Home » Series » Dragon Ball Series » Goku’s Powers & Abilities In Dragon Ball Explained

Goku’s Powers & Abilities In Dragon Ball Explained

The name “Son Goku” has become a household word that it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of him. The monkey space alien has been the face of Dragon Ball and pretty much the entire Shounen genre for decades. So many characters and superheroes have been greatly influenced by Toriyama’s version of Sun Wukong.

I remember this one comment someone made in a TFS YouTube video that Luffy and Naruto are Oda’s and Kishimoto’s version of Pirate Goku and Ninja Goku. Don’t take this literally though, it just conveys the idea of how Goku’s character greatly influenced the famous characters.

Goku has got a unique persona and some distinctive qualities. However, I can’t say the same for his techniques. It’s a well-known fact that Goku’s moves are borrowed from his friends and allies, starting from Grandpa Gohan and Roshi. He hardly has any techniques which he could call his own (maybe Dragon fist, but that’s not canon). Team Four Star described this fact in a hilarious way:

GOKU: Sorry, Cell. I’m here to win! And you’re never gonna beat me with your stolen techniques!

PERFECT CELL: And what, are you gonna beat me with your stolen techniques?

GOKU: What!? I don’t steal techniques!

PICCOLO: Actually, Goku…yeah, you do.

GOKU: Whhaaaaaa? What about the Kamehameha?

KRILLIN: Naw, that was Master Roshi.

GOKU: The Solar Flare?

TIEN: That’s mine, thanks.

GOKU: The Spirit Bo–?

KING KAI: (over on his planet) Goku, I’m watching the tournament, don’t think you can pull that shit!

GOKU: Oh hey, King Kai! Quick question: Did I learn the Kaioken on my own?

KING KAI: My f**cking name is in it…

Dragon Ball Z Abridged Episode 58 (Cell Mates), Team Four Star

Even so, he was able to increase the strength of those techniques unlike anyone before. With the help of his friends and foes, he became so powerful (entering the domain of the Gods) that they made him the beloved character he is today (yes even Frieza).

In this post, I’ll be explaining a bunch of Goku’s powers and techniques which are key in battle. Ki-based attacks like the Kamehameha and other smaller techniques will be excluded. So sit back, grab a snack and let’s get right to it.

Goku’s powers and combat abilities are inhumane

a Red Ribbon Army robot analysing Goku
Goku deemed as an Alien in a filler scene

As a member of a warrior race, Goku’s powers, superhuman strength and abilities are insanely high that no normal human can fathom. With an initial power level of 10, he beat up huge dinosaur-like creatures and survived gunshots. In fact, the head injury he incurred as a child should have killed him. Heh, no wonder what Yamcha said was true.

KRILLIN: I hope he (Goku) has some airbags in that baby.

YAMCHA: Why? To protect the ship from Goku’s head?

Dragon Ball Z Episode 121 – Welcome back Goku! (Original Funimation Dub)

And don’t forget his signature attack – Goku used bite! It’s super effective!

Saiyans have this unique ability to raise their power level during moments of pure rage. Anger and the loss of a loved one are what drove Goku to become a Super Saiyan. The Saiyan warrior taught his son to channel his anger onto his enemies. That’s what makes them so strong during battle.

He started off as a lower-class warrior but his determination to become the strongest pushed him to grind hard. It’s not like he got his big break by eating hair or a fruit, like some MCs. His muscles were sculpted over years and years of hard-core training. Plus he had masters like Gohan, Roshi, Kami, King Kai and Whis to help him push his limits and learn new abilities and styles of combat.

If 100 push-ups, sit-ups and squats could build a Saitama, imagine doing at least 1,000 times the OPM workout.

Saitama fans, just give up.

Not to mention Goku’s intense training under 400 times Earth’s gravity and that was even before he reached Super Saiyan. Goku’s powers and prodigal skills are unmatched, with a few exceptions. In present times, he’s at least a multiple-galaxy buster.

Ultra Instinct (Perfected)

Mastered Ultra Instinct Goku published by V-Jump
MUI Goku (V-Jump)

Ultra Instinct is the signature move of the Angels. It enables the user’s body to think, decide and act on its own. Theoretically, anyone can use this technique. But its usage requires a lot of thought-control training under an expert and a sufficient amount of God Ki. Ultra Instinct is something even the G.O.Ds struggle to master and Goku managed to achieve a glimpse of its true state in the Tournament of Power.

After that, his command over the Angel’s special move has grown quite dramatically. Along with hardening his body, He thrashed Moro about, making him raise the white flag and apologize. His thought-control levels have improved a lot. Usually, when a dear friend is murdered, he loses control of himself and goes into rage mode. When Merus vanished from this world, he did not show any form of anger. Instead, he kept his cool and activated the true state of UI.

In the current arc, he’s training to use Ultra Instinct in his base form. This removes his stamina and time limit problems. He’s even able to use the principles of UI on his previous forms like Super Saiyan God and Blue. But he has not yet reached the level the Angels are at.

Kaio-Ken

Goku's Kaio-Ken technique
Left – Base + Kaio-Ken
Right – Super Saiyan Blue + Kaio-Ken‘s principles

King Kai’s energy multiplier technique. It instantly amplifies the Ki within a person’s body, multiplying all of his abilities such as power, speed, defense, and so on. It causes quite the strain on the body if used for long. Goku normally uses this as a last resort where all other options have run out. He had made use of this move many a time in the past – Against Vegeta, Ginyu and Frieza. After introducing the Super Saiyan transformations, it kinda lost its relevance… until the Universe 6 arc in Dragon Ball Super.

Old Kai once said that using Kai-Ken along with Super Saiyan causes huge emotional turmoil. The Super Saiyan transformation is powered by rage and normally it doesn’t have precise Ki control. Since Super Saiyan Blue perfected is a controlled form with calmer Ki, Goku can use it without too many repercussions. More info about Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-Ken? Click here.

The basic multiplier is Base battle power X N. However, it is impossible to multiply excessively far beyond one’s abilities. Therefore, experimenting with an abnormally high Kaio-Ken number may result in the destruction of one’s own body. That’s why Goku doesn’t go beyond like X3 or X4 initially. Later as he got stronger, he could multiply his base power by 10, 20 times. We haven’t seen him go beyond 20 as of yet.

Using the principle of Kaio-Ken on UI is an achievable feat. Now that Goku is learning how to use the technique in his base form, he can, in theory, add Kaio-Ken’s power and multiply his stats. But, MUI + Kaio-Ken can lead to some recoil damages.

Instant Transmission/Teleportation

Goku's Instant Transmission
Goku’s teleportation technique

One of the Yadrats’ chief Spirit controlling techniques. This move has saved Goku from near-death situations plenty of times. While it’s primarily used for teleporting to distant places by sensing the target’s Ki, it can be very useful in combat. An example of this is the Instant Transmission Kamehameha.

If you’re at a distance from your opponent, you can close in and use a sneak attack via instant teleportation. In chapter 72 of Dragon Ball Super, Granolah was able to use a move even faster than Instant Transmission. Yes, it sounds weird when someone says “I’m faster than an instant” cause’ nothing is faster than an “instant”. However, this can be clarified when you dig deep.

To describe the technique, the Japanese word 瞬間移動 (Shunkan idō) is used. It translates to “Teleportation” and not “Instant Teleportation” (try Google translate if you want). The reason why people get confused is that, in the Anime, it’s called “Instantaneous Movement” and in the Manga, it is “Instant Teleportation”. Think of it as the Yadrat’s teleportation technique and its speed varying from user to user. In short, Granolah’s teleportation technique is faster than Goku’s teleportation technique. This is one way of looking at things I suppose.

Spirit Bomb

Goku's spirit bomb technique
Spirit Bomb powered by the people of Earth used against Kid Buu

Another one of King Kai’s moves, also known as Genki-Dama. The user gathers energy from the grass and trees, humans and animals, objects and the atmosphere, condenses into a ball and fires at the target. It gets stronger and more condensed when more living creatures give their energy.

Gathering energy only from the non-intelligent living creatures (plants, trees, animals, etc.) isn’t enough. That’s why it failed to kill Vegeta and Frieza. But, during the battle against Kid Buu, the entirety of Earth’s population supplied their energy to finish off Kid Buu. Canon-wise, it’s the strongest Spirit Bomb yet.

Fusion

Goku's fusion technique
The Fusion technique

The fusion technique is a specialty technique of the Metamorans. Post Cell Saga, Goku learned this art from a couple of guys of Planet Metamor who he met in the afterlife. It is a ritual wherein two beings of equal power level and height combine to form a single warrior, capable of amazing power and strength. The Potara Fusion multiplies the two being’s base power levels, so we can assume the same applies to the Metamorian Fusion technique as well.

The Fusion technique unlocks brand new transformation, techniques and abilities which cannot be achieved individually. For example, Gotenks can turn into a Super Saiyan 3, something which is unattainable for Trunks and Goten individually. Also, Gotenks has techniques like Super Ghost Kamikaze attack which neither of the duos possesses.

Zenkai Boost

When a person is on the brink of death and then heals up, he gets a permanent power boost. This ability is exclusive to the Saiyan race. These power-ups take place on a wide range in the number line, depending on how close you are to death.

In the Namek Saga, Goku’s power in base form was at 90,000. Post Ginyu battle, his recovery from his severe injuries increased his base power to a whopping 3,000,000! It’s because of the Zenkai boosts that Saiyans get insanely powerful when they fight, compared to other races.

Mimicry

Mimicry is the ability to copy or imitate another person’s technique by seeing it once. Being a prodigal fighter, Goku is famous for this as he copied Roshi’s Kamehameha (who took 50 years to master). Using this ability he copied other techniques like the Multi-Form, the after-image technique, Solar-Flare, cloning (he used this ability in his Ultra Instinct state to create seven illusionary clones as a distraction while training with Whis.) and the Hakai.

Kiai

Goku's Kiai technique
Ultra Instinct Goku using Kiai against Kefla

It is a technique in which the user uses Ki to manipulate the air currents around him in order to strike the opponent with powerful shockwaves. According to the Daizenshuu, there are 3 types of Kiai:

Kiai Cannon

This attack fires an invisible, massive bundle of Ki at your opponent, sending him flying. This move is particularly used by strong fighters like Jiren and UI Goku.

Kiai Eyes

A technique where you blow away your opponent by glaring at them sharply. It is an invisible attack that is capable of taking the enemy by surprise.

Kiai Extinguisher

A technique in which you simply fire a Kiai to extinguish a Ki based attack.

Other Techniques

God Bind

The God Bind Technique
Goku’s God Bind technique

Goku uses God Bind in both his Super Saiyan God and Ultra Instinct forms. The user channels Divine Energy through his hands, generating a circular flow of energy to encircle and immobilize his opponent.

However, if the opponent is strong enough, he can get out of this bind. Ikari Broly was able to break out and even use Goku’s move against him.

Telekinesis

Goku has the ability to use Telekinesis
Chapter 64 – Goku uses Telekinesis against Moro

A tactic that allows a person to move things and other people using only his mind.

Ultra Instinct Goku uses it against Moro to stop him from moving. It is similar to God Bind but stronger. Broly was able to cancel out God Bind whereas Moro wasn’t able to move at all.

A technique in which you simply fire a Kiai to extinguish a Ki based attack.

Mafūba/Evil Containment Wave

The Evil Containment Wave technique
Goku using the Evil Containment Wave technique on Turtle

It is a secret move devised by Roshi’s teacher Mutaito. It was first used to seal Piccolo Daimao. The user fires all of his life energy from his palms; thereby creating a violent, spiraling wind that draws in the opponent, sealing them in an airtight container affixed with magical charms.

Normally, a person dies after using this technique. It drains up a lot of energy, making the person fall unconscious and perish. Both master Mutaito and Roshi died while trying to trap Piccolo Daimao into an electric cooker.

However, once the user is strong enough, he can survive the energy depletion. In Dragon Ball Super Manga, Goku uses the Mafūba to trap Future Zamasu in an earthen pot. Unfortunately, he mistook the Talisman with a discount coupon for a hostess bar. So he took the coupon, leaving the talisman behind. Therefore, Zamasu was able to release himself from the pot.

Mind Reading/Telepathy

Goku's mind reading technique
Goku read what was in Krillin’s mind in Namek Saga

A move Goku used only once in the entire series. The user is able to read the minds of others by projecting their own consciousness into that person’s heart. After arriving on Namek, Goku placed his hand on Krillin’s head to read his memories of the events that took place on the Planet.

Conclusion

Amongst the plethora of Goku’s powers and moves, Ultra Instinct, Instant Transmission, Kamehameha, Kiai and a couple of other Ki-based attacks are frequently used. Techniques like the Kaio-Ken, Fusion, Spirit Bomb are used as a last resort. And there are moves that he used only once or twice like the Mafūba, Hakai, God Bind, Telekinesis and so on.

Practically speaking, spamming a few attacks gets old very quickly from the POV of a reader. Goku has perfected the usage of Kamehameha, Instant Transmission and is on the way to perfect UI. But he could strengthen other useful moves, like the God Bind for instance. Immobilizing his opponents and hitting their pressure points is a good way to catch them off guard. Similarly, the cloning ability is useful in causing confusion. Variety is the spice of life.

Finally, I think all fans would love Goku to come up with a technique on his own. A technique that is unique to his being and not just a copy of others. Toriyama and Toyotaro, take notes.

Goku is a genius when it comes to fighting. However, he took can make silly mistakes. The most important lesson Goku has to learn is KEEPING HIS GUARD UP IN A FIGHT. And his Talk No Jutsu has to reduce.

So what do you think of Goku’s powers? Let us know in the comments below!

Explore Your Inner Weeb!!
Join Our Discord and Become Part Of An Anime-zing Community.
Share on your favourite platforms