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Zanjutsu (斬術, Swordsmanship; Viz "Art of the Sword") 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, Way of The Sword) is a modern Japanese martial art of sword-fighting based on traditional samurai swordsmanship. Yachiru Unohana is particularly masterful in this art.[3]


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Master Swordsmen[]

Master swordsmen 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 wielder's power and determination. Most Shinigami 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 the skill in order to achieve the rank of captain, though mastery is not exclusive to them or even to Shinigami.

This applies to some lower than the rank of captain who, by constant training and battle, have achieved the necessary level of swordsmanship skill without having attained the captain position.

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Expert Swordsmen[]

An expert swordsman is highly skilled in 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, in order to be promoted. This applies to some higher seated officers as well and, in some cases, to captains who, though possibly having attained their Bankai, do not commonly engage in swordsmanship as their desired form of combat.

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Swordsmen are those who specialize in the use of Zanpakutō 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.

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  1. Bleach manga; Chapter 175, page 9
  2. Bleach Official Bootleg, page 143
  3. Bleach Official Character Book Souls, page 193