Sensei Steve wrote: I discovered Kyokushin Karate
by chance, after I have practiced Judo and Shotokan Karate for about two years.
When I was 16, I moved to the city of Sibiu, Romania for school and I found Kyokushin Karate at the CFR club. I joined immediately, very eager to get a gi and learn. Every Friday, there was full-contact fighting being practiced. I have never sparred with contact, so I was in a big surprise when all started and I was being kicked and punched with power by a blue belt in his 50’s. This was all done without protective equipment at that time, so bare-knuckles and shins.
My first sparring round did not go well, after a knee kick to my ribs, I knew something is not right and I was done for the night. My ribs were broken and I didn’t go back for 2 months to the dojo, but not because of my ribs. I did not go back because I was upset, frustrated and I believed that Kyokushin Karate is not the real karate. Fighting looked messy, disorganized, and brutal. In my mind, martial arts were supposed to be elegant and clean, just like in the movies.
The problem was, that I could not let it go, I couldn’t quit. I had to go back and see if I can do it. I could not accept being defeated by an… old man… My next training session was kihon and kata on Monday and I liked it a lot. On Wednesday we did fighting combinations and pad work. I was starting to get used to the teaching style and adapting to the differences feeling more and more comfortable at the dojo, but I knew that Friday we will fight again and I was starting to feel anxious and not quite sure if I really want to do it.
But I did go and fought hard about ten rounds. I did much better and even scored some high kicks, my best technique was the mawashi geri jodan, still is
After that, I knew instantly that I want to get better at fighting, get stronger and faster, so I kept going to the dojo and training extra on my own on the off days.
Now back to the title question: Why Kyokushin Karate?
- Because I realized that after 2 years of other karate training, I was weak and I could not fight!
- Because repeating and yelling OSU! it felt like a newfound superpower!
- Because I am competitive and I like to push myself!
- Because every class was a challenge!
- Because everyone was training very hard, sweat and blood were a normal thing, yet we were all happy and friends with each other.
- Because I wanted to become a black belt!
In one word: I wanted to be BETTER!