The Niko Style (二虎流, Niko-ryū; lit. "Two Tigers Style") is a style supposedly created by Tokita Niko. In actuality, it was created by Gaoh Mukaku and passed on to the many "Tokita Niko's" he fostered. With Tokita Ohma's death at the end of the most recent Kengan Annihilation Tournament, there is only one known remaining heir to the Niko Style.
This style is made up of four different katas, or forms, each of which must be fully mastered in order for the Niko Style to be complete. This style places a high focus on adaptability and applicability, and many of the techniques are not set movement patterns but basic principles which can be applied in multiple situations.
The Niko Style is divided into four katas: the Adamantine Kata, the Flame Kata, the Redirection Kata and the Water Kata. Each kata has an 'ultimate technique' which are not necessarily the most powerful techniques, but are rather "aces in the hole" that can be used no matter what condition the user is in.
The Adamantine Kata (金剛の型, Kong'ō no Kata) involves the tightening of the muscles (thus hardening one's body) for both defensive and offensive purposes. This kata is more suited towards striking.
- Indestructible (不壊, Fue): This technique allows the user to either defend from powerful blows or attack the opponent in a powerful strike, through instantaneously clenching all of their muscles at the moment of impact; tensing and tightening of the muscles increases the solidity and density of the user's body, thus preventing the impact of outside attacks from inflicting much, if any, damage. This gives the technique massive defensive and offensive power. By the user also picturing themselves as if they are rooted to the ground, the technique has the capability to withstand blows from opponents up to a certain weight limit. The sturdy muscles presented by Indestructible are durable enough to mitigate attacks as brutal as Rakshasa's Palm (in this case, because it prevents the permeation of the palmstrike's rotational energy). However, Indestructible is not infallible and can be broken through by colossal strikes that are overwhelmingly powerful (such as Wakatsuki Takeshi's blows) or by powerful attacks that can gradually wear Indestructible down (such as Kiryu Setsuna's Rakshasa's Sole).
- Ironbreaker (鉄砕, Tessai): A powerful strike delivered while tensing and tightening the muscles in the user's hands or feet. It is a strike powerful enough to leave an impression of one's fist in their opponent's body.
- Iron Fingers (鉄指, Tesshi): A technique that involves tightening the muscles in the fingers thereby hardening the joints of the fingers. This is an extremely versatile technique and can be used as a jabbing attack against the opponent's vitals, as a pinching hold or even to enable movement of the fingers even if they are broken.
- Bone Binding (抱骨, Hōkotsu): The ultimate technique of the Adamantine Kata. Using precise and delicate muscle control, the user is able to move body parts where a bone has been broken.
The Flame Kata (火天の型, Katen no Kata) is largely centred on footwork, giving the user incredible speed and agility.
- Flashfire (火走, Hibashiri): A movement form that flickers like a flame, and confounds the enemy. This technique is able to confuse the enemy by making them see multiple copies of themselves.
- Phantom Pace (幽歩, Yūho): The user quickly sidesteps at the moment right before their opponent's attack, causing the opponent to think that their attack phased right through them.
- Raging Fire (烈火, Rekka): The user performs a sprint after digging their toes into the ground, allowing them to accelerate at unthinkable speeds.
- Earth-Shrinking (縮地, Shukuchi): The ultimate technique of Flame Kata, with the essence of the technique laying in "standing on one's bones alone" without the use of the muscles. It is a form of footwork that relies on shifting one's center of gravity to move, with its "interval" visibly different from regular motions. It yields the illusion that the user is backstepping and the distance between the user and the opponent suddenly shrinking.
The Redirection Kata (操流の型, Sōryū no Kata): involves seeing and manipulating the "flow of power", using minimal motions to turn the opponent's attacks against them. As a result, this kata requires incredible kinetic vision and delicate physical control.
- Weeping Willow (柳, Yanagi): The most basic move of the Redirection Kata, the user alters the trajectory of their opponent's strike by redirecting their flow of power. In this manner, the user can make their opponent's attacks miss as well as make an opponent lose their balance, allowing an opening for an attack.
- Change of Scenery (転地, Tenchi): The user hurls their opponent with a twisting throw.
- Chi Blockage (絶氣, Zetsuki): A powerful palmstrike that was originally created to destroy the nerves. However it can also be used to suppress the autonomic nervous system.
- Entanglement (絡み, Karami): A move that goes one step beyond the Weeping Willow. By not only altering the trajectory of the opponent's attacks but grabbing onto them while doing so, the user can redirect the power back into their opponent. This can cause dislocation of the joints, as seen when Ohma used it on Komada Shigeru.
- Flowing Edge (流刃, Ryūjin): A defensive form of the Redirection Kata that deflects a strike's trajectory by applying power to its side. It can even be used to deflect projectiles (such as bullets) by calculating the angle of incidence of the projectile and creating an angle to deflect the projectile off of hard bone in order to change the projectile's trajectory.
- Marionette (傀儡, Kugutsu): The ultimate technique of Redirection Kata. Marionette allows the user to use Weeping Willow on themselves to amplify the body's internal power and control their body with the bare minimum energy, enabling them to move and fight when their stamina is extremely limited.
The Water Kata (水天の型, Suiten no Kata) mainly consists of grappling techniques, and places emphasis on flexibility and fluidity of motion.
- Bind of Pisces (双魚之縛, Sōgyo no Shibaru): This technique involves immobilising the opponent's arms by pinning one arm by their head with one's legs and the other arm with one's hands.
- Guillotine (首断, Shudan): While the opponent is off balance, the user grabs the front of their opponent's neck with both hands (while facing in the opposite direction to them) and then violently pulls and lifts their opponent's body up off the ground using their neck as a lever. This technique can heavily damage the opponent's neck.
- Jellyfish Clutch (海月固め, Kurage Gatame): The user runs at the opponent and catches them in a headlock, leaning down using the momentum of their run. This movement is used to viciously snap the opponent's neck back.
- Screw Cutter Jizo (捻切地蔵, Nejikiri Jizō): While the opponent is off balance in a supine position, the user grabs their opponent's arm with both hands, before flipping them over into a prone position and then tightly holding the same arm in a manner similar to an armlock that also involves sitting on the opponent's shoulder.
- Seagrass Hold (水草取り, Minakusa Tori): Used to evade and then lock a thrusting movement; the user quickly dodges a thrusting weapon (such as a spear) or thrusting attack (such as a punch or nukite) and grabs and locks the offending weapon/limb under their armpit in one fluid motion.
- Water Dragon's Vein (水龍脈, Suiryūmyaku): Similar to a bow and arrow hold. The user lies on their back with their arms clutching their opponent's neck and knees, and their legs pushing up on their opponent's back. This causes loss of consciousness within seven seconds, due to the carotid sinus reflex, though it has been surmised that the true purpose of this technique is to snap the opponent's spine.
- Water Mirror (水鏡, Suikyō): The ultimate technique of the Water Kata. Water Mirror can be used when the user cannot can't use their normal locks and holds, such as if they had broken their arm. This technique involves using a part of their opponent's body to place their opponent in a lock or a hold. Because there is no specific form for Water Mirror, it allows the user to be flexible and change the way they use it in a fight situation. For instance, in Ohma's battle with Imai Cosmo, Ohma grabbed Cosmo’s arm and used it to put him in a chokehold; he also dislocated Cosmo’s shoulder and broke his wrist to prevent him from escaping.
The Nil Kata (無の型, Mu no Kata) is not one of the four katas of the Niko Style per se, but has been shown to consist of breathing exercises.
- Void (空, Kū): A breathing exercise similar to Ibuki breathing and neigong, which involves deep exhalations through increasing the abdominal pressure, focusing awareness towards the body's meridian. This is used as a means of concentration and internal regulation.
Some moves of the Niko Style utilize principles from multiple katas.
- Fire Water (炎水, Ensui): A combination of the Flame and Water Katas, the user quickly and fluidly transitions from a forward dash into a low tackle, evading any incoming attacks while aiming to tackle the opponent to the ground at the same time.
- Flashing Steel (瞬鉄, Shuntetsu): The fastest attack of the Niko Style, which combines the speed of the Flame Kata's Raging Fire technique with the hardened striking power of the Adamantine Kata's Indestructible technique; this combined technique involves charging the opponent at a high speed and delivering a blow with tightened muscles. The momentum and hardness interact to make for a devastating blow; it is best used as a counter, utilising both the opponent's and the user's momentum to maximise inflicted damage. However, despite it being the Niko Style's fastest attack, it is very linear, making it predictable. Flashing Steel has at least three forms:
- Flickering Flame (畝焔, Uneri Homura): Combining the Flame and Redirection Katas, it uses a style of footwork designed to shift the user's center of gravity, enabling the user to change directions mid-dash immediately and still maintain top speed.
- Ironbreaker Revolution (鉄砕廻, Tessai-kai): A combination of the Adamantine and Water Katas, the user first throws their opponent to the ground and immediately follows up with a revolved Ironbreaker punch.
- Swimming Swallow (水燕, Suien): A combination of the Redirection and Water Katas, the user can deliver a rush of blows with unpredictable and quickly-altering trajectories, making them incredibly difficult to guard against.
- Will-O'-the-Wisp (不知火, Shiranui): Using the principles of both the Redirection and Flame Katas, the user performs a turning side kick and then redirects the flow of the kick into a full body stomp. The attack was powerful enough to smash a hole into the ground when utilised.
- Secret Technique: Demonsbane (奥義 鬼鏖, Ōgi: Kiō): The ultimate and secret technique of the Niko Style, it is an application of all four of the katas, and as such, can only be performed by someone who has mastered all four of the katas. On top of this, the training for the technique requires the user to have experienced the heightened sense of awareness that comes with a near-death experience. This technique is actually a counter that enables the user to completely ward the impact of an opponent's attack. The user utilises the Redirection Kata to change the direction of the attack's power, the Water Kata to allow the power to flow throughout the body and the Flame Kata to check positioning. Finally, the user utilises the Adamantine Kata to deliver the diverted power back to the opponent while also adding their own power to the attack, drastically augmenting the damage inflicted. Demonsbane is a formless move, making it deceptively deadly because no matter what attack the opponent performs, the user can divert and return it back with more power. However, the move does have a few weakness: the user must be a master of the four Niko Style katas, especially the Redirection and Water Katas. If the user fails to utilise the Redirection Kata properly, the flow of the attack won't change and will instead hit the user. If the user fails to utilise the Water Kata properly and their body is not completely relaxed, the flow of the attack will move randomly in the user's body, damaging themselves or lowering the damage of the final attack.
- Secondary Secret Technique: Fallen Demon (第弐奥義 降魔, Dai-ni Ōgi: Gōma): The secondary secret technique of the Niko Style. Using this technique, the user can enter a state of tachypsychia, or an altered perception of time, allowing them to see everything around them in slow motion. While this does not increase the speed of the user's physical actions, it allows them to identify and react more effectively, making it easier for the user to dodge and counterattack. This technique is highly taxing on the brain, due to forcing the brain to analyze what it sees at high speeds, and will permanently damage the brain if the user overuses it. As seen with Kiryu Setsuna, who has greatly overused Fallen Demon, it can cause life-like hallucinations.
The Niko Style utilises unique styles of training to maximise the user's physical conditioning. This includes underwater shadow-boxing (which combines anaerobic exercise with water resistance) to improve muscular and cardiovascular functions.
Notes & Trivia
- The Niko Style was born from Gaoh Mukaku rearranging the Gaoh Style into something more useful in the modern age.
- There are other characters in the series who are familiar with or have been seen using some techniques strikingly similar (if not identical to) Niko Style techniques
- Kuroki Gensai has been seen using a technique very reminiscent of Bone Binding. Considering Gaoh Mukaku and Shimochi Kazufumi were known to trade techniques since their younger days, as well as Shimochi helping Gaoh to create the Niko Style, it can be inferred that Niko Style would share some techniques with the Kaiwan Style.
- Kanoh Agito has demonstrated usage of a technique heavily reminiscent of Indestructible. He also displayed a viscerally irked reaction when he realised Tokita Ohma was "Niko's heir" and later stated that Ohma's Niko Style was different from "the Niko Style I know". However, it is unclear whether Agito is a practitioner of the style or is simply familiar with it.
- The term "Tiger's Vessel" (虎の器, Tora no Utsuwa) appears to be related to the Niko Style in some way, however, how it is so is yet unknown.
|Martial Arts||Gaoh Style • Kaiwan Style • Koei Style • Niko Style (Possessing Spirit) • Raishin Style|
|Kengan||Bodyguards (Extermination Force • Fang of Metsudo) • Guardians • Kengan Annihilation Tournament • Kengan Association members (Ashura/Omega) • Kengan matches • Referees|
|The Public Sphere||Rokushin Kaikan • Rokushin Kaikan Tournament|
|The Underworld||Heavenly Wolves • Kengan Association VS Purgatory Tournament • Kure Clan • Mikazuchi Clan • Underground Martial Arts Industry (Kengan matches • Purgatory) • Worm|
|The Inside||The Black Messengers • The Inside • Tokita Niko|