An excerpt from Mr. Kisuke:
I’m disappointed Ichigo, so very disappointed. Sadly, your sword exhibits only fear.
When you counter, it’s because you fear being killed. When you attack, you fear killing. And when you try to protect someone, you fear you could let them die.
At this point, the only thing your sword speaks of… is senseless freight. And that’s not good.
What you do not need in battle is fear. Nothing come of it.
When you counter, you don’t let them cut you. When you protect someone, you don’t let them die, when you attack, you kill. Understand? Can you see, my sheer resolve is reflected in my sword.
(after some battle…)
Oh yeah! You got it, resolve.
[From Bleach Season 1]