Dragon Ball Z: Every Teacher Gohan Had (& What They Taught Him)

Over the course of Dragon Ball Z, Gohan becomes one of the franchise’s strongest heroes, but who taught him, and what did he learn from them?

Who teaches Gohan what in the Dragon Ball franchise? As the firstborn son of an anime protagonist, it’s not surprising that Gohan develops into a powerful fighter. First introduced as a small child, Dragon Ball Z follows Son Gohan into his teenage years, before becoming a father himself in Dragon Ball Super – albeit with a very different approach to parenting. On his path to greatness, Goku was taught by many different masters, learning a variety of moves and techniques, and it’s fitting that Gohan follows a similar path.

In Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super, Gohan trains under a string of senseis from wildly diverse backgrounds, broadening his fighting vocabulary. One might assume that with Goku as his father, Gohan would learn about fighting at home, but while Dragon Ball Z’s hero certainly contributes, he was never the most attentive parent – more interested in honing his own skills than passing knowledge onto the next generation.

Famously, Gohan was supposed to become Dragon Ball’s lead character after the Cell Games arc, but this plan was abandoned, and Goku’s son embarked on a comedy career as the “Great Saiyaman” instead. Regardless of his embarrassing extra-curricular activities, Gohan is the strongest un-fused character when Dragon Ball Z concludes. That doesn’t last, sadly, and Gohan is a shadow of his former self throughout most of Dragon Ball Super. Gohan’s Dragon Ball journey is certainly a roller coaster, but who shows him the right way?

Guru

Although he doesn’t train Gohan in the traditional sense, Namek’s Guru is unquestionably a mentor to Gohan, increasing his knowledge and strength in the same way regular training would. With Frieza and Vegeta wreaking havoc and Goku taking his time getting to the battlefield (yet again), Gohan and Krillin align with the people of Namek. Guru possesses the ability to unlock the potential of others, and he bestows this honor upon Gohan, promising to release the fabled power hinted at previously. As would later become clear, Guru doesn’t unlock Gohan’s full strength at this moment (otherwise beating Frieza would’ve been easy work), but he certainly raised the youngster’s level ahead of his battle against the Ginyu Force.

Piccolo

Gohan is merely 4-years-old when Goku first introduces him in Dragon Ball Z, and the boy doesn’t appear to possess much martial arts skill whatsoever. Prone to crying and shy around strangers, Gohan is pushed by his mother to pursue a scholarly career, effectively banning him from learning to fight. Despite having no formal training, Gohan displays enormous latent power when Raditz threatens Goku, and Piccolo takes note of the outburst. After Goku sacrifices himself and more fearsome Saiyans set course for Earth, Piccolo takes it upon himself to draw out Gohan’s hidden abilities, adopting the youngster for a crash session of Namekian training.

Gohan spends the next 11 months or so under Piccolo’s tutelage, six of which are endured alone in the wilderness fending for himself (although Piccolo is secretly close at hand). This mirrors how Goku’s earliest training came while surviving alone in the forest. During this time, Piccolo severs Gohan’s tail upon witnessing his Saiyan Great Ape transformation, and gives the boy his first martial arts uniform – a copy of his father’s but with the demon logo – before switching to an outfit closer in style to Piccolo’s own.

In terms of techniques, Piccolo imparts the basic principles of battle into Gohan, including hand-to-hand combat and ki blasts such as his first signature technique, the Masenko. He also learns sword-fighting, though this is quickly forgotten. It’s assumed that Piccolo is the one who taught Gohan how to fly, but this is never made explicit.

Piccolo & Goku

The first time Dragon Ball fans saw Goku properly train his son was, in a serendipitous fashion, brought about by Gohan’s own student traveling back from the future. After Frieza’s defeat brought a period of relative peace for Gohan (as well as plenty of studying), Goku returned to Earth and met Future Trunks, who warned of an impending attack from Dr. Gero’s androids. The various Z-Warriors split off to train separately, with the trio of Goku, Piccolo and Gohan collaborating for a 3-year period of strengthening, and Gohan becomes a visibly superior fighter thanks to the joint tuition of his father and his sensei. While never confirmed, it’s possible that Gohan learns telekinesis during this time skip. Piccolo is a practitioner of the technique, and Gohan demonstrates it as the Great Saiyaman, sending a rocket back to the criminal who fired it. Dragon Ball isn’t clear about whether this is genuine telekinesis, but if it is, the new move surely came from Piccolo during Gohan’s Android Saga training.

Goku

Goku finally gave his child some one-on-one training following the emergence of Cell and the announcement of the Cell Games. Sensing that Gohan would surpass him, Goku took his son into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, training for a period of months (less than a day on the outside) in order to defeat Cell in the villain’s own martial arts tournament. Gohan advanced greatly during his time in the Time Chamber, growing physically and mentally, and enhancing his power considerably. Goku pushed his son to unlock the Super Saiyan transformation, using the image of Cell killing his loved ones to provide the anger required to breakthrough. Goku then mentored Gohan in mastering the Super Saiyan form until father and son could both retain the golden-haired form at all times. Under his dad’s watchful eye, Gohan increased his power enough to reach Super Saiyan 2, and while he wouldn’t ascend until the battle itself, the groundwork was laid inside the Time Chamber. Gohan also inherited his father’s signature move, learning the Kamehameha during his training for the Cell Games.

The Kais

Gohan continued his eclectic fighting education by moving from Namekians and Saiyans to the Gods themselves. During the years of peace following Cell’s defeat, Gohan larked around like an awkward teenage superhero, while Goku and Vegeta eclipsed him via constant training. After the emergence of Majin Buu, however, Gohan reclaimed his position as the strongest of the Z-Warriors. Witnessing Gohan in action, Shin, Universe 7’s Supreme Kai, comes to believe that Gohan’s true, the true potential remains untapped and claims the half-Saiyan can fulfill an old kai prophecy by pulling the ancient Z-Sword from a lump of stone to attain great power. Using his Super Saiyan 2 transformation, Gohan liberates the blade, but breaks it during training, unexpectedly releasing the Elder Kai trapped inside.

Elder Kai claims that he is the one who’ll unlock Gohan’s latent abilities, and performs the strangest of rituals that leave even Shin skeptical. Ultimately, Elder Kai’s unusual methods prove legit, and Gohan becomes Ultimate Gohan, surpassing his father, Majin Buu, and the need to use his Super Saiyan forms.

Piccolo (Again)

Gohan neglected his training several times before, but really let himself down in Dragon Ball Super, where all the diplomas in the world couldn’t fend off Frieza’s invasion. Gohan limped through Dragon Ball Super for the most part, until Earth’s future came under threat during the Tournament of Power, and Goku’s son decided to finally get serious. Looking to rediscover his cutting edge, Gohan returned to his roots and requested the training of his first master, Piccolo. Predictably, Piccolo’s tutelage is even more brutal and unforgiving than when Gohan was a child. The Namekian batters the Saiyan into near-death, and then beats on Gohan emotionally, chastising his habit of acting overconfident as the reason he loses big fights. Although he’s able to reignite Gohan’s Ultimate state, Piccolo doesn’t have time to restore Gohan’s full power before the festivities begin. Piccolo and Gohan do, however, develop their double-team techniques, such as the Masenko Beam Cannon.

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