Kyokushin karate – the way of the warrior
What is Kyuokushin karate
Kyokushin karate is a type of karate invented in Japan, by a Korean man – Mas Oyama – in mid 20th century. Mas Oyama learned a few karate styles by himself, and already in his younger years was considered a prodigy in Japan. At later stages in his life, he created a style of his own, which he perfected, and called Kyokushin.
Kyokushin quickly spread around the world and gained a lot of popularity. Today there are millions of practitioners around the world, from Chile to China, Though the central branch still remains in Tokyo, Japan.
Karate Kyokushin is a full contact sport – and indeed some regard it as overly brutal, but it is a false impression, that usually can be attributed mainly to first time observers.
The way of the warrior
Indeed, by first impression karate Kyokushin can be seen as a rude and aggressive kind of sport. The kumite (or “fighting” in Japanese) is full contact, with only a few rules that are meant to minimize the risk of hard injury.
However, if the style is analyzed closely, one quickly finds a world of meaning, and that there is much more to it than meets the eye on first impression.
The typical practice lasts about 1.5 hours, and is divided to 3 parts. First two parts are the Kihon and Idokeiko, and are devoted to perfecting technique and theory. Only the last part, the Kumite, is devoted to actual fighting.
In addition, there are a lot of Japanese customs embedded into the lesson. You have to respect the higher ranking practitioners, never overrule what you’re told and always do as asked, even if it does not makes sense. These are all remainders of the Samurai mindset.
The Dojo (classroom) has to be cleaned every beginning and end of practice, and you cannot enter the dojo with shoes on, only barefoot.
And the most important custom is in the word “Osu!” which you say literally at the beginning of every sentence which you address to your fellow practitioners, and especially to your teacher. The meaning of this word merits a separate article, it’s a very complex and deep concept, but its essence is to show that “you really understand and are doing your best”.
Reportedly – a life changer
A lot of karate practitioners start as white belts, but only a handful reach “Dan 1” (black belt). Those who do, will undoubtedly report that adhering to the way of the warrior was a major life changer. Indeed, if you practice Kyukushin karate long enough, you’ll end up experiencing a lot of life changing benefits, reaching way beyond the obvious physical ones:
– cultivate self discipline
– improve your productivity
– be more focused on the here and now
– learn self control
– be more confident in yourself
– project confidence and integrity
…and that is to name only a few.
If you or someone you know considers entering the world of martial arts as an active practitioner, Kyokushin karate should be considered as a very lucrative option. It’s hard, and might not fit everyone, but it’s totally worth it.