Why Kyokushin Karate?


The word Karate is derived from the words:

Kara means “Empty”,  Te means “Hand”.

Masutatsu Ōyama is the founder of Kyokushin karate, arguably the toughest karate style in the world. His life is full of legendary stories and myths. Masutatsu Ōyama is considered one of the strongest karate masters to date. 

Mas Oyama named his system, KYOKUSHIN™ which translates to “The True Way” or “The Ultimate Truth”.

To some, it is a way to develop and maintain physical strength and learn effective self-defence techniques. To others, it is much more than that. Kyokushin karate is a way of life that transcends the aspects of training. Kyokushin is a style of karate that originates from Japan. It is a full-contact style of stand-up fighting and is rooted in a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline, and hard training.

After studying several martial arts styles, Mas Oyama found that none offered what he felt was the ‘true’ way. 

He began practising alone and developed his own training, fighting methods and philosophy. Because Mas Oyama’s technique was so powerful and realistic, he gained widespread recognition in Japan, and soon a huge following of students around the world wanted to follow what they coined as “The Strongest Karate”.

The International Karate Organization, Kyokushin Kaikan was established in 1964 and has evolved into a global network of karate practitioners with over 12 million members in 125 countries and is still growing. Sosai (founder) Mas Oyama is credited with developing the “full-contact” style of karate. 

Since its creation, Kyokushin has spawned thousands of martial arts champions, hence many full-contact fighters of today can trace their current methodology in some way to the root and success of Kyokushin. 

Mas Oyama passed away in April 1994 in Tokyo, Japan. 

Before his untimely death, he named his favourite student and long-time protege, Shokei Matsui to succeed him as Director of the IKO Kyokushinkaikan. The IKO Kyokushinkaikan “Honbu”, World Headquarters, continuously operates in Tokyo, Japan.

Why I recommend this fighting style:

Men grow stronger through suffering. In Kyokushin, we suffer, cry and bleed. This style teaches self-control and virtue through strength and discipline. 

As I have said before, I believe men should know how to fight. This style is perfect for a man that wants to become a mentally and physically resilient fighting machine. 

This style is also good for children. Children oftentimes struggle with expressing their emotions. If they keep their emotions bottled up they are more likely to have relationship problems in later life. Children who can’t understand and manage their emotions in constructive ways are also more likely to have mental health problems. 

That is why it is important for children and adolescents to have a stress reliever like hard training.

There is a study from the National Library of Medicine about the effects of physical activity on mood and positive emotions in young people.

The conclusion was that the moods of children and adolescents who participate in physical activity significantly improved compared with the moods of those who do not participate in physical activity.

This is exactly what this martial art does. It bestows strength, confidence, humility, discipline and honour. Everything a child and teenager needs to grow into honourable men and women. 

What’s the difference between Kyokushin and other forms of karate?

The differences between Kyokushin Karate and Shotokan karate lie in their training and fighting styles. 

Shotokan consists of strikes to specific body parts and focuses on Kata and semi-contact sparring. While Kyokushin is a full-contact form of karate that focuses on effective strikes, full-contact sparring and a lot of physical conditioning.

In Shotokan, the karatekas have to score points to win the fight, while in Kyokushin we win by scoring points and or knockout.

Kyokushin is derived from Shotokan and Gōjū-ryū but involves much more breaking and full contact, with knockdown sparring as a main part of training.

Testimony from South African Kyokushin World Champion Juhan Herbst -Yondan – 4th Degree (Dan) Black Belt.


Dare to be different – do something that others only stare at. 

I just love this style of karate! It is called Kyokushinkai which means ‘ultimate truth’. 

Origin: Firstly I love it because it originates from Japan and we all know Japanese ethics and code of conduct – discipline, integrity, honour and respect just to name a few.

Hardcore: Kyokushin is known for its intense training and fighting, it is one of the hardest styles in martial arts to compete in due to the fact that you compete without any padding or gloves, only a mouth guard and a groin box. 

This is where the men are separated from the boys.

Brotherhood: if one Kyokushin karateka bumps into another there is an instant humble connection and mutual respect as both karatekas know they are different from the rest and have shared in the same suffering – doesn’t matter where in the world it is.

Bond: My deepest and best friendships are with the people I have trained or the ones I have fought against. If I was to have my life over, I will choose Kyokushin every time- it is where you find yourself, your true self within.

Testimony of Senpai Mogen Naidoo - Nidan - 2nd Degree (Dan) Black Belt.

Kyokushin karate is the strongest full-contact knockdown karate in the world. It is a brutal martial art that pushes your physical and mental limits to the extreme.

I have been practising martial arts for over 30 years and specifically Kyokushin karate for over 15 years, and it has made me a stronger man in every sense of the word. It has taught me how to push through my physical limits, control my mind, and develop the mental toughness necessary to succeed in life.

Kyokushin karate has also taught me the importance of discipline and hard work. In order to succeed in karate, you need to be disciplined in your training and willing to put in the hard work. There are no shortcuts in karate.

I have also learned how to become a better martial arts teacher, personal trainer and business coach through Kyokushin karate. When you teach others, you are forced to learn the material even better yourself. This has made me a better student and understand the style as well.

The preparation for grading in Kyokushin karate is intense and not for the faint-hearted. You need to be in top physical condition and have a strong mental game. However, when you finally achieve your black belt, it is an incredibly rewarding feeling.

I believe that the core principles of the Kyokushin dojo kun have made me a better person in both my personal and business life. They have helped me to become stronger, more disciplined, and more humble. They have also helped me be more successful in my work and relationships with others. It has also provided me with the necessary tools to handle any problems or obstacles in my life. Even with the brutality in competition fighting, it has taught me to respect my opponents and other human beings irrespective of their backgrounds.

Kyokushin karate is a traditional martial art that teaches you to seek the ultimate truth of yourself. It provides you with the endurance to know that you can push through any obstacles in life both physically and mentally. It is a brutal martial art, but it is also a beautiful one. It is a journey that will test your limits, but it is a journey that is well worth taking.

Testimony from Senpai Ian - Shodan - 1st Degree (Dan) Black Belt.

I have practised Kyokushin karate for over 10 years now and I recently graded for my Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt). I would have been a different man if not for Kyokushin. 

“Osu no Seishin”, means patience, determination, and perseverance. Every time we say “Osu”, we remind ourselves of this. “Osu no Seishin” means “The spirit of Osu” or “The spirit of pushing oneself”. It means never giving up, even when things are difficult – Kyokushin World Union.

This is something that Kyokushin offers that other karate styles do not. Because of the brutal training and fighting, I have had to push myself to my absolute limits and push through the pain. Because of this, the suffering I endure, I rise and become stronger.

My mind tells me to stop but I know if I don’t give everything I have I won’t forgive myself. Crying and bleeding are acceptable but quitting is not.

This mindset has been drilled into us for so long that we take it into the world and live life that way. 

I live with determination, aggression, passion, self-control and with a fierce heart because of 2 things: God and Kyokushin karate.

An interesting bit of Kyokushin history.

In 1949, Ōyama returned to the people and settled in the city of Tateyama. It had a slaughterhouse. He got a somewhat crazy idea to fight with a bull in public to show and prove the power of his karate.

Masutatsu decided to become a living legend. But first, he needed to try, in case he couldn’t do it.

He came to the slaughterhouse and asked its workers for permission to fight with a bull. They brought him the bull … Ōyama punched it in the forehead with all his might. Blood gushed from the bull’s nose and mouth, but it only got furious and attacked the karate master. Masutatsu hardly managed to dodge. 

The workers explained that even if one cracked a bull’s skull, it wouldn’t kill it. The only way to kill the bull would be to dent the skull so that the bone damages the brain. Ōyama thought about it and decided to try just breaking the horn. After several attempts, he succeeded. 

He trained for some time until he was sure he could do it in public. According to him, he broke the horns of 47 slaughterhouse bulls.

In 1950, Mas Oyama began his famous battles with bulls partly to test his strength and also to draw attention to the power of his Karate. 

Altogether, Oyama fought 52 bulls, killing 3 instantly and taking the horns of 49 with knife-handed strikes. 

Mas Oyama opened his first “Dojo” in 1953 in Meijiro, 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 own 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 foundation of Kyokushin Karate.

Kyokushin Dojo Kun.

We will train our hearts and bodies, for a firm unshaking spirit.

We will pursue the true meaning of the Martial Way, so that in time our senses may be alert.

With true vigour, we will seek to cultivate a spirit of self-denial.

We will observe the rules of courtesy, respect our superiors, and refrain from violence.

We will follow our religious principles, and never forget the true virtue of humility.

We will look upwards to wisdom and strength, not seeking other desires.

All our lives, through the discipline of Karate, we will seek to fulfil the true meaning of the

Kyokushin Way.


Kyokushin karate is the toughest karate style in the world for good reason. But with that, it teaches so much, not just fighting and basics but life lessons and a champion mindset. 


National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9657539/

Kyokushin World Union: https://www.kwunion.com

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