this way.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This grip is favored by Zatoichi, which makes sense since it saves him the trouble of changing his grip on his walking stick.
  • John Preston absolutely owns everyone when he switches his katana(s) to Reverse Grip in Equilibrium. Word of God says that this was a Shout-Out to Zatoichi.
  • Bride vs Copperhead in Kill Bill, where the Bride uses the reverse grip.
  • Halle Berry in Die Another Day, but only while Dual Wielding, and only with her off-hand.
  • Both hero and villain hold their knives this way in the climactic fight of the film Under Siege.
  • Conan the Barbarian does this sometimes, usually as part of a combination, but only for an attack or two before he switches back.
  • In Dragonheart, Bowen briefly uses Dual Wielding two broadswords, holding one in a reverse grip.
  • 12 Angry Men uses the trope as a point of contention between the jury. Allegedly the accused stabbed downwards into the victim using the reverse grip. However, Juror #5, who is from the slums, says that nobody who has experience in knife fights would ever use that grip with a switchblade: you have to hold the grip with your thumb on top to trigger the blade, and it would be suicide to pause for a second to change your grip in a fight.
  • The Raid: The protagonist, Rama, is an absolute beast with a KA-BAR, switching between forward and Reverse Grip as he carves a gory swathe through hordes of goons.
  • Avatar: Colonel Quaritch holds a knife not only in reverse grip, but with the edge towards the arm, too. While in a three-meter-tall suit of Powered Armour.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick, this is how the eponomous Anti-Hero holds his blades.note 
  • Rey in the Star Wars films The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi alternates between using her lightsaber this way and a standard grip, which is actually Justified, since she's used to fighting with a Martial Arts Staff (where she would be using a standard and reverse grip simultaneously).
  • Used in Hero (2002) several times, both by the Nameless Hero and Broken Sword.
  • In Faster, The Rock's character wields an icepick against a man with a larger knife. Ironically, it's The Rock who flips his weapon into reverse grip.
  • This grip was also used by Mitsu in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, with a small dagger. Blink and you'll miss it, but it really helps cement the character.
  • The uncle in Bunraku holds one of his sushi knives this way when he fights.
  • Conan does this fairly frequently in Conan the Barbarian (2011). At one point he dual-wields longswords, both in reverse grip.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Psycho: The iconic shower scene features the killer stabbing downward with a reverse grip on a kitchen knife. The many parodies of this scene always include the reverse grip.
  • The punk that tries to fight Hub in Secondhand Lions starts the fight with his switchblade in a reverse grip. Hub beats him up a bit and knocks the knife out of his hand, then hands it back to him after suggesting he try a more traditional grip. The punk still gets beaten up.
  • Starting with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort starts wielding his wand in various showy ways in a version of this trope.

  • Averted in Discworld, where professional killers think the dramatic, overarm backstabbing gesture favored by newspaper illustrators is much less preferable to the underarmed stab that goes under the ribcage and through the heart.
    "The way to a man's heart was through his stomach."
  • H. Beam Piper's Paratime: In The Last Enemy, Verkan Vall picks a knife duel and blinks in astonishment when he notices his opponent using this style. After killing the fellow — "Only eight seconds from the time you closed with him" — Vall, who learned knife-fighting from pirates, remarks that he feels like a murderer of children; evidently Piper didn't think much of the Reverse Grip.
  • There is a lightsaber combat style based on Reverse Grip in the Star Wars Expanded Universe and Legends called Reverse Shien, as it's a variant of Form V. This grip allowed the user to perform long, sweeping strikes to take down several enemies at a time, whipping the blade forward with the movement of throwing a punch. This variation was rarely seen and a matter of controversy among lightsaber masters due to its unorthodox nature. It is seen, for example, in Stackpole's I, Jedi and used by several EU characters, including Adi Gallia, Galen Marek, and Ahsoka Tano. Vader might also be accomplished in this style, considering that he taught the latter two. The style described in I, Jedi is a two-handed variant, with one hand on the grip and the other grasping the pommel, allowing the wielder to lever the blade around by its end using the grip hand as a fulcrum.
  • Abbie Hoffman, in a section of Steal This Book focusing on knives, advocates against using this grip:
    "Having seen too many Jim Bowies slash their way through walls of human flesh, they persist in carrying on this inane tradition. Overhead and uppercut slashes are a waste of energy and blade power. The correct method is to hold the knife in a natural, firm grip and jab straight ahead at waist level with the arm extending full length each time. This fencing style allows for the maximum reach of arm and blade. By concentrating the point of the knife directly at the target, you make defense against such an attack difficult."
    • Prison's Bloody Iron by Harold Jenks and Michael Brown argues otherwise, pointing out that such a grip makes it easier to hold on to the knife, essential when blood is flying and your opponent is close enough to grapple with you.
  • Tortall Universe: Aly from the Trickster's Duet usually holds one knife in Reverse Grip and the other normally.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga never goes into exact detail about the technique involved in "the two swords", a relic of Barrayar's Time of Isolation used for duelling, but it's probably the sword-and-parrying dagger type of Dual Wielding so this trope likely crops up sometimes.
  • Warhammer 40,000, Gaunt's Ghosts:
    • The knife technique of the Tanith First-And-Only has "the blade descending from the fist and tilted in towards [the] body".
    • In the first novel, Gaunt is attacked by an assassin wielding a switchblade capable of instantly switching between "forward" and reverse grip.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • The sword form "Heron Wading in the Rushes" has the sword held reversed over the head, while standing on one leg. According to the main character's teacher, it's good for practicing balance and getting yourself killed. Used (at the end of the book it was introduced in) as sort of a weaponized Taking You with Me or My Death Is Just the Beginning: by exposing himself to lethal damage, Rand gets his opponent to over-commit and thus expose himself to lethal damage.
    • The get yourself stabbed to get the enemy move is called "Sheathing the Sword". As Lan but it: "There will come a time when you must achieve a goal at all costs. It may come in attack or in defense. And the only way will be to allow the sword to be sheathed in your own body... when the price is worth the gain, and there is no other choice left to you. That is called Sheathing the Sword. Remember it."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Frequently employed by Duncan McLeod in Highlander with his katana. Used at least once with a regular sword.
  • Richard does this quite often in Legend of the Seeker. In the books, he's occasionally mentioned as doing this with his off-hand dagger.
  • Super Sentai:
  • Masato Kusaka, Kamen Rider Kaixa of Kamen Rider 555, does it mostly by necessity, since his sword blade extends from the butt of his gun. There are a few times he flips the weapon around and wields the sword in a normal grip, such as an instance where Takumi was incapacitated and Kusaka was preparing to murder him.
  • In Supernatural, Sam and Dean often hold flashlights like this, for reasons described in the "Real Life" section of this page.
  • In the third episode of Stargate SG-1, Carter fights the Space Mongol chieftain with her combat knife in a reverse grip.
  • Eliot from Leverage demonstrates the difference between cooking and combat:
    Hold a knife like this (places knife blade-down on cutting board), slice an onion. Hold a knife like this (switches to Reverse Grip), slice through like, eight Yakuza in four seconds.
  • An important plot point in one episode of Quincy, M.E.. From the angle of the knife wound, Quincy could tell that the murderer stabbed his victim using such a grip. This cast doubt on their prime suspect, because their prime suspect had been in the Army and military people are taught to stab upward, with their knife in a forward grip.
  • Mulder and Scully more often or not held their flashlights in this manner on The X-Files. See "Real Life" below for an explanation why.
  • On The Walking Dead (2010), Daryl Dixon can often be seen holding his knife in this grip when facing off with zombies.
  • In the first episode of The Witcher (2019), Geralt fights Renfri and her gang holding his longsword like this.
  • When Kerra in Britannia is ambushed by Regni, she fights them off with her sword held like this.
  • After being disarmed of her primary lightsaber, Ahsoka Tano switches to her signature reverse grip style with her offhand lightsaber in The Mandalorian chaper 13.

  • Richard and Roland of Sonic Syndicate occasionally held their microphones in reverse grip.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In GURPS: Martial Arts holding a weapon this way makes certain attacks more effective and others more difficult. It's most effective with knives and tonfas.
  • The Red Mantis Assassins in Pathfinder are noted as Dual Wielding both their sawtooth sabres in Reverse Grip, in emulation of mantis claws.
  • The original model for Drazhar, Master of Blades, a Dark Eldar special character in Warhammer 40,000, did this with two swords.

  • 12 Angry Men: The murderer used a reverse grip on a switchblade to kill the victim. The defendant's experience with knife-fighting is used as evidence against him. However, one of the jurors is familiar with switchblades and states that street toughs like the defendant never use those in a reverse grip.

    Video Games 
  • Corvo of Dishonored uses a reverse grip when he's in sneak mode, using his sword for stealth kills from behind. When he stands up straight, he holds the blade by the hilt.
  • Vader's apprentice Starkiller does it in The Force Unleashed and Soulcalibur IV with a lightsaber. While still not wholly practical, this is probably one of the best opportunities to use it since it's an omni-directional blade.
    • It's worth noting that in some situations he does adopt a regular grip, probably to get over the range handicap that reverse-gripping can produce. In Soulcalibur IV he always holds his saber with a reverse grip for his entire moveset.
  • Imperial Agents in Star Wars: The Old Republic use their vibroknives in a reverse grip. However, their primary weapons are their blaster rifles - their vibroknives are only pulled out at close range with the purpose of stabbing and are quickly placed back.
  • Vyse in Skies of Arcadia uses two swords. He holds the sword in his right hand the proper way, while holding the sword in his left hand by the hilt in a reverse grip. Vyse justifies this in-universe by saying that the second sword is used for defending.
  • Twin Blades in .hack//G.U., as well as the original four games, always usually hold their blades like this; Sora from .hack//SIGN averts this standard by using a pair of katars.
    • In the games, the blades come in x general variants. A rough description of each would be daggers, katars, bladed shields, and claws. The daggers are held in a reverse grip, while every other weapon fits over the hand and wrist. Most Twin Blade weapons are daggers, and it is considered their "iconic" weapon. The purpose, in any case, is so that the character model can quickly go from a resting position to an attack strike, rather than having to raise its arm for leverage, like every other class. It's part of their Lightning Bruiser motif.
  • Ayame from Tenchu uses her daggers in this fashion. The prequel indicates that she started off using a reverse grip in one hand and a forward grip in the other before switching to a double-reverse grip later on.
  • Used in Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, for the 'Avan Slash' attack and other based on it. Dai does this with knives, short swords and BFS alike.
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • Grey Fox holds his katana this way.
    • Snakes (as in Solid [Old] and Naked [Big Boss]) hold their CQC blades this way, but that makes sense as it's in their off hand and it's basically dual-wielding, but with a firearm in the strong hand. Big Boss actually talks about it in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater when he's whittling the grip on his shiny new 1911.
  • Guilty Gear:
    • Baiken does this with her katana (which is her main weapon — she doesn't have an offhand weapon because she only has one arm, but she stuffs a lot of weapons in her other sleeve Inspector Gadget style). In her case, however, it's partly out of practicality and partly out of habit - she lost her right arm, which was most likely her dominant arm. Considering the weapons crammed into her right sleeve, a sheath there might get in the way, and so she wears it on the left, usually drawing it in a reverse grip because that would be the easiest way to draw it when the arm and sheath are on the same side. Of course, some of her fancier Rule of Cool steps in.
    • Can't bring up Guilty Gear without mentioning Sol's fighting style, too. According to Word of God, the way he holds his sword is based on Freddie Mercury's way with a mic stand.
    • Or Ragna's.
  • When playing for the Lotus Clan in Battle Realms, Blade Acolytes dual-wield their swords this way.
  • The Dragon dagger is the only weapon to be wielded that way in RuneScape, all other daggers are wielded normally.
  • Most classes in Project Reality that aren't able to mount a bayonet on their main weapon will usually still carry a knife, and will often wield it this way when using it.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Krauser in Resident Evil 4 holds his knife this way. Justified as he's clearly had military service (U.S. SOCOM). He also defies part of this trope in that, in his knife-fight with Leon (who usually uses a sabre grip), he didn't win. The fight was also something of a showcasing of various knife grips, seeing as they both switched from one grip to another so many times.
    • Jill held her knife in a reverse grip in the original 1996 title.
  • In Diablo II, all dagger-class weapons are wielded in Reverse Grip, thus distinguishing them from swords.
  • In the Final Fantasy series, dual wielded daggers are very commonly seen in the hands of thief and ninja characters and classes.
    • Zidane Tribal of Final Fantasy IX was possibly the first one, though the dual wielding part was purely visual.
    • The Thief Dressphere in Final Fantasy X-2
    • In Final Fantasy XI, "katana" (which are actually ninja-to, kunai, and wakazashi) are always held like this. Naturally, the one class that gets skill in these weapons is Ninja, and it quickly gains access to Dual Wielding capability.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, Judge Magister Gabranth holds the smaller of his two blades, Highway Star, in this manner when he splits his weapon in two. Which is odd, because the artwork (particularly the iconic logo) depicts him wielding both blades in a standard grip. The player obtained Ninja Sword weapon type are all wielded this way by all six party members as well.
    • The Rogue class and Ninja job in Final Fantasy XIV. The /changepose command, when used by a male as a Samurai with the katana drawn, will perform some Weapon Twirling and then idle with the katana in a reverse grip; it's performed by a hired blade in one of the job quests, who is styled as a samurai. Your job tutor immediately points out that it's no way to hold a katana.
    • Ignis and Noctis will at times wield daggers this way when equipped in Final Fantasy XV but they will also flip them to a standard grip just as frequently.
    • Rem Tokimiya in Final Fantasy Type-0 though she's more of a mage type than a thief type.
    • Locke Cole in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT uses a pair of daggers this way in contrast to the single dagger he normally uses in other appearances.
  • Hawkeye from Trials of Mana holds his two daggers in a backhanded fashion when fighting.
  • Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles 1. She holds her knives this way, paired with Dual Wielding. Although she changes her weapon of choice after she is turned into a Robot Girl.
  • Jyuji Kabane from Gungrave: Overdose deserves a special mention as he dual-wields gun-katanas in reverse grip, thereby making him an automatic badass. He also happens to be an undead, blind swordsman with a penchant for fire, but that's....
  • Call of Duty:
    • Knives in every game starting with Modern Warfare can only be used in this way. In earlier games it could be interpreted that the reasoning is for a quicker draw. Call of Duty: Black Ops added a ballistic knife that could have its blade shot out to kill enemies at range, which would be harder to aim properly in a normal grip, but then its sequel lets you forgo a primary or secondary weapon and just use a knife all the time, which is also held in this manner just because.
    • Humorously enough, in World at War's American Marine campaign, failing the quick-time prompt when assaulted by a charging Japanese soldier results in the poor Marine getting a bayonet rammed through his chest, his hand (holding a knife in normal grip) slumping over to his side as he dies. If you succeed, he'll knock the bayonet aside just in time to get a stab in his attacker's neck, with the knife held in reverse grip. Being cool saves lives, people.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Pit and Dark Pit can split their bows into two swords. They hold one normally, while the other is held like this in order to speed up the reattaching process.
    • From Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U onward Roy was changed to hold his sword in reverse grip for many of his attacks, in an attempt to declone him (and eventually declone his Echo Fighter Chrom indirectly in Ultimate) and make his Sword of Seals look heavier than Marth and Lucina's Falchions.
    • Joker wields his knife this way when in idle and for most of his close-quarter slicing attacks. Its also lets him indulge in showy Weapon Twirling when he switches grips for particular attacks.
    • Sephiroth holds his katana Masamune this way when he's not using it, mainly because it's so long that it would stick out awkwardly if he held it any other way.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In Assassin's Creed Altair holds the short blade like this. Appropriately, the short blades are slightly better than long swords when surrounded by multiple enemies, drastically reducing the times needed to parry blows, dodge, and counterattack (the downside being less base damage).
    • His descendant Ezio Auditore follows in his footsteps with his own short blades. He actually draws and replaces them from his belt in a standard grip, then flips it over in the transition to his fighting stance.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Ven wields his Keyblade like this. While his starting blade is designed with this in mind, with the grip offset from the shaft, all of his other blades are standard, straight Keyblades.
    • Saïx wields his claymore in a reverse grip.
    • And in 358/2 Days's Mission mode, secret character Sora flips to a reverse grip for the last hit of his ground combo when wielding the Dream Sword.
    • Sora in general is prone to this since the very first game, with Zantetsuken. It carries with his Drive forms sometimes granting him a second Keyblade that he held in a reverse grip, serving as foreshadowing the fact Sora's heart houses Ventus' heart. He also temporarily uses Riku's Keyblade in an RG OUTSIDE of a Drive during the final battle.
    • In Riku's final cutscene prior to the True Final Boss in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], he does this to break free from Ansem-SoD, who was sitting on top of him: he "un-summons" his Keyblade, only to re-summon it immediately, only backwards, in order to swing it upwards.
    • Mulan in the Land of Dragons also holds her sword in a reverse grip after abandoning her disguise as Ping, where she used the standard grip instead.
    • Kingdom Hearts III shows that Lea wields his new Keyblade in an unorthodox way, wielding it by the hand guard, in a manner reminiscent of his chakrams.
  • The Spy from Team Fortress 2 uses standard grip when attacking normally, but switches to Reverse Grip when Back Stabbing. Despite the fact that a reversed blade would be harder for actually stabbing someone other than in the back of the neck, the effect is actually designed for player convenience. Since taking a swing with the knife drops the spy's disguise effect, the animation of turning the knife indicates "if you swing now, you'll get your backstab". A handy tool for novice spies not yet used to the exact of their melee weapon yet. Experienced spies learn to fire off the stab within frames of the animation starting. Though the Spy does a backstabbing motion without the grip reversal when he performs a Critical Hit, except there are two limitations to this: the attack isn't insta-kill and the Spy's knives cannot perform a Critical Hit naturally.
  • Knife-wielders in the Fire Emblem games, or at least Sothe and Volke, appear to wield their knives this way in combat.
    • Though in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance it appears to be limited to the Thief class, as Volke switches to a much more relaxed forward grip.
    • There are no knives in Fire Emblem: Awakening, so all classes that would normally utilize knives use swords instead. Units in these classes hold their swords in a reverse-grip, which looks rather awkward (holding a long-bladed weapon in this fashion doesn't seem very comfortable or effective). Ironically, while Roy doesn't use the grip in his game, many of his attacks in Super Smash Bros for 3DS/Wii U has him swing his sword this way.
    • Zig-zagged Fire Emblem Fates, which brings the daggers back, but includes them with shurikens as "Hidden weapons". When the Nohrian Butler or Maid class uses them, they use them in a standard grip wherein they slash with them. But when the Hoshidan ninjas use them, they hold them in a reverse grip and slash or stab (Depending on the animation.)
    • Knives don't exist as weapons in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but those with the Assassin class will hold their sword like this.
  • More Soulcalibur fun. Taki carried two ninjato into battle; her primary seemed to be held conventionally, while her secondary, on the rare occasion it's used, is held this way. In addition, in Soul Calibur 3 you could give the 'Wave Sword' skill set to a generic character; these were twin swords used normally that just curved around the wielder's hands like a basket hilt then continued downwards.
  • Samurai Shodown's Nakoruru seems to use this form often. It also applies to Cham Cham; even though it's a giant boomerang, when she holds it in paw and swings it, it's done this way. Starting with the 3rd game, Ukyo Tachibana holds his sword this way for several of his attacks, usually strong normal sword strikes. Sogetsu Kazama also uses it, mainly in his standing strong slash. In Warrior's Rage though, this is a standard for Haito Kanakura.
  • The Bard from The Bard's Tale can learn to dual wield a sword with a dagger, holding the latter backwards.
  • The Crowmaster enemies in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within are seen wielding scimitars in a reverse grip.
    • The Prince in Prince of Persia (2008) shifts his scimitar into this position when in a defensive/blocking stance.
  • Garland wields his sword this way in Dissidia Final Fantasy. It makes sense considering that said sword probably weighs more than him, armour and all. There's no way even he could wield it the normal way.
  • Lancelot (or Shadow) does this in Sonic and the Black Knight, with a freaking sword that's as TALL AS HIMSELF. WITH ONE HAND.
  • Tatsumaru from Tenchu 2.
  • Nero from Devil May Cry 4 uses a RG for his launcher move, compared to Dante's standard grip. Dante also switches to RG when using his Drive shockwave move.
  • In Phantasy Star Online and Universe, all daggers are held with a reverse grip.
    • Rare ones, at least. The generic photon daggers have the blade come out the top, and actually circle around the knuckles so that they're effectively wielded reverse style.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 6, Gan Ning holds his two daggers with a reverse grip.
  • In Halo, the Spartans from Halo: Reach onward do this with their assassination knives. ALL the time. Even in midair.
  • Edge of Final Fantasy IV does this in the DS remake after you've input a command but before he's done it, as well as his artwork for The After Years.
  • Kotaro from Sengoku Basara holds his ninja-to like this. In the anime, the one time Sasuke is shown wielding a katana, he holds both the sword and its sheath this way, so he can effectively dual wield.
  • In Dragon Age II, "Reversed Grip" is an advanced Dual Wielding technique (unlike in the first game, dual-wielding is only possible with daggers in part two).
  • Titus and Tactical Marines in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine use the reverse grip when wielding the Bolt Pistol and Combat Knife.
  • While Yosuke of Persona 4 uses a standard grip with his weapons, he switches to reverse when summoning his persona.
  • In Darksiders II, Death dual wields his scythes this way. Scythes already have extremely short range, but then again, he's friggin' Death!
  • The Visual Novel for Phantom Of Inferno has Ein train Zwei in using a reverse grip fighting style with combat knives, the logic behind it being that the length of the blade doesn't lend itself to a traditional grip. The style she trains him in revolves around using the the blade to deflect any swipes or stabs from an enemy in order to create an opening to be exploited.
  • In Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, Kasumi and Ayane wield their weapons this way. Kasumi with her katana, and Ayane with her two wakizashi.
  • Ethian women (or player characters, at least) in Rift.
  • Frank Fly's battle sprite in EarthBound has a knife in both hands, with the left one in the reverse grip. Due to the constraints of the battle system, how this benefits him is never actually shown.
  • A number of dagger-type weapons in Warframe use this grip, such as the Ceramic Dagger and Dual Ether Daggers.
    • According to Geoff Crookes, the Animation Director of the development team behind Warframe, the Blind Justice stance mod applied to Nikanas (aka Katanas) is based on the reverse grip fighting style practiced by the fictional Japanese swordsman Zatōichi. The name of the stance also alludes to Zatōichi's blindness.
  • Dust: An Elysian Tail has the titular Dust holding his sword in a reverse grip when out of combat, but during combat can swap to a normal or double-handed grip as needed.
  • Ken Ryugasaki's mecha in Genocide 2: Master of the Dark Communion is holding its sword in a reverse grip instead the normal grip from the previous game. It's not just for looks though, as you can block some attacks by holding the attack button while standing or crouching.
  • Bloodborne has Threaded Cane, when you are wielding it in transformed mode, you are essentially carrying a whip in reverse grip.
  • In Hyrule Warriors, Ghirahim holds his sword this way when running, but flips it the right way around for attacking.
  • In Dynasty Warriors Gundam: 3, the Knight Gundam holds his sword normally, but during a few attack animations, he will let go of his sword and change his grip midair, performing a strike that way.
  • Employed by Cassima in King's Quest VI. When Al-Hazred duels Alexander, Cassima contributes to the fight by sneaking up on Al-Hazred and stabbing him right in the shoulder.
  • Colet in Jeanne d'Arc wields his dagger in a reverse grip.
  • Stealth Elf in Skylanders.
  • Shaco in League of Legends.
  • The standard pocket knife in Cry of Fear can be switched between a standard grip and a reverse grip at the press of a button. Reverse-grip is more powerful, but slower than swinging it normally.
  • All assassins in Iji wield their laser blade this way. Assassin Asha carries this over to SlapCity.
  • In Sleeping Dogs (2012), Wei uses kitchen knives like this when picking them up in random fights.
  • Street Fighter has it's ninja girl Ibuki, who does this as part of a win pose in Street Fighter V and her generic point introduction in Street Fighter X Tekken.
  • In Guild Wars 2, daggers are held in reverse grip regardless of profession and regardless if the weapon is held in the main hand or the offhand.
  • All the flashlight-wielding characters in Song of Horror use them in tactical (icepick) grip. One is a police officer and another is a security alarm technician, but an arts student and a publishing firm employee also do it.
  • In Ultima VIII, the Avatar always wields daggers with a reverse grip, not only during combat, but even in his picture in the status window.
  • Seth from Under Night In-Birth wields his Eliminators in this way.

    Web Animation 
  • Animator Vs. Animation's "Monster School" episode has the Skeleton, who can't shoot a bow to save his own life. When Red secretly flips his bow backwards, he ends up being better at aiming and holds his bow that way from there on out.

  • Kit from Fey Winds holds one of her swords with a normal grip, and the other reversed.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, as well as in its sequel, many firebenders apply an aggressive combat style using "fire daggers" which they wield as if holding real daggers with reverse grip.
  • Rayla in The Dragon Prince sometimes does this with her twin blades, such as when she fights Runaan in "Moonrise".
  • Samurai Jack holds his sword in his left hand like this, when his right arm is incapacitated in "Jack Tales".
  • Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels uses the reverse grip when wielding her lightsaber, and later includes it in her Dual Wield style, holding either one or both sabers with the grip.
  • Leonardo's incarnation in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) is more prone to holding his swords in reverse than in other series in order to emphasize his speed.

    Real Life 
  • Work-blades such as wood-blades and cooking knives are typically held this way when not in use, specifically because it makes stabbing or cutting things (especially oneself) significantly more difficult and thus less likely to do by accident. Go to any professional kitchen, look for anyone with a knife who is walking rather than standing at a work station, and you'll see this grip, usually with the blade laid along the forearm for extra danger-reduction and control.
    • If you trip over with a knife in reverse grip, the consequences will be considerably less dire. Tripping into someone with a knife in forward grip could eviscerate them. Doing so (accidentally) with a knife in reverse grip is almost impossible. Furthermore, the natural reflex when falling to the ground is to break your fall with your hands, spreading them palm down. This will place the blade of the knife to the outside of your hands, instead of potentially directly under your throat.
  • There is a similar distinction in table tennis: the shakehand grip is the "traditional" grip with the racket's "blade" above the thumb, and the penhold grip is the reverse with the racket's grip pointing upwards, as if it were a pen.
  • Flashlights are often held this way by police and other security and emergency workers. Not only does this bring the beam of the flashlight to eye level and prevents visual obstruction from shadows popping up, it also places the arm, the hand, and the light itself up into a defensive position to protect your head should the need arise. It also allows you to keep your sidearm steady, should you need it: you can rest the wrist across the flashlight arm to keep better control over the weapon and shine the light at the same time, or you can hold it close to your head to also illuminate your sights and keep your usual center of balance. That, and in case the flashlight has to be employed as a weapon, this positioning allows the user to strike with the tail endnote  of a big Maglite-style light, while smaller models can be used as a Yawara-like impact device; particularly nasty when it has a bezel full of teeth and it strikes a Pressure Point. And finally, it's the simplest and most comfortable way to hold a flashlight with a switch on the rear end, especially if you have to bring something up close to your eyes like when reading a map or a book.
  • Some styles of Kung Fu, when using a short knife as a weapon, will teach students to use a backhanded grip. Most techniques from this grip are strikes or jabs with the pommel, rather than blade techniques; it's the defensive techniques that use the blade, and mostly for non-flashy disabling cuts. "Yeah, you're not using that arm without some serious surgery..." The stabbing motion with the backhand grip also uses the same action as the (karate) chop, which lends itself well to open-hand styles.
  • Some swords and daggers / combat knives operate mainly by punching holes into vital organs and arteries. A sword with at least an arm's length allows one to impale another without being touched in return, so it is used in the forward grip maximizing the reach, while using the pommel and crossguard as a secondary weapon against the head up close. A dagger or knife doesn't work at range, and the reverse grip is used to more easily reach the vital spots on the neck and chest in a brawl, as the forward grip results in much less deadly strikes to the gut and legs.
  • The baselard, a popular 14th and 15th century dagger, was commonly welded with a reversed hammerfist grip for a stronger underhand stab.
  • In a street fight or brawl, reverse grip is very efficient for both offense and defense. It allows you to keep your hands up for blocks, while still letting you attack without having to extend your whole arm for a thrust. In addition, if you try to punch someone and whiff, you've still got 4 or 5 inches of sharp steel following your hand to follow up and allow for sweeping slashes.
  • In Cricket, some unorthodox strokes, such as the Reverse Sweep and Reverse Hook, are done by reversing one's grip and swinging the bat in the opposite direction to normal. Glenn Maxwell demonstrates the reverse sweep here.
  • Reverse grip in medieval fighting, as it turns out, is a rather more complex topic than just watching one Lindybeige video conveys.
  • Some riot-control drills call for officers to stow their batons in a reverse grip (held behind the forearm) when not in a direct confrontation. Much like the kitchen-knife example, this is supposed to appear less threatening than waving the baton around, and thus should (at least in theory) help officers to avoid provoking a violent response. It also allows them to keep the weapon handy in case things really do go south, in which case it takes less than a second to shift to a standard grip.
  • The side-handle baton and the Okinawan tonfa it is derived from are designed to be used equally with reverse and forward grips. The reverse grip braces the shaft of the baton against the forearm, protecting the arm and providing a stronger block to incoming strikes. The foreward grip provides more leverage and range when hitting things.
  • Many medieval daggers were designed to be used this way, in an "icepick" fashion. The handle is shaped to help lock the hand in position and transfer more force. Being designed to pierce through chainmail rings, with the edge being just a secondary capability (in some stilettos, almost as an afterthought), that's not surprising.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Backhand Blade


Svetlana and Ada's Fight

While in a fight against Svetlana Belikova, Ada remembers being told that knives were good weapons for close combat. Seeing a knife nearby, she decides to use that advice to try and get the upper hand in the fight.

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