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This article is about the ability. For the incomplete transformation, see Ultra Instinct Sign. For the complete transformation, see Ultra Instinct (transformation). For other uses, see Ultra Instinct (disambiguation).

"You two are still thinking before you move rather than just moving. I'm afraid this habit is especially strong with you, Vegeta. This overthinking is limiting your fighting speed. Messages can only travel through your nervous system so fast. When you rely on thoughts for physical action, you lose precious fighting time. (...) Your end goal should be to master the ability to have each part of your body move independently of the other parts. But I admit this is exceedingly difficult; In fact, not even Lord Beerus has mastered it, and he's a god."
Whis explaining Ultra Instinct to Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’

Autonomous Ultra Instinct (がっごく Migatte no Goku'i, lit. "Secret of selfishness") is a very rare and highly advanced mental state. It is notorious among the gods for being exceptionally difficult to master, even for them.[1]

Goku attains a transformation that enables him to utilize the defensive aspect of Ultra Instinct during the Tournament of Power,[1] he later completes it, gaining its offensive properties and full power.

Overview

Goku realizes Autonomous Ultra Instinct is the culmination of his martial arts training.

The Ultra Instinct is considered the "absolute peak" of those who master the martial arts, as it allows its users to automatically: react to any situation or threat without the need to acknowledge it; defend themselves, and respond to any situation for their advantage.[9] 

Their body can also move and adapt while in battle on its own accord, allowing them to both attack and defend simultaneously without even having to think about it.

Learning

The ability requires the user has extreme and refined self-control over himself, something that very few warriors (even those considered geniuses), naturally have. For that reason, Ultra Instinct is extremely difficult to master. In order to unleash and learn to use it, there appear to be three steps, one more challenging than the other:

  1. The user must clear their mind completely and abandon any distraction or thought that would disrupt the focus of their body so that it concentrates only on the struggle through the natural reaction (or instinct).
  2. The user needs to break his "self-limitation shell" in an extreme way in order to explore his most intimate hidden potential. In the anime, Whis points out that for this to happen, it is necessary for a "trigger" to be triggered, as resisting an exceptionally strong attack (anime) or culminating the compression of multiple martial arts teachings (manga).
  3. The user must combine the first two steps without losing complete clarity and control of his emotions.

Completion of the final step is the most laborious to dominate and until it is fully understood, Ultra Instinct, even if it is accessed, will remain incomplete and will not reach its full potential. In this regard, according to Whis, while dodging and moving is easy to master, attacking while in Ultra Instinct is by far what makes the ability more difficult to learn as fighters are inclined to think about their attacks before making them, thus slowing them down and weakening their attack while performing the move.

Limitations

While Ultra Instinct seems to make the user virtually unbeatable, it is not an absolute guarantee against all danger as shown by Whis being oblivious to stepping on poop or (in the anime) when Goku managed to bite Whis to escape his hold, possibly because they were not of genuine danger to his being as they were such obscure threats. In addition, is also seen that someone with colossally raw power can bypass the instantaneous defense impulse of Ultra Instinct.

In the anime, for mortals without sufficient divine training, there is one risk of using Ultra Instinct. Similar to the reckless over-usage of Kaio-ken, the user can only sustain the sheer power of the ability for only a minute or so before their body breaks down from pushing so far beyond their natural limits. The time limit ending is shown from blood rupturing from the user's body as well as dark ki electrical shocks that will cause them severe pain and eventually force them into unconsciousness. In more severe cases, Whis noted it could potentially kill the user. In the manga, there is no such risk, as the mortal user of the capacity will only be worn out after using the Ultra Instinct for some time. In any case, both in anime and manga, once the mortal has the proper training and is able to access the ability at will, he will no longer be at risk of suffering the adverse effects.

It is possible to gain Ultra Instinct by copying/absorbing a person who has the ability, but if the person that is absorbing the ability didn't go through divine training then their body will not be able to handle Ultra Instinct and the body will suffer negative effects.  When Moro gained Ultra Instinct by copying Merus prior to his erasure, due to not undergoing the proper training to utilize these abilities, his body began to mutate once Goku was able to land hits on him.

Usage and Power

The first known user of this ability is Whis, who later teaches it to Beerus.

Whis often uses this ability against Goku and Vegeta during training, and reveals its existence at around the time of Frieza's revenge. During his demonstration, Whis was able to casually observe the blooming flowers while effortlessly dodging Goku and Vegeta's combined assaults.

During the Tournament of Power, Goku achieves the Ultra Instinct Sign form for the first time. With this, Goku is capable of using Ultra Instinct. However, Goku could only subconsciously activate this form after enduring prolonged stress against a stronger opponent and can only maintain it for a brief period of time before collapsing in exhaustion; his thoughts will somehow start to take control of his motions when Goku switched from defense to offense, which makes attacking less adequate. In the anime, Whis commented that before Goku is capable of exerting the full potential of Ultra Instinct, he has to master it at the offensive level, by separating his body from his consciousness while attacking. Frieza also noted that Goku's body needs to withstand overwhelming physical stress as the cost of such a boost in power.

Once Goku fully focused his heart and soul into the Ultra Instinct Sign form, he managed to access the completed form that gives him complete mastery of Ultra Instinct. In this ultimate state of fighting, Goku was able to utilize both the defensive and offensive might of this ability.

Prior to the Galactic Patrol Prisoner Saga, Goku could not access Ultra Instinct on his own and it only activates when he is in the direst of situations. Goku achieves the ability to use Ultra Instinct Sign at will during his training with Merus, a trainee Angel who also possesses the Ultra Instinct ability. Later, Merus comments that Goku is one step away from having full mastery of the skill. Afterward, after seeing Merus' sacrifice and maintaining calmness, Goku achieved a new clarity of spirit that allowed him to perfectly and consciously access the complete Ultra Instinct state. Moro was capable of matching Goku blow for blow and in speed when he acquires Merus’ abilities.

In Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Whis did not need to use this ability against Broly, simply using normal movements with no swiftness to dodge the Super Saiyan's assault.[10]

Imperfect

In the anime, Goku shows the first signs of this ability when he first fought Beerus as a Super Saiyan 3, where he instinctively dodged Beerus before the destroyer even moved to attack, piquing Beerus' interest.

In the manga's Universe Survival Saga, during the Zeno Expo, Beerus uses Ultra Instinct against the other Gods of Destruction, enabling him to handle multiple Gods of Destruction simultaneously; however, he is eventually restrained by Mule due to not having yet perfected the ability.

Master Roshi automatically dodges Jiren's punch

Thanks to his many years of martial arts experience, Master Roshi became capable of utilizing a similar but not quite as advanced automatic dodging technique. He can instinctively anticipate the tactics and attack patterns of his foe (even while blindfolded), enabling him to seamlessly evade harm - causing Beerus to believe he was actually using Ultra Instinct itself. Such a feat made Whis declare that Master Roshi at the time was by far the closest mortal to understanding and mastering Ultra Instinct even though he is unaware of it.

Master Roshi can also only use this pseudo-form of Ultra Instinct when his heart is clear;[11] this makes the ability difficult for him to use due to his perverted nature.

While Master Roshi's usage of an Ultra Instinct-like ability is only talked about in the manga, Roshi performs a similar feat against the transformed Ganos in the anime.

Video Game Appearances

In Dragon Ball Heroes, Ultra Instinct -Sign- appears as Ultra Instinct Sign Goku's Super Attack. In the fifth Big Bang Mission trailer for Super Dragon Ball Heroes, the Saiyan Hero is able to utilize this ability to dodge the God of Destruction Berserker's punches before counter attacking, dodge a rush attack from the God of Destruction Hero then counter attack him from behind, and sense the God of Destruction Elite preparing to attack allowing him to get behind her and interrupt her attack before she can finish shortly after achieving Ultra Instinct -Sign- form after losing an Energy Clash between SSGSS Saiyan Hero's Kamehameha and the God of Destruction Hero's Sphere of Destruction.

In Xenoverse 2, Dodge appears as an ability for Ultra Instinct Goku. Additionally, Whis can use Dodge if attacked during a certain New Parallel Quest which acts as an in-game representation of his Ultra Instinct ability.

In Dokkan Battle, there are also three cards of Ultra Instinct -Sign- Goku, one of which can transform into  Ultra Instinct.

In Kakarot, Whis briefly uses Ultra Instinct during training battles during which he automatically dodges every attack that should hit him. He gains an aura similar to Ultra Instinct -Sign- when using it.

Etymology

The original Japanese term is a pun that cannot be translated neatly into English.

While the term gokui in Migatte no Gokui 身勝手の極意 can be translated as secret, quintessence or focus point, migatte usually means egoism or selfishness in Japanese. So without any contexts, Japanese people would understand this phrase as followed:

Japanese 身勝手 極意
Transliteration migatte no gokui
Literal translation egoism linking particle

secret

Translation the secret to selfishness

But in the context of DBS and its world of martial artists, migatte must be understood in a more literal way:

Japanese
Literal translation body to win/to surpass hand
Translation the body prevails over both hands

With the original meaning of egoism, migatte must be understood with the body representing inner urges and the hands representing the interactions with people, thus politeness and good manners. But in the context of DBS, migatte must be re-interpreted as the inner reflexes of one's body taking over the deliberate movements of the hands.

Yet, by understanding what it's all about, most Japanese people would interpret migatte as being the contraction of the below phrase, fitting a modern Japanese view instead of the classical Chinese view of the above explanation:

Japanese 勝手 動く
Transliteration mi ga katte ni ugoku
Literal translation body subject particle one's own convenience adverbial particle to move
Translation the body moves on its own as it wants

So, the correct translation of Migatte no Gokui should be "the secret of the body [moving] on its own". This is obviously impractical to use as-is in an English adaptation of DBS. The official translation Ultra Instinct used in simulcasts still renders somewhat appropriately the original meaning by replacing the concept of an uncontrollable body with one's instincts.

Trivia

  • This technique closely resembles the real-life martial art concept of Mushin (無心 lit. "Empty Mind"), a mental state that highly trained martial artists are said to be capable of entering during combat. It is essentially a moment where their body reacts without the need of having any specific intentions or plans in mind, having refined their instincts and intuition to a level where they can respond to any threat without the need for thought.
  • As Whis and Beerus' EX-Fusion, it is very likely that Whirus possesses this ability.
  • Due to Whis' comments and the reaction of the Grand Minister, after witnessing Goku's transformation that enables him to use Ultra Instinct, it is presumed that angels are the only ones among the deities who do not have difficulty learning the technique.
  • Due to the demand for extreme self-control and clarity both in the mind and in his emotions to learn Ultra Instinct, it is suggested that fighters of an analytical and moody nature are unable to learn the ability because of their propensity to think about their attacks and carried away by their emotions during a fight. This is seen in the anime where Whis claims that Vegeta could hardly learn the skill given to his fighting style. In the manga, Vegeta reinforces this, commenting that he came to the realization that his nature was not suited for it.
  • While in the manga, Whis mentions that the user needs to have complete control of their emotions so that the balance of the Ultra Instinct is not disturbed, in the anime, apparently there is no such risk, as Goku was able to use anger to boost his power even more.

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