Ki Gauge (Meter) and Ki Charging
Your Ki Gauge, or meter, is displayed on the bottom left of the screen assuming you are on the first player side. You can hold a maximum of 7 bars of meter, and spend meter to perform various actions like Vanishes, EX Specials, Supers, and Guard Cancels.
Meter is typically generated through offensive actions. Walking forward, dashing forward, jumping forward, and having your opponent block or get hit by attacks are all actions that build meter. Meter is also built by blocking and getting hit, but the meter gain for each individual hit or each individual block is far less than the attacker’s meter gain for said actions. Meter gain is also significantly diminished during combos after meter is spent on an action.
Another way to build meter is through Ki Charging, which is performed with L+S. This is a remarkably risky maneuver, and doesn’t currently see much use in intermediate level play and above. When Ki Charging, your meter will manually build as long as you are holding the button combination down. It also builds faster the longer that you hold it. The downsides of Ki Charging are that you are completely vulnerable for a very long period of time and are in a counter hit state for the duration of the entire Ki Charge. This spells for big trouble if you are hit out of a Ki Charge, especially since your opponent will have plenty of time to react to your charge even at full screen with moves like Super Dash. Theoretically, if you could manage to land a meterless combo that allows you to ki charge while the opponent is in hitstun, you might be able to barely build 1 bar of meter before your opponent is able to punish, but this is very impractical considering you can definitely craft meterless combos that will grant you just as much meter at the very least, and give you other benefits such as damage and knockdowns.