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Kyokushin karate was the first Full Contact Karate style. Founded in the 1950s by Matsutatsu (Mas) Oyama it has grown to become one of the world's largest karate organizations. Popularized by Mas Oyamas’ many renowned feats including fighting live bulls while chopping off their horns, fighting 300 consecutive bouts over three days, emerging undefeated from a series of "Fight All Comers" bouts across the globe and creating the 100 man kumite challenge. In Japan he is known as “God hand”, and is a national modern day hero.


Mas Oyama named his powerful new Karate style Kyokushinkai. This translates to "Ultimate Truth Association"


While Kyokushin is renowned for its Full Contact Competitions, the Kyokushin class environment fosters a place for personal growth, an opportunity to challenge ones self beyond normal expectations,  and is afantastic confidence builder and excellent physical conditioning. Due to the contact used at the advanced belt level, nothing less than complete respect, humility and understanding is tolerated. Mas Oyama strove to unify the world’s cultures and create global respect with his martial art. His philosophy was to influence sharing and equality through karate training. Everyone is equal when entering a Full Contact competition, no matter where they may come from or what their background may be.


Those beliefs further translate to the classroom experience where students are pushed to their personal capabilities, but never bullied or brutalized. Advanced students mentor junior students. The Sempai / Kohai relationship is actually interpreted to mean that the Sempai (advanced students) are obligated to help their Kohai (junior students). Only a select few students ever compete in Full Contact Tournaments, and do so by their choice. The majority of students train in Kyokushin not to be champions, but to gain confidence through realistic training and to overcome personal barriers.

Different karate styles have different fighting rules. Kyokushin is full contact in terms of the power of the blows, but only allows kicks, not punches, to the head. No protective gear other than mouth guards and groin cups are worn. Fighting is bare knuckle and Kyokushin contests are renowned for their brutality, the occasional spurt of blood contrasting dramatically with the white dogi (karate uniform). Open weight category contests can result in hair-raising mismatches where one competitor may outweigh his opponent buy more than one weight class, but if the lighter competitor survives, he can win on a weigh in. Major tournaments also use board breaking as the deciding factor in the event of a tie, but most fights end in a pummeling or a one-kick knockout in crowd-pleasing K1 fashion. Kyokushin fighting techniques are comprise of kicks, elbow and knee strikes, punches and sweeps. Tournaments bouts are generally 2 minutes long. A wazari, (½ point), is awarded if you knock your opponent down and he gets back up. An ippon, (full point), is awarded if your opponent can‘t get back up, or can’t continue the fight.


Kyokushin training is often considered much harder when compared to other martial arts styles. Preparation for full contact fighting requires its own unique training. This includes specific conditioning to desensitize and reinforce the body’s ability to accept full contact blows. Techniques include students paring up to exchange open blows (kicks and punches), bare knuckle push-ups, and repeatedly striking a makiwari (striking board) with knuckles, shins, elbows and hands.


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