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"Fear is necessary for evolution. The fear that one could be destroyed at any moment. Thank you, Gin. Thanks to your efforts, I have finally risen to an existence that surpasses both Shinigami and Hollow."

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Zanjutsu (斬術, Swordsmanship; Viz "Art of the Sword"; Cutting Technique) is the fighting style for the Zanpakutō (i.e. sword fighting) and is one of the four basic fighting styles of the Shinigami.[1] It is shameful for a Shinigami to not master at least this technique. It is the specialty of Captain Kenpachi Zaraki of the 11th Division.[2]





Kendō (剣道, Kendo; "Way of the Sword") is a modern Japanese martial art of sword-fighting based on traditional samurai swordsmanship.  Specifically, using the blade of the sword itself.  Members of the Eleventh Division are particuarly skillful in this art.  It was created by Yachiru Unoahana, who's said to be one of the foremost grandmasters of this art.  

  • Hozuri (頬摺, Cheek Stroke):  A simple but precise slash which lightly grazes the target, causing superficial wounds.  (Canon Technique)
  • Shitonegaeshi  (褥返し, Cushion Return):  
  • Hozan Kenbu  (崩山剣舞, Fallen-Mount Sword Dance):  The practitioner swiftly swings his Zanpakuto around his entire body without cutting himself.  The speed of the technique makes it difficult for an adversary to get close to him in order to attack at close range without risk of serious injury.  (Canon Technique)
  • Deadly Darts  (デッドリー・ダーツ, Deddorī Dātsu) By tying a cloth to the end of their sword, the practitioner can swing his Zanpakuto and toss it at opponents for mid ranged combat.  The blade moves very quickly when thrown, and can damage a building upon impact.  If the target dodges the attack, the user can use the cloth to change the sword's direction and try to hit the target once more.  By gripping the cloth, he withdraws the blade and swings it to attack again.  The effect can be increased by using more than one sword at once.  (Canon Technique)
  • Agitowari (顎割, Chin/Jaw Splitting):  The practitioner bisects an opponent from the jaw downt he length of hte body with a single sword strike.  (Canon Technique)
  • Ryodan (両断, Bisection) Grasping his or her sword with both hands, the practitioner brings it down with enough force to cut an opponent in half down the middle.  (Canon Technique)
    • Tahatsusei Ryodan (多発性両断 Multiple Bisection) is an expansion of Ryodan.  By swinging his sword in the air, the practitioner will be able to release a gigantic slash of energy, (the color depends on the individual), to strike the target.  The primary difference, aside from color, (Ryodan is yellow, and Tahatsusei Ryodan has varrying colors), is that it completely disconnects from his sword, and is able to travel for several miles at a time, without diminishing in speed or power.  
  • Hitotsume: Nadegiri  (一つ目・撫で斬り, The First: Killing Stroke):  A precision cut of extreme force and speed which can casually slice through large, multi-story high opponents protected by steel skin.  This slash is so precise and swift, its victims are not even aweare of it until after it has taken place.  (Canon Technique)
  • Suikawari (西瓜割, Watermelon Splitting):  A two-handed, overhead slash which cleanly and precisely cleaves an opponent's head in twain.  (Canon Technique)
  • Senmaioroshi (千枚卸, Thousand-Page Wholesale):  Multiple extremely fast balde movements take place, shredding the target into pieces.  (Canon Technique)
  • Tsuisou Suzume  (追走雀 Chasing Sparrow) is an advanced technique.  When the practitioner swings their Zanpakuto down and strikes the ground, the blade will create a quake that stretch across the entire length of the battlefield, completely decimating everything in its sight at it's strongest.  At it's weakest it doesn't even come close to reaching the end of the battlefield, and is much weaker regarding power, to the point that people such as Shikyo Fushiawase are easily able to defend against it; this is something that could never be done if it was used by it's creator, the Legendary Zanjutsu Grandmaster Nemaiya Oetsu.  The full power is said to reach far passed the current battlefield, which earned the original Gotei 13 the reputation of being able to split the Soul Society in half with their Zanpakuto, even though they obviously couldn't.  
  • Tsujikaze (旋風辻風つじ風 lit. Whirlwind) is an advanced Zanjutsu technique that covers a large area of the battlefield that it's being used on.  will stick his sword out in front of him and create a figure eight in the air with it; he will repeat this proccess infinitely, constantly growing faster and faster and faster, until it is so fast that the blade can barely even be seen anymore.  At this point the velocity of the blade will have created a gigantic whirlwind with the large amounts of air that circulated because of the motions.  A technique of Keiichi's own design, it combines the usage of Zanjutsu with his own advanced Shunpo.  Furthermore, although it does have an attack to it, it's primary function is to either defend or evade, making it a very passive technique, clearly resembling Keiichi's personality; it is for this reason that some call it "his" technique, even though others can obviously learn, and even master it.  The defensive aspect is very obvious; the wind generated into the whirlwind is so dense and powerful that it can block many attacks.  It has been seen easily repelling almost all Zanjutsu techniques, and Kido spells that reach up to Hado #50; higher than that, it resisted Hado #88:  Hiryugekizokushintenraiho for a few seconds; although the technique did quickly break through, however, this did give Keiichi a very samll window of oppertunity to evade the attack himself.  The secondary ability of Tsujikaze, to evade, which is also quite obvious to describe, technically occurs automatically, as the wind, being as dense and thick as it is, does a great job with obscuring the vision of those he's fighting.  He compares it to the ability of his Zanpakuto, which also blocks out vision, (albeit in the darkness, while this does it with the wind), except his Zanpakuto blocks all senses from being utilized, while Tsujikaze only blocks the sight.  Furthermore, there are many enemies that could either see through the wind, rendering the effect completely useless, and/or charge straight through it, effortlessly reaching Keiichi before he has time to react.  Some of thse individuals include Hakuda legends like Shikyo Fushiawase, or Kido legends like Joel Goldsmith.  That's why this ability isn't discussed nearly as much as the other two abilities of Tsujikaze.  It's not a huge deal, as it's an automatic ability, so it doesn't require any additonal preperation to activate, but it is wise for Keiichi to be thinking of the other two effects involved, or an alterier way to proceed, and this effect can be overcome quite easily.  The third and final effect of Tsujikaze, which Keiichi claims he developed only for the sake of practicality, the attacking method, sends large amounts of wind pressure, released directly from the whirlwind, to attack the enemy.  The attack can be delivered in one of two methods.  The first is hard pressure to bluntly strike the target, and the second is sharp pressure, which can slice the target to bits, the latter obviously being more akin to the art of Zanjutsu, while the latter is obviously connected to Hakuda.  Since Keiichi, to be blunt, sucks in Hakuda, the blunt attack is something he hardly ever uses, while the sharp, slicing attack is something that he uses quite frequently, (as frequently as he even uses the attacking form of Tsujikaze, that is).  An added advantage is that, while the whirlwind itself is so dense that it is actually made completely visible, the attacks that are released from it, weather it be the blunt attack or the sharp slice, are rendered completely invisible, similar to how normal wind is, which makes them that much more difficult to dodge or block.  
    • Tatsumaki (竜巻竜巻 lit. Tornado) is an expansion of Tsujikaze, also created by Keiichi.  To activate this technique, Keiichi will hold both of his sword out to either side of him, joint straight as a board, and then spinning around in a circle; as he's spinning, no part of his body is bending or wavering in any way, which makes him appear like a well constructed marionett or puppet rather than a person with joints.  Keiichi keeps picking up more and more speed, until he can no longer be seen; what's left in his wake is a gigantic tornado, which will suck up everything and everyone that is in a gigantic range of it, and completely destory it or them.  While witnessing Tatsumaki, some initally believe that Keiichi himself transformed into the tornado, but Keiichi corrects them by explaining that the wind he generated is what actually turns into the tornado, much more dense, thick, and powerful than the wind generated by the whirlwind of Tsujikaze.  All of the abilities of Tsujikaze are also present here, only on a much grander scale; Keiichi can block even more powerful attacks, now proving that even Hado #88:  Hiryugekizokushintenraiho is no match for it, it does an even better job of blocking out the vision of his opponents, and he can still send the standard attacks with it, those being the blunt wind pressure and the sharp wind attacks, much stronger than before; even the blunt wind attacks, which Keiichi would almost never use in Tsujikaze, actually prove to possess SOME usage in Tatsumaki, even if very little.  
  • Buchihanasu Renda  (打ち放す連打 Unsheath Barrage):  This is a technique meant for rough, unblanaced strikes, while at the same time providing smooth, even cuts when making contact with the target.  Theh practitioner unsheaths his Zanpakuto, strikes the enemy, and sheaths it back up again, almost faster than the eye can see; not quite as fast as Hitotsume:  Nadegiri, but close to it.  He'll continue this process for as many times as needed to finish off the enemy.  Aside from the obvious attacking mechanic, the technique also possesses a defensive effect; due to how fast the user sheaths and unsheaths his Zanpakuto, the blade itself acts as a type of shield to ward off many attacks, specifically other Zanjutsu attacks.  


Tsukado (柄 lit. Way of the Hilt) is the second of the four arts of Zanjutsu combat, which revolves around using the hilt of the sword as a weapon for various techniques.  It was created by Puella Unohana, the mother of Yachiru Unohana, even before Yachiru created the art of Kendo.  

  • Onibi (鬼火, Oni Fire):  The practitioner performs a powerful thrust witha  blunt weapon, often the hilt of the Zanpakuto, but it doesn't have to be, creating a large, gaping, cylinderical hole in a target.  (Canon Technique)


Mido (身 lit. Way of the Body) is the third of the four arts of Zanjutsu combat, which revolves around the user "sharpening" their own body, to uose it as the blade for various unique techniques.  It was created by Shikyo Fushiawase, who used his superior Hakuda powers and the great Zanjutsu powers that he had back then to create this sort of "hybird" technique of the two arts.  

  • Rei Hitotsu Itto (零一刀 Zero Sword Style):  The Zero Sword Style is a very high level art, which involves the user using their Spiritual Power to sharpen certain body parts or their whole body, and using those body parts as they would use a sword.  It's only used if the user doesn't have a sword to use at the time, because all techniques used are the same level as they would have been if they had a sword, so it doesn't make victory any less diffuclt.  The user can use every single Zanjutsu ability that the One Sword Style and the Two Sword Style allows them to use, but can't use the Three Sword Style, or Four Sword Style; each of their arms act as a sword, so they can only use the One Sword Style and the Two Sword Style.  Also they can still use the Buddha, as that doesn't require possession of any swords to use anyways.  Even though the name is often forgone, the Zero Sword Style is very commonly used by Shinigami of all different ranks; whenever a Shinigami uses a Knifehand Strike to attack an enemy, specifically while striking their Soul Chain and Soul Sleep, but also just to attack then normally, they're using the Zero Sword Style.  It's a method which requres zero preperation to use, as the sharpening can occur instantaneously, with the user just "thinking" that he or she wants it to happen, and they can begin fighting as they do that, so it is very convenient; helpful when Keiichi doesn't have his swords with him, or just doesn't feel like drawing the swords that he DOES have with him, (or can't, due to time restraints because of the advanced skill of his opponent in question), it's one of the most unusual, yet also one of the most basic, forms of Zanjutsu combat that exists, and some Zanjutsu Dojo's, (Keiichi's Zanjutsu Dojo being no exception), will require you to learn this even before you learn how to use an actaul sword in combat, as that is obviously considerably more difficult to do.  There are zero new techniques with the Zero Sword Style, as Keiichi can just use all the techniques that the One Sword Style and Two Sword Style gives him; they are, however, considerably weaker, due to his body not being legitament swords, he is sometimes able to make up for it due to the enhanced speed of using the Zero Sword Style, (albeit not always), not to mention his own natural speed, and his Shunpo, perhaps, on top of it all.  The flaw with the Zero Sword Style lies in the overuse of it; Keiichi's sharpened limbs are able to dull a lot quicker than his swords are.  Once they dull, even though he can still use the technique for a limited amount of time, each strike will do damage to him, slicing up his hands and arms, the amount of damage depending on how powerful the attack he uses and how strong the target happens to be.  This is extremely risky, because, to a Zanjutsu Master, their hands are everything to them; it is true that they can solely use their mouth, but it's very unlikely that a practitioner can excel as a master while only holding a Zanpakuto in their mouth.  It is for this reason that Keiichi prefers to not use the Zero Sword Style unless he doesn't have is swords, weather he forgot about them, (which he's never done), or his opponent knocked them away from him and sealed them off or stole them, both of which have occurred quite often.  


Reido (霊 lit. Way of the Soul) Reido is the fourth and final of the arts of Zanjutsu combat, which revolves around spiritual combat.  Created by Nemaiya Oetsu when he created the Zanpakuto, techniques included in this barracket include different Zanpakuto releases, different Zanpakuto communication techniques, among others.  

  • Shikai (始解, Initial Release) is the first upgraded form, or second overall form, of a Shinigami, Kami, and Megami's Zanpakuto.  To activate it, the Shinigami needs to learn the name of their Zanpakuto, and to do this they need to use Jinzen to effectivfely communicate and harmonize with the spirit of their Zanpakuto.  The blade often times, (alhtough not always), changes shape and gains special abilities by chanting a Kaigo, or release incantation.  Using the Kaigo, followed by the name of the zanpakuto, activates Shikai, and is said to increase a Shinigami's base power, on average, by at least five times.  It's important to remember the incantation, because it isn't the same between Zanpakuto.  The incantations differ from users and range from simple imperativ words to a short poem.  They usually have something to do with the Zanpakuto's abilitiy, if they have any, or hint at the nature or personality of the spirit.  Advanced Shinigami who have mastered their Bankai may be able to forgoe this step altogether, but the power of their Shikai will always take a hit; instead of increasing their power by 5 times, it'll only be by two or three times.  In order to truly control one's Zanpakuto, the first milestone step is achieving their Shikai, after which one has to Master it.  Most Shinigami officers, especially ones of higher rank, at least have achieved Shikai, even if only at its most basic level.  In order to become a Lieutenant, achieving Shikai is almost always a downright requirement, similar to how Bankai is required for Captains.  It usually takes five years to achieve Shikai, and then five additional years to master it. 
  • Bankai (卍解, Final Release) is the second upgrade form, or third overall form, of a Shinigami, Kami, and Megami's Zanpakuto.  It's also, for all normal Shinigami, the final form to their Zanpakuto.  Bankai, under most circumstances, is said to increase the Shikai power of the Shinigami by at least ten times, or their base power by at least fifteen times.  In order to achieve Bankai, one must master the art of materializing their Zanpakuto Spirit into the real world and do battle with it, the exact opposite of the Shikai requirement of entering into the Zanpakuto's world and doing battle with it.  Bankai is usually a downright requirement to became a Captain in the Gotei 13, much like Shikai is usually required for Lieutenants.  In certain circumstances, Lieutenants are also able to achieve, and perhaps even master, their Bankai.  One of the most notable things about Bankai is the amount if time it takes to achieve.  Most Shinigami take ten years to achieve this form, and ten additional years to master it.  The only two exceptions are Kisuke Urahara and Ichigo Kurosaki, who used the Tantaichi, an invention by Kisuke Urahara allowing them to achieve and Master their Banaki in a total of three days.  
  • Omoimoyoranai Shinsou (思いもよらない思いも寄らない真相, Inconcievable Truth) is the third upgraded form, or fourth overall form, of a Zanpakuto, only attainable by Kami and Megami who have at least fifty precent or more Kami and Megami blood in them, which they can only begin to learn after they've achieved Bankai Mastery.  It's said to increase their Bankai power by at least one hundred times, or their Shikai power by at last one hundred ten times, or their base power by at least one hundred fifteen times.  In order to achieve this form, a Kami and Megami must be able to not only effortlessly materialize their Zanpakuto Spirit into the real world, but also the spirit must be able to fight alongside them in battle, just like a normal comrade would, which is much more difficult than most believe at first glance.  Every member of the first Gotei 13 possessed Omoimoyoranai Shinsou as a general rule; once normal Shinigami were allowed to become Captains, however, this rule was forgone entirely.  
  • Konso (魂葬, Soul Burial) is th eprocess by which a Shinigami sends wandering pluses in the living world to either the Soul Society if they were good in life, or Hell if their life was full of evil acts, (such as murders, thefts, ect).  Konso is performed by using the hilt of hte Shinigami's Zanpakuto to tap the head of the soul, thereby transporting them to their designated afterlife.  
  • Hollow Purification:  When a Hollow is sliced with a Zanpakuto, it is cleansed of the sins it committed as a Hollow, and is led into the Soul Society.  This is also called sublimation.  Souls who live in Soul Society are reborn again into the Human World.  
  • Jinzen (刃禅, Blade Zen/Sword Meditation):  This method is the most common way to carry on a proper conversation with one's Zanpakuto.  One places their sword over their lap, or in the ground inf ront of them, taks a meditative pose, and forces their mind to become one with the Zanpakuto, entering their innner world, after which they can battle with it in order to achieve Shikai.  

Notable Users

  • Keiichi Kuchiki
  • Nemaiya Oetsu
  • Yachiru Unohana
  • Kenpachi Tsunahiki
  • Kenpachi Miyamoto
  • Kenpachi Zaraki
  • Kenpachi Kiganjo
  • Kenpachi Kuchiki
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