Kyokushin Karate is one of the toughest martial arts on the planet. Definitely not one for those of you who don’t like to be hit. If you do not like violence, you probably shouldn’t even peek through the windows. Masutatsu Oyama founded Kyokushin in 1964 and since then an amazing 12 million students have trained in this style. It is distinguished by it’s full contact training, stand up style and emphasis on it’s practicality and physical toughness.
Hand protection is not permitted in tournaments, but after too many major injuries punches to the head are no longer allowed but knees and kicks are. Like knees and kicks can’t do any damage? This is true ‘knockdown’ karate where you score by knocking your opponent down (throws are generally not allowed). Kyokushin could actually be considered one of the first mixed martial arts forums as most tournaments will allow practitioners from other art enter and compete in these martial arts competitions.
But perhaps the most impressive part of Kyokushin Karate is the multi-person sparring events. These are not just unique events but are also used for grading. These most commonly consist of the 50 and 100 man ‘kumite’. The subject of the kumite is put up against 50 or 100 sparring partners consecutively. They are broken up in to 2 minute bouts with 1 minute breaks in between. Being at least 2.5 hours long this makes the UFC 15 minute matches almost laughable! In order to pass the test you must win at least 50% of the bouts – meaning not getting knocked out! Founder Masutatsu Oyama is said to have championed a 300 man kumite over 3 days. Now that is really some skill to be proud of. So if you are ever tempted to complain in class about a bruise or being tired after a 2 minute round, keep this in mind and step up your game!
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