Kyokushin Karate is a karate which my teacher,
Sosai Mas Oyama created from his hard training through studying and experiencing various martial arts. Now it spreads all over the world and many people, beyond the boundaries of country, ethnic and religion, practice Kyokushin Karate to train their body and soul.
As today’s trend, winning a competition seems to be the main objective, and I strongly feel that the content and understanding of training are biased only to what is necessary to compete in the tournament. The role of karate instructor has become like a coach and I feel the instructor specializes his/her position to support the competitor to win in the tournament. Of course, I wouldn’t say this is bad, but I would clearly like to distinguish so-called “Competition Karate” of such kind from “Budo Karate” which we aim for.
Competition Karate is a karate which aims mainly in winning a competition including its training methods. Today there are lots of people who misunderstand that this is the Kyokushin Karate. In the past, it is not exaggerating to say that the only tournament was the All Japan Open Karate Tournament held in autumn once a year. The training in the dojo was not “preparation for the competition” but was mainly repetitive training of simple Kihon Geiko (basic training) and traditional training. Attacks to the face, throwing and joint techniques were also included in kumite training in those days.
In the past 30 years, the number of tournaments held in each regional area has increased and junior tournaments has actively been carried out. Since this time, “training for the tournament” has become main character in dojo training. Those people who started karate during this time may easily misunderstand that the training which is conducted only what is necessary for the tournament is the Kyokushin Karate.
I often make statement that “Kyokushin Karate is a Budo Karate.” Budo Karate lays its principle in a battle where the life is exchanged and do any kind of training based on it.
Considering not only the techniques which can be used in competitions, but techniques where the opponent carries weapon, attacks in multiple number, or using different martial arts, it is necessary to have various kinds of training. The Kyokushin Karate which Sosai Mas Oyama founded is indeed a karate which pursues such practicality.
To learn all kinds of techniques, it is necessary to have a “teacher” who is capable to teach. Teacher in martial arts must strive for self-improvement and be able to teach not only the techniques but also the human nature of the student who learns the techniques. Therefore, relationship of “learning” arise. It is important to have respect and appreciation to “learn”. Furthermore, the trust between the teacher and student is extremely important. From this, we can say that the most important thing in Budo Karate is the “relationship” between the teacher and the student.
I will not deny that the result of the competition leads to the motivation and evaluation of the karate practitioner today. Even in Kyokushin-kan, we encourage students to participate in tournaments and it is very delightful to raise strong fighters. However, Kyokushin Karate is originally a Budo Karate and we cannot forget that “the fundamental of Budo Karate is based on a teacher-student relationship”.
Kancho Hatsuo Royama
Chairman, Kyokushin-kan International Karate-do Organization