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Kyokushin Karate: The Blend of Power & Discipline- All You Need To Know

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Kyokushin is one of the styles of karate that originated in Japan, in 1964 by Korean-Japanese Masutatsu Oyama. It is known for its emphasis on physical toughness, discipline, respect, and mental fortitude and also its “no gloves, no pads” approach to fighting. Kyokushin is a Japanese term that means “ultimate truth. In this blog, we will look at Kyokushin Karate’s history, techniques, belts, kicks, stances, kata, famous players, etc.

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History of Kyokushin Karate

Masutatsu Oyama, Image Source: So Kyokushin Indonesia

Kyokushin is a style of martial arts that was founded by Masutatsu Oyama in the mid-20th century in Japan. Oyama was born in Korea in 1923, he moved to Japan when he was nine years old. In 1946 Oyama started learning under Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan karate. Soon, Oyama became a master in Shotokan karate and earned his fourth Dan black belt. In 1951, Oyama left Shotokan karate and began developing his own style of karate, which he named “Kyokushin Karate”. He believed that the Kyokushin style of karate was a more realistic and effective style of karate, with a greater emphasis on full-contact sparring and physical conditioning.

Kyokushin karate became popular in Japan and around the world with Oyama establishing a network of dojos and schools. Oyama died in 1994, but Kyokushin karate continues to be practised around the world, with millions of practitioners in more than 140 countries. The style has produced many successful fighters, including multiple world champions in kickboxing and other combat sports.

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Kyokushin Karate Techniques 

Kyokushin Karate encompasses a wide array of techniques, each carefully crafted to maximize effectiveness, precision, and control. From striking to kicking, blocking to grappling, the techniques of Kyokushin Karate embody a harmonious balance of physical prowess and mental discipline. Let’s delve into some of the key techniques practiced in this renowned martial art.

Masutatsu Oyama
Image Source: Discogs

1. Strikes: Kyokushin Karate emphasizes powerful strikes executed with speed and accuracy. Punches, such as the straight punch (gyaku zuki) and uppercut (age zuki), are delivered with precise alignment and proper body rotation, generating maximum force. Elbow strikes (empisho) are also employed at close range to devastating effect.

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2. Kicks: Kicks in Kyokushin Karate are renowned for their strength and versatility. Roundhouse kicks (mawashi geri) target the opponent’s body, while front kicks (mae geri) and side kicks (yoko geri) allow for quick and powerful attacks. The devastating axe kick (chudan jodan geri) is executed from above, targeting vital areas with significant impact.

3. Blocks and Parries: Kyokushin Karate practitioners are trained in a range of defensive techniques to protect themselves from incoming strikes. Techniques like the inward block (uchi uke) and outward block (soto uke) are used to redirect or neutralize attacks. Circular parries and deflections enable practitioners to disrupt the opponent’s balance and counter with their own strikes.

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4. Grappling and Throws: While Kyokushin Karate primarily focuses on striking, it        incorporates elements of grappling and throws. Techniques like shoulder throws (ippon seoi nage) and hip throws (o goshi) enable practitioners to control and immobilize opponents, creating opportunities for follow-up strikes or submissions.

5. Stances and Footwork: Kyokushin Karate employs various stances, such as the front stance (zenkutsu dachi) and horse stance (kiba dachi), to provide stability, balance, and optimal power generation. Dynamic footwork techniques, including sliding steps, pivots, and evasive maneuvers, enable practitioners to swiftly maneuver around opponents and create advantageous positions.

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Kyokushin Kata

The word kata means “form” or “shape”. The practice of kata is one of the key components of Kyokushin karate. These katas are a prearranged series of movements that stimulate a fight against multiple opponents. In Kyokushin, kata is basically utilized to teach and strengthen the basic techniques of the style, as well as to develop concentration, focus, and breath control. The kata of Kyokushin karate is classified into Northern and Southern kata.

Image Source: The Martial Way

The Northern Kata

The Northern Kata comprises a collection of traditional forms practiced in various styles of karate. These katas include Taikyoku Sono Ichi, Taikyoku Sono Ni, Taikyoku Sono San, Pinan Sono Ichi, Pinan Sono Ni, Pinan Sono San, Pinan Sono Yon, and Pinan Sono Go. They were created by renowned karate masters to cultivate fundamental techniques, promote discipline, and instill a sense of peace and harmony through their precise and coordinated movements.

The Southern Kata

The Southern Kata in Kyokushin Karate represents a series of intricate movements performed with grace and precision. Derived from the rich heritage of Okinawan martial arts, these katas emphasize fluidity and agility. Each Southern Kata showcases a unique blend of techniques, combining strikes, kicks, blocks, and footwork in a seamless flow. Practitioners of Kyokushin Karate study and master these katas to enhance their overall skill, discipline, and ability to adapt to different combat scenarios. Types of Southern Kata:

  1. Naihanchi
  2. Seisan
  3. Seiunchin
  4. Sanchin
  5. Seipai
  6. Kururunfa
  7. Suparinpei

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Kyokushin Stances

Name of the Stance Type of Stance
Fudo Dachi Immobile stance
Heiko Dachi Parallel stance
Kiba Dachi Horse riding stance
Kokutsu Dachi Back Stance stance
Musubi Dachi Formal Attention stance
Sanchin Dachi Three Battles stance
Shiko Dachi Sumo stance
Yoi Dachi Ready stance
Zenkutsu Dachi Front stance

Kyokushin Karate Kicks

Name of the Kick Type of Kick
Ashi Barai Foot Sweep
Fumikomi Stomping Kick
Hiza Geri Knee Strike
Kin Geri Groin Kick
Mae Geri Front Kick
Tobi Geri Jumping Kick
Tobi Ushiro Geri Jumping Back Kick
Yoko Geri Side Kick
Yoko Tobo Geri Flying Side Kick

Kyokushin Kumite

Kumite, or sparring, is a vital component of Karate training, involving controlled battles between students using sparring gear. For beginners, Shotokan Kihon techniques are used with ample protective equipment. However, Kyokushin kumite differs significantly. It doesn’t follow the conventional, Olympic style and lacks gloves or protective gear. It allows kicks to the head, body, and legs, along with knee strikes and punches. Kyokushin is known for the grueling “100-man kumite,” where one person faces 100 rounds against different or similarly skilled opponents. As a result, Kyokushin’s kumite is considered the most challenging to endure.

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Kyokushin Karate Belts

Kyokushin Karate: History, Techniques, Kicks, Belts - KreedOn Details
Image Source-

Kyokushin karate uses a colored system of belts for indicating a practitioner’s level of expertise.

Color Belt Order

Level Belt
Mukyu White Belt
10th Kyu Orange Belt
9th Kyu Orange Belt with Blue Stripe
8th Kyu Blue Belt
7th Kyu Blue Belt with Green stripe
6th Kyu Yellow Belt
5th Kyu Yellow Belt with Orange Stripe
4th Kyu Green Belt
3rd Kyu Green Belt with Brown Stripe
2nd Kyu Brown Belt
1st Kyu Brown Belt with black stripe

Source: The Karate Blog

The Best Kyokushin Karate Fighters 

Hajime Kazumi

Image Source-

Let’s start with a true legend of Kyokushin and one of the most successful fighters, Hajime Kazumi. He favoured low kicks over high kicks. Kazumi holds a 6th dan black belt and people see him as a true legend.

He also holds a win in the 2nd World Weight Tournament in 2001 and was a runner-up two times in 1999 and 1995.

Francisco Filho

Kyokushin Karate: History, Techniques, Kicks, Belts - KreedOn Details
Image Source- Tapology

He is among the very few fighters to hold world titles in both Kyokushin and kickboxing and to compete in the “100 men Kumite” more than once. He is known as the best counter fighter who had amazing reflexes and speed in strikes.

Hitoshi Kiyama 

Kyokushin- Hitoshi Kiyama | KreedOn
Image Source-

He is known as the most intellectual Kyokushin fighter in history. Let’s have a look at his marvellous achievements: 

  • 32nd All Japan Tournament Winner
  • 34th All Japan Tournament runner up
  • European champion
  • 8th World Tournament Champion
  • 1st World Weight Tournament Winner
  • 2nd World Weight Tournament Winner

Terutomo Yamazaki

Kyokushin - Terutomo Yamazaki | KreedOn
Image Source- Alchetron

He is the famous full contact karate fighter who also took part in many kickboxing matches. He was a very popular fighter primarily because of his exciting fighting style. On top of that, he had a legit power in his strikes that he used to put many to sleep.


In a nutshell, there are numerous Kyokushin fighters all around the world who have made their name doing something unique and worth winning. Kyokushin Karate promotes mental discipline, humility, and respect for oneself and others. By learning Kyokushin Karate, an individual can develop not only physical strength and martial art skills but also mental fortitude, discipline, and, character.

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