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Masutatsu Oyama

Programs > Karate Kyokushin

July 27, 1923 - April 26, 1994


"The way of the martial arts is universal and one should not be selfish in giving of oneself in training."

- Masutatsu Oyama



The founder of Kyokushin, Masutatsu Oyama, he was born on 27 July 1923 in Korea. His origin name was Choi Yong-i.

In 1938, he emigrated to Japan and studied Okinawan Karate under
Gichin Funakoshi, eventually gaining 2nd dan.

Oyama also trained under
Yoshida Kotaro, a famous Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu/Yanagi-ryu Aiki-jujutsu master, from whom he received his menkyo kaiden - an older form of grade, a scroll signifying mastery, from Kotaro.

After World War II, Oyama began his training in Goju Ryu karate under a Korean master in Japan, So Nei Chu, who ran a dojo in Tokyo with the famous goju teacher Gogen Yamaguchi. He would finally attain 8th Dan in Goju Ryu Karate by Yamaguchi.

Masahiko Kimura, a famous champion of Judo who defeated He'lio Gracie of Brazilian Jiujitsu, encouraged Oyama to take up Judo so that he would have an understanding of the art's ground techniques. Kimura introduced Oyama to the Sone Dojo in Nakano, Tokyo, where he trained regularly for four years, eventually gaining his 4th Dan.

It was after this time that Oyama first retreated into the mountains for one of his well-known solitary training periods, yamagomori. He completed two such retreats for a total of almost three years of solitary training in accord with the ascetic traditions of many of the great warriors of Japan through the centuries. During this period of isolated training, Oyama engaged in intense shugyo, or spiritual discipline.

It started with his own karate place, named “Oyama Dojo” in 1953.

By 1957, the enrolment had reached 700 members in a former ballet studio behind Rikkyo University.

By 1960 there were already 72 branches in 16 countries around the world.

In 1964, the founder of the karate of Kyokushin “Ultimate truth” Sosai Masutatsu Oyama completed building the headquarter (Honbu) of the International Karate Organization what we know as IKO Kyokushinkaikan.

Oyama’s Karate continued to spread to 123 countries with over 12 million members.

That unbelievably fast development of the Kyokushin organization has happened because of Oyama's great talent, tremendous ability, and, the more important, his unique fighting system.

About the Grand Master Masutatsu Oyama
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"The Martial Way begins with one thousand days and is mastered after ten thousand days of training."

- Masutatsu Oyama

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