"Without practice,
one can not prove
Without proof,
one can not be
Without trust,
one can not be



Masutatsu Oyama was born on the 27th of July, 1923 in Korea. He moved to China as an infant and at the age of nine, started studying a form of Kempo called Eighteen Hands. Returning to Korea at the age of 12 he continued his training in Korean Kempo.

In 1938, at the age of 15, he traveled to Japan where he continued his martial arts training. He earned his 2nd degree (Nidan) black belt in Karate at age 17 and fourth degree (Yondan) at the age of 20. The progress he made in his studies of Judo were equally astounding, achieving the rank of Yondan in less than four years.

One of Mas Oyama’s Karate instructors, So Nei Chu, Advised him to dedicate his life to the martial way. Heeding the words “seek solace in nature”, Oyama subjected himself to the rigors of daily training in the mountains of Chiba, in order to strengthen his body and spirit. Returning to civilization after one year of solitude, he tested his abilities in the karate division of the first national martial arts championships and won.

Mas Oyama then imposed on himself a further period of solitary training, again in the mountains and upon his return, demonstrated his remarkable abilities by fighting bulls. He fought a total of 52 bulls, killing three and breaking the horns of 49 others.

In 1952, he traveled to the United States for a year, demonstrating his Karate live on national television. During subsequent years, he took on all major challengers resulting with fights with 270 different people including professional boxers and professional wrestlers. All were defeated and the vast majority with just one punch. A fight never lasted more than three minutes and most no more than a few seconds. His fighting principal was simple—if he hit you, you broke. If you blocked a rib punch, your arm was broken or dislocated. If you didn’t block, your rib was broken. He became known as the God hand, a living manifestation of the Japanese warriors’ maxim Ichi geki, Hissatsu or “One strike, certain death”.

In 1953, Mas Oyama opened his first “Dojo”, a grass lot in Mejiro in Tokyo. In 1956 the first real Dojo was opened. By 1957 there were 700 members. Practitioners of other styles came to train there as well for the jis-sen kumite (full contact fighting). Oyama would observe those from other styles and adopt any techniques that “would be good in a real fight”. This is how Mas Oyama’s Karate evolved. He took techniques from all martial arts and did not restrict himself to karate alone.

In 1964, Mas Oyama founded Kyokushin, meaning “ultimate truth”. Since then Kyokushin has spread to more than 135 countries with over fifteen million members making it one of the largest martial arts organizations in the world.

Sadly Sosai Mas Oyama died, of cancer, at the age of 70 in April 1994

LINKS (the International Karate Organisation Kyokushinkaikan). (the official Japanese website for Mas Oyama).

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