The Three Swords Style (三刀流, Santōryū) is a style of sword fighting that deals with the wielding of three Katana; one in each hand and one in the mouth. There are many different techniques for this sword style, including high speed attacks ("Shishi Sonson"), direct hit attacks ("Demon Strike") and compressed air projectile attacks ("108 Caliber Soaring Phoenix"). Zolo Roronoa is the world-famous swordsman of the Straw Hat Pirate Crew who created this style.
Zoro first started developing "Two Swords Style", when he first started learning the ways of the sword. Defeated by his rival Kuina 2000 times, this only drove him to become stronger and stronger. One day, he challenged Kuina to the two thousand and first match, confident as usual, only this time, he wanted to fight with actual swords. Zolo fought with his usual Nitoryu, as Kuina fought with her "One Sword Style". At the end of the fight, Kuina once again came out on top. That would be the last time that the two rivals ever fought each other, because the next day Kuina lost her footing on some stairs, fell, and died. When Zolo was told this, he was devastated, and he asked his sensei to give her sword, "Wado Ichimonji" to him so that he can carry on their dream to become the greatest swordsman.
It was because of this that Zolo started learning Three Swords Style, and which later drove him to become an extremely powerful swordsman, and Three Swords Style to be an extremely powerful style. His fighting style revolves around an unusual sword style that uses three swords instead of a single sword. This becomes the only way Zolo is comfortable fighting, and he can settle for any quality of swords as long as he has three; although he has broken many swords that were sub-par with Wado Ichimonji.
Zolo can use three swords, two swords, and one sword style techniques. When he uses three swords, the third one (usually the Wado Ichimonji) is placed in his mouth. Several of his attack names are actually puns due to the way some of the Japanese words are combined together. When these words are pronounced together, they can sound like a completely different Japanese word, often referring to cuisine in general, and to sushi in many specific cases. Also, while Zolo is agnostic, some of his attacks have religious references to them.
- Demon Strike (鬼斬り, Oni Giri): A three-way simultaneous slashing attack. Zolo crosses his two swords across his chest and places the blade in his mouth horizontally behind them. Zolo then approaches the target (usually at high speed) and cuts through by swinging the swords across his chest, resulting in a descending diagonal-crossing slash from both swords while the mouth blade performs a horizontal cut from either the left or right, depending on which side of his mouth he positioned the sword's main blade at. The pun in the name is that Onigiri is also the name of a Japanese rice snack. This was first seen used to finish Cabaji and the first technique he used against Mihawk Dracule. It should also be noted that in that fight with Mihawk, the technique’s main weakness was discovered. There is a single brief moment when the three swords are all lined up behind each other. If one can block them at that instant, the entire technique will be rendered useless. Mihawk did so by putting his necklace blade against the front most sword when Zolo tried the technique. Doing so however, requires an enormous amount of strength, more so than Zolo himself or else he’ll just push through the block and connect anyways, as shown with Zolo's battle with Hatchan. This attack is as powerful as Luffy's Gum-Gum Double Barrel or Kaku's Bigan. This attack is the only one that when it's named, Zolo does not say "Three Swords Style" before its name.
- Flaming Demon Strike (焼鬼斬り, Yaki Oni Giri): A variation of the Demon Strike where Zolo's swords are on fire. Should this attack connect, the opponent will also be set on fire. The pun in the name is that "Oni Giri" can also mean "rice ball", and adding "Yaki" to it would change its meaning to "grilled rice ball". Zolo first used this attack to save Usopp from being blown up by Mr. 5. The main flaw of the technique is that Zolo is also being burnt while using this technique.
- Charming Sleepless Night Demon Strike (艶美魔夜不眠鬼斬り, Enbima Yonezu Oni Giri): A stronger variation of "Demon Strike" where the swords are twisted during the slash for added force, resulting in this attack striking multiple opponents instead of one. The pun in the name is that since "Onigiri" can mean "rice ball"; when "Ebi Mayonēzu" is added, the name can also mean "shrimp mayonnaise rice ball" in Japanese. This was first seen being used against several Navy in the Enies Lobby courthouse. During its use, he generated a steam which made his swords look like they were bending. As for added visual effects, a cloaked demon (with glowing red eyes in the anime) appears to be standing behind him when he uses this technique.
- Tiger Trap (虎狩り, Tora Gari): Zolo puts his hand swords over his mouth blade and swings forth a forward descending slash with them. At close-range, this can incapacitate at least two average foes at once. When Zolo uses this attack, the aura of a tiger's head is shown behind him. The pun in the name is that "Tora Gari" is also a type of Mohican haircut. Zolo first showed this attack to defeat the Meowban Brothers.
- Three Swords Style Secret Technique: Three Thousand Worlds (三刀流奥義 三・千・世・界, Santōryū Ōgi: Sanzen Sekai): Zolo holds two of his swords at an angle against each other and rotates them rapidly while running towards his opponent to create momentum; he then slices up the foe with full speed and power. This attack was first used to try to defeat Mihawk Dracule. According to the name of this attack, this is the ultimate and strongest technique of the Three Swords Style. It was first used successfully against Oz after 429 chapters since its first appearance, where Zolo dealt three enormous slashes over Oz' body with the technique. It is seen again much earlier in the anime, when a hypnotized Zolo Roronoa used it against Luffy D. Monkey in the Ocean Dream filler arc. The variation move is initiated by Zolo placing his swords in an inverse triangular formation before spinning his two swords together and launching its attack. It is a reference to the Nichiren Buddhism’s core principle Ichinen Sanzen, which literally means 3000 realms (sanzen) in a single moment of life (ichinen) experienced by a person’s mind. In this case, three simultaneous slashes of his swords. When he used this against Mihawk for some reason he spun the two swords in opposite directions, the right hand clockwise and the left hand counter-clockwise.
- Streaming Wolf Swords (刀狼流し, Tōrō Nagashi): At a close range, Zolo leans toward the opponent, using two of his swords to block the opponent's attacks while twisting his body around as he is continuously moving to approach and dodge other attacks (if there are any) and eventually cutting through the opponent's stomach with the third sword. It was used in Zolo's battle against Hatchan. Zolo performed an aerial version of this move against Kuma Bartholomew when he used it to effectively evade the latter's rapid Pressure Cannon attack, and would have succeeded to land a point-blank hit had Kuma not blocked his swords with his "paws". Toro nagashi (灯籠流し) is a Japanese ceremony in which participants float paper lanterns (chochin) down a river.
- Dragon Twister (龍巻き, Tatsu Maki): Zolo spins with his swords to create a dragon-like tornado that both slashes and blows away the target(s). By the time of the Enies Lobby Arc, Zolo achieved enough power to bust apart a tall establishment all the way through the topmost ceiling with this move and was also able to break Tekkai. This is one of Zolo's most powerful attacks. The pun here is "Tatsumaki" means "tornado" in Japanese, and is also a type of sushi. It was first used to defeat Hatchan. The aura of a Chinese dragon is seen accompanying him during the formation of this technique.
- Bull Charge (牛針, Ushi Bari): Zolo executes a multi-hit running attack with two swords held out like a bull's horns. This was first seen being used against Mr. 1. The pun here is that an "ushibari" is a wooden beam used in Japanese homes. The aura of a bull is seen accompanying Zolo when he uses this attack. This is called Bull Needles in the Viz Manga.
- Crab Grab (ガザミ獲り, Gazami Dori): All three swords are horizontally parallel, suddenly clamping down on the target like a crab's claw for a guillotine like effect that would normally cut a person's head off. This was first seen being used against Mr. 1. The name is a pun off of "kazamidori", or "weather vane". When Zolo uses this technique, the aura of a crab is seen behind him.
- 108 Caliber Soaring Phoenix (百八ポンド鳳, Hyakuhachi Pondo Hō): Same principle as the thirty six version of the same attack. Holding his two swords horizontally above the shoulder and the other in his mouth in the same direction, and then performs a circular swing that launches three air compressed projectiles spiraling towards the target instead of one or two, tripling the power of the technique, but with Shusui, the air compressed projectiles instead fuse and become a larger and more powerful, compressed air projectile. This attack seems to be as powerful as Luffy's Gum-Gum Cannon. This was first seen being used to finish off Ohm. The attack's name is actually a very heavy pun, it's written out as "Phoenix of the 108 Earthly Desires" in the Manga with a skewed reading attached that makes it "108 Pound Ho" when read out. Ho means both Cannon and Phoenix, however the attached Kanji is for Phoenix, making that the literal translation and the "Cannon" reading a Pun on that, both of which are correct. The "Pound" part is a skewed reading of the Kanji "Bonnou" for Earthly Desires, and it is referring to the Caliber of a Cannon (a 108 Caliber Cannon would fire a 108 Pound Ball). This is called 108 Pound Soaring Phoenix in the Viz Manga.
- Raven Hunt (鴉魔狩り, Karasuma Gari): Zolo performs a flying multiple slash technique. This attack is strong enough to cut steel, as it was first seen used to slice cannonballs. This was first seen being used against the Franky Family. The pun is that "kasumagari" is slang for a leg cramp in several regions of Japan, including the one that Eiichiro Oda is from.
- Bull Demon: Bold Hooves (牛鬼: 勇爪, Gyūki: Yuzume): The swords are positioned pointing at the enemy. Zolo lunges forward and hits the enemy with great impact. This was first seen being used to shatter T-Bone's sword. This attack can also be done in mid-air. The ushi-oni, or gyūki, is a horned, bovine head creature which appears in the folklore of Japan. When Zolo uses this attack, the aura of a bull is shown behind him.
- One Gorilla (一ゴリラ, Ichi Gorilla): Zolo flexes his left or right bicep, in preparation for Two Gorilla Slash. "剛力" (gori) means "herculean or great strength". The pun is of course, "one great strength" and gorilla. This was first seen being used against Kaku.
- Two Gorilla (二ゴリラ, Ni Gorilla): Zolo flexes his right or left bicep, in preparation for Nigori-zake, as a follow-up for the above technique. As above, the pun is "two great strength" and gorilla. This was first seen being used against Kaku.
- Two Gorilla Slash (ニゴリザケ, Nigori-Zake): After using both One and Two Gorilla, Zolo swings his swords so that the tips meet when they hit the opponent, with the swords in his mouth and left hand being held at the same level and the right's hilt dropping at an angle. The pun here is that nigori zake also means 'unrefined sake (Japanese Rice Wine)'. The literal translation of this move means 'two great-strength decapitation'. This was first seen being used against Kaku. This attack is powerful enough to disperse Kaku's Bigan. When he use these attacks, his biceps seem to get almost 2 or 3 times bigger, being it similar to Urouge's ability of increase his muscle mass. His arms also bulk up like Chopper's while using Arm Point. In the Viz Manga, this is called Two Gorilla Cut. When performing this technique Zolo is accompanied by the aura of a gorilla.
- Leopard Spinning Balls (豹琴玉, Hyō Kin Dama): Zolo jumps forward while spinning in the air, forming a ball shape with his blades. This is basically a feinting maneuver, so even if the target manages to read the pattern of this attack and move out of Zolo's trajectory, they will still be cut as Zolo careens past them. This was first seen being used against Kaku.
- Great Buddha Slash (大仏斬り, Daibutsu Giri): A series of horizontal sword slashes that are powerful enough to cut apart a small building. This move can also be performed vertically. This was first seen being used to provide Sanji with "ammunition" for his "Jenga Ho" technique. This can be misread as dai ("big") and butsu-giri ("roughly chopped").
- Demonic Raven (夜叉鴉, Yasha Garasu): Zolo spins like a rolling wheel towards his enemy while continuously thrusting his swords at the opponent. The attack leaves cuts shaped like crows' feet. This was first seen being used to carve up Oars' arm. Yaksa is the devil which embraced Buddhism. It is also a pun on a three-legged crow called Yata Garasu, a reference to the three rows of crow feet-shaped cuts Zoro leaves. While using this technique, the aura of a Yaksa is seen behind him. In the anime, the aura of a crow is seen.
This is a list showing the attacks Zolo used for his Three Swords Style after his two years of training with Mihawk Dracule since losing Yubashiri. The techniques he uses are enhanced versions of his old attacks. Though these were the only named techniques used in the manga after the time-skip, in the anime Zolo is shown to still use his weaker pre-timeskip techniques also.
- Three Swords Style Secret Technique: Crossing the Six Paths (三刀流奥義: 六道の辻, Santōryū Ōgi: Rokudō no Tsuji): A much stronger version of "Three Swords Style Secret Technique: Three Thousand Worlds", learned after two years of training with Mihawk. Zolo manages to bend his body, and swing the swords in the form of an inverted "S" shape while performing a vertical spin, slashing the opponent six times simultaneously so fast that he did not seem to move at all. This technique's named after the Six Paths of Buddhism, that is said to the be the six states where a person is controlled by their desires and conquering them is able to transcend their animal nature. It was first used against the Kraken, to cut one of its tentacles and divide it into six pieces. in the alteration version, this technique involves six repeated slashes, ending with a vertical spin.
- Black Rope Dragon Twister (黒縄・大龍巻, Kokujō: Ō Tatsumaki): A much stronger and more effective version of "Dragon Twister", where Zolo performs the same action. He spins to create a dragon-like tornado that both slashes and blows away the targets, but the attack keeps going like an actual whirlwind and cuts up anyone who gets caught in it. While the old version only gave the victims small cuts and was able to break a Tekkai (like Kaku's one) at its full potential, this new version seems to be able to cut through thick steel with ease. It was first used against the New Merman Pirates. According to Zolo, the whirlwind will not cease until its targets are severly damaged. In the Viz Manga it is called Three Sword Style Black Rope Dragon Twister.
- Purgatory Demon Strike (煉獄鬼斬り, Rengoku Oni Giri): A much stronger version of "Demon Strike", where Zolo still faces away from the opponent, and waits for them to come. He then turns around and leap towards the attacking opponent. This may be a way to make his already lightning-fast triple slash even more sudden. The effect of this attack leaves an X-shaped stream of blood. While the old version could break Hachi's six swords, this new version can easily break the eight swords of Hyouzou (a swordsman Hachi was not able to defeat since childhood) who was extremely doped with Energy Steroids. It was first used to defeat Hyouzou.
- Blue Dragon Scars: Rushing Water (青龍印 流水, Seiryū In: Ryūsui): As a blue aura shaped like a dragon appears around him, Zoro charges towards his opponent and slashes them horizontally with his three swords, ending in a pose similar to Demon Strike. This was first seen being used in Fairy One Piece TAIl Film: Z to defeat Ain. However, during the attack, he was shown turning his sword so as to only hit Ain with the back of his blade, knocking her out instead of cutting her.
- Ultra Tiger Trap (ウルトラ虎狩り, Uru Tora Gari): A much stronger version of "Tiger Trap", where Zolo does the same movements, he puts his hand swords over his mouth blade and swing them forth a forward descending slash with them. The aura generated by Zolo, seems to be the same as the original Tiger Trap, the aura of a tiger's head. While the original version was able to withstand against powerful human enemies like the Nyaban Brothers or Mr. 1, this enhanced version is able to match the strength of a dragon. The pun in the name is that the kanji pronunciation is a combination of the Japanese pronunciation of Ultra (urutora) and Tora (tiger in Japanese) making it sounds like Ultra Gari (Ultra Hunt) or Ul-Tora Gari (Ul-Tiger Hunt). It was first seen used against the Punk Hazard dragon. In the Viz Manga, this is called Ultra Tiger Hunt.