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This article is about the ability. For the incomplete transformation, see Ultra Instinct Sign. For the complete transformation, see Perfected Ultra Instinct. 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 (身勝手みがって極意ごくい Migatte no Goku'i, lit. "The Secret of the Self-centered") 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]

This ability can only truly be used once the transformation that enables one to utilize it is achieved,[1] this transformation must then go on to be completed and further refined. It is, however, possible to utilize this ability, or its principles, to a limited degree without the transformations.

Overview

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

Autonomous Ultra Instinct is considered the "absolute peak" for those who master the martial arts. It effectively allows for each and every part of the users body to think and move independently of all the other parts, as opposed to how a person normally has to think about their movements beforehand and let the command travel from the brain and through the nervous system. A sequence which wastes precious fighting time, as command signals only travel through the nerves so fast.

With each part of the body able to think and act on its own, the user of this technique is able to automatically react to any situation or threat with the perfect move with perfect timing. They don’t even need to acknowledge the threat; meaning the user can still fight effectively, even if they are focusing on something else.

Limitations and Drawbacks

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, it is also seen that someone with colossal raw power can bypass the instantaneous defense impulse of Ultra Instinct. In fact, if users of the ability face each other and one of them has a refinement of the Ultra Instinct superior to the other, they will have an advantage and will be able to bypass the instant defense without inconvenience. While using the ability may make the user's vital points extremely difficult to target, it is still possible for an immensely-focused attack to break through if the user is not careful, as demonstrated by Granolah's Evolved Right Eye.

The drawback of trespassing in the realm of the gods.

In the anime, since Ultra Instinct is a technique of the Gods, for mortals without sufficient divine training, there is one major 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 itself so far beyond ones natural limits. Once this time limit is reached, blood will rupture from the user's body and dark ki electrical shocks 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 a mortal user 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, they will no longer be at risk of suffering the adverse effects. According to Whis, however, even once a mortal has mastered the form, there is still a time limit on the form. This was shown during Goku's battle with Granolah, as though he had the edge due to his usage of his Perfected Ultra Instinct form, the accuracy of it dropped during the course of the fight, till Granolah could once again strike him.

Learning

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

  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 current struggle through natural reaction (or instinct).
  2. The user needs to break their "self-limitation shell" in an extreme way in order to explore their most intimate hidden potential. In the anime, Whis points out that for this to happen, it is necessary for the user to experience a "trigger" of some kind, such 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 their emotions.

Completion of the final step is the most difficult to achieve, 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 far more difficult to learn, as fighters are inclined to think about their attacks before making them and constantly search for weaknesses in their opponents to exploit. Sending attack commands to the muscles sends contradictory signals to the muscles that are moving on their own, thus slowing the user down and weakening their attack capabilities while performing the move.

Although somewhat unorthodox, the entire Ultra Instinct learning process can be circumvented simply by copying/absorbing a user who has already mastered the ability. However, this method is not advisable; the risks of using Ultra Instinct without divine training are even greater, as the user's body is not be able to handle the overwhelming power of the ability and will suffer negative effects that will inevitably end up causing the death of the user. This is seen 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.

Impossibility of learning

Trying to dodge instinctually, only to fail.

Due to the demand for extreme self-control and clarity, both in the mind and in terms of their emotions to learn Ultra Instinct, fighters of an analytical and moody nature are unable to learn the ability because of their tendency to think about their attacks and get 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 his fighting style.

Vegeta attempted to make use of Ultra Instinct - by folding clothes in the manga, and by trying to instinctually dodge Catopesra in the anime - however he failed , leading him in the manga to realize he was not suited for learning the technique, and opted for a different path. By extension, due to Beerus' comments, it is indicated that the Gods of Destruction are incapable of fully mastering Ultra Instinct, due to their inherent nature preventing them from achieving the emotional balance necessary to master the ability. In order to make up for it, they tend to practice a derivative technique that takes advantage of their more impulsive tendencies in battle, the Ultra Ego.

Levels of precision and accuracy

Whis' superior usage of Ultra Instinct easily overcomes Goku's

According to Whis, although it is said that those capable of achieving Perfected Ultra Instinct have reached the absolute peak, the ability is just the "initial path" to obtain peak combat efficiency. In fact, just like any technique, Ultra Instinct can be perfected by its users so that their precision using the ability becomes even more refined.[5] This refinement, in turn, is only achieved when the user who masters the ability is able to use it without activating its transformation state, which will prevent their body from being harmed by the stress that the prolonged use of Ultra Instinct causes.[8]

The lowest level of this ability is when one is only capable of using it's principles. After achieving the perfected state of the Ultra Instinct transformation, Goku's use of the ability is said to be the bare minimum of what Ultra Instinct is truly capable of, referred to as being "at the bottom of the ladder". It is noted by Moro that with the Ultra Instinct he copied from Merus, his abilities are equal to Goku's, later Whis is said to have far greater mastery over the ability than Merus, while the Grand Minister's use of Ultra Instinct is even greater than what Whis'.

Usage and Power

Via transformation

Main articles: Ultra Instinct Sign and Perfected Ultra Instinct Angels are naturally in the Perfected Ultra Instinct state and this ability is said to be their signature. Whis was the first person shown using this ability.

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.

Goku using incomplete Ultra Instinct against Jiren.

During the Tournament of Power, Goku achieves a transformation known as Ultra Instinct Sign for the first time. In this form, Goku is capable of using incomplete 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. Goku had the complete ability to change from Ultra Instinct to his base form after severely wounding Moro before immediately changing back after Moro attacked Goku despite Goku sparing the wizard and giving him a Senzu Bean.

After copying Merus' abilities and gaining Ultra Instinct, Moro was able to fight on par with Goku and match his speed even when Goku was also using the state. However, due to Moro's body barely having any experience with Ultra Instinct, his body mutated into a large bloated state, rendering the form useless for him at that point.

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.[9]

Grand Minister is an Ultra Instinct user of such a domain that he outperforms Whis in accuracy and, by extension, all of his children, thus making him the most powerful holder of the ability.[5]

Non-transformation

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 only use this pseudo-form of Ultra Instinct when his heart is clear;[10] this makes the ability difficult for him to use due to his perverted nature. When Roshi utilized it against Miza, Iwaza and Kikaza, it was noted by Miza that Roshi had become stronger than before.

Roshi has used this power[10] on three occasions: during the Tournament of Power to defeat Kahseral, then against Jiren - where he was quickly overcome, and later once more against Miza, Iwaza and Kikaza - where he triumphed against the convicts until they merged. During the Tournament of Power, he also implied earlier in the tournament that he could use it to hold his own against the likes of Frost.[11]

In his mortal state, Merus utilizes Ultra Instinct to train Goku and to combat Moro on a few occasions, however, as he is not in his true Angel state he cannot use the ability to its full potency.

According to Whis, it is possible for Goku to use Ultra Instinct without needing to transform, thus it will free him of the stamina drain that is creating a time limit while using it with a transformation. After a period of time training with the angel, Goku is now able to access the ability even in his normal form,[12] though he needs to close his eyes to activate it outside of the full Ultra Instinct transformation. Vegeta notes during Goku's fight with Granolah that the Super Saiyan forms increase the accuracy of Ultra Instinct in battle, as demonstrated when Super Saiyan God Goku uses the technique to effortlessly slide through Granolah's energy volley.

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 Dokkan Battle, iterations of Goku (Ultra Instinct -Sign-) and Goku (Ultra Instinct), Whis and Vados have the ability represented by significantly high chances of evading the enemy's attacks. This holds especially true for two specific iterations of Goku (Ultra Instinct) and Whis, both of whom raise their defensive ability by astonishing amounts for every attack they evade.

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 Kakarot, Whis can use Ultra Instinct during training battles during which he automatically dodges every attack that should hit him.

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 self-centered linking particle

secret

Translation the secret of the self-centered

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 self-centered, 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 self-centered". 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.

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