Swordsmanship (斬術, zanjutsu; Viz "Art of the Sword"; Cutting Technique) is the most used form of combat among Shinigami. As the name suggests, it involves using a Zanpakutō and its various special abilities to attack an opponent. In addition to its basic form, each Zanpakutō has two enhanced forms: Shikai (始解, Initial Release) and Bankai (卍解, Final Release), which change the sword's form to unlock its potential and that of its user.
As Arrancar also possess a form of Zanpakutō, the skill to wield one is similar to that of a Shinigami. Like a normal Shinigami's Zanpakutō, in addition to its basic form, its release allows the Arrancar another form termed Resurrección, which unlocks the sealed Hollow form of the wielder.
Master Swordsmanship Specialist
Master Swordsmanship Specialists vary greatly by power and technique. The criteria for a master is simple; one must have masterful skill in swordsmanship above all else. The attainment of this level of skill is a testament to the wielders power and determination. Most Captains are masters, since as the heads of their divisions, they are the true military power of Soul Society. As use of the Zanpakutō is the Shinigami's primary form of combat, it is preferable to have mastered skill in order achieve the rank of captain though mastery is not excluded to them or even to Shinigami.
Expert Swordsmanship Specialist
An Expert swordsman is highly skilled using their Zanpakutō while sealed or in its Shikai. Most lieutenants are experts, since they must know Shikai and have mastered it to a degree, so as to be promoted. This applies also to some higher seated officers as well and in some cases to captains who even though possibly having attained their Bankai, don't commonly engage in swordsmanship as their desired form of combat.
Arrancar commonly fight with completely sealed Zanpakutō before their Resurrección or no longer possesses one after their Resurrección, therefore they can be considered experts.
Swordsmanship specialists are those that specialize in the use of swords during combat. Someone of this level has to have basic skills in swordsmanship as well. All seated officers of the Gotei 13 have to possess at the very least this level of skill.
Some High level shinigami have developed a few swordsmanship skills and abilities that range in power, and are assigned a number in rank of that power.
|Technique #||Technique Name||Description||Owner|
|Zanjutsu (斬術, Cutting Technique)|
|1.||Nadegiri (撫で斬り, "Clean Sweep" or "Killing Several with One Sword Sweep")||This basic technique allows for a precision cut of extreme force and speed, it can casually slice through large, multi-story high opponents protected by steel skin. The opponent can be killed with one swift slash so precise, that they aren't even aware of until after it has taken place||Canon|
|3.||Aragari (アラバマ物語, "To Kill a Mockingbird"; "one step, sudden death")||Placing the sheathed sword upright and listening to the "heartbeat" of her opponent, the attack rapidly unsheathes, attacks, and sheaths the sword. This technique is done with with incredible precision and speed, as she cuts down her opponent in a matter of seconds. This technique is capable of leaving deep, precise wounds in an opponent's body in a matter of milliseconds.||User:Ryūketsu Namida|
|4.||Kamishini (神キラー, "God Killer" or "Cutting down God with a Single Slash")||By swinging the user's sword across, they can make a sweeping motion that cuts everything within 4 km of the user. The force behind this technique is great enough to defeat even Adjuchas-level Hollow with little effort.||User:Seireitou|
|6.||Gyaku Karasu (逆烏, Reverse Raven)||The user uses shunpo to quickly get behind their opponent and then quickly doing a reverse spin hitting their opponent with the back edge of edge sword, slicing into them with an accurate and rapid slash.||User:Shiratori Cullen|
|7.||Tsubame Gaeshi (燕返し, "Swallow Reversal" or "Turning Swallow Cut")||A technique that mimics the motion of a swallow's tail during flight as observed. This cut was reputedly so quick and precise that it could strike down a bird in mid-flight. There are no direct descriptions of the technique. Hence, the "Turning Swallow Cut" has been reconstructed as a technique involving striking downward from above and then instantly striking again in an upward motion from below. The strike's second phase could be from below toward the rear and then upward at an angle, like an eagle climbing again after swooping down on its prey.||User:Seireitou|
|8.||Kujira Shōgeki (鯨衝撃, "Whale Crash" or "Crushing Whale Impact")||A technique that mimics the motion of a whale's tail that rises above the ocean and then crashes back onto it. While lacking speed like other techniques, this technique has been noted to be exceptionally powerful. There are no direct descriptions of the technique. Hence, the "Crushing Whale Impact" has been reconstructed as a technique involving a light upward slash, following a demolishing slash downward , the force of which was able to create a giant crater and destroy the surrounding buildings.||User:Waterkai|
|9.||Hayabusa Tobikomi (隼飛び込み, "Peregrine Falcon Dive")||This advanced technique allows for the user to slice their opponent using super sharp and quick slices of razor sharp wind and energy that can completely rip the target to shreds. It can cut through the Hierro of an arrancar or the reiatsu of even high level shinigami.||User:Shiratori Cullen|
|10.||Ejjikauntafantomu (エッジカウンタファントム, Phantom Edge Counter)||The user stands in a direction against the light, the user uses the light as a distraction for him to utilize a successful counter, when the opponent hits him, he will move in a very swift motion, leaving an afterimage behind and will strike the opponent in every direction. Each time he slashes, he will leave an afterimage that would last for 2 Seconds. The illusions don't hurt but they can be used as a distraction.||User:Cuarta espada|
|19.||Nizen Sekai (二・千・世・界, Two Thousand Worlds)||The user must first create a second sword out of reishi then use this and their zanpakutou to strike with two large energy waves that slam into their opponent causing massive damage and destruction.||User:Shiratori Cullen|
|20.||Rozushawa Nabiku (ローズシャワーなびく, Fluttering Rose Shower)||The User stand in the right there rose around him, then she said "you" when it also led to hundreds of roses at the enemy. after that, she replaces his position toward the left and say the same thing.||User:Cure48|
In addition to the various techniques one can use with Zanjutsu, sword combat also has varying styles which differ from user to user. Usually, members of the Gotei 13 practice basic swordsmanship, however, organizations like the Order of the Seijin teach swordsmanship forms to thier Initiates.
- Ataru (当たる, To strike): Invented by Junsui Kirei, use of Ataru requires Junsui's full might and focus, as well as his manipulation of Seijō Reiryoku, to completely overwhelm and cut down a foe. The form, he says, was made to overcome the limitations of his old age, and succeeds at it very well. His strikes often prove quick and lethal. Junsui claims that a key factor in his growth in swordsmanship is his ability to enjoy any fight, no matter the importance, allowing him to think more clearly when fighting. It should also be noted that he is the only one capable of using this form, as he hasn't taught it to anyone.
- Otsu (落つ, To smash): Invented by Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto back when he founded Shinō Academy, Otsu is an aggressive style that focuses on physical strength and sweeping strokes, taking the defensive principles of standard sword-fighting, the style practiced by Gotei 13 personnel, and converting them to offensive moves.
- Santōryū (三刀流, literally: three sword style): is a unique swords style used by a select few souls, that uses three swords instead of one.
- Zanjutsu on Bleach Wiki.