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File:Rustyandco spintodeflect.jpg

Who needs shields?

The principle is simple: spin a rod (or rod-like object) fast enough and you can get it to function as a makeshift shield. Of course, this raises questions like how it can be done without injury (human joints have limited articulation), how the rod can get up to speed fast enough to actually block stuff, how the user manages to recover from the exertion so quickly, and if bullets are being blocked, how the rod isn't damaged if it's not stronger than usual. Don't bother.

An example of Implausible Fencing Powers, but can be done with any long and thin object. Distinguished from a plain I Know Karate display because it's normally only done when there are dangerous airborne objects approaching. Simple Staff users can be counted upon to do this at least once in their careers. This can also be done using a Spin Attack with almost anything, even your entire body!

This may be Truth in Television. Sort of. A few hundred years ago, when bows were the norm rather than guns, there were martial artists who claimed that they could spin a staff fast enough to deflect arrows. Sounds plausible!

Of course, now we do it for bullets and lasers, but nobody seems to mind a lot because Everything's Better with Spinning.

Examples of Spin to Deflect Stuff include:

Anime & Manga

  • The Gundam series use this quite a bit, and is semi-plausible because they're Humongous Mecha.
    • In Turn A Gundam, protagonist Loran Cehack was fond of doing this with the titular machine's beam saber. Sometimes he did it with both sabers. He even did it with a ball and chain.
    • Some of the grunt machines in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 have a Defense Rod based on this very concept.
      • The benefit of course lies within the fact that it was designed exactly with this purpose in mind with no secondary benefit. The grunts are not going to be given state of the art material for a mundane shield and the shield rod uses far less material while being overally lighter. This suits a mecha that more or less is made of paper because a makeshift spinning rod is far more effective for blocking hits than a giant shield that would weigh them down.
    • The Beam Rotors in Victory Gundam are based on this concept, and they provide lift for many Zanscare machines in copter mode.
    • The Raider Gundam in Gundam Seed can do this too, swinging its morning-star like weapon. The tech spec of the mobile suit itself actually said that the wire used is coated in anti-beam coat, making the use more than just makeshift; rather, it's an intentional one.
    • The titular mecha of Mobile Suit Gundam F91 could do this with beam sabers. Even if it already had a beam shield!
  • In the manga Blade of the Immortal, Manji's dozen swords include a pair of sai-like things that are specifically designed for this -- each has a round hole in the blade to twirl them by.
  • Tuxedo Mask of Sailor Moon did this with his fancy cane/wand (it looks like a magicians' wand, but is probably meant to be a cane) on several occasions.
  • Kenshin does this more than once with his sword in Rurouni Kenshin, including once with fire.
  • Itsue in Puni Puni Poemi does this with a whip. That IS her special power, and the only one that is actually useful out of all the Aasu sisters.
    • That's nothing... the bad guy in Puni Puni Poemi spins his testicles in order to deflect Nabeshin's attack.
  • Kenshiro manages to do this with nunchucks in an early chapter of Fist of the North Star. Not only that, but he manages to deflect them in such a way so that they hit the guys who threw them in the first place. He's Kenshiro, after all.
  • Two decades before Aang, Ranma from Ranma ½ spun a simple wooden staff to deflect fire. The difference is, Ranma is a normal human, was afflicted with a shiatsu point that increased his sensitivity to heat (even lukewarm water was painful,) and her (at the time) hands weren't even singed. The next time he used a staff as a defensive measure, he explicitly blocked the attacks by swinging it instead of spinning it.
  • Here's an example that actually makes sense in some regards: Joey in the sixth volume of Yu-Gi-Oh! spins around Yugi's Millennium Puzzle (which is on a string) to act as a shield against several yo-yo wielding thugs. It doesn't deflect them, but instead tangles them up, rendering them useless.
  • Sui from Double Arts uses an iron hoop, spinning it in a sphere-shaped shield around herself while she is curled up inside the 'shield'. How she avoids any form of dizziness (or even if she gets dizzy at all) is never addressed.
  • Leave it to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann to take this trope Up to Eleven: Guame combined his Impregnable Fortress Dai-Gundo with the city of Teppelin, then used that to deflect any attack on said capital.. from any direction except down.
    • Even then it was virtually impervious to attack until he made the fatal mistake of dropping it on Gurren Lagann, which provided the titular mech the momentum it needed to pierce even the mighty ship's armor.
  • Kento, and the Ancient One wield staffs in Ronin Warriors and often spin them rapidly for defense. The Ancient's staff is so powerful it can even break weapons rather than simply deflecting them.
  • Nerima Daikon Brothers: Hideki does this with a daikon radish against a volley of syringes.
  • The Shen Hu and Siegfried of Code Geass can do this. The Shen Hu with its slash harken, the Siegfried just by spinning.
  • The title character in Karas can do this without holding his sword, and is used both offensively (flying buzzsaw style) and defensively (as in this trope...) seeing as magic is involved in empowering said sword and the armor... this isn't as implausible as it sounds. This is carried over into his appearance in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom in both its variants.
  • A Cubone did this with its club to block Pikachu's Thundershock in an early episode of Pokémon... despite the fact that as a Ground-type Pokémon, electricity is null and void.
    • You forget that it's ASH'S Pikachu, with the magical ability to slaughter Ground-types with electrical attacks. That Cubone was Badass by being able to recognize this reality-reversing surprise in advance and properly defend against it.
    • Biggest example of this: in the latest seasons, they actually literally spin in midair to dodge attacks for no apparent reason. Later they can even do this while using an attack to create a spinning shield of doom.
  • Young Goku does this regularly in Dragon Ball with his magic staff, even against full-automatic gunfire. That is, before he plain and simply becomes Immune to Bullets.
  • Angemon from Digimon can do this by spinning his Angel Staff. Notably in Digimon Adventure 02: Digimon Hurricane Landing!!/Transcendent Evolution!! The Golden Digimentals.
  • Kaede in Mahou Sensei Negima uses her gigantic Fuuma Shuriken to deflect one of Kotaro's attacks this way. It even has a convenient pull string for that purpose.

Comics -- Books

  • A regular part of Thor's bag of tricks in the Marvel Universe is spinning his hammer by its handlestrap to create a "shield".
    • Justified by the hammer being magic and the wielder being a god.
  • Donatello and Master Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles do this on what must be an episodic basis with their Simple Staff. Leonardo and Michelangelo also do it frequently. Even Raphael has pulled it off a couple of times with his sai.

Films -- Animation

  • One antagonist from the Slayers movies blocks Lina's fire blasts like this. Slightly subverted, in that said antagonist's sword catches fire.
  • Slightly subverted in Mulan, when Captain Shang uses his spinning Simple Staff to deflect rocks thrown by his students: although he successfully deflects them, it's clear that he's specifically blocking individual attacks, not simply spinning his staff so fast that attacks can't penetrate. When other characters (specifically Mulan herself) try the same thing without proper training, they just end up twirling their staff uselessly as stones pelt them.

Films -- Live-Action

  • Star Wars Jedi and Sith have been shown to do this with their lightsabers, although they often don't spin them as fast as you might expect.
    • They don't actually spin the blades as a shield, they parry the blasts much as one would a blow from another sword.
    • General Grievous does this a couple of times, although there's a good reason.
    • There is a specific lightsaber form dedicated to near total impenetrable defense utilizing sweeping, circular motions close to the body called Soresu. Obi-Wan is a the master of this form, and uses it the majority of the time in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
  • Done in X-Men Origins: Wolverine rather impressively; Wade walks into a room full of Mooks and manages to deflect all the bullets fired at him using rapidly spinning dual-wielded katanas. Let's just put this one up to Rule of Cool, shall we?
  • In Beverly Hills Ninja, Chris Farley's character, Haru, deflects the bullets Tanley shoots at him with his two swords, and not spun very fast either.
  • When fired upon by multiple guards, Kroenen in Hellboy spins his blades to deflect them.
  • In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Will Scarllett shows off his fighting prowess by spinning twin daggers so quickly that an arrow fired at him from point blank range is reduced to sawdust.


  • Cashel from Lord of the Isles can do this with his quarterstaff. Of course, it helps that he's a natural magic-user. When he spins his staff it creates a blue barrier than can stop magic, so clearly the spinning is an aid rather than the whole protection.
  • Subverted and played straight in Steven Brust's Dragaera books. In the Khaavren Romances, Khaavren fights a duel against an enemy who spins his sword around to block Khaavren's attacks. Khaavren reflects on how dumb that move is, then moves his sword in a spiral to get past the guy's defenses and stab him in the heart. Vlad Taltos, on the other hand, spins his magic chain Spellbreaker in a circle to make an effective spell shield.
  • Isana does this with water in in the Codex Alera final book. A small pool of water on her arm shaped like a shield and spun at high speed deflected vord attacks, and nearly tore her arm off.

Video Games

  • This is a standard move in many Castlevania games, where holding the attack button would make you spin your whip. This would block many basic projectiles before they reached you. A lot of magic shields in castlevania games have also have a habit of spinning around.
    • This doesn't actually block out everything. A spinning whip deals less damage than a normally flung whip, and enemies can still run into you while taking damage. Also, if you have a set of n things (where n is usually 2, 4, 6, or 8) whirling around your character, projectiles can still fall through the cracks and hit you. Thus, both of these tactics are most useful for dealing with weak but annoying enemies, such as medusa heads.
    • Also, don't forget the recurrent Spear Guards, who have a nasty habit of deflecting projectiles this way.
      • In some games (Harmony of Dissonance, in example) they become completely immune while doing this.
  • Vergil used this in an extremely Badass Bullet Time version, in Devil May Cry 3, catching a bunch of bullets that Dante had fired at him. He then slid his katana along the ground, depositing all of the bullets, perfectly intact, in a neat row... before sweeping them up and returning them with a single swing. Taken to extremes in his boss fights when he can negate armour-piercing rounds and rockets just by doing the same move.
    • Bolverk and Plutonian from the second game also had the ability to deflect bullets by spinning their weapons.
  • When Faust blocks an attack in Guilty Gear, he does so by spinning his giant scalpel.
    • Slayer has the same strategy in Guilty Gear XX, though he "parries" everything with one hand.
  • Super Smash Bros:
    • Pit in Brawl has this as one of his special attacks with his bow/swords called Angel Ring.
    • ROB also has a spinning move that deflects projectiles.
    • Zelda & her "Nayru's Love" barrier.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, Will does this with his flute.
    • Will doesn't block enemy attacks with his flute-spinning; it's part of his telekinetic ability (for attracting Dark Gems and moving statues blocking his path).
  • Randy in Guardian Heroes both attacks and blocks this way.
  • Katt's defensive stance in Breath of Fire II shows her spinning her staff faster than humanly possible.
    • Then again, she's not human.
  • Used in Wonder Boy In Monster World with all spear weapons to make up for the lack of a shield, funny thing is that you can actually do Collision Damage to the enemy if they touch the spinning spear.
  • Super Mario Galaxy has the spin attack to use against projectiles. It needs good timing however... and you have to wonder how Mario never gets dizzy constantly doing this.
    • The fact that the luma that allows you to pull that stunt off gets winded after one spin might have something to do with it...
  • There are at least two instances of this in Kingdom Hearts II, both within boss battles. The first is about halfway through the game in Timeless River, in which Pete attempts to escape on a steamboat. He creates objects that fly towards Sora, who spins his Keyblade in a reaction command to deflect them before knocking them right back at Pete. The second occurrence is at the end of the game during the last battle with Xemnas, whose desperation attack surrounds Sora and Riku with hundreds of red laser bullets. The player must mash two buttons to command the pair to dodge about and spin their Keyblades nonstop to deflect the incoming projectiles.
  • In Dark Cloud 2, Max's spin attack can deflect projectiles back at their sender. It is also the only way to survive getting hit with the final boss' instant-kill beam.
  • In Sengoku Basara Yukimura blocks attacks by spinning one of his spears. Then again the whole game runs on Rule of Cool.
  • One of the enemies in Yamato Man's stage in Mega Man 6 does this with spears. The idea is to attack it after it throws the spinning spear at you but before it retrieves another one.
    • Top Man of '3 does this too, when he's using Top Spin (see, THAT would've made it a lot better in Mega Man's hands).
      • Well, there ARE about a gazillion "spinning shield" weapons that Mega Man can get, ranging in utility from the useless Power Stone from 5 (which actually had TWO such weapons, the other being the slightly less useless Star Crash) to the nearly impenetrable Jewel Satellite from 9...
    • Heck, quite a few other Robot Masters can do it too, like Blizzard Man from 6, Clown Man from Mega Man 8, Pirate Man from Mega Man and Bass, Strike Man from 10, Punk from the Game Boy III (returning in 10), and Sunstar from the Gameboy's V.
  • Zero's Shield Boomerang in Mega Man Zero is actually the Z-saber spinning really fast, allowing him to block and deflect enemy bullets, as revealed by concept art.
  • Subverted in Suikoden V when Roy attempts to deflect a hail of arrows by spinning his weapon. It doesn't work out so well for him.
  • Fatal Fury: Billy Kane has had a staff spin as his main technique for nearly as long as he's existed (the original Fatal Fury had it in his winpose, but not as an actual move) which, in most games, serves to block projectile attacks as well as attack close opponents.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • A Dynasty Warriors 6 cutscene involves Lu Bu spinning his spear to deflect a river.
    • The intro video to Warriors Orochi 2 has Cao Pi deflecting bullets from his allies Masamune Date and Magoichi Saika to defeat enemy troops swarming them.
  • Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 3 uses Gun Twirling to protect himself from a swarm of hornets.
  • In Bioshock 2, the last of three possible upgrades for your Drill weapon allows you to reflect all bullets that hit it while it's spinning.
  • In Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, Azimuth can deflect projectiles by spinning his double-sided wrench in front of him so fast it becomes a blur.
  • Mace Windu can do this in Star Wars Episode 1 Jedi Power Battles.
  • In Marvel vs Capcom 2, Sonson levitates and spins her staff in front of her to block attacks.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • General Grievous does this much more impressively in the Clone Wars animation, where he attacked five Jedi at once via judicious spinning of two lightsabers and his own rotating torso.
  • Given Aang's Weapon of Choice, this is inevitable in Avatar: The Last Airbender. But he has airbending to help lend speed to his staff spin. It also creates a buffer of air that helps deflect or stop attacks, making this example somewhat justified.
  • Jazz from Transformers Animated can spin nunchucks to deflect lasers.
  • So can Robin from Teen Titans.
  • The 1958 Daffy Duck cartoon Robin Hood Daffy famously parodies this trope. Daffy, as Robin Hood, shows off his quarterstaff skills to Porky Pig, as Friar Tuck. He executes a number of maneuvers, calling his attacks, including "SPIN!" The first time he tries it he hits himself in the face. The second time, Porky inserts a little stick into the spinning quarterstaff, with the result that the staff stops spinning and Daffy starts spinning around instead. He ends up flying into the lake.
  • Ruel Stroud from Wakfu can do this by spinning his shovel. Notably in season 2 episode 8, he uses the move against demonic Combat Tentacles.

Real Life

  • As noted in the trope summary, the use of staff weapons to deflect arrows.
  • Truth in Television: There was a man who did this with an umbrella. The police tried to spray him with pepper spray and he spun his umbrella making it go into the eyes of the crowd that had gathered.
  • There is an obscure weapon called an "arrow catcher", used by Gatka martial artists. It is essentially 20 chain flails, linked together to form a giant spider's web, which is then spun around quickly. It's all probably just for show though.
  • Many jujutsu (and other "soft martial arts") grab defenses involve spinning your arm around the attacker's grasp to reverse the leverage advantage of the attack. A favourite of Steven Seagal.
  • A fast boxer facing a slower opponent might defend from jabs by swirling his arm around the punch, allowing it to slide harmlessly along his arm rather than hit him squarely.
  • The clear view screen is a glass disc attached to a motor that was developed as an alternative to the rubber blade windshield wiper. The motor spins the disc at over 1000 RPM, keeping the glass free of rain and snow. The clear view itself is limited to the size of the disc, so nowadays they're usually seen only on ships and larger vehicles.

"Spin your whole body" variant

Anime & Manga

  • In Naruto, Neji Hyuuga does this by spinning his entire body around like a spinning top, creating a vortex that blocks all projectiles and damages opponents caught in it. Good thing he has the traditional ninja immunity to dizziness.
    • The lack of dizziness is justified: Byakugan gives him near 360-degree vision, so the visual clues always remain in the sight; and technically, he's not spinning all that quickly himself (the vortex is created by spraying chakra around).
  • Tomo from Azumanga Daioh tries something similar when walking down a narrow street and worried about being hit by the side mirror of a passing car. All she accomplishes is making herself dizzy and nearly getting run over.
    • The intent, incidentally, is not to magically block the impact of the car (though I wouldn't put it past Tomo to try) but to roll with the impact, spinning in the direction that such an impact would send her anyway.
  • The Beetle from Getter Robo Go is a not-very Humongous Mecha that can withdraw its head, arms and legs into its body to form a solid steel dome. It then spins really fast.
  • Seigfried of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple uses this as the basis of his fighting style; he spins to deflect incoming attacks and redirect the momentum into his own blows.
  • Laura Sakuraba from Aikatsu Stars spins like a tornado to deflect candy being thrown at her.

Films -- Live-Action

  • In The Protector, Tony Jaa deflects a sword thrust in Bullet Time by jumping and spinning rapidly, causing it to glance off his body harmlessly.

Video Games

  • In Final Fantasy IV, Barbariccia is (mostly) impervious to all physical attacks while she's spinning.
    • Except for the kind that come straight down. That's why you have Kain.
      • Except for the rematch in the DS version. Summon and Black Magic spam are your only hope here.
  • Viewtiful Joe has a spin kick move, which, yes, deflects attacks.
    • Then again, as long as you're using your Slow power, you can deflect anything from bullets, to tank shells, to lazer blasts.
  • More of a "spin your whole ship" variant, but Star Fox 64 has its immortal barrel roll. Both the Arwing (nimble spacecraft) and Landmaster (tank) are capable of a spin maneuver that deflects most types of enemy projectiles.
    • The first Star Fox (SNES game) had this as well, but it only worked with enemy laser attacks and would only work if your wings were undamaged.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 3, a boss named Serenade will spin in reponse to almost all attempts to damage it, taking no damage and returning a damaging wave. Attacks are best made while Serenade is attacking. It's implied that this spinning deflect is enabled by the celestial robe encircling Serenade. Incidentally, the same game starred Battle Network's rendition of Yamato Man.
    • Serenade apparently needs to dodge as well as spin, though; prevent it from moving up or down and it can't counter your attacks.
  • In The World Ends With You, Mink Noise (No.20-23) are impervious to attack (and injury, too!) when they spin.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog occasionally practices this.
  • Warhammer Online: Swordmasters' Wall of Darting Steel ability apparently make the user spins so fast that almost nothing can go through, in addition of hitting anyone stupid enough to try to attack them.
  • Youmu has an special move like this in Touhou Project: Immaterial and Missing Power where she spins around to deflect many projectile attacks.
    • Actually, she does a quick slash with her sword that makes a spinning blue vortex that deflects projectiles. Patchouli and Aya would be more accurate examples, as Patchouli has a move that creates a shield of wind while spinning, and Aya does the same with two different versions; one as a move, the other as a spell card.
  • In World of Warcraft, there is a trinket that, when activated, causes the Player Character to spin around and parry about 7% more of incoming attacks.
  • Some enemies in the arcade game Tumblepop and its Spiritual Successor Diet Go Go spin around to jump on and off platforms. They're totally invulnerable while doing so.
  • Semi-subversion in Metal Slug 6- the Venusian aliens will spin-jump and spin along the floor in a fashion similar to Sonic the Hedgehog, and if you shoot them your bullets will ricochet off (thankfully, the bullets won't kill you). The subversion is that they still take damage when it happens.
  • In Cool Spot, an enemy in Stage 7, "Wound Up," can deflect Spot's attacks from the side when it spins.
  • This is the standard gimmick of Crash Bandicoot.
  • Zangief can do this in some versions of Street Fighter. The Spinning Clothesline can, in some versions, let him advance through projectiles. For actual deflection, he has the Banishing Flat, a modified spinning backhand of some sort (and thus not quite this trope).
  • Averted in Terraria with Skeletron, whose defense drops to zero while spinning. Played straight with Skeletron Prime, whose defense doubles while spinning.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Yumi from Code Lyoko sometimes executes a wildly spinning move to confuse the enemies while deflecting/returning their fire with her tessen fans. Fan Nicknamed "Geisha Tornado".

Real Life

  • The spin juke, as seen in such contact sports as gridiron football and hockey.