Karate styles are the types of martial arts practiced worldwide. There are numerous styles, all with different philosophies and moral codes.

Some styles that have equally gained prominence are Uechi Ryu vs. Goju Ryu karate styles. The two styles have distinct identities but also share a lot of similarities. Keep reading.

What is Uechi Ryu?

Uechi Ryu, renowned as the Uechi Style, is a type of karate style that has its origins in the Ryukyu Islands, more precisely on the island of Okinawa.

This style was founded by Kanbun Uechi and was developed from the original Chinese fighting styles. The uniqueness of this system is that it uses a lot of body mechanics, a great deal of physical energy, and power.

This karate style consists of a series of hand strikes and kicks, with blocking and other combat-related techniques.

This style also includes aspects of other fighting styles and soft defensive techniques like the use of elbows, knees, and blocks.

Uechi Ryu is not only recognized for its martial arts techniques, half-hard and half-soft, but also for its spiritual aspects.

Uechi Ryu entails the use of punches, kicks, and blocks in the execution of techniques. The jab is the most important attack when developing combinations.

Uechi Ryu karate practitioners also practice many other forms of strikes, but the jab and combination punches are the most important.

The style also incorporates a unique method of breathing for karate students. Many training sessions in the Uechi Ryu style are full contact and bare-handed sparring.

What is Goju Ryu?

Goju Ryu karate style was developed by the great Chojun Miyagi. Miyagi was deeply influenced by Chinese martial arts, which made him incorporate oriental martial arts techniques into his fighting style, later known as Goju Ryu.

Goju Ryu quickly became the most popular and dominant karate style in Japan, especially since it was practiced by the founder of Shotokan karate, Gichin Funikoshi.

Goju Ryu is a hard style of karate that uses strong blocks and punches with a high level of contact during training sessions.

Unlike Uechi Ryu, which emphasizes full-contact sparring since it focuses on the competition aspect of martial arts, Goju Ryu focuses more on self-defense, and sparring at lower levels is non-contact.

Differences between Uechi Ryu vs. Goju Ryu karate styles

The two different karate styles are quite different in terms of their philosophy, training, and technicalities.

  • In Uechi Ryu training sessions, sparring is always done with full contact and bare hands, whereas in Goju Ryu, sparring sessions are at a lower level.
  • Uechi Ryu also focuses on continuous unrelenting strikes that combine well-timed movements with power. At the same time, Goju Ryu puts much emphasis on blocking and parrying as well as strikes that rely more on the position of arms and legs.
  • Uechi Ryu uses stomp kicks, front snap kicks, and leg sweeps. On the other hand, Goju Ryu focuses heavily on sidekicks, forward thrusts, and downward strikes.

Similarities between Uechi Ryu vs. Goju Ryu karate styles

Even with the differences, the two martial arts are quite similar.

  • Both martial arts styles were developed by two of the prominent karate masters, Uechi Kanbun and Chojun Miyagi.
  • Both karate styles have plenty of similarities in terms of their breathing techniques and movements.
  • Both styles have kept the particular region they originated from in Okinawa.
  • The techniques in both karate styles are based on self-defense with an emphasis on body contact, blocking, punching, and kicking.
  • The punches (jab) are used in both martial arts styles to generate the power for the techniques used.
  • Both karate styles have a higher emphasis on stances, and stances are quite similar when compared to each other.
  • Both styles are also known to be high levels of contact martial arts.
  • The cultural aspects and spiritual development from meditation play a big part in both styles of karate.

What to choose?

It is hard to choose between Uechi Ryu versus Goju Ryu karate styles since both styles are equally recognized as excellent martial arts because of their powerful techniques and power that characterize them as elite karate styles.

The reason for choosing Uechi Ryu could be that it is a karate style that concentrates more on training at a higher level and also uses full contact during sparring.

Your reason for choosing Goju Ryu would be the fact that it concentrates more on self-defense techniques than the competition aspect of martial arts.


Since both karate styles are quite similar, it would not hurt to learn both of them at the same time; it gives you a good understanding of both internal and external aspects of the two martial arts.

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