Kyokushinkai Karate: Principle and Functioning

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Martial art with multiple benefits, the kyokushinkai karate has more and more followers around the world. It ranks among the most extreme and violent forms ofmartial arts.

Kyokushinkai is particularly suitable for those who wish to

  • develop their self-defense system
  • strengthen their physical and mental health
  • work on their coordination

Throughout the year, regional, national and European competitions take place around this discipline. But what are the principles of Kyokushinkai karate? What techniques are used?

What are the principles of Kyokushinkai Karate?

Called “the school of ultimate truth”, Kyokushinkai karate is a full-contact karate. It was developed by Grandmaster Masutatsu Oyama in the early 1950s. According to legend, Oyama fought and killed bulls with the strength of his hand alone. Much more than a simple combat sport, kyokushinkai karate is practiced according to precise principles.

Real combat efficiency in Kyokushinkai karate

Kyokushinkai karate is characterized by the effectiveness of the participants in a real fight. Moreover, Kyokushinkai practitioners have as a slogan“one strike, one victory“. While traditional competition fights are decided by points, in Kyokushinkai karate, fights are often concluded by a KO.

In this school, during the clashes, the seniors wear no protection. However, for children, juniors and women, adapted protections are often mandatory.

The blows are given with maximum force, but it is forbidden to hit the opponent’s head. However, it is permitted, without restriction, to give:

  • kicks
  • Knee strikes
Kyokushinkai Karate

A school of respect, humility and trust

The kyokushinkai karate club is a place of education with a great technicality. This school teaches the art of living, particularly through :

  • humility
  • respect for others
  • rigor

The principle is simple: self-respect is built through respect for others, and mental strength is developed through rigorous training. Also, humility is required. The kyokushinkai karate therefore teaches :

  • self-confidence
  • self-control
  • patience
  • honor and loyalty
  • and concentration

The Kyokushinkai Karate Oath

Grandmaster Masutatsu Oyama established an oath for the practice of Kyokushinkai Karate:

“The spirit of Kyokushinkai Karate is real combat.

There is no proof without a real fight.

Without proof, there is no trust.

Without trust, there is no respect.”

This is the definition of Kyokushinkai Karate in the world of martial arts.

The 11 Mottoes of Masutatsu Oyama

Sosai Oyama summarized the philosophy of Kyokushinkai karate in eleven precepts, known as “Eleven Mottoes”:

  1. The Martial Way begins and ends with courtesy.
  2. Following the Martial Way is like climbing a cliff. It is necessary to continue always without rest.
  3. It is necessary to seize the initiatives in all things and all the time and to guard against actions that lead to laziness or pride.
  4. Even for the Karateka, the place of money cannot be ignored. Everyone has to be careful not to get attached to it.
  5. The Martial Way is centered on the posture. Focus on maintaining correct posture at all times.
  6. The Martial Way begins with 1,000 days and is mastered after 10,000 days of training.
  7. In the Martial Arts, introspection is an introduction to wisdom. Always see the contemplation of your action as an opportunity for improvement.
  8. The nature and purpose of the Martial Way is universal. All selfish desires must be burned in the fires of hard training.
  9. Martial arts begin and end with a dot on a circle. The straight lines follow from this principle.
  10. The true essence of the Martial Way can only be achieved with experience. Knowing this, always learn to respect his request.
  11. Always remember: In the Martial Arts, the rewards of a trusting and grateful heart are abundant.
Kyokushinkai Karate

Kyokushinkai karate techniques

Like any other form of karate karate uses specific fighting techniques, also called techniques, also called katas.

The kata in kyokushinkai karate

It is a set of movements designed to work on the fundamental foundations such as :

  • the positions
  • travel
  • the balance
  • the respect of the body axes of rotation, etc…

Each kata has a specific function and contains profound concepts to convey the knowledge of the masters. The practice of kata allows to master the fighting techniques in kyokushinkai karate. Moreover, Oyama defined three fundamental principles of kata:

  • Waza no Kankyū: the cadence in the sequences of techniques. Some movements are accomplished quickly, others more slowly.
  • Kokyu Ho: the control of breathing is essential to optimize each technique.
  • Chikara no Kyōjaku: the effectiveness of each technique stems from the right balance between strength and relaxation.

Meaning of the kyokushin kata

There are 32 traditional Kyokushin style kata. Among the main ones are:

  • Taikyoku: Taikyoku translates as “the ultimate search for the body” or “the original form”. This word also means “ultimate greatness”, in an open-minded way. It is this openness of mind that the beginner must seek in this form of kata.
  • Pinan: Pinan refers to “the way of tranquility”.
  • Ura Kata: This kata is designed to improve balance and control of circular techniques. It also allows you to learn about reversed techniques such as Ushiro Geri and Ushiro Mawashi Geri.
  • Yantsu: Yantsu means “to keep pure”. This Kata is characterized by the presence of 3 directions: front, left and right, staying almost in the same place. The hidden message of this Kata is to teach the practitioner to fight with his back to the wall against opponents who attack from both sides.
  • Gekisai: it means “to conquer the fortress”. The purpose of this kata is to teach strong and vigorous movements, attack and defense techniques.

The kanku: symbol of kyokushinkai karate

The symbol of Kyokushinkai karate is the kanku. This one finds its origin in the kata kanku. Literally translated as “tocontemplate the sky“, this kata has several meanings.

The hands are linked by the fingertips, and raised to look up to the sky. Concentration is directed towards the center of the hands in order to merge the mind and body.

Kyokushinkai Karate: Symbols
  • The tips of the fingers represent the purpose
  • The larger parts, represented by the wrist, symbolize the power
  • The thicker section, corresponding to the space between the hands, evokes infinity and depth.
  • The inner and outer circles express the continuity

Good to know

Kyokushin has given rise to a large number of fighting styles. The most famous are Kick Boxing and Daido Juku.

Grades in Kyokushinkai Karate

The grade system in Kyokushinkai karate is composed of Kyu. With the practice of competition, experience and mastery of the art, the karateka approaches the 1st kyu. He then reaches the 1st dan black belt, which is the most important in his life.

The level of a karateka is thus evaluated according to his belt in Kyokushinkai karate:

  • White belt : the practitioner is a novice and has not taken any exam. He ignores the rules and requirements of this art.
  • Orange belt in kyokushinkai karate (10th and 9th kyu): the karateka is in a learning period. In particular, he focuses on his stances to improve his balance and stability on the ground.
  • Blue belt (8th and 7th kyu): the karateka gains in fluidity and acquires a certain skill. He learns to integrate techniques into the practice of combat.
  • Yellow belt (6th and 5th kyu): the practitioner focuses on internal work. He develops his own fighting style and becomes more confident in front of his opponents.
  • Green belt (4th and 3rd kyu): the practitioner knows many techniques, and begins to master the superior kata.
  • Brown belt (2nd and 1st kyu): the practitioner establishes his own sequences, and executes the movements with instinct. He uses his knowledge to perfect his techniques.
  • Shodan : This is the most important level in the life of a karateka. The practitioner is strong, and dominates all the others.


Where is kyokushinkai karate practiced?

The dojo is the place dedicated to the practice of martial arts, including Kyokushinkai karate. Traditionally, this place has precise rules concerning its orientation. When the teacher sits facing south, for example, he or she receives sunlight, which is the knowledge he or she must transmit.

Are weapons used in Kyokushinkai karate?

Yes. The main weapons used in this sport are the tonfa, the nunchaku and the carrying stick.

Is the movie Kyokushinkai Karate based on a true story?

Yes. This film tells the true story of a Correan immigrant, a legendary karateka, Sensei Masutatsu Ōyama, creator of Kyokushinkai karate.

How do I join a Kyokushinkai Karate club?

Consult the map of Kyokushinkai karate clubs in France.