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Telephone Polearm

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The use of extremely long and thick objects as blunt weaponry carried one-handed over the shoulder but swung two-handed in a devastating arc: think telephone poles, street lamps, trees, cabers... Basically, Big Freaking Stick.

Usually an indicator that the wielder has Super-Strength. Usually an Improvised Weapon, often seen directly plucked and lifted.

A Sub-Trope of Batter Up!. See also Improbable Weapon User, Primitive Clubs, Carry a Big Stick, and Epic Flail.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: During Chad's first fight against a Hollow (which he can't even see at the time), he rips a telephone pole out of the ground and sweeps it around until it hits something. This is before he gains any powers whatsoever; he's just that badass.
  • Shizuo Heiwajima of Durarara!! is the page image. He never intends to get in a fight, so when his anger finds a worthy target, he grabs whatever's on the side of the road — most iconically Stop and Yield signs, but he's ripped out safety rails and highway exit markers when he's been exceptionally wrathful.
  • In the Dust Spurt/Wasted Minds miniseries by Rumiko Takahashi, Yura, a psychic with Super-Strength grabs a pole and goes after an enemy agent who saw her strength and called her a "gorilla woman". The agency she works for is strapped for cash and the damages she caused with it led them to ask if she was actually on their side.
  • Fate/Zero: Most Servants summoned for a Holy Grail War have a weapon of choice (or several) called a Noble Phantasm that is part of/inspired by their historic/legendary deeds in their past life and serves as their main means of fighting other Servants. This war's Berserker has the skill Eternal Arms Mastery, which lets him wield any conceivable weapon, however unlikely, as if it were his Noble Phantasm (he does have a 'true' NP, but it's such a colossal resource-hog that he rarely uses it). Among other things, his abilities allow him to use the midsection of a streetlight as a pole-arm to devastating effect against Saber.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • Early in My Hero Academia, during a training exercise, Uraraka uses her zero gravity powers to grab a column ripped from the floor, and uses it to smack a bunch of floating debris at Iida. Appropiately, she calls it "Improvised Special Attack: Home Run Comet!"
  • A Filler Arc in the Naruto anime included a boat trip for the protagonists. When, during an attack, their ship becomes unseaworthy, Sakura rips out its mainmast to use as a giant club. Especially notable in that, until this point in the series, Sakura had done very little in combat that had proven even mildly useful. It could also count as foreshadowing, since after the Time Skip Super-Strength becomes her primary ability and her combat-effectiveness skyrockets.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Ku Fei gets one of these as her signature weapon after her Pactio. It's explicitly based on the Ruyi Jingu Bang from Journey to the West, and consequently its most memorable appearance is when she uses it as artillery support.
  • In One Piece, Urouge wields a giant wood pillar. Word of God states that it's actually a pencil, and he's looking for a sharpener.
  • Within the anime of Ranma ½, Ryōga uproots a concrete utility pole and swings it at Ranma after Nabiki convinces him the pills she gave him grant super-strength.
  • Thorkell in Vinland Saga uses tree-sized sharpened stakes as either melee or ship-sinking ranged weapons.

    Comic Books 
  • A common occurrence in Superhero comics due to the abundance of people with the strength to pull this off. The Thing will often employ this against stronger opponents, especially the the Hulk, to keep his distance while still doing some damage.
  • In one X-Men comic, X-Men are trapped in another dimension and forced to take part in a large battle. Colossus (for who the whole arc is a serious case of It's Personal) goes to battle swinging a tree. The narration lampshades how horrified he would be at the damage if he wasn't so angry.
  • Jason X Special features Jason killing a couple by ripping a tree out of the ground and crushing them with it.
  • Archie Comics: Archie found himself using a lamp post in this manner, though he didn't intend to. When he was confronted by a collection of oily thugs who called him and Jughead "fun on the run," Jughead signaled Archie to turn in his direction, which resulted in the whole gang being poleaxed. He finishes off the leader by landing the head of the post into his stomach, also unintentionally.
  • At one point, The Mighty Thor was being attacked by The Wild Hunt. He led them onto the Brooklyn Bridge, tore a support beam out, and used it as a weapon. Turns out a several-hundred-pound chunk of Cold Iron works rather nicely against The Fair Folk.

    Fan Works 
  • In With Strings Attached, Paul batters his way up the steps to the Heart of Evil while swinging a six-foot length of fallen rock pillar. Does a nice job of clearing off the undead in the way... until he reaches the intangible wraiths.
    • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, Paul does this with a convenient log when a bunch of dirt golems attack him. Unlike other examples of this trope, the log doesn't last very long because he's so strong, and so not-good with his strength, that he rapidly squeezes the log into pieces, though it holds out long enough to take care of the golems. (At least until the guy making them starts making more.)
  • In The Artist and the Faker, Nero uses a lamppost as a club. Archer asks how in the world she's so strong, since she's less than five feet tall and has no visible muscle mass.
  • In Son of the Sannin, during the battle against Kakuzu and Hidan to retake Takigakure, Fu grabs one of the toppled trees scattered around and uses it as a club. She later decides to keep it as her personal weapon of choice, naming it "Arbor-chan".
  • In Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse, an early duel sees Ryoga Hibiki uprooting a coconut palm tree to use as an oversized club against a rival pirate crew, to their incredulity. Word of God is that it's a Mythology Gag referencing the time Ryoga used this trope in the anime.

    Films — Animation 
  • Manfred the mammoth in Ice Age uses a tree trunk against the saber-tooths in the climax of the first film.
  • In Megamind, the titular villain (in a mecha) briefly fences with Titan (who is a flying brick) using light poles.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Lone Wolf: In The Prisoners of Time, the giant Chaos-master uproots a tree and wield it as a club to chase after Lorkon Ironheart, and then to fight Lone Wolf.

  • Done in several Discworld books, usually by Detritus or the Librarian, both of whom are strong enough to improvise clubs from all sorts of improbably large objects (enemy mooks are a favourite).
  • You can tell the giant from The Faerie Queene is a real threat to the likes of St. George and King Arthur because his club is really a tree trunk. Spenser probably borrowed this idea from either ‘’The Aeneid’’ or ‘’The Thebaid’’, where a giant and a half-giant respectively fight with tree trunks.
  • Journey to the West: The Ryui Jingu Bang first appears as a twenty-foot iron pillar in the Dragon King’s treasury. In Sun Wukong’s hands it proves capable of Size Shifting, and shrinks into his signature staff. Being ridiculously strong, he has few problems wielding it at either size.
  • In The Magician's Nephew, when Jadis visits London she rips the sticky-out pole thing provided for the lamplighter to lean his ladder against off a lamp-post and uses it as a club.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ultraman Ace: The titular Ultra have a tendency of grabbing random objects lying around as improvised weapons on enemies, despite having the ability to conjure a katana from thin air at will. He notably rips out an entire cell tower when fighting an alien who's armed with a Flaming Sword, and in one episode he actually challenges a monster to a duel... using uprooted trees as impromptu bats.

  • The video for Otava Yo's Sumetskayanote  shows off the Russian version of this, which involves a strongman and a possibly three-metre length of substantial tree-trunk.

    Myths & Religions 
  • In The Thebaid, Capaneus is so huge that his weapon of choice is a tree trunk that he wields like a club.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Supers (4th edition) has rules for using such polearms, based on their length and how hard it is to hold them in hand.
  • Prometheans in Promethean: The Created can learn a transmutation specializing in making the body stronger, allowing them to pick up objects as though their strength rating was twice what it actually is. A second transmutation lets them use such objects as melee or thrown weapons. (Two further transmutations increase this effect to triple strength — for those times when they really need to hit people with a minivan.)
  • If your 'Mech has hands in BattleTech, you can pick up and use almost anything as a improvised club—this can include pieces of other 'mechs, whole trees, or whatever else you can get your giant metal mits on.
  • Card game Vampire: The Eternal Struggle has combat cards for vampires with Potence (super strength), that range from Thrown Sewer Lid and Thrown Grate to Well-Aimed Car.

    Video Games 
  • The first boss of Balacera Brothers, a gigantic troll who wields a tree like a baseball bat trying to swat the brothers.
  • Conqueror's Blade features some literal polearms which approach telephone-pole proportions:
    • Fortebraccio Pikemen use ridiculously long pikes which are meant to out-reach any and all enemy cavalry lances.
    • In turn, Winged Hussars use similarly long lances to out-reach enemy pikes.
  • In Saints Row 2 the Boss can use various items of scenery as improvised weapons, including street signs.
  • Warcraft:
    • Taurens in Warcraft III use their totems (essentially enormous, decorated logs) like this.
    • The Mountain Giant night elf units can uproot a tree and use it as a club, giving them siege damage and increased range until the tree eventually breaks.
    • The Taunka in World of Warcraft use these totems as well. The Mountain Giants can also use trees as giant clubs. Jojo Ironbrow, after his mighty brow fails to break a jade pillar, starts wielding said pillar as a weapon.
  • In one verse during the sixth chapter in Bayonetta, the titular witch has to swing a streetlamp to kill several angels. In addition to Bayonetta herself having Super-Strength, the choice of Improvised Weapon is justified; this particular verse has Bayo in the human world as opposed to in Purgatorio with the angels she's fighting, and so can't attack them directly, but the environment exists in all realms simultaneously.
  • Crude Buster had this as standard. Larger poles were picked up and thrown while smaller ones were used as clubs. You could also throw cars.
  • Soul Series: Hualin (one of the shopkeepers from Soulcalibur III and a bonus character) uses an enchanted staff that can shift length and thickness to fight, and often shifts it to telephone pole dimensions for stronger attacks. It's based on the staff from Journey to the West, which could change length and width. See also, Goku's Power Pole.
  • 'El Gigante' in Resident Evil 4 can wield a tree at you. Roughly the same thing happens with the Ndesu in Resident Evil 5, only he uses an actual telephone pole this time.
  • Joachim in Shadow Hearts: Covenant uses mailboxes and pillars as his weapons. He loves his Improvised Weapons.
  • Some characters in Freedom Force could rip poles right out of the ground and swing them. You could bring down a building by throwing enough trash cans at it or pounding it with light poles.
  • This is possible in the Hulk video games.
  • The Minotaur enemies in Castlevania: Bloodlines will grab sections of a marble column to swing at you. They'll even break it over your character if the swing connects.
  • Also possible in several Transformers games.
  • In Time Crisis 2, the second stage boss is a huge Scary Black Man who fights you by bear-hugging a nuclear missile by the business end and beating you over the head with it in the second stage of the fight.
  • The Gargantuar from Plants vs. Zombies can use a telephone pole as one of its weapons to instantly smash one of your plants. Sometimes, it may instead use a street sign or even another zombie. In later games, Gargantuars of different variations adapted to different weapons, such as giant torches, sharks, and hammers. Exaggerated with Gargantuar Prime in Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time - its arms are telephone poles!
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3, the Super Mutant Behemoth enemies carry an improvised club consisting of a fire hydrant at the end of a water pipe. It's also larger than any other in-game fire hydrant by a factor of two, making it about as big as the player without the pipe, because the Behemoth was meant to be rather less big. It got changed late in the game by punching up the stats and increasing the size of the model, resulting in the huge hydrant, not to mention the shopping trolley it uses as a backpack being a lot larger than what you'd expect.
    • Fallout: New Vegas also has the super mutant favorite Rebar Club, a trio of steel rebar beams, still attached to a large chunk of concrete. The player can also utilize it to full effect, through it takes a nearly maxed out strength score to make the most of it.
      • The unique version is added in Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC, called Nuka Breaker, which is a Nuka Cola neon sign. This itself is a Shout-Out to Fallout: Nuka Break.
      • Old World Blues has the X2 Antenna, and Lonesome Road has the Old Glory flagstaff.
  • Nexus War allows characters with the Cloak of Steel skill (or its upgraded variations) to do this with telephone poles, streetlamps, and uprooted trees. While it's possible to splatter a maximum-level character in three or four hits this way, such weapons are usually much less accurate than normal-size melee weapons.
  • Karok in Vindictus wields a battle pillar. It isn't improvised, but it's certainly big enough.
  • The larger characters in Power Stone are able to make use of street lights and telephone poles as weapons.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Black and White introduces Timburr, which fights by using a piece of wood that's enormous when compared to it, and it even juggles it on a regular basis. Its evolutions are also examples, but to a lesser extent, though only because they're bigger in comparison: Gurdurr and Conkeldurr, who swing around girders and concrete support beams, respectively.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon: According to legend, thieves once encroached on Tapu Bulu's temple, only to wisely book it in the opposite direction when they were met with the guardian deity swinging trees around as clubs. Unsurprisingly, Tapu Bulu learns the move Wood Hammer.
      • In the anime episode when Ash challenges Tapu Bulu it uproots a tree in the middle of their fight to use as a club. Ash and pikachu have a moment of Stunned Silence as they witness this.
  • Flint gets to use Lighter's four-by-four in Mother 3. That same weapon is later used to knock Flint out. Ouch.
  • Some large creatures in Disciples use ripped out tree trunks as weapons.
  • Trolls in The Battle for Middle-earth can rip out trees to use them as clubs.
  • So has the RuneScape troll Dad, who fights with a tree trunk. A justifiable case, as he's much larger than most other trolls - the average mountain troll is more human-sized and uses weapons like large clubs, hammers, or bones.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires, Meng Huo wields a large stone pillar.
  • One of the weapons in Dark Souls is a club fashioned out of a World Tree branch. Think of that what you will.
  • From the same maker, Armored Core V features, as one of its so-called "Ultimate Weapon", a rocket-powered concrete pillar. As if that's not badass enough, one of the Story mode bosses fashions one out of rubble after being beaten. Befitting its name, getting hit once, and only once, is enough to destroy damn well anything slow enough to get hit.
  • Many weapons available for the City of Heroes Titan Weapon powerset qualify, such as the "Concrete Mallet".
  • Wan Fu's weapon of choice in Samurai Shodown 2 is a stone pillar about as tall as he is.
  • One enemy in the arcade version of Ninja Gaiden wields a spiked log.
  • Doable in the first Darksiders, breaking off the non-straight parts of the pole. Though as it turns out mortal steel can't hold up to the strain the protagonist puts on his weapons and his foes are really too tough to make improvised weapons practical, this isn't good for more than a bit of minor Sequence Breaking before you have a ranged weapon.
  • In Hyrule Warriors, one of Link's special attacks while using the Gauntlets is to pull a huge pillar note  out of the ground, swing it around, then throw it onto the enemies.
  • In Undercover Cops, you can use steel beams and concrete columns as weapons.
  • The Unclean Giant from Darkest Dungeon wields a small tree for a club. Its main attack, Treebranch Smackdown, is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and is easily one of the most damaging attacks from a non-boss. Woe betide thee if it crits, because even a fully healed tank-ish character like the Leper or the Crusader can be sent to Death's Door. Mortality clarified in a single strike, indeed.
  • Mike Shadow: I Paid for It!: Street Weapons Lvl.3 has Mike beat the machine with a street light that he pulls from the ground.
  • Late into Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, the pirate ship Zack is on gets attacked, and its mast falls over in the process. Undeterred, Zack picks up the mast and starts attacking stuff with it. He's a bit slower than usual while holding it, but it doesn't otherwise seem to bother him at all.
  • Gene from God Hand can uproot lamp posts and similar objects and clobber enemies senseless with them.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, during his second phase Sundowner will rip out a nearby antenna pole to try and whack Raiden with.
  • Valheim trolls can spawn carrying entire pine trunks single-handedly, which gives their attacks much longer range. Enterprising players have used this to kite trolls into clearing vast swaths of forest and smashing ore deposits into ore nuggets.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: At some point in his boss fight, King Dedede drops his weapon in favor of a big stone pillar, which he swings around with ease.
  • Krut: The Mythic Wings: King Kinnon of the Garuda tribe uses a massive stone pillar ripped from the ground as an improvised club. Which he can pull a Shockwave Stomp by pounding the floor.

    Web Animation 
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, Marneus Calgar (The Ultramarines' chapter master) once picked up a Necron Pylon (read: a crescent-shaped structure about 10 times his size usually used as an artillery piece) and used it to devastate hordes of Necrons that were swarming him.
  • In DEATH BATTLE!, Superman uses a street lamp on Goku. Needless to say, Goku is barely scratched and Superman is still nowhere near using his full strength at that point.

    Web Comics 
  • Ping yanks a streetlamp out of the ground and swings away with it in Megatokyo. Not only has she used a telephone pole as a weapon/tool on more than one occasion, at least once she has fixed it back in place afterwards (and thanked it).

    Web Original 
  • Used against Tennyo in the Whateley Universe story "Boston Brawl" when the Arch-Fiend rips up a streetlight and lets her have it. On the other hand, smashing Tennyo into the pavement doesn't stop her.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Caber tossing comes pretty close.
  • Ever seen a Renaissance pike? The largest could be up to 7.5 meters/25 feet long, and weigh up to 6 kg/13.2 lb.
    • These in turn are in direct line of descent from the Greek hoplite spear, the dori, which found its greatest expression in the Macedonian sarissa used by Alexander the Great's heavy infantry. The sarissa could be up to 22 feet in length and took real upper body stregth to wield effectively.
  • Some students of Japanese swordsmanship develop their strength and control through practice swings with a furibo, a wooden practice sword built to be heavier than normal. Some will go so far as to make a huge furibo out of a thick piece of lumber, which may be 6 ft. 4 in. long and weigh 17 pounds.
  • Rods from God, a conceptual weapon that consists of satellites orbiting earth, which can drop telephone pole sized tungsten rods like giant darts on any targets below. At falling speeds of up to Mach 10, an impact would have as much energy as more than 100 tonnes of TNT. In essence, weaponized Colony Drop.


Video Example(s):


Mike Shadow - StreetWeaponsLv3

Street Weapons Lvl.3 involves Mike pulling out a street lamp and using it to whack the machine.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / TelephonePolearm

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