History of Kyokushin Karate
Sosai Masutatsu Oyama was born on July 27th, 1923, in a village in Southern Korea.
At the age of 9 whilst staying on his sister's farm in Manchuria, he first learnt the Martial Arts,
studying the southern Chinese Kempo form known as "Eighteen Hands." In 1938 Mas Oyama
travelled to Japan with the desire to enter an aviation school and become a fighter pilot, but he
was forced to abandon his dream and find work. He continued practicing judo and boxing and
his interest in Martial Arts led him to the dojo of Gishin Funakoshi and thus, he started practicing
Okinawa KARATE. .
With his dedication, Mas Oyama progressed quickly and by the time he was 20 years old he had
obtained his fourth Dan. It was at this time that Mas Oyama entered the Japanese Imperial Army
and began studying judo in the hope of mastering its holding and grappling techniques.By the
time he stopped training in judo, after about 4 years, he had gained a fourth Dan.
Following the defeat of Japan after the second world war, Oyama like all other young Japanese,
was thrown into a personal crisis. He found a way out of his despair by training with So Nei Chu,
a Korean Master of Goju-Ryu Karate. This great teacher, renowned for the power of his body,
and deep spiritual inclination had a profound influence on young Mas Oyama. Master So taught
him the inseparability of budo and the spiritual fundamentals of Buddhism. After a few years of
training, Master So advised Mas Oyama to make a firm commitment to dedicate his life to the
Martial Way and retreat to a mountain hideout and train his mind and body.
In 1946, Mas Oyama went into training, at a remote spot, on the Mt. Kiyosumi in Chiba
Prefecture. He was accompanied by one of his students named Yashiro and a friend Mr.
Kayama brought them food supplies every month. Through vigorous training, Mas Oyama learnt
to overcome the mental strain caused by solitude but Yashiro could not bear it and fled after 6
months. About fourteen months later Mr. Kayama told Mas Oyama that due to unforeseen
circumstances he could no longer sponsor Mas Oyama's retreat in the mountains and thus Mas
Oyama's original plan of remaining in solitude for three years was brought to an end.
In 1950, Mas Oyama began his famous battles with bulls; partly to test his strength and also to
make the world sit up and notice the power of his karate. All together, Oyama fought 52 bulls,
killing 3 instantly and taking the horns of 49 with knife-hand blows.
Mas Oyama opened his first "Dojo" in 1953 in Mejiro, Tokyo. This was the time that Mas Oyama's
karate strength was at its peak so the training was severe. Many students were members of
other styles and Mas Oyama would compare styles and build on his karate. He would take what
he felt were the best techniques and concepts from any Martial Art and gradually fit them into his
training; therefore, laying the foundations of Kyokushin Karate.
The first "School of Oyama" outside Japan was opened in 1957 by Shihan Bobby Lowe in
Hawaii. In 1952, Mas Oyama gave his first demonstration in Hawaii. After the demonstration
Shihan Bobby Lowe met Mas Oyama and arranged to train with him. Bobby Lowe's father was
an instructor of Kung Fu so he had done much training in the Chinese Martial Arts. He had
participated in any fighting Art he could; by the time he was 23 he had earned his 4th Dan in
judo, 2nd Dan in Kempo, shodan in Aikido but Mas Oyama's powerful demonstration had
stunned him. Mas Oyama invited Bobby Lowe to Tokyo to train with him and Bobby Lowe did
and trained for over a year and a half. In this way Shihan Bobby Lowe became the first
"uchi-deshi" of Kyokushin, a tradition that later grew to be known as the "Wakajishi" or Young
Lions of Mas Oyama, where a select few are chosen each year to devote themselves to Karate
for one thousand days.
The building of the World Headquarters started in 1963 and was officially opened in 1964. It was
at this time that Mas Oyama adopted the name Kyokushin "The Ultimate Truth". Kyokushin had
started its spread around the globe and at present is one of the largest martial art organization
in the world.
It goes without saying that a style is only as strong as the students who represent it. This is why it
is the responsibility of all those who have chosen to follow Sosai, to train hard and forge and
indomitable spirit so that the tradition of strength in Kyokushin Karate may be recognized by all
for many years. Our Dojo is located at 1640 Crestview Ave. in Mississauga, Ontario. For
instruction call me at (416)-419-4990 or click here to send me a e-mail. For "Dojo" information
click here. Osu!
Mas Oyama and Irek at North American Championships'93
SOSAI MAS OYAMA
KANCHO SHOKEI MATSUI
At one level, Kyokushin Karate is a discipline
through which practitioners may find clues to
assist them in their own spiritual development
and self-exploration.It is also, importantly, a
martial art, encompassing philosophical
considerations of life and death, struggle and
survival.It is a practical form of self defence,
emphasizing (at the initial stages) kick,
punches, blocks and body movement.It is an
intense physical activity, which directly
benefits mental conditioning.