The Niko Style is practiced by the main protagonist of Kengan Ashura, Ohma Tokita. This style was taught to him by his adoptive father, Niko Tokita but just what exactly is it? The Niko Style consists of four main katas or forms, the Flame Kata, Adamantine Kata, Redirection Kata and Water Kata.
The Niko style is very effective even when the user, Ohma Tokita in this case, isn’t well versed in all the Katas but is this style real. In short, no, there is no martial art in the real world called the Niko Style but don’t get disappointed Kengan fans, as you can still train in a martial art that’s at least pretty similar to Ohma’s.
Well, I should say Martial Arts, as The Niko Style is most likely a Hybrid Martial Art, which is a combination of two or more styles mixed to create a more complete fighting system.
Conveniently, it seems that each Kata is based on at least one martial art. Each of the martial arts that influences it’s respective Kata is either from Japan or has a strong presence in Japan.
Now, training in one or all of these martial arts probably won’t give you the ability to breakdown a wall with a shoulder tackle and it differently won’t give you the ability to stop knives from stabbing you but if you want to fight like Ohma, these might just be the styles you want to try out.
Notes: This will focus mainly on what we have seen on the two seasons of Kengan Ashura on Netflix. The Manga and the additional information it gives will not be used. These choices come from my knowledge of the anime and of martial arts please don’t @ me. Spoilers for Kengan Ashura ahead!
The Flame Kata is based around footwork, granting the user the ability to move incredibly fast and create advantageous angles on one’s opponent. The best example of this movement is when Ohma used Flashfire on Ryo Inaba to counteract his movements and circle around to attack Inaba from all sides.
The martial art that teaches footwork like this is Boxing. Most people probably don’t know that Japan is really big on Boxing, they even have one of the top current pound for pound boxers in the world with Naoya Inoue.
While Boxing only allows punches, the footwork that it teaches is arguably the most effective in all of the martial arts. Boxing teaches movement while striking and taking superior angles of attack on one’s opponent.
Boxing won’t make you move with flames at your feet like when Ohma uses Phantom Pace but it will let you dodge opponents and strike blind spots, like Phantom Pace.
The Adamantine Kata of The Niko Style focuses on hardening the muscles for both defensive and offensive techniques. This makes the techniques more effective and is largely used in striking.
The Martial Art that closest matches this idea is Karate but which style of Karate specifically? Karate has a ton of different styles and while most teach the concept of tightening muscles in order to make them more dangerous and effective. The specific style that, in my opinion, fits the Adamantine Kata is Gōjū-ryū.
Gōjū-ryū is a style that focuses mainly on linear single strikes, which matches up pretty well to what we have seen of the Adamantine Kata. The main technique that we see of the Adamantine Kata is Ironbreaker, which is a focused single linear punch to an opponent. This technique matches up pretty well to the traditional reverse punch in Gōjū-ryū.
Some might say that Kyokushin Karate fits better with the Adamantine Kata but Kyokushin focuses more on combinations and is more of a “Stand and Bang” style, with most practitioners choosing to trade blows with their opponents. This doesn’t match up with the portrayal of the Adamantine Kata which lacks combinations, in favour of powerful single stikes and mobility.
The Redirection Kata is probably Ohma’s favorite in all of the Niko Style. The Redirection Kata involves seeing and manipulating the “flow of power”, using minimal motions to turn the opponent’s attacks against them. This Kata is mainly focused around sweeps, takedowns and other kinds of standing grappling techniques.
There are actually two styles of Martial Arts that make up the Redirection Kata, those being Aikido and Judo. Both of these styles are based around standing grappling and have many one to one comparisons with the Redirection Kata.
Firstly, the idea of redirecting an opponents power and energy and using it against them is the main philosophy behind Aikido. Many of the techniques used in the Redirection Kata are reminiscent of Judo, such as when Ohma uses Weeping Williow as a foot sweep, like techniques in Judo.
The Water Kata is the only Kata in the Niko Style that focuses on ground fighting, particularly grappling techniques like submissions. The Water Kata also focuses on mobility and fluidity of motion.
The bulk of the techniques in the Water Kata are submissions designed to either choke someone unconscious or break a bone or joint. This style very obviously takes inspiration of Jujitsu, most likely traditional Japanese Jujitsu.
Most of the grappling techniques in The Niko Style are pretty exaggerated but the methodology and technique focus is still there. The Bind of Pisces is probably the most accurate technique in the Water Kata, as it is just a traditional armbar to a standing opponent.
The unique thing about the Niko Style is that it uses techniques that are combinations of its various Katas. This allows for even more variety in techniques and creates even more effective attacks one can use.
This closely resembles the original philosophy of MMA, which was to bring together all the styles of Martial Arts, keep what was useful and to get rid of what was useless.
The Niko Style is a really interesting style and fans can’t wait to see more of it when we eventually get Kengan Ashura Season three, hopefully sooner rather than later.