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About Kyokushin

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.

This 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 Championships: 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 personal limitations.


Chart below shows the influences of Kyokushin in the Martial Arts World,


(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.

Starting 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 !

The 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.  Osu 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 no Seishin'.

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)

Kyokushin Kata - Kyokushin Syllabus 1 / 2 - Kumite Tests - Dojo Rules - Kyokushin Symbols - Glossary of Terms - Kagami Biraki