The Man The Legend. This is the History of one of the Greatest Martial Artist whoever lived.
He was a legend in his own time.

Kyokushinkai karate's founder (Sosai), Masutatsu Oyama, was born by the name of Yong-I-Choi in Qa-Ryong-Ri Yong-chi-Myo'n Chul Na Do, a village not far away from Gunsan in South Korea on juli 27 ,1923. He was the fourth son of Sun Hyung in a family of 6 boys and 1 girl.At a young age Yong-I-Choi moved to live with his sister who lived on a farm in Manchuria, a place in Southern China. Yong-I-Choi had a very protective youth and had to walk about 6 miles on a small road through the hills every day to attend school as one of the 400 students at the Yongree Primary School.

His lack of interest in studieing made him sidlike school He preferred to play hockey , swimming or fishing. When he was about 9 years old he had his first envounter with martial arts and the martial way. He started to learn the Southern Chinese form of Kenpo also known as the Eighteen Hands. His teacher was mr. Yi who at that time worked on the farm of his sister. Mas Oyama trained with mr. Yi for about 2 years and reached the level of shodan. When he was twelve he decided to return to Korea but kept his interest in martial arts. He started his training in the Korean martial arts of Taiken or Chabi. This sport was a mixtures of different arts like Kempo , KungFu and Ju Jitsu

In 1938, when he was 15 years old Mas Oyama went to Japan to receive instruction and training as a pilot as Bismarck , his idol at the time. He went to the Yamanashi Youth Aviation Institute but survival in Japan for a young Korean of only 15 years old resulted very difficult for the young Oyama and soon he had to stop his pilot training. But allthough live was hard , Oyama kept training martial arts with Judo and boxing.

While living in Japan he was forced to choose a Japanese name so he decided to take on the name of Oyama , meaning Great Mountain. One day he noticed a student training Okinawa karate and he became very interested. To the point that he went to the dojo of Funakoshi to become a member. When Oyama met the pioneer and founder of modern Karate now very well known as Shotokan he was very impressed. Oyama bacame a very devoted disciple and trained many hours during a long period of time in the dojo of Funakoshi at the Takushoku University.

His remarkable skill and progress were soon noticed and rewarded with a promotion at only 17 years old to Nidan (2e dan), When Mas Oyama as a 20 year old signes up at the Japanese army he was already Yondan (4e Dan) in Shotokan karate. From that moment on he also starts to train intensively in Judo reaching the level of Yondan in only 4 years time

The first period after the defeat of Japan in the second world war was a very difficult period for him and many japanese , especially mental During this period he met So Nei Chu. This Korean , living in Japan was an authority on martial arts and reknownedd for his mental and physical strength. He also met Eji Yoshikawa, writer of the book about Miyamoto Musashi, Japan's most famous samurai warrior Thanks to this book and the writer , Oyama starts to understand the profound meanings of the Samurai Bushido Code.

Influenced by So Nei Chu , Mas Oyama decided to withdraw from social live and live in solitude for a period of 3 years and dedicate his time completely to the intense training of body and mind He leaves for the mountain Minobu , the same place where Musasdhi made up the Nito Ryu swordmanship. Mas Oyama was only 23 years old at the time. In his opinion this would be the perfect place to start his severe training of body and mind that he had planned for himself. Accompanied by one of his students , called Yashiro, and assistend by a friend who provided them with the monthly food supplies they went to the wilderess to train. After 6 months however Yashiro decided to return to the civilazation , overwhelmed by loneliness he leaves Oyama alone. After 14 months of training , his sponsor and friend lsends a message to Oyama that he can no longer help him with his monthly food supplies So Oyama has to stop his training and return to civilazation.

A few month's later , in 1947 , Mas Oyama participates in the Karate division of the "1st Japanese National Martial Arts Championships" after the second world war and wins. Despite his victory , Oyama feels empty inside due to the fact he had to leave his solitary training and decides to dedicate the rest of his life to karate and again returns to the wilderness for training. This time he goes to the Kiyozumi mountain , also in the prefecture of Chiba. This election was inspired for the spiritual nature of the place. His training was very intense and rigorous. He trained for about 12 hours a day . He trained standing below icecold waterfalls , breaking riverstones , using tree's as his makiwara , jumping hundreds of times over fast growing branches

During this time animals , rivers stones and trees were his oponents and he won off all of them. He also spend hours on studieing the many ancient martial arts zen and filosophy. He meditated during long hours in the icy waterfalls. His goal was to create a martial art going back to the origins of the true samurai way of fighing. Duriing these 18 months of rough and intense training Mas Oyama combined the most effective techniques of different systems and made up his own unique style. After this time he returned back to society as a completely different man . Mentally , Physically and spiritual much stronger.

During the 50' Mas Oyama started to demonstrate his ability and strength fighting bull's. He fought 52 bull's in total of which he killed 3 on the spots and chopped of the horns of 49 with one only shuto (chop with the side of the hand) This doesn't mean it was a piece of cake. Oyama didn't hide the fact that his first intent only resulted in a mad bull and in 1957 it almost resuled in his dead. In 1957 when he was 34 years old a bull fight almost resulted fatally when a bull caught him in his back and torn it open almost completely. This fight costed him 6 mont's to recuperate from this almost letal wound. In April 1952 Mas Oyama travelled to the United States where he stayed for one year demonstrating his karate live on national television. He fought against prodessional boxers , wrestlers and everybody who wanted to challenge him.

In total he fought against 270 opponents and beated them all , most of them with a single attack. No fight lasted longer than 3 minutes and most were finished after a few seconds. Oyama based his fights on the samurai fighting principle of one blow , certain dead (Ichi geki, hissatsu) If he came close to
you , than the fight was over , if he hit you you broke something , if you tried to block his attach , the result would be a broke or dislocated arm and if you didn't block your ribs would be broken. Due to his power and skill he bacame known as God's Hand. For him , this was the true goal and purpose of karate The estetical aspects and complexs techniques came only second place but nonetheless he was also known for his powerfull head kicks.

During this time the 100-men kumite started. To test his own capability's and skills Mas Oyama decided to have a 300 men kumite in 3 days. He choose the strongest students from his dojo to fight him one after one. After eveyone had his turn they started all over again untill the 300 fights finished. Every student had to fight the master about 4 times during those 3 days . Some of them didn't even stand through the first day , because of the poweerfull blows of Oyama. The legend goes that Oyama wanted to fight a 4th day but none of his students wanted to participae another day.

1954 Mas Oyama started his first dojo on a small pice of grasland in Tokyo but june 1956 should be considered as the official start of the Oyama karate school , opening his dojo behind the Rikkyo University at about 500 m of the actual honbu dojo In 1957 there are about 700 members training at his dojo , dispite of the great dropout rae due to the hard training. Practitioners of other martial arts also came to train at his dojo especially for the jis-sen kumite (full contact fighting). Mas Oyama observed these styles and adopted their best and most usefull techniques into his karate Doing such , his Karate evolved soon into one of the most impresive stlys in the world of martial arts. soon his style was known as "The Strongest Karate", not only thanks to the skill and enduance of Oyama but also because of the strong and strict discipline and the requirements for training and tournaments.

Oyama Dojo members took their kumite very serious very much aware that they were practising a fighting sport so they had to espect to be hit and to be able to hit. With few rules and restrictions they fought their kumites. attacks to the head with the handpalm or fists wrapped in towels , throws , grappling and kicks , even to the groin were normal practise.The Kumite continued utill one of the competitors rendered and gave up shouting.. People got hurt every day and the giveup percentage was incredibly high (over90%) They had no official Dojo-gi and wore whatever they had.

In juni 1964 they actual Honbu (world headquarters) was officially opened and IKO (international Karate Organization) adopted the name of "Kyokushin", or "ultimate thruth" as name for Oyama's karate From that moment Kyokushin Karate started to spread out all over the world untill having over 15 million practitioners in over 120 country's , converting it in one of the biggest martial arts organizatons in the world. In 1974 Mas Oyama got honored for his work by receiving the 9th dan and shrtly after that he received the 10th dan , the highest possible grad in the world by the international committee of counry representatives

In april 1994 as Oyama died april 1994 at an age of 70 being ill of lung cancer. His sudden death left the international organization in a very confused state. Before his death he appointed in his testament that Yukio Nishida would be he succesor to lead zijn IKO but on his death bed he changed his mind and appointed A
kiyoshi Matsui, Yondan (4de Dan). Allthough Matsui was very competent at karate and management , many of the higher ranked Yudansha were offended by this what resulted in the falling apart of IKO in 4 groups : IKO 1 under shihan Akiyoshi Matsui, IKO 2 of shihan Kenji Midori, IKO 3 of shihan Yoshikazu Matsushima and IKO 4 of shihan Toru Tezuka. Every Japanese group says to be the true succesor of Mas oyama and since than the Kyokushin all over the world finds itself in a heavy struggle for the ultimate leadership

Outside Japan there are a 5th and 6th group One of them being in he IKF lead by Hanshi Steve Arneil from the United Kingdom and the other is the IBK of Kancho Jon Bluming in Holland. Both of these non-japanese organizations still teach the traditional Kyokushin Karate as it was thaught and intended by Mas Oyama.

Mas Oyama did not only makeup a an extremely effective martial art but he also gave us the Kyokushin way of life philosophy. To my point of view he was one of the best karate master of all times and he made many great instructors who helped to spread his organization all over the world. He left us a legacy thatt we all can be proud of.

This is his Kyokushin ideal :

Keep your head low (modesty), eyes high (ambition), mouth shut (serenity),
base yourself on filial piety and benefit others.

With respect for our only true leader,

Osu !!
Sjaak van de Velde.



Philosophical Thoughts by Sosai Mas Oyama

“One becomes a beginner after one thousand days of training and an expert after ten thousand days of practice."

"Although it is important to study and train for skill in techniques, for the man who wishes to truly accomplish the way of budo, it is important to makehis whole life in training and therefore not aiming for skill and strength alone, but also for spiritual attainment."

"A human life gains luster and strength only when it is polished and tempered."

"Reading good books implants good ideas in the mind, develops good aspirations, and leads to the cultivation of good friends."

"One living daily in the Way carries their head low and their eyes high; reserved in speech and possessing a kind heart, they steadfastly continue in their training efforts."

"Aspirations must be pure and free of selfishness. Arising from the depths of the soul, aspirations are spiritual demands penetrating all of a human life and making it possible for a person to die for their sake. A person without aspirations is like a ship without a rudder or a horse without a bridle. Aspirations give consistent order to life."

"As far as possible, I want nothing more than to don my training gi and teach Karate."

"If someone asked me what a human being ought to devote the maximum of his life to, I would answer: training. Train more than you sleep."

"Karate is the most ZEN-like of all the martial arts. It has abandoned the sword. This means that it trascends the idea of winning and losing to become a way of thinking and living for the sake of other people in accordance with the way of Heaven. Its meanings, therefore, reach the profound levels of human thought."

"One must try everyday to expand one's limits."

"Behind each triumph are new peaks to be conquered."

"Until the day I die, I never want to be separated from my dogi; I never want to cease my training efforts in the dojo."

"The fastest way to attain courage is to follow the chosen Way and be willing to abandon life itself for the sake of justice."

"If you have confidence in your own words, aspirations, thoughts, and actions and do your very best, you will have no need to regret the outcome of what you do. Fear and trembling are lot of the person who, while stinting effort, hopes that everything will come out precisely as he wants."

"Human beings are capable of virtually limitless degradation; they are also capable of virtually limitless improvement and achievement. Success depends on goals and on diligence in pursuing them."

"Always remember that the true meaning of Budo is that soft overcomes hard, small overcomes large."

"The most significant life is the one lived on the basis of a personal sense of justice and the desire to see justice realized everywhere."

"It is possible for even the smallest of accolades of achievement to be truly worthwhile without tears and toil?"

"I realized that perseverence and step-by-step progress are the only ways to reach a goal along a chosen path."

"Subjecting yourself to vigourous training is more for the sake of forging a resolute spirit that can vanquish the self than it is for developing a strong body."

"Each of us has his cowardice. Each of us is afraid to lose, afraid to die. But hanging back is the way to remain a coward for life. The Way to find courage is to seek it on the field of conflict. And the sure way to victory is willingness to risk one's own life."

"We in Kyokushin maintain faith in the Way that knows no prejudices."

"My Way is the Way of Karate, which is also the Way of humanity, and which is consequently related to the Way of Heaven."

"A man who understands decorum and the courtesies is a great treasure; I hope to train and send into society as many such men as I can."

"No matter how strong the rival, the just will always win."

"True courage is born only when it is accompanied by justice."

"Courtesy should be apparent in all our actions and words and in all aspects of daily life. But be courtesy, I do not mean rigid, cold formality. Courtesy in the truest sense is selfless concern for the welfare and physical and mental comfort of the other person."

"Karate is Budo and if Budo is removed from Karate it is nothing more than sport karate, show karate, or even fashion karate-the idea of training merely to be fashionable."

"I have not permitted myself to be ignorant of any martial art that exists. Why? Such ignorance is a disgrace to someone who follows the path of the martial arts."

"If you do not overcome your tendancy to give up easily, your life lead to nothing."

"Sice Karate exists for cultivating the spirit and training the body, it must be a moral way surpassing mere techniques..."

"Power is no more than a part, no more than the tip of the iceberg of limitless profundity and sublimate of Karate."

"In the martial arts, introspection begets wisdom. Always see contemplation on your actions as an opportunity to improve."

"Studying the martial Way is like climbing a cliff: keep going forward without rest. Resting is not permissible because it causes recessions to old adages of achievement. Persevering day in, day out improves techniques, but resting one day causes lapses. This must be prevented."

"Personal greed and egoism are things that cause human beings to forget respect for others and to violate rules that have been established for the sake of peace and friendship."

"Come ye trials and challanges; come life's big waves, for I am ready?"


Old message to the Kyokushin members by Sosai Mas Oyama
I'll Take a Bet On Fighting Spirit!

On May 10, 1978, in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan, Kancho Oyama gave a speech at a Public Seminar in which many prominent people from throughout Japan were also invited to speak. As in all Kancho Oyama's speeches, he spoke without the aid of any notes, and without having previously planned anything. The speech was some two hours in length. I'm not the kind of person who usually gives speeches on such a big stage, and I think perhaps I had better do a Karate demonstration, rather than speak, so that you can all feel satisfaction. But I can only talk about Karate, because I only know about Karate. I'm not a politician, nor a good speaker, and I'm neither a businessman nor a leader. I'm just a Karate-Ka. So I'll just talk about Karate. Karate came from Okinawa 46 years ago. Mr. Funakoshi, who did much to make it popular, brought it to Japan. But Japan already had a similar art called Jujutsu, which developed from Koppo. Koppo became Yawara. Yawara became Jujutsu. Jujutsu became Judo, Karate and Aikido. Judo has throwing, strangles and ground holds, and originally was divided into 2 systems. 1) Kodokan Judo, specializing in throwing and based in Tokyo, and 2) Butokukai, based in Kyoto and specializing in ground holds.

The Butokukai was, however, greatly influenced by the Japanese right party and was consequently disbanded by General McArthur after the Second World War. Before the war, the Butokukai and the Kodokan held a yearly inter-competition. This was perhaps the best time in Japanese Judo; it grew rapidly and became known overseas. I think most people know of the development of Judo from this point. So how did Karate grow? The Kyokushin-KaiKan now has dojos in 96 countries, but I didn't originally have the idea to open dojos overseas. It was only when I could no longer eat in Japan that I agreed to the suggestion of a teacher of the Butokukai, and went overseas to the USA. If I had been able to feed myself here in Japan maybe this would never have happhappened and my life now (would be) quite different. Anyway, I looked around a world that then did not know Karate, and in the 30 years that have passed since that time, Karate has grown quite remarkably. Why did Karate become popular so quickly? There are two reasons. One, though of course Karate training is hard and takes a long time, it is still easier to learn to use in a much shorter time than Judo or Aikido. And secondly, there is no need to hold or grasp at your opponent in Karate. When I was young, during the time of World War 11, I was attending Takushoku University. I also went to a Karate dojo for daily training. The teacher there told me that recently I had become very strong, and I really had gained the confidence that I could beat anyone with my punch. I had gained power in all the techniques of Karate, and when I punched anyone, they would fly up 30crn in the air and then fall to the floor. At this time my Sempai looked very small to me. Whenever you are in good condition, you feel that others are small. But one teacher told me that although I had become very strong in only one year of training, I had also developed a very big head. I felt inside me at the time, that I could easily beat this old teacher with one punch, and I eyed my teacher with belligerence. The teacher told me that it takes 3 years to learn to form the seiken, 3 years to develop stance and 3 years to develop a punch, and that if you want to master Karate, it takes at least 9 years. But I still continued to think that my Karate was best, my head was indeed very big.

Soon after this, I was drafted into the army, and by the time I had returned from the war, my teacher had already passed away. 30 years have now passed and people call me a Master of Karate or "Karate God". But I'm just human, and now I'm finding that I am questioned by the things as seemingly as simple as how to form a fist; things I had not considered before. It is almost like the case of, the more I study, the more I realize just how much more there is still left to study. A person who studies Karate for only 3 months can use it practically with the same 3 months of training. Karate is very useful, but to MASTER it is very hard. I'm now 55 years old, and I'm still wondering, what is Karate? Now the world population is more than four billion, but I would say a good half of the people have at least heard the word, Karate. Karate is an International phenomenon, and is no longer Japanese. Recently I have felt this realization very strongly. Japan has become very famous in the economic world, but I believe the only real thing the Japanese have got to show the world is Budo. But maybe I say this because I'm a "Karate-Baka"(Karate-fool). If you have a Karate Shodan you can consider your chances of one against five as being 50/50. In the USA and Europe, Karate has become very popular because Europeans, especially ladies, didn't like the holding in Judo. The charm of Karate is that both can keep a distance, and that when forced to come together, only one falls over. Karate training can develop a smart walk, as can Kendo, and both Kendo-Ka and Karate-Ka walk the same way. In old Japan, one of the Karate tests was to soak rice paper with water and walk on it without ripping it. We think we can judge the strongest people by watching the Olympics, that is; the Olympic Judo Champion is the strongest.

But we can make better records and results by a type of effort that has nothing to do with the Olympics, even though medical doctors may disown such acts as nonsense. For example, a monk, who was dying by fire, said that he could feel no pain nor any heat, so long as he kept nothing in his head. I believe in this ability, I have seen and felt it. One kempo teacher brought a hand being burnt. If you haven't seen this kind of act, perhaps. You can't believe it, but the secret is to forget that the hot water is hot. Scientist can't say how these things happen, but nevertheless they happen. At this point scientific knowledge doesn't cover everything. People ask me what is Kyokushin, Well, an old Budo-Ka once said that 1000 days of Karate training makes a beginner, 10,000 days makes a master. Master = Kiwameru = Kyoku. Shin = truth, therefore Kyokushin = to master the truth; to seek for the ultimate. Karate is a very simple art, but in comics and movies it is always portrayed with fancy movements. This is just business; the movies aren't always truthful. It is just a case of "You have put flowers to the leaves in order to make money". Actually Karate is a very simple thing, but simple things are boring, so moviemakers and many dojo-owners have to add spice to make it sell. Today many young people are chasing after the flower. But I knew one young man, a university teacher, who took one year's holiday and came to Tokyo to study Kyokushin-Karate. He felt the training was very hard and simple, with the same techniques being repeated 1000s of times everyday. To him it was not a fight against others but a fight against himself. This is Karate. Sometimes people say that Kyokushin-Karate is "Kenka- Karate"(street-fighting Karate). At first people called Kyokushin-Karate "misconceived Karate", then "street-fighting Ka- rate", and now they call it "real-fight Karate". But I want to make my Karate "soul spirit Karate". Today's Karate has undergone great changes. Before when foreigners met Japanese in their countries, they imagined Judo. However, if you practice Judo you develop a bad figure, you injure you face and scars and your walking becomes very slow. Judo-Ka cannot handle street-fights. I think you have seen Popeye cartoons before, haven't you? In these stories, Brutus, who has a big body always loses against the little Popeye. In the USA I saw many people like Brutus. They were very powerful and strong, they could even break cola bottles between their arms. If you are caught by this kind of person, you will surely lose, but their movements are slow and in their fighting they always try to catch and hold. Maybe they can work in Pro-wrestling, but they are useless in street fighting. You can see many guys around with big muscles on the beaches of Miami, but the true strong ones have less showy form, slimmer figures. In the street fight, the muscled type can't catch the thinner type because too many muscles, which in fact they really don't need to have in order to fight effectively, hamper them.

I first heard this saying when I was in the USA. Ballet Dancers are good fighters. Oh I'm sorry, I'm only talking about fighting, but anyway, I hope it's interesting for you. You know, Ballet dancers have a very nice walk and slim, strong bodies. In fighting they can fight very rhythmically. I had one ballet dancer friend who liked to fight. Once when I was out with this dancer, he started to fight against others, eventually I had to help him out, but at first when I was just watching, I was very impressed with his rhythmical movements, despite his funnily formed fist. Our lives have rhythms. It means we are living rhythm. Those that lose the rhythm of life become ill. A good musician can be a good Karate-Ka. Even one who just loves and listens a lot to music can be very good at Budo. Many famous people have also been musicians, and 1 think most Budo-Ka love music and can play some instrument. A person with bad rhythm can't be good at Karate. Walking is a rhythm, waking up and washing your face is a rhythm, and one shouldn't break these rhythms. Sometimes people break these rhythms. Sometimes people break their rhythm because of work, and some don't appear to have any rhythm at all. For example, many years ago, I went to a town in New Jersey, USA, to become the private teacher of a Bodybuilding teacher. In the first week, I found that my student always moved backward when he was supposed to move forward. I asked him if he liked music, and when he answered that he hated music, I apologized and left, saying that you simply can't learn Budo without rhythm. I have already talked about my going overseas. Many Japanese are traveling abroad these days, but it is not with- out some problems. For example, the President of the Brazilian Japanese People's Organization, Mr. Fuji, said to me that many people are beginning to feel antagonism towards Japanese because Japan has become an economical animal. He told me of how some Japanese came to Brazil, opened a Bank and collected money from the Brazilians, only to escape half a year later, and how many Japanese sponsored companies are paying small pitiful wages. He asked me how we could clear up the bad feeling, and then answered himself by asking me to please send him many Japanese Karate-Ka. At present many dojos in Brazil are unused, but if I were to send instructors they would all begin again teaching Kyokushin. Mr. Fuji, whose son is training Karate, is convinced that Karate is truly the greatest discipline. Judo has a lot of throwing, which is a nice feeling, but it isn't so nice to be thrown, and it can cause spine injuries to youngsters. Today's Judo is just a lot of grabbing and pushing, and in Kendo you need to have too much heavy and ex- pensive equipment. At any rate Mr. Fuji said that Karate is wonderful because you can train alone, and that it's very popular in Brazil. Actually, Karate is popular everywhere. Because Karate comes from Zen years before, Karate had a very bad image. Judo was the powerful might and Karate was always the "bad". Karate was associated with gangsters and always lost to Judo in the people's minds, in books and in movies. Fortunately Karate doesn't have this image today, be- cause it eventually became known that Karate and only Karate comes from Zen. Karate starts from spirit training, from Zen. Other Budo may develop Zen and spirit training, but Karate starts from spirit training. I studied Judo in the Kodokan, and I know very well that only Karate starts with and from spirit training. Karate's profound relationship to Zen has made Karate popular the world over. Karate is Zen. European people are people who don't believe anything without looking for evidence. If you say you can break a whisky bottle, they say "Show me". I went to USA just after the war and I received many insults of "Kill the Jap." However, after I demonstrated my art to them, they could forget their prejudice and follow my way. When I was in USA I broke the tops off 12 bottles in one go. Long thin neck bottles are easy to break and short, thick ones are hard, says physics. I demonstrated this to my audience. First I adjusted my breathing (the most important thing in Karate), and then I broke all the bottles continuously, sometimes two or three at a time. Everyone saluted me and respected me; I had shown evidence of my words. . Western people are big and Japanese are small, but you can stop a person getting out of a chair with one finger; it has nothing to do with size. In USA you have to prove yourself to be believed, grid if you aren't believed you can't live. Fortunately, 1 was believed. After this the fee 1 could ask for lessons tripled. Americans are very interesting; when you charge a higher price the people feel the lesson has better quality, and you gain more respect!

During my trip to France, things didn't go nicely with the promoter and we split. I had nowhere to go, so I slept on a park bench. I couldn't speak French and my English wasn't so good either. Actually, when I was in the USA the promoter told me not to speak so much because they believe great oriental men don't say much, so I unfortunately took this ad- vice and never really learned much English. Anyway, I started teaching in France to a company driver but when it failed, I took a job in a cabaret breaking bottles as my act. After one week, however, I was told that breaking wasn't so popular and could I do something else. An Embassy's friend of mine suggested that I do walking on my hands, so I did an act hand walking up and down a spiral staircase. It was very hard, especially coming down! I was very afraid, but at the time, my greatest fear was starving. The fear of starving really makes one strong. When I returned to Japan, I told my wife that it was through that hand-walking act that I had lost all my hair and gone bald! But behind sport everyone is forgetting Budo. Now, here in Japan, baseball is very popular, and all students seem to love the sport and dream to be professional players. People who have big bodies or can run fast are pulled into the baseball club. I'rn not saying that baseball is bad, but too many people are crazy about it. Baseball, however, is only popular In Japan and the USA, and this is why there is no world tournament. It may even be why Japan can't win so many medals in the Olympics. I am always asking the sports committees in Japan to put a bit more power into some other sport beside baseball. Why do we forget Budo, which incorporates old Japanese spirit? Budo is as good as sport. Now I am no longer sure of the future of Japanese Karate. I am not sure if we can be the strongest for much longer. 30 years ago it was new to everyone, but this is not so now, and even the communist countries know Karate. Now in Karate knowledge and Karate history, there isn't such a great difference between Japan and other countries. Karate is changing from white people's power Karate to Black people's jump Karate. If Black people train more, one day Japan will lose to them. Today's Japanese don't pay enough attention to Budo. Foreigners come to Japan especially to learn Karate and they spend much of their life savings, but the Japanese who can easily learn it, don't bother to do so. However, I am happy to note that there are some younger people who want hard training. Sport means to enjoy, but Budo means to be hard to yourself, and to make yourself strong. Today most of our youngsters don't have any moderation, they can't work within the proper limits, or change according to circumstances. So many of them are doing things that go against Human-Do (way). . But over the past 2 or 3 years, I believe the situation has improved a little. Many new students are coming to Kyokushin daily, because they really want a harder time, a stricter, more disciplined life. Japan has many Karate styles, but Kyokushin is the strictest. Hard to yourself, kind to others; this is Budo, and this is why I insist that Kyokushin remains strict. Recently 88 out of every 100 of my students wrote that they want strict training. 3 years ago most said that they wanted to do Karate at their own pace, as a hobby.

People who study Karate also study etiquette and develop good and pleasing manners. For many years the Japanese themselves were very prejudiced against Karate, but Karate is the only Budo that studies spirit. Even in foreign countries they make little shrines, and bow to them in Japanese style. They place the Japanese flag in their dojos along with their own country flag, and after training they clean up in Japanese fashion. Maybe you (the audience) can't suppose this, but what the foreigners want from Japan is not money or economic things, they want Budo spirit. Budo spirit means Karate spirit, and Karate spirit means Kyokushin. Kyokushin means 1000 days a beginner, 10,000 days a master. By this we mean that you must be hard to yourself and kind to other people. The way to study being hard to yourself and kind to others is through Budo. Now I can see a number of students challenging all hardships in training, and it is very pleasing to me. Of course Kyokushin's training is hard, but it doesn't mean it's violent. We don't kill anyone in training, as it often happens in some university cheer clubs here. I always tell my instructors to be hard to themselves that they should never order the students to do 1000 kicks until they themselves have done it. I tell them they may only order 300 press-ups if they too do it, and I stress that they shouldn't be lazy, shouldn't be soft on themselves and hard to the others. Too many people these days are soft to themselves and hard on others, they should study the way of Budo, the way of Karate, Kyokushin-Karate.

Sometimes at midnight I have a period of self-criticism and analysis. Who is Oyama Masutatsu? What am I? I'm not a person with great leadership ability and I'm not a businessman or a politician. So what and who am I? I'm a bugeisha, a person who fights everywhere, always. I am a person who only trains Budo. But even a strong gunman becomes weak when he gets old, and a good horse can't be a good horse forever. What does a Bugeisha do when he becomes old and finds someone stronger than himself'? At this time, he can escape. A long time ago I was talking about Karate in front of a politician, and when he asked me what I want to do next in my life, I answered that I think the destiny of my life can only be one way; I will become a monk. When I was young I tried to enter a Buddhist Temple, but unfortunately I couldn't join at the time. I told them that when I became old I would come again, and they were all much surprised. You see, I am a bugeisha, I'm not a leader. Spirit is the most important thing. I wanted to be today's Miyamoto Musashi. Then the war came. It just happened to be that I did not die in the war, but after the war, and even now, I felt very sorry for my friends who did die. So I started living for Karate, and I suppose I will even die for Karate. I traveled around the world and became the Head of an International Organization. I chose and set out on the left road, and ended up walking on the right road. Me! Oyama Masutatsu, became an organization Head. When I suddenly woke up and realized this and its implications, it was already too late. Sometimes I am asked why I always so deeply respect Miyamoto Musashi. It is because of his strength, He could defeat anyone in a fight, even his parents, child, teacher and friends. I could learn from him, that you have to win. When you fight you shouldn't think of any other thing, you should fight and win. I also have a Sempai whom I greatly respected. I so respected Mr. Kimura, the Judo-Champion, that during the early stages of the war, I even went to Takushoku University because Kimura was at this university. He was like my God then, and I believed that he was the Miyamoto Musashi of the present day. I tried to be like him in every way, as I wanted to be every bit as strong. Unfortunately, I was soon drafted into the army. After the war I kept contact. with Kimura and visited his house, and he was always very kind to me. He taught me many things - judo, pro-wrestling, and when I was in the USA, he was particularly kind and helpful to me. After a few years however, Kimura changed to pro-wrestling, but he lost many fights because of the pro-wrestling business tricks. Once he had lost, people became cold to him. In the fighting world, you simply have to be a winner. When you win everyone listens to you, but no one listens to a loser. After you lose, no one hears your excuse, even if it is a good and valid one. Winning is "man's" way, and fighting is man's "romance?

I respect a person who shows his fangs in a fight. I feel a great attraction and charm to any fighter. I despise those who try to cover themselves even if they are rich and "great". I respect a person who is always fighting in life. I respect all fighters, even if they are my enemies. If I have such a student, I want to help him very much in anyway I can. Today's young people are only thinking about graduating a good university so that they can get a job in a big company and have a beautiful wife and a prestigious car. They don't have any fighting spirit, they don't try to fight in life. One University Medical Doctor, Vice-President of his department, came to Tokyo just to train Karate some years back now. He took a long holiday from his university, and trained very hard. He was a fighter. If you don't have any fighting spirit you are a useless man and your life has no value. You have to fight, to challenge.

Oyama Masutatsu, have you ever lost a fight before?Yes, I have lost many times. Just after the war, I was bashed up by a group of blacks and was even hospitalized, but man-to-man I have never lost clearly. I have only lost trying to fight against five or six people, because I am no God or Superman. One instance of "losing" even proved highly valuable for me. This was during my meeting with Mr. Ching in Hong Kong. I loved the personality of Mr. Ching, and I respected him very deeply. When I met him I was 33 years old and he was nearly 70. I am now bald, but even at that time, although he was very old, he had more hair then than I do now, and he was only around 50kg in weight. Of course I had more power and speed than he had, as I was young, but he was a magnificent man, just like an old God. My head was bowed the whole time that I was in his presence, as I couldn't look at him directly. I had lost to him without doing anything. He asked me to show him my techniques, and I showed him all that I knew. He said that it was wonderful and dynamic, but still with an edge on it. He said I was like a rough diamond and I needed polishing. I asked him to teach me but he answered that he didn't really have anything to teach me, just that I had forgotten the definition of Karate and my movements had become too straight. He said, draw a circle and have a spot on it. A straight line is plus alpha. He said that straight Karate was just gymnastics, but you only beat people when you have power, true power that comes from the point and circle. Since that time I have been teaching all my students the same thing, and this is why Kyokushin Karate is different from other Karate styles. The life of Kyokushin Karate is Kumite(fighting). The life of Kumite, fighting, is in basics. You have to practice circle training. One should never show ones back to the enemy, you must try to get him from behind. If you are to the side of your opponent you can win 60% of the time, if in front perhaps 50%, but if you can get to the back of your opponent you can win 70-80% of the time. Students must train how to come in from behind.

You can be strong by studying Karate. I think most people find a great charm in the idea of becoming, strong. Every individual must be strong, if you want to join Kyokushin, then I take it as my responsibility and duty to teach you. But if you cannot get the secrets, the knowledge about Karate and yourself', by yourself, then I can't help you. If you train the same technique 100,000 times then suddenly you may understand, "Oh, this technique is like this". Maybe one night you will suddenly see the light, "Oh, this kick is this way". This is the way to get the secrets, the knowledge about Karate and yourself. Every country seems to have a saying similar to "you can lead a cow to water, but you cannot make it drink", whether the cow drinks or not, is over to the cow. Teaching may be the duty of myself or the sempai, but whether you become strong or not is your own problem. Since old times we have had the idea that secret techniques are given by the teacher, but this is nonsense. The secrets, the knowledge can't be given by any teacher, you have to grasp it yourself with your own hands. Can you be strong if your parents give you money? It is over to you, as to whether you can be happy and strong or not, it has nothing to do with your parent's wealth.

Everyone must have water and air to live. If we didn't have enough of these, then people would fight for them. Even if you are rich, have money, power and food, you will die without air. Breathing is most important in Karate. We have Ibuki breathing in Karate. It has an outside and inside character: it is positive and negative. When others are unaware that you are breathing, then this is negative breathing, and the breathing that surprises others is positive breathing. Positive and negative breathing is called Ibuki. Breathing in slowly is negative, bringing up the air to the chest and breathing it out with a loud sound is the positive aspect. It is very important breathing, for it calms the body during any kind of stress. We also have another kind of breathing called Nogare, and we have two kinds of it, a front and a back. When you put power into your little fingers, extend your hands and pull, them back to the chest while breathing in, and then open the mouth and breathe out slowly again with the tongue between the teeth, then we call this the front style of Nogare breathing. The ura style, back style, is to bring the hands up from the side to the arm pits while breathing in and push them out in front of you while breathing out slowly. The importance of breathing can be illustrated by an old Chinese story. One day a very fit man and a very fat man were walking along together, when suddenly a bear appeared on the same track. The very fit man ran away and climbed a tree, but as the fat one couldn't run or climb trees, he decided to play dead. The bear came to inspect the fat man by walking around him and sniffing for any signs of life. The bear sometimes grunted in the ear of the man lying on the ground and it almost seemed to the man in the tree, as if he was having a conversation with the fat man. Eventually the bear went away, and the fit man came down from the tree. He asked the fat man what the grunting bear was saying all the time to which the fat man answered ?gDon't have friends who can't help you". It is just a joke, but even in this very dangerous time, the fat man could breathe in negatively, and thus he managed to save his own life. Well, I seem to have talked for quite a long length of time. I hope that you have enjoyed listening, and that you have come to understand Karate and Karate-Ka a little from my speech. I thank you all for your patience and attendance. Osu !

Director of the International
Karate Organization


Old message to the Kyokushin members by Sosai Mas Oyama
Kyokushin Karate will save the world

"I send this message to all of you with a lament for the confusion that exist in the world"

We are a strong organization that maintains the same belief, purpose, and idea without consideration of the frontier, race, or religion. Together we choose our own destiny, and we even consider ourselves as one big family, because of this I decided to send this call out to all of you. These days, the egoism, synonymous of individualism, the licentiousness, and the indolence instead of liberty are the common denominator between the youth well fed and well dress on some liberals countries. The immorality go on (advance) and the decency become relaxed.

Not only the spirit but also the body have been damage because of the bad habits people have to choose their food, which have to depend on preservatives in order to preserve there foods. This inclination (tendency) are more notorious on places called developed countries. On the other side there are countries like the ones in Africa where they do not have even the guarantee of a bite of food, as a consequence they become exposed to famine.

From the national point of view we can observe some countries taking advantage of others for their own benefits. We know that antagonism of Ideology, races, and religions exists in this world. Unfortunately, it looks like we have a long way to go before we can establish peace in this world. I as a Budoka and one who have dedicate my life to Karate, can not avoid been deeply concern about these phenomenon. Under these circumstances it is very natural for all of us to arm ourselves physically with Kyokushin Karate, however what is more desirable is to arm ourselves spiritually. In a confuse world, if we only pursue the physical force of karate, and neglect to obtain the spiritual part of Karate, then is very easy to divert ourselves from the path of rectitude.

Then, how we can arm our spirit? This can be done by Kyokushin Karate, with their spirit and ideology, to became a reasonable human been. There are no witness if there are not tangible prove, not credibility if we do not have an evidence, not respect if we do not have a believe. Kyokushin Karate is stimulant, because the physical force and the spiritual superiority is evident. This is the Kyokushin Karate as a Martial Art.

The ideology of Kyokushin Karate put emphasis on the family and our homes. In other words, the essence of Kyokushin spirit is " Bend your head and rise your eyes, keep your mouse closed and free your mind, as a starting point you should serve other with filial humility ". "Bend your head and rise your eyes" mean that you must be ambitions, but always be modest with with your words and your behavior. "Keep your mouse closed and free your mind" mean that you must not show to much your own feeling and be generous to others. You should be friendly and make diligent effort, also be honest in everything you do. "With filial humility as a starting point" mean that this filial humility toward your parents is the center of everything. This loyalty will allow you to be modest, respect the sky, believe in God, be humble with your parents, trust on your friendship, and respect your teachers, all of this will drive you to love your home, your city of birth, and your country. "Serve others" mean that you must contribute to the people around you, in others words contribute to society. This also mean be loyal to your country.

Again I will like to emphasis the fact that the Kyokushin spirit and the ideology of Kyokushin Karate have a significant meaning in today world, in which to sacrifice the society and your country to found your own happiness is very common. All of you who love Kyokushin Karate should also arm themselves spiritually and physically. I would like to emphasize that there is no other than the spirit of Kyokushin that could save this confuse world of today. I have travel abroad 280 times on the past, to spread, to teach, and compete on Karate. Thanks to those visit and the cooperation of the Chiefs in charge of each country of the world, the Kyokushin Karate have become a big organization of 12 millions of adepts in 123 countries, the number is not small. We are a well organize organization and we can consider ourselves like a big state.

As I have always toll you, Kyokushin Karate is expanding trough the nationals frontier, races, religion, and Ideologies. Overcoming these barriers we should arm ourselves with the Kyokushin spirit in the real sense of the word to become an influent body, so we can save this confuse world. I am very anxious respect to the end of this century. We should eliminate the crisis of the war and make a healthy and peaceful world. I am sure you will understand my feeling. I would like to request you to make all the effort possible, in your own countries to obtain a real peace on this planet. Once more I would like to insist over that there is no other than the spirit of Kyokushin that could save this confuse world. The Kyokushin KaiKan had tried to establish an organization and promote Kyokushin Karate, however, now we think we should emphasize on the strength of the spirit and also on the formation and development of character. Osu !

Director of the International
Karate Organization


Email to Sjaak van de Velde

Menu zwarte band