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Kyokushin or Kyokushinkai is a style of Karate and was developed in the
1950's. The first official Honbu (headquarters) was founded by Masutatsu
Oyama in 1964. Kyokushinkai is Japanese for "the society for the
ultimate truth". It is considered one of the most challenging forms of
Karate. Developed by Masutatsu Oyama (a Korean-Japanese), this is
probably the hardest form of Karate today, placing great emphasis on
combat effectiveness. Oyama himself has fought and killed bulls in
demonstration fights, fighting unarmed and without protection.
form of Karate takes on all comers, the instructor and its students all
must have taken part in sparring. Unlike other forms of Karate,
Kyokushin demands the black belts spar without any gloves or safety gear
on. Each fighter is expected to be not only strong, but be able to take
the hits as they come, making this martial art both dangerous and
difficult to master.
The Kyokushin system is based on traditional Karate like Goju Ryu and
Shotokan, but incorporates many elements of other combat sports like
Boxing, Kickboxing and Muay Thai in it fighting style (Kumite). Many
techniques like Hiza-Geri (knee kick), Mae Oroshi Kakato Geri (axe kick)
and Gedan Mawashi Geri (low kick to the thigh using the shin) aren't
found in other traditional Karate styles. Some Kyokushin fighters (like
Francisco Filho, Andy Hug, Glaube Feitosa, Multiple times the World's
Strongest Man and MMA fighter Mariusz Pudzianowski, Hollywood Actor and
fighter Dolph Lundgren, Semmy Schilt and Georges St-Pierre) have
successfully appeared and competed in traditional Knockdown, Kickboxing
and MMA events like K-1, Pride and the UFC, continuing to spread the
growth of Kyokushinkai as arguably the toughest form of stand-up
fighting in the world today.
After the death of Masutatsu Oyama in 1994, the International Karate
Organization (IKO) splintered into several groups with IKO retaining the
majority of its members. Shinkyokushinkai, currently led by Kenji
Midori, formed the World Karate Organization, often known as IKO2 or
Shinkyokushin. Some, like our own BKK, also joined Hanshi Steve Arneil
who left the IKO in 1991 to form the International Federation of Karate
(IFK). See our fighting style in this video of our 3rd IFK
IFK 3rd WORLD OPEN. Other groups also splintered
off even before his death, among these Seido Juku, formed by his student
Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura, U.S. Oyama, formed by his student Shigeru
Oyama, and Mushin Karate Do formed by his student Ganci. IKO1 is
currently led by Kancho Shokei Matsui.
Many Kyokushin groups throughout the world have chosen to focus their
experience around the philosophy of Kyokushin as a method of
self-improvement and discipline. The Kyokushin way teaches its students
that the most important aspects of training are not the ability to knock
down an opponent. Instead, the person must contemplate the technique and
understand that the true meaning of the Kyokushin way is not in
violence, but the mastering of oneself. An important philosophy is never
to do what you cannot undo, and never use more violence than is prompted
or necessary. Through understanding of this comes the ability to fight
on an elite level, but fighting is not the Kyokushin student's overall
goal but rather the defeat of ones own barriers and the exceeding of our
Chart below shows the influences of Kyokushin in the Martial
(click image to enlarge)
The origin of the belt colours
Although Jigaro Kano, the founder of Judo is credited with the creation
of the official Grading System used throughout the world today. In the
days before Kano created Judo, there was no Kyu - Dan ranking system in
the martial arts.
A more traditional method of recognizing achievement was the
presentation of certificates or scrolls, often with the secrets of the
school inscribed. Kano started the modern rank system when he awarded
Shodan to two of his senior students (Shiro Saigo and Tsunejiro Tomita)
in 1883. Even then, there was no external differentiation between
Yudansha (black belt ranks) and Mudansha (those who hadn’t yet attained
black belt ranking).
Kano apparently began the custom of having his
Yudansha wear black obi (belts) in 1886. These obi weren’t the belts
worn today — Kano hadn’t invented the Judo-gi (Judo uniform) yet, and his
students were still practicing in kimono. They were the wide obi still
worn with formal kimono. In 1907, Kano introduced the modern Judo-gi and
its modern obi, but he still only used white and black belt ranks. The
white uniform represented the values of purity, avoidance of ego, and
simplicity. It gave no outward indication of social class so that all
students began as equals. Other coloured belts for students who had not
yet achieved black belt originated later, when Judo began being
practiced outside of Japan. Mikonosuke Kawaishi is generally regarded as
the first to introduce various official coloured belts in Europe in 1935
when he started to teach Judo in Paris.
However, the Obi
is a belt, which, as the main function, is to close the Karate gi and
hold it together. But for someone who is familiar with the martial arts,
obi means a lot more. It has a symbolic meaning to the wearer.
at white belt the belt gets a darker colour when the student is learning
more. In Kyokushin there are five student colour belts and ten student
levels, ten Kyu's - Kyu means 'boy' after the colour belts we attain
black belt and 'Dan's - Dan means 'Man.
The symbolic meaning of the obi is the colour. Originally, there were
three obi colours white brown and black. As one started Karate one got a
white belt. After a couple of years of hard training, the belt became
dirty and gets a brownish colour. After continued practise the belt
became black. The longer one has studied the darker and more worn out
the obi became. The obi gets white stains and also many red ones, from
the blood during the test and combats. These colour bands of white and
red come back in some styles. Some high ranked Karate-ka (from 5th Dan)
sometimes wear a red-white blocked or a full red belt symbolic of
re-birth these being the colours the Karate-ka first trained in.
Further explanation on the
meanings behind each colour belt, and how to wear your belt, can be
found by clicking here.
Meaning of OSU !
purpose of Karate training is to train the body. To make it strong and
powerful. This is not to be approached on its own. The Body is trained
by training the mind. When the mind and body is strong this in turn
produces a strong spirit, a strong spirit produces a harmonious
individual. This is our goal. Achieving this goal requires a lot of
patience. Each time we say Osu! we are reaffirming our determination to
achieve this through our Karate training.
means to 'persevere'. Each time we say 'Osu' we are reminding ourselves
to be patient with ourselves and each other. Kyokushin teaches us never
to give in, no matter how big the task may seem, always do your best.
This is the spirit of Kyokushin. This is what we call: The spirit of
perseverance-or : 'Osu
It is also important for each Karate-ka to take care of their Gi, the
undergarments to the Samurai, these are our fighting uniform, below is
the formal way of folding a gi when not in use.
(Click on the picture to enlarge image)