How effective is Kyokushin karate

Kyokushin karate is a well-known full contact karate style, Many thanks to MMA stars like Georges St. Pierre, Allan Ngalani, Uriah Hall and many others. There is no question that Kyokushin karate is one of the more hardcore karate styles, but how effective is it on the ring and on the streets? well in this article, we will explore more about the effectiveness of this popular karate system "Kyokushin Karate".

Importance of Sparring

Any system that claims to be effective needs to train with resistance and realism. That is where sparring comes in. I truly believe all martial arts can be effective if sparring is done on a regular basis. This is why arts like Judo and Jiu Jitsu are effective.

Kyokushin is a karate system that emphasizes on sparring. There is a lot of (hard) sparring in Kyokushin. we usually spare at the end of every class. Since there is a lot of sparring in Kyokushin, conditioning is vitally important in the system.

Since the system doesn’t let you punch to the head, people you spar will invariably go to the body with the punches. And because there no gloves, you will feel the knuckles very time you get punched. Kyokushin people usually don’t spar with shin guards either.

After my first Kyokushin class, I remember my thighs and abs were bruised for a week straight from body shots without gloves and kicks to the thigh without shin guards. Beginning level sparring is really a battle of attrition get close to each other, trade body shots and kicks. And because of that, people who train Kyokushin consistently have extremely tough bodies and are better-conditioned than a lot of other traditional martial arts.

Close Distance Fighting

Another good thing about Kyokushin karate is its ability to land effective strikes from close distance, both with the hands and the feet. I would say that Kyokushin has one of the better punching techniques in traditional martial arts. they spend a fair amount of time learning how to use our hips and transition weight to increase power in our punches. Kyokushin guys like to step a little off-angle to land body shots and then follow up with a kick—they are extremely good at hiding their kicks behind a barrage of punches to the body. One thing that many people do not realize about Kyokushin is that knees and elbows are allowed. You just can’t knee or elbow above the collar bone. Because clinching is not allowed in Kyokushin, knees and elbows come quick but don’t get the added force of pulling the opponent towards the knee. 

Fighting Without Gloves and Shin Guards Has Advantages Although it hurts to spar without them, they provide advantages over martial arts that spar with them. Because you are not relying on wraps and gloves, you learn how to really make a fist and really punch. This is an inherent advantage karate has over martial arts that fight with gloves. Although it has not happened to me, I’ve heard stories of people who train kickboxing or boxing break their hand in a street fight because they didn’t punch properly or have a tight fist. And when you fight without shin guards, your leg is conditioned take punishment from a kick or a check. So you won’t be surprised at the level of pain a kick or a check without shin guard would feel.

The Drawback of Kyokushin

The one major drawback is obviously the disallowance of punches to the face. The reason for this is because karate tournaments do not use gloves, so it is to protect the hands and the face of the competitors. Striking with punches to the head changes the game quite a bit. Although you can stand there and take punches to the body, it is hard to stand and exchange punches back and forth to the head. Karate tournaments with modified rules allowing gloves does allow strikes to the head and some gyms do train with punches to the head.

Muay Thai Vs Kyokushin Karate

Although you will find a lot of people say Muay Thai is a more complete martial art. While that can be debated, there seems to be a trend of watering down Muay Thai in many of its schools, at least in the United States. This is because many Muay Thai gyms concentrate more on the exercise aspect of the martial art than the self-defense aspect. This is probably done for a variety of reasons. But I imagine the primary reason is because the vast majority of people who take kickboxing and Muay Thai do it to get fit and not to fight. And while you may find some Kyokushin schools keep the old spirit of karate, paying a lot of attention to conditioning and hard sparring. 

This might be because many dojos are non-profit ventures of people who hold full time jobs whereas many Muay Thai schools are for-profit businesses so membership matters. From my experience, the average Kyokushin practitioner from a school that trains head punches seem to be the more effective fighter than the average Muay Thai practitioner. When I say average, I mean someone who is a casual practitioner with a couple years of experience. Again, this is from my experience taking both and going around to other gyms/dojos. While this popular karate style is not a pretty art by any means, some might even say it is ugly, there is no doubt its effectiveness.

 Kyokushin is a radically effective art for learning distance control, leg dexterity, and physical and mental toughness. And it’s definitely a legitimate martial art that will be able to help you if it ever comes a time where you need to defend yourself.


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