The Beginner’s Guide to Kyokushin Karate

When a person decides to embark on a new hobby it can be extremely daunting, and even more so when you’re an adult and then adding to the mix something like martial arts. You start doing research on schools in your area, to decide which might be best for you. You stumble upon one that offers something called Kyokushin Karate. “Hmm, that sounds traditional and interesting”. However, upon a little further investigation, perhaps mixed with a few YouTube videos, and you might be like, “hell no! Those people are crazy!” But, don’t let that stuff detour you.

While Kyokushin is famous for it’s full-contact knock-down sport karate side, there are many facets to Kyokushin. Not everyone who attends a Kyokushin Karate dojo is there to compete. Actually, it is most probably a small portion. Most people are there because they were looking for a martial art, a way to stay fit, a new hobby, etc., and the fact it was Kyokushin was secondary.

The belt achievements are used as indicators of one’s time, ability and progress, and many people are aiming for black belts and high, but the path for each person can be very different.

Even for myself, as an example. I am in my 40s. While I have a background in martial arts, which no doubt helps me, I have no aspirations of being a champion. Though, the person standing next to me might be half my age with the goal of fighting on the world level. But, we both share the passion for learning and achievement.

So, while Kyokushin might look intimidating from the outside, don’t let that discourage you. If you are as lucky as I am to have a Kyokushin Karate school near you, I encourage you to at least try a couple classes.

What is Kyokushin Karate?

Kyokushin (極真) is a style of stand-up, full contact karate, founded in 1964 by Korean-Japanese Masutatsu (Mas) Oyama. Kyokushin is Japanese for “the ultimate truth”, developed from the determination of the pursuit of ultimate truth of mind, technique, and body. Kyokushin is rooted in a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline and hard training. It is grounded in both the Okinawan Shuri-te traditions (such as Shorin-ryu and Shotokan) and hard and soft characteristics of Naha-te and Tomari-te styles, such as Goju-ryu, and also includes realistic fighting.

The founder, Sosai Mas Oyama, often said that the difference between sports and 
Budō, or “The Martial Way“, is the path of self-discipline. Budō is this challenge in life itself. Kyokushin Karate was founded by a man who was dedicated to Budō

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