Masutatsu Oyama was born in 1923 in Southern Korea, 300 km from Seoul. After a rebellious childhood, he starts his training with martial arts master who worked on his parent's property, but because of his rebellious and irreverent nature his father decides to sent him, at age 14, to the military academy Yamana-shi in Japan. It is here, in the period Japan was at war with China, in 1937, that he decides to learn Japanese and starts to train Karate. But these training's do not convince him. And he decides to leave for Tokyo to follow the teachings of the biggest masters, one of them Sensei Gichin Funakoshi. He reaches Nidan (2nd Dan) within 2 years, but abandons Shotokan Karate, because he does not agree with the work-outs, which he considers to be too rigid and linear.
In 1947 he wins the first 'All Japan Tournament,' held in Tokyo at the Karuyama Gymnasium, where all Karate-Do schools were united, providing the young Korean a unique opportunity to prove the efficiency of his training's. But it is an incident during a party in Tokyo, during the occupation of Japan by the Allied Forces, that Oyama kills a Japanese with one single blow, which decides the future of the 24-year-old Yondan (4th Dan), creating the conditions for his solitary retirement in the Kyosumi Mountains. Here he imposes self-discipline and a rigorous training method, using from the old Korean methods the leg work to which he also adds the Ashi Barai (crawler) and the attacks to the legs. He took inspiration from Goju Ryu for the respiratory work and the first techniques, and from Shotokan for the linear principles, he adds for the more advanced, the circular forms from his mentor, master Kenichi Sawai.
In 1952, he starts a Tourney through the United States and Asia, accepting challenges from fighters from all kinds of disciplines; Judo, Karate, Tai boxers, English boxers, etc.
All fights were won, in a total 270 challenges, not one lasted more than three minutes. And the New York Times called Mas Oyama, in 1960, 'The toughest man in the world.'
Masutatsu showed Japan and the whole world Kyokushinkai, through several books:
What is Karate? - 1958; This is Karate - 1965; Advanced Karate - 1970;
Karate, world of the ultimate-1984.
Masutatsu Oyama passed away in April 1994, after a whole life dedicated to Karate.
See Mas Oyama video clips on Nantzu’s Kyokushin playlist on YouTube Click here