June 2012

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by Jim Wagner

Whenever someone comes at you with a knife and you are empty-handed, you are automatically at a 90-percent tactical disadvantage. Even worse, 99 percent of the disarm techniques and self-defense moves taught today are too complicated and unrealistic to be effective in an actual confrontation. Furthermore, if you do not practice self-defense moves against attacks launched at full speed and full power and at the angle of the attacker’s choosing, any drill will be merely a choreographed pattern that reinforces a false sense of self-confidence.

After years of mulling over this dilemma, I finally discovered a way to transition from step-by-step practice to full-speed training in self-defense moves to survive a knife attack.

The “Jim Wagner Defense Rule” was born while I was teaching knife disarms to members of the Canadian army. To demonstrate that my reactions were genuine and not part of a prearranged defense that worked only when I knew what was coming, I told one soldier to attack me using any technique he wanted. He lunged immediately, and I had no time to prepare a defense.

Without thinking, I caught his knife hand. Before he could wrench the knife free from my grip and launch a second attack, I stepped toward him to deny him the space he needed to cut me, strike me, trip me or even step back. Then I took him down, moved away and drew my pistol.

Jim Wagner demonstrates self-defense moves against a knife attack in Black Belt magazine.After repeating the drill two more times with the same success, I knew I was onto something.

Since then, I have taught the same course of self-defense moves to a mix of law-enforcement officers from different units and countries. Beginners seem to catch on instantly, and advanced students seem to like the system’s simplicity. Rather than focusing on 50 techniques to cover all the possibilities of a knife fight, the course has only three components:

Jim Wagner’s Self-Defense Moves to Survive a Knife Attack — #1: Grab

If a knife-wielding assailant corners you, you must control the knife before he inflicts any damage. Grab his knife hand as if you are clutching at a person’s windpipe and do not let go. Remember that in a real attack, blood will make grabbing the weapon even more difficult. It is OK if your hands are not in the perfect position when you grab his hand — especially when training at full speed.

Jim Wagner’s Self-Defense Moves to Survive a Knife Attack — #2: Close

Once you latch on, maintain your grip and immediately close the gap by pressing yourself against the attacker and securing his weapon hand tightly against your own body. From this position, you can execute a takedown to prevent him from escaping. Although you are already in “close combat” (within reach of the opponent) in a knife fight, the attacker still needs several inches of room to swing his weapon or thrust it into you. While the blade can still cut you, the wound is likely to be superficial.

Jim Wagner’s Self-Defense Moves to Survive a Knife Attack — #3: Takedown

With your body pressed against his, force your shoulder into his to knock him off balance, then pivot your body to complete the takedown. If you feel resistance in the direction you intend to take him, immediately switch directions and force him down.

Once the person falls, disengage from him immediately. If you are a civilian, you should escape. If you are a police officer, you should get an adequate distance away from the suspect and draw your gun.

One last warning: Ground combat with a knife-wielding assailant is a no-win situation, and the idea of stripping a knife from somebody’s hand while you’re down is pure fantasy.

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Story and Photos by Chris Thomas

In the martial arts community, those who practice kyusho-jitsu (pressure-point fighting) are often subjected to criticism. It all started when their self-defense moves were first brought into the limelight and onlookers didn’t even want to believe the techniques were real. Those days are long past, however, and the reality of knockouts resulting from usage of human pressure points has been convincingly demonstrated time and time again — most notably by Black Belt Hall of Fame member (and kyusho-jitsu expert) George Dillman and his students.

Nowadays, two main criticisms of kyusho-jitsu persist. The first consists of dire warnings that self-defense moves using pressure-point techniques are dangerous and that those who practice them by actually knocking each other out are reckless and foolhardy. This accusation was later found to be groundless.

Are the Self-Defense Moves of Kyusho-Jitsu Dangerous?

For decades now, the once-secret art of kyusho-jitsu has been publicly taught and demonstrated. Thousands of students now practice the methods of kyusho-jitsu, and an untold number of people have been knocked out practicing its self-defense moves, some on numerous occasions.

In 1997, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, a team of scientists sought to examine the mechanism behind human-pressure-point knockouts. In their findings — which were reported in Black Belt’s September 1998 issue and subsequently published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness (1999; 39:328-335) — they stated that “… no hazardous complications were demonstrated and no immediately dangerous phenomena … were noted.”

Nonetheless, claims regarding arts like kyusho-jitsu and the dangers of human-pressure-point techniques persist like urban legends. Yet no one seems to ask the most natural questions in the world about these self-defense moves: “Where are the bodies? Where are the legions of martial artists whose health has been ruined by these strikes?”

This response to the claims of associated dangers eliminates the need to address the issue by comparing pressure-point strikes to free sparring, yet it still should be done.

In free sparring, martial artists regularly suffer damaged joints, concussions, broken bones and even occasional death — all while participating in “no-contact” sparring. When the action is intensified to the level of full-contact fighting or boxing, the potential for injury is even greater, yet few ever accuse practitioners of those sports of reckless disregard for others.

Let’s be honest: Despite the cautionary advice of those who don’t practice arts such as kyusho-jitsu and really don’t know anything about it, there’s no evidence to support the persistent cry that the practice of self-defense moves utilizing human pressure points is “reckless and dangerous.”

Other Criticisms Regarding Kyusho-Jitsu’s Use of Human Pressure Points

The second criticism of kyusho-jitsu is that the human pressure points that must be activated are too discreet to be used in actual fighting. Those who make this claim always preface it by admitting that the points are for real and that they actually work in demonstrations. But in real combat, they insist, it simply isn’t possible to hit such tiny human pressure points.

Setting aside the fact that the whole point of training is to learn how to perform high-level tasks under stress, it must be acknowledged that it is difficult to accurately hit a small moving target. This point has been articulated in many ways, but one of the best versions is this: A brain surgeon can perform a delicate operation, but can he perform it while the patient is running around the room?

Such a pithy summation of the problem seems to end the discussion among those who have no knowledge base from which to respond. However, the educated response of a person who practices self-defense moves involving human pressure points is simply: “You’re right. If you want to perform brain surgery, you first have to strap down the patient.”

That statement leads to what might be called the thesis of kyusho-jitsu: If the opponent is unable to move, it’s a whole lot easier to hit a point on his body. So the first rule of the art is to aim for the points that aren’t moving because they’re the easiest to hit.

The second rule follows logically: Do something to make sure what you want to hit isn’t moving.

Using Human Pressure Points In Real-Life Self-Defense Moves

Consider the following self-defense scenario: An irate assailant reaches out with his left hand, grabbing you by the right shoulder to stabilize his intended target. (This is how the engagement portion of many bar fights begins.)

A kyusho-jitsu practitioner gets ready to execute self-defense moves using human pressure points.But the moment he grabs you, all the human pressure points of his extended left arm are motionless and easy to hit — really easy to hit. Those areas should be the first targets for your response.

So if you’re a kyusho-jitsu practitioner, you might employ the ever-so-mundane karate technique known as morote-uke, which would normally — and inaccurately — be called an “augmented block.”

Now, it’s important to be honest and admit that, as the victim, you’re probably going to be caught off-guard. (Otherwise, you would have left the scene to avoid a physical confrontation.) As a result, when you’re grabbed, your hands will probably rise in a natural warding-off gesture, obstructing the attacker’s first punch. It’s likely that, as he winds up his right fist to try again, your brain will catch up with the situation and your kyusho-jitsu training in self-defense moves will kick in.

Immediately, you slam your left forearm into the middle of his left forearm at a pressure point called LI-7/wenliu, pinning his left hand against your body. At the same time, you use your right fist to strike near his elbow, at a point called LI-10/shousanli. This action causes his right shoulder to turn back and away, and it makes his left arm fold.

Kyusho-Jitsu in Action: Self-Defense Moves Using Human Pressure Points — Sequence 1
Two-person scenario involving kyusho-jitsu seld-defense moves utilizing human pressure points.

The performance of morote-uke calls for one hand to be squeezed tightly against your torso while the other hand strikes out. If you simply continue the energy of your strike through LI-10, pulling your right forearm against your body, the attacker will be trapped and helpless, with his head motionless and within easy reach of your left fist. A blow to S-5/daying will generally finish the altercation.

Lesson learned: Before striking to the head, which can be highly mobile and difficult to hit, trap and control the attacker so his body and pressure points are immobile.

Kyusho-Jitsu Analyzed: Human Pressure Points for Self-Defense Moves
Human pressure points as applied in kyusho-jitsu self-defense moves.

Using Human Pressure Points During Up-Close Kyusho-Jitsu Applications

In another example, again using morote-uke, the attacker grabs you with a two-handed lapel hold and pulls you in. This is a typical prelude to one of three actions by the attacker: a head butt, a knee to the groin or an attempt at some bad-breath-in-your-face intimidation. Of course, you have no idea which tactic he’ll use, so you must respond on the assumption that he intends to inflict bodily harm and not merely olfactory offense.

As you’re pulled forward, you borrow the attacker’s energy to move at a 45-degree angle. That takes you away from the line of his strength and places him in a somewhat awkward position.

At the same time, you strike inward, hitting his arms simultaneously on the LI-10 points on his forearms, causing them to collapse inward. Then, with one hand, you trap his arms against your body and use your other hand to strike the S-5 point on his head.

Kyusho-Jitsu in Action: Self-Defense Moves Using Human Pressure Points — Sequence 2
Kyusho-jitsu self-defense moves with two participants, one using human pressure points to stop his attacker.

In both examples, hitting those “tiny targets” is extremely easy because you’re aiming for points that are immobile — immobile because of the actions you just took. And in both situations, the confrontation is in a self-defense setting, a real-life scenario and not a mutually agreed-on match or some stylized one-step sparring drill involving a lunge punch delivered from across the room.

In both examples, the response’s utilization of human pressure points is essentially the same, meaning you don’t have to stop and think about what to do under different circumstances. The scenarios demonstrate that human-pressure-point fighting isn’t just about attacking points on the body. It’s about learning a comprehensive approach to self-defense moves and the traditional martial arts, one that takes into consideration the real dynamics of violent encounters.

The Final Word on the Safety of Impacting Human Pressure Points in Kyusho-Jitsu Self-Defense Moves?
Sidebar regarding medical commentary on safety of human pressure points in kyusho-jitsu self-defense moves.

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by Wally Jay Photo Courtesy of Wally Jay

Born in Honolulu in 1917, the late small-circle jujitsu founder Wally Jay held a 10th dan in jujitsu and a sixth dan in judo. He was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1969 and 1990 for his outstanding contributions to jujitsu and the martial arts overall. In this first of three excerpts from his book, Small-Circle Jujitsu, Wally Jay delves into the four of the 10 principles he discovered and developed as the foundation of his small-circle jujitsu system.

The following principles form the basis of small-circle jujitsutechniques. They follow the laws of sports science, and through many years of research, have enhanced the science of jujitsu.

Wally Jay’s Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques — Principle #1: Balance

Balance is perhaps the most important principle in any sport.

The basic strategy of judo, for instance, is to keep your opponent off-balance while maintaining your own. By keeping your own balance, you will have use of your maximum power in your jujitsu techniques while your opponent uses part of his energy trying to regain his balance. The more off-balance he is, the more strength he will need to recover.

Wally Jay’s Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques — Principle #2: Mobility and Stability

Your center of gravity plays an important part in the principle of mobility and stability. Lower your center of gravity and you will achieve stability; raise your center of gravity and you will gain mobility. The hub of your action during jujitsu techniques is at your midsection. When your center of gravity rises, you lessen your stability and increase your mobility, and vice versa.

Your mind also can control your center of gravity. Try these exercises for example. Lift your partner up slowly holding him around the waist. If your partner thinks of riding an elevator going upward with high speed, his body will be easier to lift. Lift your partner again. If he concentrates he is riding an elevator going downward, his body will be more difficult to lift.

For mobility, move on the balls of your feet, and when pivoting, your knees should be either above or beyond your toes, and not directly over your heels. For stability, lower your body slightly. Stability is essential in punching or throwing.

Wally Jay’s Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques — Principle #3: Avoid the Head-On Collision of Forces

To avoid the full power of your opponent’s attack, avoid the head-on collision of force by evading, deflecting, blending or redirecting. Unlike other systems of martial arts training in which you pivot in toward the opponent, this principle is just the opposite.

As in all small-circle jujitsu techniques, always pivot away from the opponent when blending, redirecting or evading. Try to evade the opponent’s striking force by stepping back. Move 45 to 90 degrees to the left or right, or move laterally left or right.

Wally Jay’s Small-Circle Jujitsu Techniques — Principle #4: Mental Resistance and Distraction

Everyone has the ability to mentally resist pain. Try this with the bent elbow wrist lock applied on you by a partner. As the hold is applied, concentrate on the spot where the pain is felt. Imagine that there is a flywheel spinning at high speed at the spot, going in the opposite direction, which is counterclockwise.

Do not use physical resistance, but remain calm and relaxed as you give your total concentration. If you are able to go into deep concentration, you will be surprised to find that you will feel no pain.

If, however, someone were to slap you on your wrist, causing you to lose your concentration, you will feel immediate pain. This also points up the vital part that the element of distraction plays in self-defense.

Distraction of the opponent’s concentration is important when executing a counterattack. During the application of a technique when resistance is met, distract your opponent by attacking the weak areas of the body. This leaves him with less power and a split-second loss of concentration.

An unexpected shout or grunt during your jujitsu techniques also may allow you sufficient time to escape or counter. A sternum strike while simultaneously executing a wrist-lock hold, for instance, or a kick to the shin while escaping a lapel grab, or a pinch to the inner thigh of someone using a bear hug on you may enable you to gain control of the fight more readily.

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Written By Raymond Horwitz

Today, we bring you some awesome archival behind-the-scenes jeet kune do techniques footage of this first-generation Bruce Lee student in action at Black Belt magazine! Below the video is a brief Q-and-A regarding the impact of Bruce Lee’s philosophy on the martial arts, the creation of the Bruce Lee philosophy book Tao of Jeet Kune Do and Bruce Lee’s training methodology.

If you know jeet kune do, then you know Richard Bustillo. And if you don’t, then you should. Inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as the 1989 Co-Instructor of the Year, Bruce Lee training disciple Richard Bustillo was one of the jeet kune do techniques pioneer’s first students in Los Angeles and was partly responsible for training his children (Brandon Lee and Shannon Lee) in the martial arts.

A longtime practitioner of boxing, Thai boxing, escrima, kajunkenbo, wrestling, jujitsu, tai chi chuan and silat, Richard Bustillo has evolved his own version of the Bruce Lee training method and jeet kune do techniques at his IMB Academy in Torrance, California.

First-Generation Bruce Lee Student Richard Bustillo Shoots Jeet Kune Do Techniques at Black Belt Magazine

Black Belt: How do you think Bruce Lee’s training methods and the Bruce Lee philosophy for living have impacted the world?
Richard Bustillo: [Neither] he himself nor the family nor we who trained with Bruce Lee, the first-generation students … we had no idea that his impact would reach all the corners of the world. I mean, I’ve been to India doing seminars. I’ve been to, of course, China, the Philippines, and every martial art in every corner of the world is touched by Bruce Lee. Non-martial artists also — even the kids who never met Bruce Lee — today still know that Bruce Lee’s an icon in the martial arts. They all still want to learn, they all still want to imitate Bruce. And that’s why [Tao of Jeet Kune Do] is important because people want to know about Bruce Lee’s inner mind, how he thinks and how he acts.

Black Belt: What part of Bruce Lee’s philosophy or the Bruce Lee training style do you think people may have misunderstood?
Richard Bustillo: People thought Bruce Lee was arrogant and he was a showoff. If you don’t know him, yes, it might come off like being arrogant, but Bruce Lee was always honest in his explanations and about his martial arts. He was very confident about what he [said], so [when he spoke] with confidence, people misconstrued that as being arrogant. I mean, he’d [critique] guys who’d been training for 20 years and here’s just this young kid — 20 years old, 24 — and [he’d] tell them just like it is. For instance, he’d say [things like], “Today, you need to train by today’s standards. Why go into a horse stance when we don’t ride horses [anymore]? Why set yourself up to practice [from] 400 years ago in today’s modern times?” Today’s street fighting is different from 400 years ago. [Sometimes] people cannot break from the old traditional habits to go by the new standards. And all Bruce Lee did was bring his martial arts up to today’s times.

Black Belt: Can you describe your first encounter with the Bruce Lee philosophy book Tao of Jeet Kune Do?
Richard Bustillo: My first encounter [with Tao of Jeet Kune Do] was at its inception. The late Gilbert Johnson was assigned to write Bruce Lee’s notes. Linda [Lee Cadwell] and the [original] owner of Black Belt, Mito Uyehara, had conversed about all [the] notes that Bruce Lee had collected throughout the years [and about how] these notes and sketches and drawings were too valuable to trash. So Gil Johnson put these notes in a book form. I don’t know if then it was called Tao of Jeet Kune Do, but Gil’s project was to put these notes into a book form. And since Gil didn’t know too much about Bruce Lee’s training, he started training with [Dan] Inosanto and I at the Filipino Kali Academy and he brought his notes with him, asked us about what terminology meant, about the techniques, about what the sketches meant, and that’s how he got the book out.

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By Robert Rousseau, About.com Guide

Mas Oyama Biography Introduction:

Masatatsu Oyama (Mas) fought bulls.  He may have taken on an amazing Muay Thai fighter who went by the name of Black Cobra.  He certainly competed in exhibition fights against American wrestlers during a tour of the United States, and went on a couple of karate sabbaticals to the mountains for over a year.  In the end, he is known as the father and founder of Kyokushin Karate, perhaps the world’s first full contact style of karate.But even more than that, when you really consider his life, one can see that he was a risk taker, someone who lived life without fear of what might happen.  Consider the following quote, and then move on to find out more about his life below.

“If you have confidence in your own words, aspirations, thoughts, and actions and do  your very best, you will have no need to regret the outcome of what you do. Fear and  trembling are lot of the person who, while stinting effort, hopes that everything will  come out precisely as he wants.”

Date of Birth and Life Span:

Masatatsu Oyama (Mas) was born on July 27, 1923 in Gimje, Jeollabuk-do, Korea.  His birth name was Choi Young-Eui.  He died on April 26, 1994 in Tokyo, Japan at the age of 70 from lung cancer.  Oyama was a non-smoker.

Early Years:

Consider Oyama’s life to be akin to general martial arts history.  Over the years, via manga, movies, a lack of documentation, the passage of time, and more, his life has been sensationalized.  Thus, for nearly every thing stated about him, someone might offer a counter argument. Regardless, here is what is widely believed regarding his early years.Oyama was born Choi Young-Eui in Gimje, South Korea during the Japanese occupation. He was the fourth son of Sun Hyung in a family with seven children (6 boys and 1 girl). He was sent to live on his sister’s farm in Manchuria at the young age of nine.  It is said that he had to walk about six miles on a small road to attend Yongree Primary School every day.

Oyama’s first martial artsexperience happened when he moved to Manchuria (age nine), via a Korean seasonal worker named Lee.  At age 12 he returned to Korea, after having progressed a great deal with Lee.

In March of 1938, when Oyama was 15 years old, he left for Japan in his brother’s footsteps to train at the Yamanashi Youth Aviation Institute.  While there, he was required to choose a Japanese name.  He chose Oyama Masutatsu (大山 倍達), which is a transliteration of ‘Baedal’ (倍達) . ‘Baedal’ was an ancient Korean kingdom known in Japan during Oyama’s time as “Ancient Joseon”. ‘Masutatsu’ can also be pronounce ‘baitatsu’ in Japanese.

Why go to Japan to become a pilot?  Well, Oyama looked up to and wanted to follow a Japanese General by the name of Kanji Ishihara.  Ishihara was against the invasion of Asian neighbors, which Oyama had experienced firsthand in Korea.  Unfortunately for Ishihara, others did not hold his views, and he was reportedly ostracized by the higher ranks of the Japanese Army.

During these years, Oyama continued to train in the martial arts, working in the disciplines of both boxing and judo.

Kamikaze Pilot:

Perhaps as a glimpse of things to come, Oyama wanted to serve in the Imperial Army during the war and went after this goal with fervor.  He was rejected the first few times he applied to be a Kamikaze pilot, perhaps because of his Korean background.  However, he eventually sent a letter to the highest ranking officers in the army written in the blood from his fingers.  And that seemed to do the trick.”After the general saw I wrote in my own blood he knew I was ready to serve. The next week I was supposed to leave as Kamikaze, never returning to my home country.”  On the day of his mission, his mission, his airplane malfunctioned.

The situation left him believing that it was all hardly happenstance.

“I had breakfast with my comrades ready to serve our country,” Oyama later said on a TV program. “In the evening when I returned for supper, the chairs were empty. There were no words to describe what I felt but I know I was given a chance to do something.”

Further Martial Arts Training:

When World War II ended in defeat, Oyama left the aviation school.  This was a tough time for those in Japan, quite obviously, making it perhaps even harder for a foreigner like him.  He began “Eiwa Karate Research Center” in Suginami ward but closed it when he realized that he was an unwanted Korean whom no one would even rent a room to.  He eventually found somewhere to live in Tokyo, where he would later meet his wife.In 1946, Oyama enrolled in Waseda University School of Education.  There he studied sport science.

After observing a student training in Okinawan karate, Oyama became interested and contacted the Shotokan dojo.  He became a student of Gigo Funakoshi there, the second son of Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi.  He often trained in solitude, feeling like an outsider in a foreign land.  Soon after, Oyama attended Takushoku University in Tokyo and was accepted at the Gichin Funakoshi’s dojo (again, the founder of Shotokan).  He trained there for two years, then moved onto Goju-ryu karateunder So Nei Chu.

He eventually achieved 8th dan status in Goju-ryu under Gogen Yamaguchi (the head instructor of Goju-ryu in mainland Japan).

Beyond the aforementioned, Oyama, through the facilitation of judoka Masahiko Kimura, found his way to the Sone Dojo in Nakano, Tokyo, where he trained for four years and achieved 4th dan status in kosen judo.

Mountain Isolation:

In Tokyo after World War II, Oyama found himself in fights with the U.S. Military Police quite often.  During an interview “Itsumitemo Haran Banjyo” (Nihon Television), Oyama said the following regarding this.”I lost many friends during the war- the very morning of their departure as Kamikaze pilots, we had breakfast together and in the evening their seats were empty. After the war ended, I was angry- so I fought as many U.S. Military as I can, until my portrait was all over the police station.”

Given his pent up rage, So Nei Chu recommended that he retreat to a lone mountain and find peace.  Oyama went to Mt. Minobu in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, planning on a three year stay of training in the martial arts.  A student names Yashiro went with him, but snuck away in the night.  Oyama only received monthly visits from a friend, prompting him to question his decision.  So Nei Chu replied to a letter from Oyama indicating his doubt by suggesting that he shave off an eyebrow so that he would be too embarrassed to be in front of people; hence, helping him to stay the path.

Oyama stayed on the mountain for 14 months but was forced to leave when his sponsor ceased supporting him.  After he won the Karate Section of Japanese Martial Arts Championships, he began to feel regret that he had not finished the three years that he had hoped to.  Thus, he went into solitude once again on Mt. Kiyosumi in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, where he stayed and trained for 18 months.

Founding Kyokushin Karate:

In the early 1950’s (1953 or 1954, depending on the source), Oyama opened up his own karate dojo called Oyama Dojo in Tokyo.  They practiced outside initially, eventually moving into a ballet school in 1956 behind Rikkyo University.  Via martial arts demonstrations, the reputation and school grew.  Along with this, in 1964 Oyama moved the dojo into the building that would become the Kyokushin main dojo and world headquarters.  There he officially founded the International Karate Organization Kyokushin kaikan (IKOK or IKO).  This served as the organizing force behind the growing amount of schools being taught within the kyokushin system.During the same year that he opened up the IKOK, Oyama’s dojo was challenged by Muay Thai practitioners.  Oyama, believing that his karate style was best, sent three of his students- Kenji Kurosaki, Tadashi Nakamura, and Noboru Osawa- to Thailand to fight.  They won two out of three of the bouts, serving as a boost to Kyokushin’s reputation (see Great Karate vs. Muay Thai fightsfor more on this and other battles between the styles).

Within Japan and abroad (the United States, Netherlands, England, Australia, and Brazil), Oyama handpicked instructors and sent them to spread the word/open schools.  Promotion in the form of demonstrations often accompanied this.  In addition, he held the All-Japan Full Contact Karate Open Championships every year to help promote.  By making it an open tournament where practitioners of any martial arts stylecould compete, he once again proved his confidence in his own style of fighting.

Kyokushin was perhaps the first full contact style of karate.  Along with this, practitioners regularly compete in full contact tournaments, where the rules often disallow the use of gloves, and allow kicks to the majority of the body, and hand strikes to the body only.  Kyokushin truly professes a belief in powerful strikes designed to incapacitate quickly.  In other words, power is considered very important.

Mas Oyama’s Exploits:

It is often hard to determine which of these exploits are fact vs. fiction, as Oyama’s reputation lead to perhaps some glorifying.  But here is what we believe/suspect.

  • Bull Fighting:During the 1950’s, Oyama began fighting bulls.  In 1957, when he was 34 years old, a bull fight nearly killed him when a bull struck him in the back, tearing him open.  There is no question that he in fact did fight many, many bulls.  It has been said, that he fought 52 of them, in which he killed three and chopped of the horns of 49 with a single shuto strike (chop with the side of the hand).
  • U.S. Fights/Demonstrations:In April of 1952, Oyama traveled to the United States.  He stayed there for one year, demonstrating karate on national television and in public.  He also participated in several exhibition fights against boxers, wrestlers, and more.  It has been said that he fought against 270 opponents, defeating them all, often with a single attack.
  • Fighting the Black Cobra of Muay Thai:Did Oyama compete against a man called the “Black Cobra” in Muay Thai?  It has been said that he did, though proof is lacking. What we do know is that some profess he defeated this supposedly amazing Thai fighter by an aerial triple kick.  Other accounts indicate that he won the fight with round kicks to the body.
  • 100 Man Kumite: Oyama was the first karate practitioner and the inventor of the 100 man kumite.  In essence, kumite battles between participants range between one-and-a-half and two minutes in length. The idea is to get through fights against fighters with similar skill, one after another.  Oyama completed the 100 man kumite three times over three consecutive days, surviving each battle along the way.
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