About Kyokushin Karate
The word Kyokushin is a combination of two Japanese characters:
“Kyoku”, meaning “extreme”, and “Shin”, meaning “truth”;
thus, Kyokushin means "extreme" or "ultimate truth".
Karate, pronounced Ka-ra-te, is a form of empty handed fighting. Like most martial arts, it was born out of necessity to defend and protect oneself without the use of weapons (although bladed, piercing and striking weapons were also practised). The training methods of Karate teach one how to become a more efficient and effective fighter, consequently allowing one to better control the enemy and defend oneself. Fundamentally, it teaches the body and mind to react in a specific manner when under threat and incapacitate the enemy or aggressor to ultimately survive. Kyokushin is a style of full contact Karate founded in 1964 by Masutatsu Oyama. Firmly rooted in a philosophy of cultivating speed and power as well as conditioning the inseparable mind and body, it develops and conditions the whole body by turning every part of it into a weapon. It combines offensive and defensive techniques (a variety of blocks, strikes, evasions, diversion, throws, and joint manipulations) that use every part of the body to their maximum advantage. Since its founding, Kyokushin Karate as a style grew exponentially throughout the world due mainly to the appeal of its practicality and no-nonsense approach to confrontation and combat. However, it can also be said that such strength and ability to cause devastation is very easily misused because of one’s poor judgement, arrogance and/or flaw in character.
Our founder Oyama was very aware of this and emphasised the importance the “Budo” (the martial way) aspect; to develop one’s “Kokoro” (heart) and character and become are spectable member of society who can contribute to world peace.
As Gichin Funakoshi, the father of modern Karate so eloquently stated, the true nature of Karate lies not in the physical confrontation but in the pursuit of character development; perfection of action through pure and truthful thought.
Karate in the hands of people, without these ideals, becomes nothing more than an effective tool to hurt people with.
The aim of training then is to not only polish the skill of Karate but to polish our spirit, and attitude; to shed the ego and strive towards the goal of character perfection. True Karate is not, and should never be merely a physical exercise but a perfect way to condition the body, cultivate the mind & nurture the spirit.
Sosai Masutatsu Oyama was born in 1923 in Southern Korea. He studied Chinese martial arts at 9 years of age. In 1938, he went to Japan to enter an aviation school and join the Japanese Imperial Army. He became a pupil of Gichin Funakoshi and made rapid progress that at 17 he was 2nd Dan and at 24 became 4th Dan.
During this time, he also mastered Judo and trained under So Nei Chu, a Goju Karate master. Deciding that he wanted to devote the rest of his life to learning and spreading the knowledge of Karate, he spent the next year in seclusion from human society, living in the mountains subjecting himself to the physical rigours of martial arts training day and night and meditating on Zen precepts, seeking enlightenment.
In 1947 Oyama won the prestigious All Japan Karate Championship with ease.
Not content with the then non-contact rule, he then began his infamous battles with bulls to test his true strength and resolve, having fought 47 and killing 4 of them.
In 1952, he travelled the United States, demonstrating his Karate skills against various opponents on national television. During subsequent years, he took on all challengers, resulting in fights with 270 men. The vast majority of these were defeated with a single blow. A fight never lasted more than three minutes, and rarely lasted more than a few seconds. The following year, Oyama opened his first Dojo in Tokyo. By 1964 he had built the current Japanese Honbu dojo and adopted the name Kyokushin.
Since then, Sosai Mas Oyama worked tirelessly to bring full-contact Karate to the mainstream and continued to oversee the organisation of All Japan and World Karate tournaments until his passing at the age of 70 in 1994.