Kyokushin Karate is a hard style of karate, characterized by its realistic full-contact style of fighting, its emphasis on graceful power in technique and its use of “tameshiwari” (Board breaking) in the development of spirit and character.
This style of karate was developed during the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s by the founder, Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, 10th Dan. Kyokushinkaikan Karate is administered by the International Karate Organization-Kyokushinkaikan. The Kyokushinkaikan is one of the largest karate organizations in the world with over 12 million members worldwide, with its head-quarters in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan.
KYOKU means “The ultimate”, SHIN means “truth” or “reality”, and KAI means “meet, join associate”.
The KANKU, which is the symbol of Kyokushin Karate, originates from the Kanku Kata. In this kata, the hands are raised into the sky with the thumbs and the index fingers touching, thereby forming the symbol. The fingers are represented by the points and imply ultimate or peaks. The wrists are represented by the wide sections and imply power. The centre represents infinity, implying depth. The circle enclosing the Kanku represents continuity and circular motion.
Kyokushin Kata has its origins in:
- Goju-Ryu (Chojun Miyagi) – Goju style is heavily influenced by Southern styles of what the people of the region did for their livelihood. Southern Chinese primarily worked around the rivers and rice fields, work that promoted upper body strength, therefore Ma-ai or fighting range is close, stability over mobility is stressed and upper body movements and breathing techniques with strong, stable stances are typical.
- Shoto-kan (Ginchin Funakoshi) – Shoto-kan style is influenced by Northern Chinese Kempo. People of this area worked on the plains as farmers and hunters and traveled extensively by foot or horseback promoting lower body strength therefore Ma-ai or fighting range is mid to long range and economy of motion is stressed (straight line blocks and strikes, etc.)