Kyokushin Karate Founder - Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, 10th Dan.
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Sosai translated means " President".
Sosai Masutatsu (Mas) Oyama is the late founder of Kyokushin Karate and up there with the greatest martial artists that ever lived. I obviously never met him but I have trained with and been graded by people who have. After hearing so many amazing stories from my mentors at the time, I believe he was the greatest martial artist the world has ever seen. His influence was so widespread that today, there are many off shoots of Kyokushin that have direct lineage to Kyokushin Karate.
There are many styles, systems, founders and rouge independent dojo out there who say they're like Kyokushin Karate or they are Kyokushin Karate, but they're not. This only makes it harder for the layman out there to make the right choice when starting their journey in the martial arts.
Born in Korea in 1923, he spent most of his life living in Japan and acquired Japanese citizenship in 1968. He lived in a village in Southern Korea before moving to live on his sister’s farm in Manchuria, Southern China. Here, at the age of nine, he had his first contact with Martial Arts where he studied a form of Chinese Kempo.
At 15 years of age he travelled to Japan to follow his interest in Judo and boxing. During this time, he discovered and trained with Gichin Funakoshi, a renowned karate master and founder of Shotokan Karate.
Through hard work and determination, Mas Oyama progressed quickly through the ranks and at 20 years old he entered the Japanese Imperial Army a Fourth Dan (Yondan) in Shotokan Karate. His interest for judo was strengthened and he soon progressed quickly to Fourth Dan in Judo as well.
Soon after the Second World War Mas Oyama met So Nei Chu a Korean master of Goju Ryu Karate. So Nei Chu was a deeply spiritual man of extreme power that had a great influence and became Mas Oyama’s mentor and teacher of several years. In 1947 Mas Oyama returned from the mountains after 14 months of training to win the first Japanese National Martial Arts Championships. At this point he decided to dedicate his life to Martial Arts.
He returned to the mountains for a further 18 months of solitary and arduous training to fortify the mind and the body.
Kyokushin was born and the first Kyokushin Karate dojo officially opened in Tokyo in 1964.