Karate is a Japanese martial arts technique that needs development of defensive attack and counter-attacking body movements. Although this game teaches an individual the art of attacking and self-defense, the sole motive is the self-improvement. Discipline, persistent effect, mind balance are some keywords that define best a Karate practiser. The word “Kara” means Empty and “Te” means Hand. A suffix “Do” (Karate-do) adds the meaning of defending himself empty-handed. Kyokushin (極真) is a style of stand-up, full contact karate, founded in 1964 by Korean-Japanese Masutatsu Oyama(大山倍達 Ōyama Masutatsu). "Kyokushin" is Japanese for "the ultimate truth." It is rooted in a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline and hard training. Its full contact style had international appeal (practitioners have over the last 40+ years numbered more than 12 million).
History and Philosophy of Karate:
Karate Kyokushinkai History:
The origin of karate is in midway between Japan and China. So it becomes obvious that Karate is a mixture of both Japanese Jujutsu and China’s Kung Fu. In the 15th century there was a kingdom called Ryuk Yuan. Being one of the wealthiest kingdoms in Asia, it was trading with many foreign countries.
Most of its business was with China relating to textiles, arms, and ships but they didn’t just trade textiles. They were also trading various parts of martial arts like Kung fu. Then it was the combination of Chinese art Kung fu and Japanese art Tae that gave birth to Karate.
Although the origin of Karate was in between Japan and China but soon it started to spread its wings throughout the globe due to its immense feature and art of self-defense. Today nearly 180 countries are actively involved in exploring this game under World Karate Federation.
In total, about 39 countries in Asia take active participation in this game. Asian Karate Do Federation (AKF) is the governing body, a non-profitable organization recognized by World Karate Federation. Apart from China and Japan, the list of countries include India, Bangladesh, UAE, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and many more.
Apart from Asia, the game do has its popularity in many non-Asian continents like Europe, Africa, Pan America and Oceania. Every individual has its own federation to govern and run the Game successfully.
Physical Training in Karate Kyokushin:
Physical training is essential for Karate.
A weak body cannot sustain high-level Karate practice for long. In order to condition students for sparring matches and combat, Kyokushin schools focus a lot of time on rigorous physical exercise. According to the American Kyokushin Karate Organization’s website, one of the style’s commandments states that, “All selfish desires should be roasted in the tempering fires of hard training.” At one point in his life, Oyama spent 12 hours each day training in the wilderness. He trained under cold waterfalls, broke river stones with his bare hands and used trees as striking boards. Oyama also jumped over flax plants hundreds of times each day. Today’s Kyokushin practitioners routinely perform exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks and mountain climbers. The AKKO requires 60 of each of these exercises as part of its black belt test.
Karate is good to practice when it begins with warm up. It brings flexibility to your muscles. The masters plan out a vigorous warm up schedule of 10-15 minutes before starting.
There is specific etiquette you must adhere to, such as bowing when entering and leaving the Dojo. I have covered the other etiquettes in a different post. Some people are not comfortable with all the bowing, and words that are used, but Kyokushin is a Japanese martial art, and it is important to keep up the customary aspects of the etiquette, out of respect of its founder and country of origin.
Etiquette is a way to honour the founders of our style and honour the Sensei that teaches us. It teaches respect and self-control, it sets the dojo apart from ordinary life.
Ranking System in Kyokushin:
From the colors of the belt one can easily judge about the rank and the level of expertise about any person doing karate. The more common color that we come across is white and black. Where white represents the starting level, Black represents the true expert having highest rank. Yellow, orange, red, green, blue are some other colors of belt.
The order of the karate belts also differ in different schools. Some of the correct orders of the colors of belt are given below:
- White, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, red, brown, black
- White, red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, black
- White, yellow, green, orange, red, blue, purple, brown, black
During the time of Second World War, only darker shades of colors were used to signify the move ahead agenda in karate. Dying the belts further was a symbol that the person had moved ahead with one extra level of expertise. Soon different colors were introduced for the level of expertise.
White Belt - The birth of a new light is indicated by white. In karate it usually depicts for a person who starts to learn karate keeping in mind about the different challenges that he is going to face.
Yellow Belt - It symbolizes the first ray of sun light. In karate its meaning is that now the student’s mind is open to accept more possible techniques and methods. Karate
Orange Belt - This light is an indication of spreading of light on the earth. So it shows how the student is expanding its knowledge in the field.
Green Belt - It depicts the penetration of steams and roots of the plant to get the sun light. In turn this means the student is developing new skills and learning new techniques to master the game.
Blue Belt - The plant is growing up towards the sky which is blue in color. That means student is going deeper to understand each move in karate and differentiating each to gain more knowledge.
Purple Belt - It indicates that the student is very serious about acquiring new belts that is coming across next.
Brown Belt - This shows that the plant is full grown and it is ready for the harvesting. Similarly in karate it indicates that the student has gained adequate knowledge about the skills and now he is ready for the combat.
Red Belt - It signifies the depth of the knowledge that a student possesses and ability to give those a successful direction.
Black belt - Every glowing object has a dark shadow behind it and that is what this color is all about. This belt shows that the person wearing it has mastered all the skills and he poses a great ability within him to enlighten others with his knowledge.