Kyokushin is a style of stand-up, full contact karate founded by Masutatsu Oyama in 1964. Kyokushin’s philosophy centers around discipline and self-improvement, which Master Oyama believed could be further honed through rigorous physical training and sparring.
The chief characteristics that differentiate this style of karate from other styles are :
– Knockdown fighting : Light sparring matches never happen In Kyokushin. All fights, including sparring in classes and in tournaments are full contact matches. Strikes are delivered with full force and aimed to knock the wind out of the opponent.
– Emphasis on conditioning : Since all the fights are without protection, a fighter’s body must be able to withstand the high impact sustained in the fight. To do this, Kyokushin has a lot of hard conditioning drills for the entire body. Some schools have been known to condition knuckles by punching tree trunks with bare knuckles to make them stronger.
The most famous aspect of Kyokushin Karate is the 100 man kumite. The kumite is a test of physical and mental endurance which involves simulated combat against an opponent. Master Oyama participated in a 100 man kumite, each between one-and-a-half and two minutes in length. He completed the challenge of a hundred kumites three times over, in a course of three days.
A total of a hundred fights is an extreme test of endurance for a fighter, and anyone completing such a task is no joke, as is clear from the statistics. After Master Oyama, there have been less than 20 people who have been able to complete the test.