Chakra (チャクラ, chakura) is essential to even the most basic technique; it is the moulding of the physical energy (身体エネルギー, shintai enerugī) present in every cell of the body and the spiritual energy (精神エネルギー, seishin enerugī; English TV "Mental Energy") gained from the mind. Once moulded, it can be channelled through the chakra pathway system, which is to chakra as the circulatory system is to blood, to any of the 361 tenketsu in the body. Through various methods, the most common of which is hand seals, the chakra can then be controlled and manipulated to create an effect that would not be possible otherwise, such as walking on water, exhaling fire or creating illusions.
Through the process of nature transformation, chakra can be converted into a number of different natures. Most ninja have a natural affinity to one chakra nature, but they have the capacity to use natures apart from their own affinity. There are five basic natures, but in addition to these, certain genetic traits allow multiple natures to be combined into new natures; for example, it is possible to mix Water and Wind into Ice. While many ninja can use more than one chakra nature, very few are able to combine them in this manner.
Chakra was originally something that belonged to the Shinju. When Princess Kaguya Ōtsutsuki ate the fruit the Shinju bore, she became the first person in history to wield chakra. With her new-found power, she ended all the wars that plagued the lands. Her sons, Hamura and Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki, the latter of whom would become the man known as the Sage of the Six Paths, were the first people to be born with chakra. It was Hagoromo who spread chakra to others, intending for the chakra to connect people's spiritual energy so that they would understand one another without even talking. This became known as ninshū (忍宗; Literally meaning "Shinobi Sect"), with his goal being to lead the world toward peace. However, the people did not use chakra in the way the Sage had hoped, instead using it to connect their inner spiritual and physical energies. They kneaded their inner chakra to amplify and weaponise it, creating what is now known as ninjutsu. In the end, they ended up using their chakra in battle, just as Hagoromo's mother Kaguya did.
Since being spread by the Sage of the Six Paths, chakra has become a form of life energy that all living individuals produce to some degree and require to survive. Produced within the "chakra coils" that mainly surround and connect to each chakra-producing organ, the energy circulates throughout the body in a network called the "Chakra Pathway System", which is similar to the cardiovascular system. Certain groups, such as shinobi, have learned to generate more chakra and release it outside their bodies through pressure points called tenketsu in order to perform jutsu. Chakra is not normally visible to the human eye, though it can be seen in situations where a person releases as much of their chakra as possible. This is rarely seen due to the restrictions of eight specific tenketsu known as the Eight Gates, which limit the amount of chakra an individual can release at a single given time. Chakra can also be visible when performing certain techniques, such as the Rasengan.
Of the many different types of techniques, ninjutsu, genjutsu, dōjutsu, and so on, all require the use of chakra. However, taijutsu is different, usually requiring no chakra use whatsoever; stamina is all that is needed. While the ninja still needs a set amount of chakra to live, regular taijutsu doesn't require any active moulding or manipulation of chakra, with few exceptions. A standard attack like a punch or kick falls into this technique category.
Chakra is created when two other forms of energy, known collectively as one's stamina, are moulded together. Physical energy (身体エネルギー, shintai enerugī) is collected from each and every one of the body's cells and can be increased through training, stimulants, and exercise. Spiritual energy (精神エネルギー, seishin enerugī; English TV "Mental Energy") is derived from the mind's consciousness and can be increased through studying, meditation, and experience. These two energies becoming more powerful will in turn make the created chakra more powerful. Therefore, practising a technique repeatedly will build up experience, increasing one's spiritual energy, and thus allowing more chakra to be created. As a result, the ninja is able to do that same technique with more power. This same cycle applies for physical energy, except the ninja needs to increase their endurance instead.
The general term for the source of chakra, the overall physical and spiritual energy an individual has, is called their "total stamina". The maximum amount of chakra an individual can create and retain at a given time is called their "chakra power-level".
Each person's chakra is different and as such gives off a unique chakra signature, which sensor type ninja are able to detect. One's chakra signature can be altered by absorbing DNA from multiple people, as seen in Kabuto Yakushi's case. By mixing various chakra signatures together, it became a whole new one, so that not even a sensor type who was already familiar with him could recognise him by his chakra.
Like DNA, chakra seems to be passed from parent to child, with the child inheriting the chakra signatures similar to their parents.
Chakra Control (チャクラコントロール, chakura kontorōru) is a term that refers to the control of one's chakra and aptitude at controlling it. In Naruto, chakra takes time and a great deal of training to gradually build up. Thus, the key is not actually having chakra, but being able to sufficiently control and conserve it. Everyone has chakra, but only skilled ninja can correctly "mould" and "manipulate" it to its fullest extent.
Moulding chakra involves the extraction of physical energy from the body's cells and spiritual energy from the mind's consciousness, and then mixing them together within the body. In other words, a ninja could create too much or too little chakra for a given technique, resulting in the chakra being used inefficiently. In addition, even if a ninja is able to mould the correct amount of chakra, if they cannot manipulate the chakra properly, the desired technique will not be as effective or will not execute at all. Wasting stamina and chakra will also create weaknesses like early exhaustion, which would hinder the ninja's capacity to fight long-term battles. General training methods for improving one's moulding and manipulation of chakra are the Leaf Concentration, Tree Climbing, and Water Surface Walking exercises.
As an in-between stage, some ninja can partially manipulate their chakra. This means they can use their chakra, but not effectively control it, which results in a poorly executed technique. A prime example is when Naruto Uzumaki tried to use the Clone Technique during his Academy graduation exam. To manipulate their chakra more easily, hand seals can be used. With these hand seals, users can control their chakra with higher efficiency, allowing them to execute their techniques more effectively. Different techniques also require the use of different hand seals. Shinobi who are extremely skilled at chakra control can become medical-nin or make more effective use of genjutsu.
- Shape transformation deals with controlling the form, movement, and potency of chakra.
- Nature transformation deals with changing the physical properties of chakra into an element. There is also the nature transformation of Yin and Yang, which deals with changing the ratio of spiritual and physical energies within chakra.
These two methods can be implemented separately or together in order to create a technique, though ninja who can use both simultaneously are said to be rare.
A good way to build up chakra in the body is to spin it into a tight spiral. Whether to spin the chakra left or right is dependent on the way the user's hair grows, either to the right or left. An opponent can negate a technique by absorbing it and reversing the spin of the chakra within their own body.
Shape of Chakra
Main article: Shape Transformation Most techniques take a certain shape that is usually precisely controlled from one hand to another, through chakra. A good example of this is the Rasengan. Naruto uses one of his hands to control chakra, and moves it over the other in a circular motion, which eventually creates a sphere of pure chakra.
Main article: Nature Transformation Based on which ninjutsu the ninja uses, the amount of chakra will be different, as would the element the ninja employs. The five main elemental types are also the names for the Five Great Shinobi Nations: Fire, Wind, Lightning, Earth and Water. Each ninja has the potential to better utilise one of these styles and potentially more. Rinnegan users somehow have the ability to easily control all five elements.
Highly advanced power-levels elements such as Wood Release and Ice Release are created by combining different elemental chakra types. Doing this is only possible with a kekkei genkai or having a tailed beast with such an element in canon.
However, the first movie has shown that shinobi of the Land of Snow are able to perform Ice Release techniques without a bloodline by manipulating the ice around them. Kajika was also able to use a water technique that produces solid ice, snow and frost.
Other Types of Chakra
Tailed Beast Chakra
Main articles: Tailed Beasts and Jinchūriki The tailed beasts (尾獣, bijū) are the nine titanic behemoths within the Naruto series. They are living forms of chakra, sometimes referred to as "Chakra Monsters" (チャクラのバケモノ, Chakura no Bakemono), giving them immense reserves of especially strong chakra that far outmatches most shinobi. The tailed beasts' chakra is coloured red.
Over the centuries, countless humans failed to regard the tailed beasts as sapient individuals, treating them with great disdain and fear. Because of their immense power, they sought the tailed beasts out as mere tools to be controlled, a sentiment they detest. Eventually, they found the way to partially control their power, by using powerful fūinjutsu to seal them within humans. The hosts of the tailed beasts are called jinchūriki (人柱力; Literally meaning "Power of Human Sacrifice").
Main article: Senjutsu
Senjutsu chakra (仙術チャクラ, Senjutsu Chakura; English TV "Sage Jutsu Chakra") is the chakra needed to perform senjutsu. It is a powerful source of energy, able to grant a ninja increased strength, speed, and endurance for taijutsu, as well as enhancing the power of one's ninjutsu and genjutsu. Senjutsu chakra is created through the three-way mixing and balancing of one's physical energy and spiritual energy, as well as the natural energy (自然エネルギー, shizen enerugī; English TV "Nature Energy") from the atmosphere/air and terrain/ground. This chakra cannot be seen or sensed by anyone other than those who have been trained in senjutsu. Since the three energies need to be equally balanced, the higher one's personal chakra capacity is, the more natural energy they can add to the mix. Only those with a large chakra capacity can gather the natural energy needed for entering the powerful state called Sage Mode. Also, only when a person remains "perfectly still", no longer disrupting the flow of nature around them like ripples in a pond, can they properly feel and harness natural energy. Remaining completely still for a period of time takes a great deal of concentration and patience, requiring a highly motivated and calm state of mind.
Six Paths Chakra
The Six Paths Chakra (六道チャクラ, Rikudō Chakura) is the unique chakra of Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki, otherwise known as the Sage of the Six Paths. Hagoromo's chakra can be acquired by combining the chakra of both his sons, Indra Ōtsutsuki and Asura Ōtsutsuki, which can evolve a Sharingan into Hagoromo's own dōjutsu, the Rinnegan.
Hagoromo transferred his Six Paths chakra to Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha when they were near death, causing them to gain the Six Paths Sage Mode and Rinnegan, respectively. This chakra allowed Naruto and Sasuke to directly harm Madara Uchiha when he was the Ten-Tails' jinchūriki. Naruto's Truth-Seeking Balls contained the Six Paths Sage Chakra (六道の仙人チャクラ, Rikudō no Sennin Chakura), allowing him to damage Madara's shadows, and Sasuke utilised the Six Paths Power (六道の力, Rikudō no Chikara) with his Chidori in order to damage and even bisect Madara. Obito Uchiha was able to temporarily give this power to Kakashi Hatake when he transferred his chakra to him as a spirit during the battle against Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, allowing Kakashi to damage Kaguya. This power can amplify any technique and can also change its colour, as seen with Sasuke's Chidori and Kakashi's Lightning Cutter.
There are also Six Paths Yin and Yang powers, which can be transferred between individuals. Incredible feats can be achieved when the two powers are combined, such as unleashing a massive Chibaku Tensei capable of creating a moon and sealing a being as powerful as Kaguya.
The chakra from Hamura Ōtsutsuki is rather special, just like his brother. This type of chakra was inherited by the main branch of the Hyūga clan, such as Hinata Hyūga who became the "Byakugan Princess", and Hamura directly transferred his own chakra to her so she could destroy the energy vessel. Members of the Ōtsutsuki clan have also inherited this chakra as well.
Gift of the Hermit Group
Main article: Gift of the Hermit Group The Gift of the Hermit Group (仙族の才, Senzoku no Sai; English TV "Gift of the Sages") is a special kind of chakra used by the ninja monks of the Fire Temple. It requires daily, unrelenting training to master. This chakra is required to unseal the Sealed Iron Wall granting access to the Fire Temple. It is also required for the technique Welcoming Approach: Thousand-Armed Murder.
Main article: Mysterious Peacock Method By using the chakra enhancing meteorite, shinobi from Hoshigakure can manipulate their chakra into a wide variety of skills at the cost of extreme damage to their bodies. Hoshigakure's method gets its name, Mysterious Peacock, from the chakra's raw manifestation as pinkish purple chakra tails similar to a peacock's tail feathers.
Main article: Zero-Tails Dark Chakra (闇のチャクラ, Yami no Chakura) is a special chakra formed from the negative emotions of the heart. Created by the Zero-Tails, as it feeds on the negative emotions of the people around it, it is shown to be extremely powerful, being used to power the Land of the Sky's Ancor Vantian and grants Shinnō powerful techniques with seemingly no drawbacks, though it eventually destroys the mind, and rots the soul of the user.
Main article: Bell (charm) Priestess Chakra (巫女チャクラ, Miko Chakura) has a bright and unique aspect. It can send pink rays of severing light at the user, Shion's, opponents, create a light barrier to shield her from darkness, and transform her into an angelic form. She also used the mystical chakra of the bell to create a protective sphere around a designated target, as she did for Naruto Uzumaki, and use the chakra with Naruto to form the Super Chakra Rasengan. Miroku feared that if Shion is corrupted, her powers would be deadlier than a gigantic demon's.
- Although chakra is usually invisible, those with dōjutsu such as the Sharingan, Rinnegan and Byakugan can see the colour of someone's chakra. Each person's chakra apparently has a different colour, though all regular chakra is depicted as light blue in the anime. Sufficiently immense amounts of chakra are also visible to the naked eye.
- People who are related share similar chakra signatures.
- Chakra signatures also vary among different populations.
- The strength and properties of one's chakra are determined by their genetics, and there are specific genes for strong chakra which can be inherited. Even if one does not inherit said genes, it is possible to obtain similarly powerful chakra through training.
- In addition to their genetics, chakra seems to reflect its owner's personality and emotions to some extent, as Karin noted Sasuke's chakra had grown darker and colder when he increasingly fell victim to the Curse of Hatred, while she described Naruto's chakra as bright and warm.
- It seems when there is a sufficient amount of a being's chakra present, it will create a new but similar conscience of said entity. There are examples of both humans and tailed beasts doing such, with Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki sealing their chakra into their son before their deaths in order to speak to him later in his life, and the tailed beasts all giving a portion of their chakra to Naruto Uzumaki. However, because Minato and Kushina consciences have no way to replenish their chakra without their original bodies, they will fade away once their chakra has run out. The tailed beasts are able to replenish their chakra.
- In Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel, it seems the concept of chakra is not spread throughout the entire world, as Hagoromo intended, since a certain continent is completely unaware of its concepts or how to use it.
- In Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Lost Tower, as stated by Minato Namikaze and partially supported in Shippūden episode 70, chakra with similar signatures resonate when they are near.