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File:Ipman swd vs duster.jpg

Did we mention he had windshield wipers?
One of the many Mooks Jackie Chan whooped

Two people are having a duel. One of them pulls a fairly traditional weapon... a sword, spear, maybe even a gun. His opponent (usually the protagonist) picks a relatively "weak" and makeshift weapon, something that's generally not lethal (something as dangerous as a broken bottle would rarely be seen in this trope).

Sometimes, he may even go as far as to ignore real weapons that are lying around. He proceeds to kick the first guy's ass, showing off a clear difference in skill. The fight will usually end before anyone's killed, but only after the person with the weaker weapon has clearly demonstrated his superior fighting technique. This is a route generally taken by pacifists who are good at fighting and want to end a fight without having to actually hurt anyone.

Contrast Cherry Tapping, where the purpose of picking a weak weapon would be to humiliate their opponent. Also contrast Improbable Weapon User, someone who regularly arms themselves with wacky weapons.

Examples of The Man Makes the Weapon include:

Anime & Manga

  • Revolutionary Girl Utena, on at least two occasions, Utena has actually wielded a Shinai - that is, a bamboo-sword - against opponents using steel blades, and on both occasions, won. And in the movie she pulls the same feat off with a broom.
    • Though in the movie her opponent quickly slices the broom into pieces, and she wins only thanks to Anthy's timely interference - it's against the rules to duel without a sword, apparently.
  • One Piece: First duel of Roronoa Zoro with Mihawk, where the latter defeated the former with a dagger.
    • It's actually more of a knife, which Mihawk apologized for, as it was the smallest one he had. He then proceeded to block a heretofore considered unblockable attack with it, with minimal effort.
  • Tenjou Tenge: After Soichirou and Bob are beaten by a fire-using Bully, Maya puts him in his place by kicking his ass with a twig she just pulled off a tree.
  • In one filler episode of Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin made use of an umbrella as an effective weapon.
    • In the main run, however, he at one point gets hold of a sword which he cannot unsheath due to his vow. He quickly gets a major upper hand on his adversary, Chou the sword hunter, without having to draw before Chou gets out his secret weapon (some sort of sword-whip). Only then does the fight get somewhat even.


  • In The Ultimates 2 Hawkeye shows off this ability. First by killing most of a SWAT team with things he finds in his kitchen. Then when he escapes the holding facility he tries to find a gun. The last panel of him before he shows up for the finale is a naked Hawkeye with his fingertips stretching toward a pistol while dozens of armored soldier with assault rifles open fire from a couple feet away.
  • Daredevil villain Bullseye is all about this trope. If it can be thrown or shot, he can turn it into a deadly weapon. This includes arrows, guns, ballpoint pens, shards of glass, bits of his own broken teeth, etc...


  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Jen, wielding the legendary Green Destiny sword, is beaten by Li, using a twig.
  • Fearless: in one of his many duels, Huo faces off against a guy wielding double broadswords, using only a short stick.
  • Ip Man: the titular Ip Man defeats a skilled northerner (who has already beaten all of the town's masters) wielding a broadsword, while using only a feather duster.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Riddick uses a teacup to kill a guy wielding a sledgehammer.
  • God of Cookery - when Stephen is accused of being a fake, he picks up a kitchen knife to threaten his accuser with. The accuser picks up a teaspoon and disarms him with it, explaining that long hours preparing food gives you strong hands and wrists, which Stephen doesn't have because he's a celebrity and not a proper chef.
  • A recurring trope in Jackie Chan movies. The mooks (usually) have proper weapons and Jackie's character dodges and uses whatever's around to incapacitate them. One often-referenced example is from First Strike, where uses a folding table, a jacket, Chinese dragon heads, a broom, wooden staves and finally a stepladder.
  • The Twilight Samurai: The main character beats Tomoe's abusive ex-husband using only a stick of wood verses the ex-husbands regular sword.
  • Wong Fei-Hung from the Once Upon a Time in China series often uses an umbrella as a weapon of choice, even against crowds of mooks that take up entire streets. He almost always wins without getting a scratch on him, either.
    • Wong Fei-Hung as a child also appears in Iron Monkey, in which he takes on a gang of adult street thugs using, again, his umbrella. The street thugs never come close to standing a chance.

Live Action TV

  • Leverage's Eliot disarms a man holding a huge knife, using a whisk. He then kills the man with an appetizer and a tray.
  • Deadliest Warrior: Happens whenever there are matchups where one warrior is much more technologically advanced than the other.
  • Martial Law: Especially in the pilot, when Sammo demonstrates with a blackboard eraser.


  • The Scavenger Trilogy by K.J Parker. Poldarn frequently goes into swordfights barehanded and prevails, (well-described) skill overcoming even this disadvantage. He even throws away weapons he gets off his attackers: they are heavy. Worse, they are covered in blood, which draws a lot of attention. He even reflects to himself that every time he needs a weapon, there's a weapon about.
  • The Wheel of Time: Matt defeats a pair of very skilled swordsmen with a quarterstaff (at the same time). Upon their defeat, their master points out that the greatest swordsman in history was defeated only once, by a farmer with a quarterstaff.
  • In Fate/Zero, Berserker has the explicit power to treat anything he holds as an Infinity+1 Sword which can damage magical beings, and to wield it as if he had trained with it all his life. He can do this with anything from telephone poles to other Infinity Plus One Swords (gaining control of them in the process) to jet fighters.

Western Animation

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