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 Yong-i on July the 27th, during the Japanese Occupation.

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-jujutsumaster, 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 Korean 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 defeatedHélio 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 the early 1950s, Oyama traveled to the USA visiting 32 states.[citation needed]

Founder of Kyokushin Karate, Masutatsu Oyama.

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).[citation needed] 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.

[edit]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 NakamuraShigeru Oyamaand Yasuhiko OyamaMiyuki 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.

[edit]Divided organization since 1995

Upon Oyama's death, several groups broke away from the International Karate Organization (IKO) Honbu, primarily due to personal conflicts over who should succeed Oyama as chairman. As a 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 although many now claim to be the rightful leader of his organization.

[edit]Kyokushin today

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 Oyama's intellectual property and legacy is the youngest of his daughters, Kikuko (also known as Kuristina) who now oversees the management of the original IKO Honbu, although not directly involved in karate teaching.

[edit]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:

  1. We will train our hearts and bodies for a firm and unshakeable[4] spirit.
  2. We will pursue the true meaning of the martial way so that in time our senses are alert.
  3. With true vigour we will seek to cultivate a spirit of self denial
  4. We will observe the rules of courtesy respect our superiors and refrain from violence.
  5. We will follow our religious principles and never forget the true virtue of humility
  6. We will look up towards wisdom and strength not seeking other desires
  7. All our lives through the discipline of karate we will seek to fulfil the true meaning of the Kyokushin way[5]

[edit]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".[6] 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.[7] One of the goals of kyokushin is to strengthen and improve character by challenging oneself through rigorous training.

[edit]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" [8] 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.

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 Kaku 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 50ies, 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[citation needed]. 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 50ies, 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.[citation needed]. Two exceptions are "Tsuki no kata" which originates from Seigokan goju ryu where it was created by Seigo Tada under the name "Kihon tsuki no kata", and the Kata "Yantsu" which originates with Motobu-ha Shito ryu, where it is called "Hansan" or "Ansan".

  • Gekisai Dai
  • Gekisai Sho

Gekisai was created by Chojun Miyagi, founder of Goju Ryu karate. The name means "attack and smash"

  • Tensho

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".

  • Seienchin

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".

  • Seipai

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

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. Its name means simply "punching kata".

  • Garyu

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.

[edit]Ura Kata

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

[edit]Sparring (kumite)

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 karaterules 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.

[edit]Self defense

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.[citation needed]


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 KarateSeidō 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. 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[citation needed] and many of Japan's top kickboxers[who?] have started in knockdown karate. The influence of Kyokushin can be seen in the K-1kickboxing tournament that originated out of the Seidokaikan karate organization, which is an offshoot from Kyokushin.

Kyokushin is the basis of glove karate, a knockdown karate format wearing boxing gloves and allowing punches to the head. Glove karate rules are used in sport karate organizations like Shinkaratedo Renmei and All-Japan glove karate federation.[9][10]

[edit]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.[11] At the time of Tekken's creation, Cameron Quinn [12] – 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 uses the art of Kyokushin Karate in Tekken 4Tekken 5Tekken 5: Dark ResurrectionTekken 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. Some of Paul Phoenix's moves are derived from Kyokushin Karate. Kadonashi Shotaro and his students from Namco's Urban Reign use the art of Kyokushinkai. Hitomi fromTecmo's Dead or Alive series uses the art of Kyokushin Karate in Dead or Alive 3 and Dead or Alive 4; she can be seen practicing the kata Pinan Sono Yon in various demonstration modes in Dead or Alive 3 and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. While Hitomi's style of karate is never explicitly stated in-game, the ending credits of Dead or Alive 3 indicate the only karate martial arts consultant for the game is a practitioner 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 FightingFatal Fury, and King of Fighters series. Kyokugenryu (lit. "the extreme style"), which is practiced by Ryo SakazakiRobert GarciaYuri SakazakiTakuma 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 DeathKarate Bearfighter and Karate for Life. Chiba plays Master Oyama who also appears in two of the films.

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 the well-known 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 introduce Oyama to many Koreans who previously had not heard of him.



一、 武の道は礼にはじまり礼に終わる よって常に礼を正しくすべし