He was often known just by Mas Oyama… one of karate’s legendary figures and a pioneer of full contact fighting. He was the founder of Kyokushin Karate which is now known under a number of titles. It is a karate style very orientated toward competition and we recently attended the 5th Kyokushin Cup All Japan tournament run by the International Budo Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan, IBKO.

The bouts are two minutes in duration with victory award to one full point (ippon) or two half points (wazari). Any attack or even touching the head will result in a foul and two fouls will result in disqualification. Kicks to the head are allowed but not to the groin. The rules for children are more detailed and mainly in their own welfare. This is obviously not the karate tournaments you would see in Shotokan or Wado-ryu styles where full contact is not allowed but semi-contact is certainly acceptable in many competitions we have seen. With no punches to the head allowed, this means a large array of attacks are now ruled out and in Kyokushin karate competitors are usually close to each other and busy trading punches to the chest (chudan). For children this is a fairly safe way of entering a contact tournament and one that does not give the parents a heart-attack!

We will be featuring many styles of Karate in our forthcoming Budo: Way of Martial Art series… Okinawan Goju, Shotokan and more. Beside Judo, Karate is one of the most popular Budo arts exported to the rest of the world and now many are preparing for Karate’s next phase… as an Olympic sport.

Kyokushin Karate