What Are The Phases Of Ki Control In Dragon Ball?


Ki is one of the most important assets in the Dragon Ball Series. In the beginning of Dragon Ball, Ki wasn’t much of a concern as fights during those times were more of hand-to-hand combats. But as the series progressed and more powerful characters emerged, the essentiality of Ki and Ki control couldn’t be more emphasized. A fight in Dragon Ball Z or Super cannot happen without Ki based attacks or techniques.

The concept of Ki is very popular in ancient traditions. The Chinese call it Chi or Qi; in Japan Ki; in India Prana. It is basically the vital life force of intrinsic energy in all living creatures. Chi is invisible, but its effects can be demonstrated physically. Martial artists perform seemingly impossible tasks with considerable ease by tapping into their Chi energy. It is cultivated by a discipline towards bodily control, healthy eating habits, and control exercise. Martial arts exercises are seen more suitable for the development of Chi power, as they encourage co-ordination and breathing which leads to synchronization of mind and body.

There’s still much more to be found out about Ki. It is still a concept shrouded in mystery as the Z Warriors are still yet to tap into the full potential of their Ki.

Before we get into the intricacies of Ki control, let us get a sense on what exactly Ki is.

What is Ki?

Ki exists within every living creature in the cosmos. It is the life energy or latent power which exists deep within a living being. It exists mainly in the center of one’s body. Regular everyday people do not know how to sense Ki and harness it but, with a reasonable amount of martial arts training and focusing power, they can sense and use Ki at will. Gohan teaching Videl how to awaken her Ki in the World Tournament Saga encapsulates this:

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Dragon Ball Z Chapter 234 – Gohan teaching Videl how to access her Ki

Toriyama mentions in an interview on the importance of Ki and Ki control:

In battle, the most important thing is the size of your ki, and your control over it. No matter how much you train, there are limits to physical strength (of the body), and the only way to overcome that is through ki. I think Goku was able to approach the mightiest warriors in the universe through strengthening his ki.

Akira Toriyama

Toriyama also explains that the following three parts make up Ki:

  • Genki (energy)
  • Yūki (courage)
  • Shōki (consciousness or state of mind)

Ki Control

Ki control is a very important aspect in mastering Ki usage. Without it, it is very difficult for the user to harness the power of Ki and bring forth its true potential in the form of Ki attacks and techniques. It is easier to picture Ki as a wave in a graph.

  • If the wave is fluctuating a lot within a given area of space, there is less Ki control.
  • If the wave is steady with minor fluctuations, there is greater Ki control.
  • If the wave is perfectly steady with very little or zero fluctuations, there is perfect Ki control. (This level of control is very difficult to achieve even for the most skilled warriors or Gods.)

Phases of Ki Control

There are five aspects or phases in Ki control:

  • Ki Suppression: It simply means suppressing one’s Ki within the deepest reserves or parts of the body. After achieving this, others struggle to sense the Ki, determine its quantity and the user’s location. Gohan and Krillin suppressing their Ki which make it difficult for Vegeta or Frieza’s henchmen to detect them on Namek is an example of this phase.
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Dragon Ball Z Chapter 75 – Vegeta isn’t able to sense Gohan and Krillin’s suppressed Ki
  • Ki Manifestation: Ki manifests when the user powers up and the stored up Ki inside the body release to an extent. This manifestation is a controlled feat which results as the aura which surrounds them. Others can start getting a read on the strength of the user during this phase.
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Dragon Ball Z Episode 24 – Nappa raises his Ki to manifest his aura around his body
  • Ki Containment: Containing Ki involves both suppression & manifestation. The Ki stays at the surface level of the body in order to prevent it from leaking out. Others can determine the location of the user. But Ki can be partially sensed in this state but the sensor cannot determine how much Ki is within his opponent. It’s like how Goku figured out Frieza is holding back in Resurrection: ‘F’ by sensing the latter’s contained Ki but the quantity remains uncertain. The power can manifest to some extent but it cancels out the aura.
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Dragon Ball Z – Resurrection “F”
  • Ki Manipulation: In this phase, the user is able to control Ki to such an extent that he can channel it, mold it in different shapes and release it from the body in a particular direction. By manipulating Ki, the user can use various Ki based attacks in the form of beams, blades, discs, rings, spheres, or explosions. Techniques like flying, gigantification, creating multiple copies of yourself, etc. can be used as well.
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  • Ki Leakage: This happens when the user does not have sufficient control of his/her Ki. As a result, it sometimes escapes the user’s body without his knowledge. One requires more mental and physical stamina to prevent this from happening, as shown by Goku when he perfected Super Saiyan Blue by preventing his Ki from leaking out from his body.
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Dragon Ball Super Episode 20 – Goku and Vegeta’s energy leaking from their bodies

The amount of Ki varies depending on the individual. Usually, non-trained beings have very little Ki. Training can increase the amount of Ki greatly. If however, the user ignores his training and slacks off for a considerable amount of time, he/she can lose stamina to control Ki.

Types of Ki

The type of Ki determines the user’s inherent quality. The series revealed three types so far:

1. Regular/Normal Ki: Mortals hold this type of Ki.

  • Good Ki: Those who hold no evil intentions have this type of Ki. It is subject to change depending on their intentions. The life energy of these people radiates a sense of ease and goodness in the atmosphere. The appearance of this type of Ki is usually a white aura around the user. If the user has a lot of Good Ki in them, they have the power to change the evilness within people. A prime example is Goku’s goodness rubbing onto his evil enemies who, in some cases, change to the good side, like Piccolo and Vegeta. With this Ki, Goku was able to use the Spirit Bomb technique and Gohan was able to bounce it away from himself.
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Goku base form
  • Evil Ki: Beings with evil hearts manifest this type of Ki. Usually, the villains have this type of Ki. The life energy of these beings radiates a sense of maliciousness and murderous intentions in the atmosphere. The regular Ki users, even if they can’t sense Ki, can sense this feeling of evil within the heart of the villain and feel unsettled. The appearance of this type of Ki is usually a purple or pink aura around the user (Examples are King Piccolo, Frieza and Buu). Good Ki can transform Evil Ki under the influence of a strong Good Ki user and vice versa. A good example is Majin Vegeta.
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Frieza purple aura

2. God Ki or Godly Ki: This is a type of Ki completely different from the normal Ki, which cannot be sensed by the normal Ki users. Gods specifically use God Ki but non-Gods can acquire it as well. The aura’s appearance differs from one user to another. For example, Fused Zamasu radiated white aura and Beerus radiates purple aura around their bodies.

  • Good Godly Ki: A type of Ki that combines the goodness of the user with God Ki. Characters like the Angels, the good Kais, Goku, Vegeta, etc. possess this type.
  • Evil Godly Ki: A type of Ki that combines the maliciousness of the user with God Ki. Characters like Zamasu and Goku Black holds this type.

The importance of Ki control is still pretty much relevant even in the manga. Will its relevance continue as the story moves forward? Will our heroes one day master the art of Ki control in order to defeat even the strongest of warriors in the cosmos? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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