Sosai Masutatsu Oyama/Kyokushinkai

Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, The Founder of Kyokushin Karate


Sosai Mas OyamaSosai (Great Master) Masutatsu Oyama was born in Korea in 1923 and became the founder of Japan’s most renowned — and the world’s most widespread — style of karate. From the age of 9, Mas Oyama learned Chinese Kempo in Manchuria and followed into his teens by practicing Judo and boxing. Finally this led him to the practice of Okinawan karate, which ultimately served as the springboard for the creation of his own style, Kyokushin, or the “The Ultimate Truth.” By the time Mas Oyama was 20, he had received his 4th dan in Okinawan karate and, though tireless study,eventually attained a 4th dan in Judo as well.

Among Mas Oyama’s many accomplishments, he is perhaps best known for introducing tameshiwari or “stone breaking” into the practice of modern karate. Mas Oyama reasoned that through hard training he could condition his hands to be as powerful as a hammer. Since one could break stones with a hammer, he began the practice of learning how to break boards, bricks and stones with his bare hands. This incredible power he then translated directly into his theory of fighting karate, reasoning that if he could break stones, human bones would break beneath his blows as well. Perhaps his greatest contribution to Japanese karate, therefore, was the introduction and popularization of full-contact fighting karate. At the time he won Japan’s largest tournament sponsored by Okinawa’s Shotokan karate, he was often penalized for fighting too hard, resulting in frequent injuries to his opponents. It was this experience, perhaps above all other influences, that led to his creation of Kyokushin karate. After all, Mas Oyama believed, karate is a fighting art: Without taking it to its extreme by practicing to break the body of one’s opponent (for application during real life and death struggle), one could never realize the true spiritual potential of karate.


mas oyama wood


Frustrated by society’s opposition to his gathering strength, Mas Oyama at the age of 23, retreated to a remote spot in the mountains with the ambition of training more hours per day than he slept for three years. During this time he practiced by striking the few mountain trees around his cabin with his bare fists until those trees withered and died. He pressed twice his body weight 500 times per day, meditated under icy waterfalls, and fought in the night with the demons of bitter cold and isolation. Upon emerging from mountain training, it is said that Mas Oyama struck a telephone pole and left a clean imprint of his fist in the treated wood.

downloadAt the age of 27, convinced that he could not find another fighter in Japan who could match his power and skill, Mas Oyama began his famous battles with bulls to prove his strength and make the world realize the true power of his karate. In one famous bout in front of a movie camera, he battled an angry bull on a beach for 45 minutes, both he and the bull refusing to be beaten. Finally the bull tired, and Mas Oyama sliced one of his horns off with his shuto, or “knife-hand strike.”

Mas Oyama opened his first dojo in Ikebukuro, Tokyo at the age of 30, and called it “Oyama Dojo.” It was here that he took all that he had learned from the various styles that he’d practiced through the years, combined them with what he’d learned during the many thousands of hours of self-training and full-contact fighting, and created a new style of karate, which he called Kyokushin. In 1964, a new dojo in Ikebukuro became the world headquarters of the International Karate Organization, Kyokushinkaikan, which had over 12 million members in 133 countries at the time of his death.

Sosai Oyama died in April of 1994, leaving to the world a legacy of the world’s strongest karate.



what is kyokushin

Founder and Creator, Masutatsu Oyama (1923~1994),
originated what is known today as “Full Contact Karate”.Traditional Karate is non-contact and while at it s peak of recognition, Oyama claimed
that the true way of Budo Karate was in the actual physical contact.

Renounced by the Japanese karate community, he traveled overseas to challenge his
skills and brought life to his ideals.

When he returned from his long journey and endeavors, he named his karate
“Kyokushin”, which means the “Ultimate Truth”. In 1964, he founded the
International Karate Organization Kyokushin-kaikan as the entity to collectively
represent his karate as a worldwide organization.

The spirit of Kyokushin is based in rigorous and lifelong training…its motto is “head high,
eyes low, ears open, mouth shut”. Kyokushin Karate provides a foundation for improving
physical and mental discipline and is intended to function as a contribution to society.

kyokushin spirit

The Spirit of Kyokushin emanates from the Budo axiom,
“One thousand days of training completes a beginner.
Ten thousand days of training begins the mastery of the art.”The training to find the Ultimate Truth is a rigorous and never-ending process for the practitioner.
It is a life long dedication to the Kyokushin Way.

The greeting OSU used in Kyokushin resonates humility, gratitude, perseverance and above all, respect for one another.

Defining Kyokushin Karate

Based on Sosai’s point and circle concept by which one draws a circle around
one point and attach the lines around the circle.


Oyama designed the “Kanku” mark with his wife Chiyako,
who was an artist.
Oyama got the inspiration while practicing the Kanku kata.
This symbol is assembled by six circles representing the six continents.
The main circle in the middle is surrounded by four other
partially invisible circles and the final one encompassing
all others. “En” is a curve equidistant from the point of
center and the six circles are representative of the
comradeship of these continents which Kyokushin bridges
and unites.
This mark is used as a collective mark for IKO Kyokushinkaikan.


一、 吾々は心身を錬磨し確固不抜の心技を極めること
We will train our hearts and bodies for a firm unshaking spirit.
一、 吾々は武の神髄を極め機に発し感に敏になること
We will pursue the true meaning of the martial way, so that in time, our senses may be alert.
一、 吾々は質実剛健を以て克己の精神を函養すること
With true vigor, we will seek to cultivate a spirit of self denial.
一、 吾々は礼節を重んじ長上を敬し粗暴の振舞ひを慎しむこと
We will observe the rules of courtesy, respect our superiors, and refrain from violence.
一、 吾々は神仏を尊び謙譲の美徳を忘れざること
We will follow our religious principles, and never forget the true virtue of humility.
一、 吾々は知性と体力とを向上させ事に臨んで過たざること
We will look upwards to wisdom and strength, not seeking other desires.
一、 吾々は生涯の修行を空手の道に通じ極真の道を全うすること
All our lives, through the discipline of karate, we will seek to fulfill the true meaning of the Kyokushin way.