Well, what is Ultra instinct first of all.
Light spoilers… very light spoilers.
Maybe that’s ample space…
Without spoiling too much (I will not say what Ultra instinct is from to keep it to a minimum) Ultra instinct is a state of mind where you do not think of your actions, you just act on instinct at a heightened level to such an extent your actions have a super natural level of speed and accuracy to them. This is an over the top exaggeration of something that happens to many high level competitors in a wide range of competitive occupations/games/whatever.
You have chess (which will be a strong focus in this thread, because chess players basically train themselves to be as close to Ultra instinct as they can be with the most optimal training regiments). You’ve also got American football, fighting games, mma, boxing, anything that involves time and making decisions to overcome an obstacle (opponent, whatever).
“Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.”
“The Three Stages of Cultivation — The first is the primitive stage. It is a stage of original ignorance in which a person knows nothing about the art of combat. In a fight, he simply blocks and strikes instinctively without a concern for what is right and wrong. Of course, he may not be so-called scientific, but, nevertheless, being himself, his attacks or defenses are fluid. The second stage — the stage of sophistication, or mechanical stage — begins when a person starts his training. He is taught the different ways of blocking, striking, kicking, standing, breathing, and thinking — unquestionably, he has gained the scientific knowledge of combat, but unfortunately his original self and sense of freedom are lost, and his action no longer flows by itself. His mind tends to freeze at different movements for calculations and analysis, and even worse, he might be called “intellectually bound” and maintain himself outside of the actual reality. The third stage — the stage of artlessness, or spontaneous stage — occurs when, after years of serious and hard practice, the student realizes that after all, gung fu is nothing special. And instead of trying to impose on his mind, he adjusts himself to his opponent like water pressing on an earthen wall. It flows through the slightest crack. There is nothing to try to do but try to be purposeless and formless, like water. All of his classical techniques and standard styles are minimized, if not wiped out, and nothingness prevails. He is no longer confined.”
These are Bruce lee quotes. The 2nd quote is basically about starting at an unrefined Ultra instinct, moving to a state where you’re intellectually bound, then transcending this to a more refined state of Ultra instinct. This is our goal.
My personal experience is mostly from soul calibur 3. The game that reall got me into competing.
My story is I dabbled in sc2 a bit but not so hardcore, enough to preorder sc3 and get it on release day.
I played with my two brothers and our friend and got a bunch of ads beatings and wanted them to stop so I hit up training mode and found it have one of the most in-depth tutorials in a fighter I’ve seen (this is actually where I learned about frame advantages and safe on block and so on).
Initially I didn’t know Nightmares moveset. I just instinctively blocked or attacked and it was rather unrefined.
Then I hit up practice mode and now I’m learning all his attacks some combos a bit of match up this or that. Then, when I hopped in a match I was thinking a lot before acting and this gives you a mental lag. You’re too slow when you have to think first. But as time went on and training continued a lot of this knowledge becomes ingrained and instinctual.
One day, I remember like yesterday. My older brother and I start a best of 7. No one remembers who won that, just that when it was won it became a best of 9, then 11 and so on till we’re at best of 101. Something just snapped and I went blank and just wasn’t thinking at all anymore and I got 3 perfects in a row and it was 51-50 my lead. Then it became 67-50 before he just quit… I couldn’t remember a lot of those, but we saved some replays and I was instinctually doing some off the wall crazy ass shit. I still couldn’t remember doing it.
To boil down what a chess master has done and what they do in a match it’s basically that second Bruce lee quote.
You learn how the pieces move (say you’ve learned srk, hadouken, tatsu, and all your normals and their frame data. Cool, you know how to move your pieces). But you still think before you act… which isn’t good because the match (lets say it’s a 10 minute game) is timed and you only have 5 minutes of time to think (well I mean you CAN use your opponents but that’s not relevant for this… let’s assume your opponent is a machine that wastes no time moving so time isn’t on your side).
Time spent thinking is an extreme hinderance. So they train day in and day out on solutions to common situations until it becomes something they don’t have to stop and think about, they instinctually know what to do.
To be a master means you have to study so hard you can glance at a board and know what to do in your sleep without a thought. So they spend all that leg work thinking of all these problems and their solutions grinding it in training until it’s instinct.
And that is the goal. Think of all the outcomes and come up with all the solutions then play matches and get to the point where your pad or stick is an extension of you and you don’t need to think about avoiding that mix-up or doing a reset or finishing your combos. You just instinctually do it. You’re running on instinct.
Just beware of auto-pilot. Let the auto-pilot engage but be able to have a clear head while it’s running.