kyokushin training consists of three main elements: (1) technique, (2)
forms, and (3) sparring. These are sometimes referred to as the three "K's"
after the Japanese words for them: kihon (technique), kata (forms), and
The Kyokushin system is based on traditional karate like Shotokan
and Goju-ryu, but incorporates many elements of combat sports like boxing
and kickboxing in kumite. Many techniques are not found in other styles of
In this form of karate the instructor and his/her students all must take
part in hard sparring to prepare them for full contact fighting. Unlike some
forms of karate, Kyokushin places high emphasis on full contact fighting
which is done without any gloves or protective equipment. This apparent
violence is tempered because non-kick or non-knee strikes are not allowed on
an opponents face, aiming to reduce the possibility of serious injury
however, knees and kicks to the head and face, are allowed.
In the earliest Kyokushin tournaments and training sessions bare knuckle
strikes to the face were allowed but resulted in many injuries, and, thus,
students who were forced to withdraw from training. Oyama believed that
wearing protective gloves would detract from the realism that the style
emphasizes. Therefore, it was decided that hand and elbow strikes to the
head and neck would no longer be allowed in training and competition.
Furthermore, many governments don't allow bare knuckle strikes to the head
in sanctioned martial arts competitions. The vast majority of Kyokushin
organizations and "offshoot" styles today still follow this philosophy.
Technically, Kyokushin is a circular style. This is in opposition to
Shotokan karate, which is considered a linear style, and closer to Goju-ryu,
another mostly circular style. Shotokan and Goju-ryu were the two styles of
karate that Oyama learned before creating his own style. However, Oyama
studied Shotokan for only a couple of years before he switched to Goju-ryu
where he got his advanced training. This is reflected in Kyokushin where the
early training closely resembles Shotokan but gradually becomes closer to
the circular techniques and strategies of Goju-ryu the higher you advance in
Kata is a form of ritualized self-training in which patterned or
memorized movements are done in order to practice a form of combat
katas (Shuri katas) stems from the
Shuri-te tradition of karate, and are drawn
from Shotokan karate which Oyama learned while training under
katas(Naha katas) stems from the
Naha-te tradition of karate, and are drawn
from Goju Ryu karate, which Oyama learned while training under So Nei Chu
Kata Unique to Kyokushinkai
The kata Garyu is not taken from traditional Okinawan karate but was created
by Mas Oyama and named after his pen name.
The kata Tsuki no kata is also unique to the style of Kyokushin karate and
styles that derivatives from it. Although there is some debate on who
created it, as it is never attributed to Mas Oyama.
The kata Yantsu is also often believed to be an original Kyokushin kata but
there is enough evidence to suggest it finds its roots in Okinawa before
Oyama created Kyokushin.
Taikyoku & Pinan katas are also done in "ura". This means that (in some
instances) on every other step forward, the practitioner slides his back leg
behind his front leg and around to the position it would have been in had he
stepped forward. This in effect produces a spin on one foot. The URA, or
'reverse' kata were developed by Oyama as an aid to developing balance and
multi-direction combat skills.
Sparring, also called kumite, is used to train the application of
the various techniques within a fighting situation. Sparring is usually an
important part of training in most Kyokushin organizations, especially at
the upper levels with experienced students.
In most Kyokushin organizations, hand and elbow strikes to the head or neck
are prohibited. However, kicks to the head, knee strikes, punches to the
upper body, and kicks to the inner and outer leg are permitted. In some
Kyokushin organizations, especially outside of a tournament environment,
gloves and shin protectors are worn. Children often wear head gear to lessen
the impact of any kicks to the head. Speed and control are instrumental in
sparring and in a training environment it is not the intention of either
practitioner to injure his opponent as much as it is to successfully execute
the proper strike. Tournament fighting under knock-down karate rules is
significantly different as the objective is to down an opponent.
Full-contact sparring in Kyokushin is considered the ultimate test of
strength, endurance, and spirit.
have their origin in Judo, as does the training 'gi', or more correctly in
Japanese, 'dōgi'. In Kyokushin the order of the belts are:
Each belt has a different number of fights
required for the rank sparring for grading starts at blue belt, or 8th kyu.
Of all aspects, it is the strong and spirited contact kumite that most
defines the Kyokushin style, and it is this aspect that has always brought
the style the most respect. The one thing that usually defined the Kyokushin
black belt was the spirit, strength and courage of the kumite.
The number of rounds required
may increase or decrease after Shodan, again depending on the region. 40
rounds of hard contact sparring is required for shodan. as part of a grading
or as part of a special training requirement, is no easy feat and involves
non-stop fighting of one and a half hours or more. It is a test of fortitude
as well as skill.
Kyokushin World Tournaments are known as
the Karate Olympics.
Kyokushin culture believes that accepting a "challenge" represents a
Kyokushin practitioner's commitment to the principles of the art. One way to
participate in a challenge, in which a Kyokushin student tests his/her
courage and desire to defeat one's adversary, is through tournament
Most Kyokushin tournaments follow "knockdown karate" rules in which points
are awarded for knocking one's opponent to the floor with kicks, punches, or
sweeps. Grabbing and throwing are generally not allowed in Kyokushin
tournaments. When they are, they are legal only if performed in less than a
second. Hooks are usually legal if performed for a 'split second.' Arm or
hand strikes to the head, face, neck or spine are usually not permitted, but
kicks to the head are allowed. If, however, the opponent turns his back
while the opponent is throwing a technique, there is no penalty. Outside of
Japan straight kicks to the front of the knee are usually disallowed.
Knock-outs do sometimes occur and minor to moderate injuries are common, but
serious injuries are rare. The most common injuries are concussions, broken
clavicles, and fractured limbs and sternums. Many Kyokushin tournaments
follow an "open" format that allows competitors from any martial arts style,
not just Kyokushin, to enter and compete.
Many Kyokushin practitioners tend to express concerns about influence of
"Japan knockdown" rules on martial art students. The rules were designed
with purpose of maintaining relatively low level of injuries by greatly
reducing amount of strikes into competitor's head (only kicks into the head
should happen, and they are not exactly common given proper guard). They,
however, resulted in highly specialized and barely relevant style of
sparring, which is often seen during modern Kyokushin championships,
particularly outside of Japan. Specifically, both opponents tend to maintain
high upright stance with little or no guard for the head/neck area, make
little or no movement and throw a continuous stream of punches into
opponent's mid-section and kicks into thigh/knee area. Since many Kyokushin
dojos encourage their students to compete, they tend to ingrain this fairly
artificial method of combat, while abandoning realistic framework of
Kyokushin. The impact of Kyokushin rules upon martial art students has been
criticized for a long time, yet there is little indication of possible
changes on a worldwide scale, as resorting to protective gear is considered
to be against spirit of Kyokushin, and imposing restrictions on contact
hardness may result in just a variation of Shotokan competitions. The amount
of Kyokushin "spin-off" schools that try to overcome the situation is still
Ryu and Ken from Capcom's "Street Fighter (series)" move set are based on
Kyokushin. And Ryu is said to be based apon Yoshiji Soeno a student of Mas
Oyama. Jin Kazama from Namco's Tekken series uses the art of Kyokushin
Karate in Tekken 4, Tekken 5, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, Tekken 6 and
Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion. He can be seen practicing Yantsu and Pinan
Sono Yon Kata in various demonstration modes in the Tekken series. Also some
of Paul Phoenix's moves are derived from Kyokushin Karate. Kadonashi Shotaro
and his students from Namco's Urban Reign video game uses the art of
Kyokushinkai. Hitomi from Tecmo's Dead or Alive series uses the art of
Kyokushin Karate in Dead or Alive 3 and Dead or Alive 4. She can be seen
practicing the kata Pinan Sono Yon in various demonstration modes in Dead or
Alive 3 and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. While Hitomi's style of
karate is never explicitly stated in-game, the ending credits of Dead or
Alive 3 indicate the only karate martial arts consultant for the game is a
practitioner of Kyokushinkai.
Solara from Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is said to practice
Kyokugenryu Karate is a fictional martial art from SNK Playmore's Art of
Fighting, Fatal Fury and King of Fighters series. Kyokugenryu (lit. 'the
extreme style'), which is practiced by Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Yuri
Sakazaki, Takuma Sakazaki and Marco Rodriguez/Khushnood Butt, is heavily
based on Kyokushin Karate.
Kyokushin was featured on Fight Quest on Discovery Channel as the Japanese
Martial Arts Style. Kyokushin was the style of karate featured in an episode
of Human Weapon.
the most famous Kyokushinkai film stars is