||This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
|Hardness||Full-contact; Competitions include kicks to the head, but not hand strikes to the head|
|Country of origin||Japan|
|Creator||Masutatsu Oyama (Choi Yeong-Eui)|
|Famous practitioners||Sonny Chiba, Sean Connery, Glaube Feitosa, Francisco Filho, Andy Hug, Hajime Kazumi, Katsunori Kikuno, Bobby Lowe, Dolph Lundgren, Akira Masuda, Shokei Matsui, Kenji Midori, Glen Murphy, Andrews Nakahara, Nicholas Pettas, Bas Rutten, Semmy Schilt, Tiger Schulmann, Georges St-Pierre, Ewerton Teixeira, Michael Jai White, Terutomo Yamazaki|
|Parenthood||Various, mainly Gōjū-ryū, also including Shotokan, Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu.|
Kyokushin kaikan (極真会館) is a style of stand-up, full contact karate, founded in 1964 by Korean-Japanese karate master, Sosai Masutatsu Oyama (大山倍達 Ōyama Masutatsu ) who was born under the name Choi Young-Eui. 최영의. Kyokushinkai is Japanese for "the society of the ultimate truth". Kyokushin is rooted in a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline and hard training. Its full contact style has had international appeal (practitioners have over the last 40+ years numbered more than 12 million).
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2007)|
The following is a brief overview of the early life of Masutatsu "Mas" Oyama.
The founder of International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan, Masutatsu Oyama, was born Choi Bae Dal in 1923 on July 27, during the Korea under Japanese rule.
As a young child, Oyama enjoyed fighting and watching others fight. His childhood was spent in Manchuria, China where he learned Kempo (Chuan'Fa/18 Hands Techniques) from a Chinese seasonal worker named Lee. Oyama refers to Lee as his first teacher.
In 1938, he emigrated to Japan and studied Okinawan Karate under Gichin Funakoshi, eventually gaining 2nd dan. Later, Oyama also trained under Yoshida Kotaro, a famous Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu/Yanagi-ryu Aiki-jujutsu master, from whom he received his menkyo kaiden – an older form of grade, a scroll signifying mastery. This scroll is still on display at the honbu (headquarters) dojo in Tokyo.
Also, upon the advice of his mentor and a member of the National Diet, Matsuhei Mori, around this time the young master took his Japanese name, Masutatsu Oyama, the name he would use for the rest of his life. After World War II, Oyama began his training in Goju Ryu karate under a Japanese master in Japan, So Nei Chu, who ran a dojo in Tokyo with the famous goju teacher Gogen Yamaguchi. He would finally attain 8th Dan in Goju Ryu Karate. Another influence from the Goju school was Masahiko Kimura. Although fulfilling the role of assistant karate instructor at the dojo Oyama trained at, Kimura was primarily a famous champion of judo, who defeated Hélio Gracie of Brazilian Jiujitsu (aka. Jujitsu) fame. Kimura encouraged Oyama to take up judo so that he would have an understanding of the art's ground techniques. Kimura then introduced Oyama to the Sone Dojo in Nakano, Tokyo, where he trained regularly for four years, eventually gaining his 4th Dan in this discipline.
It was after this time that Oyama first retreated into the mountains for one of his well-known solitary training periods, the so-called yamagomori. He undertook two such retreats lasting a total of almost three years, in accordance with the ascetic traditions of many of the great warriors of Japan through the centuries. During these periods of isolated retreats spent in training, Oyama engaged in intense shugyo, or spiritual discipline.
In 1953, Oyama resigned from Goju ryu and opened his own independent karate dojo, named "Oyama Dojo" in Tokyo, but continued to travel around Japan and the world, giving martial arts demonstrations (including bare-hand challenges). His first "Oyama dojo" was a vacant lot in Mejiro, Tokyo. In 1956, he moved the dojo into the ballet studio attached to Rikkyo University. Oyama's own curriculum soon developed a reputation as a tough, intense, hard-hitting, and practical style which he named "Kyokushin" in a ceremony in 1957. As the reputation of the dojo grew, students were increasingly attracted by the opportunity to train there, arriving from across Japan and beyond, and their numbers continued to grow.
In 1964, Oyama moved the dojo into a building he refurbished, not far from the ballet studio at Rikkyo. Oyama also formally founded the "International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan" (commonly abbreviated to IKO or IKOK), in order to organize the many schools that were by then teaching Kyokushin Karate.
1964 to 1994
After formally establishing the Kyokushinkaikan, Oyama directed the organization through a period of expansion. Oyama hand-picked instructors who displayed ability in marketing the style and gaining new members. Oyama would choose an instructor to open styles in another town or city in Japan. The instructor would move to that town and usually demonstrate his karate skills in public places, such as at the civic gymnasium, the local police gym (where many judo students would practice), a local park, or conduct martial arts demonstrations at local festivals or school events. In this way, the instructor would soon gain students for his new dojo. After that, word of mouth would spread through the local area until the dojo had a dedicated core of students. Oyama also sent instructors to other countries such as the Netherlands (Kenji Kurosaki), Australia (Shigeo Kato), the United States of America (Tadashi Nakamura, Shigeru Oyama and Yasuhiko Oyama, Miyuki Miura) and Brazil (Seiji Isobe) to spread Kyokushin in the same way. In addition, numerous students began to travel to Japan to train with Oyama, consequently returning to their country to spread the art. In 1969, Oyama staged The First All-Japan Full Contact Karate Open Championships which took Japan by storm and Terutomo Yamazaki became the first champion. All-Japan Championships have been held at every year. Also in 1975, The First World Full Contact Karate Open Championships were held in Tokyo. World Championships have been held at four-yearly intervals since.
Divided organization since 1995
After Mas Oyama's death, International Karate Organization (IKO) Honbu split into two groups, primarily due to personal conflicts over who should succeed Oyama as chairman. One group led by Matsui which was known as (IKO-1) and the second group was organized by Mas Oyama's family and led by Shihan Nishida and Senpi, which was known as (IKO-2). However, by 1995 both IKOs was split in more groups and later the supposed will was proven to be invalid in the family Court of Tokyo in 1994, any claim to that will indicating the true intention of Oyama was nullified. Before his death, Oyama named no one as his successor and this resulted in creation of more groups by senior Kyokushin instructors in Japan and outside of Japan. In 1995 any new Kyokushin organization that claimed the name IKO, Kyokushinkaikan, where referred to by Kyokushin practitioners by numbers, such as IKO-1 (Matsui group), IKO-2 (Oyama family at the time) and so on, however, using numbers no longer is valid, as there have been much changes in the leadership and status of these organization. For example, IKO-2 in 1995 was organized by Oyama family, however in time change leadership and now it's no longer using the name IKO or Kyokushinkaikan; also it's headed by Shihan Midory.
Current status of Japan, International Karate Organization (IKO)Honbu:
As of 1995, there are five internationally known, Japanese organizations that claim name (IKO) and Kyokushinkaikan. There are listed below in no particular order:
- IKO Kyokushinkaikan "Sosai", organized by Mas Oyama's daughter, Kurstina Oyama, which by court order has the rights to Mas Oyama's Honbu.
- IKO Kyokushinkaikan "Matsui" or "Ichi-Geki", headed by Shihan Shokei Matsui.
- IKO Kyokushinkaikan, NPO, "Matsushima", headed by Shihan Matsushima.
- IKO Kyokushinkaikan, All Japan Kyokushin Union, headed by Shihan Koi.
- IKO Kyokushinkaikan, "Tezuka", headed by Shihan Tezuka.
Other Japanese Kyokushin groups no longer officially claiming the original name of "IKO" and "Kyokushinkaikan":
- WKO (World Karte Organization) Shinkyokushin, headed by former Shihan Midori as a president.
- International Honbu, Kyokushin Shogakukai Foundation, Kyokushin-Kan, headed by former IKO Shihan Royama as a president.
Note: there may be numerous smaller and not internationally well known Kyokushin organizations in Japan.
Kyokushin groups outside of Japan:
- International Federation of Karate (IFK), Kyokushin, founded by former IKO Shihan Steve Arneil.
- Kyokushin Budokai, IBK, founded by former IKO Shihan, Jon Bluming.
- International Kyokushin Union (IKU), founded by former IKO Shihan, David Farzinzad.
- American Kyokushin Karate Organization (AKKO) founded by the late IKO Shihan Donald I. Buck (Sept 2, 1926-Sept. 11, 1998).
- Kyokushin School of Karate (KSK), founder Darren Murphy.
- Phoenix Karate-Do Association Kyokushinkai International, founded by Shihan Raymond Elmore.
Note: there are many other Kyokushin groups that exist outside of Japan. Some operate based on the original Kyokushin principles and some have combined other styles, or eliminated some techniques or kata forms from their syllabus. However, if Kyokushin is practiced with even the minimum of Mas Oyama's original karate requirements, it remains one of the most physically demanding karate styles.
Existing as a single organization under the leadership of the founder, Mas Oyama, the Kyokushin organization divided into several groups after the Master's passing, each claiming their own authority as representing the original Honbu. The groups are often referred to as "IKO1", IKO2", IKO3", etc., although those are not their official names. The different organizations often shun each other and generally refuse to recognize each other as legitimate organizations representing the original Kyokushin organization.
Oyama's widow died in June 2006 after a long illness. According to the Japanese legal system, the Custodian of Mas Oyama's intellectual property and legacy is the youngest of his daughters, Kikuko (also known as Kuristina) through inheritance, who now oversees the management of the original IKO Kyokushin kaikan Honbu, although not directly involved in karate teaching. She also published a book in 2010.
In May 2012, the Japanese Patent Office granted the Kyokushin Kai related trademarks to Kikuko Oyama, after years of long court battle.
Note: creation of new groups has not stopped the expansion of Kyokushin style, but it has popularized the style due to it's less singularly centralized management and order which was existed during Mas Oyama leadership.
Dojo Kun (Training Hall Oath)
In some dojos, the Dojo kun is recited at the end of each training session. Students must learn the dojo kun and have a full understanding of its customs. The training oath is as follows:
- We will train our hearts and bodies for a firm and unshakeable spirit.
- We will pursue the true meaning of the martial way so that in time our senses may be alert.
- With true vigour we will seek to cultivate a spirit of self-denial
- We will observe the rules of courtesy respect our superiors and refrain from violence.
- We will follow our religious principles and never forget the true virtue of humility
- We will look up towards wisdom and strength not seeking other desires
- All our lives through the discipline of karate we will seek to fulfil the true meaning of the Kyokushin way
The Kanji and its Meaning in Kyokushin
Kanji is the representation (using Chinese characters) of the word Kyokushinkai, which is the name of the ryu or style. Translated, "kyoku" means "ultimate", "shin" means "truth" or "reality" and kai means "to join" or "to associate". In essence Kyokushinkai, roughly translated, means "Ultimate Truth". This concept has less to do with the Western meaning of truth; rather it is more in keeping with the bushido concept of discovering the nature of one's true character when tried. One of the goals of kyokushin is to strengthen and improve character by challenging oneself through rigorous training.
Techniques and training
Kyokushin training consists of three main elements: technique, forms, and sparring. These are sometimes referred to as the three "K's" after the Japanese words for them: kihon (basics), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring).
Kata is a form of ritualized self-training in which patterned or memorized movements are done in order to practice a form of combat maneuvering. According to a highly-regarded Kyokushin text, "The Budo Karate of Mas Oyama" by Cameron Quinn, long time interpreter to Oyama, the kata of Kyokushin are classified into Northern and Southern Katas. For a further classification we need to look closer at each kata and their creator.
The northern kata stems from the Shuri-te tradition of karate, and are drawn from Shotokan karate which Oyama learned while training under Gichin Funakoshi. Some areas now phase out the prefix "sono" in the kata names.
- Taikyoku sono ichi
- Taikyoku sono ni
- Taikyoku sono san
The Taikyoku kata was originally created by Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan karate.
- Pinan Sono Ichi
- Pinan Sono Ni
- Pinan Sono San
- Pinan Sono yon
- Pinan Sono Go
The 5 Pinan katas, known in some other styles as Heian, was originally created, in 1904, by Ankō Itosu, a master of Shuri-te and Shorin ryu (a combination of the shuri-te and tomari-te traditions of karate). He was a teacher to Gichin Funakoshi. Pinan (pronounced /pin-ann/) literally translates as Peace and Harmony.
Some organizations have removed the "Dai" from the name, calling it only "Kanku", as there is no "Sho" or other alternate Kanku variation practiced in kyokushin. The Kanku kata was originally known as Kusanku or Kushanku, and is believed to have either been taught by, or inspired by, a Chinese martialartist who was sent to Okinawa as an ambassador in the Ryuku kingdom during the 16th century. Kanku translates to "Sky watching".
The Kata Sushiho is a greatly modified version of the old Okinawian kata that in Shotokan is known as Gojushiho, and in some other styles as Useishi. The name means "54 steps", referring to a symbolic number in Buddhism.
- Bassai-dai (only used in some kyokushin organizations)
A very old Okinawian kata of unknown origin, the name Bassai or Passai translates to "to storm a castle" It was originally removed from the kyokushin syllabus in the late 1950s, but was reintroduced into some kyokushin factions after Masutatsu Oyamas death and the resulting fractioning of the organization.
This kata is a very old Okinawian kata with unknown origin. It is generally classified as belonging to the Tomari-te traditions. The name Tekki translates to "iron horse" but the meaning of the name Naihanchi is "internal divided conflict". It was originally removed from the kyokushin syllabus in the late 1950s, but was reintroduced into some kyokushin factions after Masutatsu Oyamas death and the resulting fractioning of the organization.
These three kata were created by Oyama to further develop kicking skills and follow the same embu-sen (performance line) as the original Taikyoku kata. Sokugi Taikyoku (pronounced /sock-gee, ty-key-yok/) literally means Kicking Taikyoku. Taikyoku translates as Grand Ultimate View. They were not formally introduced into the Kyokushin syllabus until after the death of Masutatsu Oyama. They are now found in most kyokushin factions.
The southern kata stems from the Naha-te tradition of karate, and are drawn from Goju Ryu karate, which Oyama learned while training under So Nei Chu and Gogen Yamaguchi.. Two exceptions are "Tsuki no kata" which was created by Tadashi Nakamura of Seido (originally Kyokushin), and the Kata "Yantsu" which possibly originates with Motobu-ha Shito ryu, where it is called "Hansan" or "Ansan" - there is much debate about the origin of Yantsu.
- Gekisai Dai
- Gekisai Sho
Gekisai was created by Chojun Miyagi, founder of Goju Ryu karate. The name means "attack and smash"
Tensho was one of the fundamental, original and older form of Kata. Its origins are based on the point and circle principles of Kempo. It was heavily influenced by the late by Chojun Miyagi and was regarded as an internal yet advanced Kata by Oyama. The name means "rotating palms" and is regarded as the connection between the old and modern Karate.
Sanchin is a very old kata with roots in china. The name translates to "three points" or "three battles". The version done in kyokushin is most closely related to the version Kanryo Higashionna (or Higaonna), teacher of Chojun Miyagi, taught (and not to the modified version taught by Chojun Miyagi himself).
- Saifa (Saiha)
Originally a Chinese kata. It was brought to Okinawa and karate by Kanryo Higshionna. Its name translates to "smash and tear down".
Originally a Chinese kata, regarded as very old. It was brought to Okinawa and karate by Kanryo Higshionna. The name translates roughly to "grip and pull into battle".
Originally a Chinese kata. It was brought to Okinawa and karate by Kanryo Higshionna. The name translates to the number 18, where 18 is 3x6 which have significances in Buddhism.
Yantsu originates with Motobu-ha Shitoryu, the name translates to "keep pure"
- Tsuki no kata
This kata was created by Seigo Tada, founder of the Seigokan branch of Goju-Ryu. In Seigokan goju-ryu the kata is known as Kihon Tsuki no kata and is one of two Katas created by the founder. How the kata was introduced into Kyokushin is largely unknown, but since Tadashi Nakamura are often claimed in error as the creator of the kata in Kyokushin, speculations are that he introduced it into Kyokushin after learning it from his Goju-ryu background.
The kata Garyu, is not taken from traditional Okinawan karate but was created by Oyama and named after his pen name (Garyu =reclining dragon), which is the Japanese pronunciation of the characters 臥龍, the name of the village (Il Loong) in Korea where he was born.
Several kata are also done in "ura", which essentially means all turns are done spinning around. The URA, or 'reverse' kata were developed by Oyama as an aid to developing balance and skill in circular techniques against multiple opponents.
- Taikyoku sono ichi ura
- Taikyoku sono ni ura
- Taikyoku sono san ura
- Pinan sono ichi ura
- Pinan sono ni ura
- Pinan sono san ura
- Pinan sono yon ura
- Pinan sono go ura
Sparring, also called kumite, is used to train the application of the various techniques within a fighting situation. Sparring is usually an important part of training in most Kyokushin organizations, especially at the upper levels with experienced students.
In most Kyokushin organizations, hand and elbow strikes to the head or neck are prohibited. However, kicks to the head, knee strikes, punches to the upper body, and kicks to the inner and outer leg are permitted. In some Kyokushin organizations, especially outside of a tournament environment, gloves and shin protectors are worn. Children often wear headgear to lessen the impact of any kicks to the head. Speed and control are instrumental in sparring and in a training environment it is not the intention of either practitioner to injure his opponent as much as it is to successfully execute the proper strike. Tournament fighting under knockdown karate rules is significantly different as the objective is to down an opponent. Full-contact sparring in Kyokushin is considered the ultimate test of strength, endurance, and spirit. 
Also known as Goshin-jutsu, the specific self-defense techniques of the style draw much of their techniques and tactics from Mas Oyama's study of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu under Yoshida Kotaro. These techniques were never built into the formal grading system, and as kyokushin grew increasingly sport oriented, the self-defense training started to fall into obscurity. Today it is only practiced in a limited number of dojos.
Kyokushin has had an influence on many other styles. The knockdown karate competition format is now used by other styles. Karate styles that originated in Kyokushin, such as Ashihara Karate, Budokaido, Godokai, Enshin Karate, Seidō juku, Musokai, Shidōkan and Seidokaikan, are also knockdown styles and use slight variations of the competition rules.
A few styles (Kansuiryu Karate and Byakuren) originated independently of Kyokushin and have adopted the competition format. Kokondo is derived from Kyokushin, albeit without competition with the emphasis on realistic goshin-jutsu (self-defense). Some styles originating in Kyokushin (Jushindo, Daido Juku, Kudo, Zendokai) have changed to mixed martial arts rules.
Kickboxing has been seen as a natural progression for kyokushin competitors and many of Japan's top kickboxers[who?] have started in knockdown karate. The influence of Kyokushin can be seen in the K-1 kickboxing tournament that originated out of the Seidokaikan karate organization, which is an offshoot from Kyokushin.
In popular culture
The movesets of Ryu and Ken from Capcom's Street Fighter franchise are based on Shotokan, the parent style of Kyokushin; Ryu is said to be based on Yoshiji Soeno, a student of Mas Oyama. In Namco's Tekken series, Jin Kazama is said to travel to Brisbane, Australia to learn karate. At the time of Tekken's creation, Cameron Quinn – a well-known instructor of Kyokushin Karate, Mas Oyama's interpreter, and the author of The Budo Karate of Mas Oyama – was teaching students such as Garry O'Neill and Walter Schnaubelt at his well-known Kyokushin dojo in the city of Brisbane.
Jin Kazama uses the art of Kyokushin Karate in Tekken 4, Tekken 5, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, Tekken 6, and Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion; he can be seen practicing Yantsu and Pinan Sono Yon Kata in various demonstration modes in the Tekken series. Kadonashi Shotaro and his students from Namco's Urban Reign use the art of Kyokushinkai.
Jean Kujo, from the Virtua Fighter series, practices varied forms of full-contact karate, including Kyokushin Karate.
Solara from Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is said to practice Kyokushin.
Kyokugenryu Karate is a fictional martial art from SNK Playmore's Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, and King of Fighters series. Kyokugenryu (lit. "the extreme style"), which is practiced by Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Yuri Sakazaki, Takuma Sakazaki and Marco Rodriguez/Khushnood Butt, is heavily based on Kyokushin Karate.
Karate Master Knock Down Blow a recent game from Crian Soft that is heavy Kyokushin based.
A trilogy of films starring Sonny Chiba and directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi were produced in Japan between 1975 and 1977: Champion of Death, Karate Bearfighter and Karate for Life. Chiba plays Master Oyama, who also appears in two of the films. Dolph Lundgren has a third Dan blackbelt in Kyokushin. He became famous for starring as the Russian boxer Ivan Drago in the film Rocky IV. He also appeared in movies such as Icarus, Diamond Dogs, Universal Soldier, and many others.
The James Bond movie You Only Live Twice, starring Sean Connery, was filmed largely in Japan and featured a karate demonstration by a number of well-known Kyokushin students, including Shigeo Kato (who introduced Kyokushin to Australia and was the original teacher of Shokei Matsui) and Akio Fujihira, who was one of the three fighters who took up the Muay Thai challenge in 1964 and who fought in the ring for many years under the name of Noboru Osawa.
Fighter in the Wind (Korean: 바람의 파이터) is a 2004 South Korean film. It is based on the same title Korean Comic book Fighter in the Wind by Hak-gi Bang which is a fictionalised account of karate competitor Choi Yeung-Eui (최영의) who went to Japan during World War II to become a fighter pilot but found a very different path instead. He changed his name to Masutatsu Oyama (大山倍達) and went across the country, defeating martial artists one after another. This film concentrates on the period when he is still young, and developing his famous karate style, Kyokushin. It is very loosely based on Oyama's life and by using Oyama's name and the name of Kyokushin it in fact is quite misleading. However, it has served to re-introduce Oyama to many younger generation Japanese and Koreans who previously had not heard of him.
Kyokushin was featured on Fight Quest on Discovery Channel as the Japanese Martial Arts Style.
Kyokushin was the style of karate featured in an episode of Human Weapon.
- Terutomo Yamazaki, the first champion of the All-Japan Full Contact Karate Open Championships and professional kickboxer
- Sonny Chiba
- Georges St. Pierre
- Sean Connery
- Dolph Lundgren
- Glen Murphy
- Michael Jai White
- Michael Rooker
- Vladimir Putin holds an honorary sixth-dan black belt in Kyokushin kaikan karate. Putin was presented the black belt in December 2009 by Hatsuo Royama.
- Northwest Kyokushinkai Karate – Ellensburg[dead link]
- "Juku Kan Kyokushin Karate – History". Jukukarate.com. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- Kyokushin Karate Green Mountain Dojo[dead link]
- This word was originally translated as 'unshaking,' which is not an English word. It would quite literally mean that the person is not presently trembling. The word 'unshakeable' is an adjective that means the person can never be unnerved, upset, or moved by anything. 'Unshakeable' is the correct translation. However, the incorrect translation of 'unshaking' is quite prevalent among Kyokushin dojos.
- Oyama, M.(1975). This is Karate. London: Ward Lock Limited.
- "What is Kyokushin?". Mas-Oyama.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- Groenwold, A. M. (2002) Karate the Japanese Way Canada: Trafford Publishing.
- "Budo Karate of Mas Oyama". Budokarate.com. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- "kyokushin karate iran". kyokushins.ir. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
- "All Japan Glove Karate Federation". Glovekarate.jp. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- "Jin Kazama". Tekkenpedia.com. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- "budokarate.com". budokarate.com. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- kyokushin karate iran
- Moskovsky Komsomolets: “Putin becomes sixth-level black belt” by Oleg Fochkin. premier.gov, re-publication of a Moskovsky Komsomolets article.