Mountain Training and the History of Mt. Mitsumine
When Sosai Mas Oyama was a youth, long before he dreamed of formulating something as
extraordinary as the International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan, he was a mere student of
life. His life however, was completely devoted to karate and daily he explored the weaknesses and
strengths of his skills under varying, often extreme circumstances. Researching and experimenting
by trial and error just how hard a human could push himself and where he would wind up, he created
one of his most documented trials: his legendary â€œmountain trainingâ€�.
Acting on the advice of one of his most respected teachers, So Nie Chu, who suggested, â€œif you
want to find yourself, seek solitudeâ€�, Oyama packed a small bag and made for the hills. Taking
only training gear and a few books including the story of Japanâ€™s greatest samurai and Sosaiâ
€™s greatest hero, â€œMusashiâ€� by Eiji Yoshiwaza (who later helped him author our Dojo Kun),
Oyama intended to stay for three years. He arranged that food and necessities be brought to him
once a month. Each time the mountain courier brought provisions, it was as if God himself were
paying him a visit. Oyama relished these brief moments spent with another human being.
During this period, Oyama trained himself rigorously. He used trees as punching bags and bushes
and boulders as jumping hurdles. He communed with nature and dubbed the morning light his best
friend. As the sun set each day and evening came to a close, desolation and severe loneliness set
in. Misery unlike anything we will ever face in our lifetimes clung to the four walls of his small hut as
they seemingly closed in on him. And yet, he remained.
In his own words from a print article:
â€œThe greatest fruit of my stay in the mountains was that I trained my physical and mental strength
during the day and confronted my inner self at night. Of course my skill in karate was greatly
developed, but more fulfilling was the strengthening of a great mental state, a state developed far in
excess of that before entering the mountains.â€�
Sosai always emphasized the importance of â€œOsu no Seichinâ€�, (the spirit of Osu) to his
students. He felt resolutely that perseverance through adversity, begets strength. In struggling to
prove his point, he formed a training method and philosophy unique to Kyokushin. His time on the
mountain instituted a firm belief in himself and his way. It was this period of separation from society
that ultimately formed the groundwork for the â€˜Society of the Ultimate Truthâ€™â€”the
Sosai often returned to the mountains for seasonal training camps with his students and selected the
remote peak of Mt. Mitsumine for this purpose. Mt. Mitsumine is where the immortalized Musashi
himself often trained. This site is rich with legend and lore. Once being directly inaccessible by
automobile, Mt. Mitsumine was isolated enough to conjure up images of Sosaiâ€™s own training and
offered a sense of serenity beyond the world â€˜belowâ€™.
Today, Sosaiâ€™s memorial stone rests at the top of Mt. Mitsumine, surrounded by the stoic and
rocky paths where he once tread. Amidst the ancient shrines of samurai and commoners alike who
share the mountain rest with him, this place, unlike any other, evokes memories of Sosai for students
who knew him well and for the countless more who did not, yet continue to practice in his Way.
When the wind rushes past you as you train outside, you can almost hear his stalwart Kiai resonate
through the thickly wooded forest.
Kyokushin fighters from all over the world gather at a holly mountain - Mitsumine.
Some of the participating members take the part in promotional examination. On the final day,
participants experience Taki-Abi (standing under a water-fall) and go to the memorial monument of
Sosai Oyama for praying. All the programs scheduled for the camp are successfully chosen and stay
in the holly atmosphere of Mitsumine, where all participants more or less feel the spirit of Sosai