SOSAI MAS OYAMA
Masutatsu Oyama was born in Ryong-Ri Yong-chi-Myo'n
Chul Na Do Korea in 1923, and completed middle school in Seoul.
In 1938, when he was 12 years old, he came to Japan to live, where
in 1941, he entered the Tokyo Takushoku University.
Oyama had mastered the Eighteen Techniques of
Chinese Kempo while he was still in his homeland. When he came
to Japan, he became a pupil of Gichin Funakoshi, the man who introduced
karate into Japan, and soon achieved the status of a second-grade
(Dan) karate master. He interrupted his college education when
he was drafted into the military in 1943, but he continued his
karate studies with Sodeiju, then karate instructor at the Goju
school. By the time the war was over, he had become a fourth-grade
When World War II was over, he temporarily volunteered
to assist his native land in its recovery, because of the conflict
that soon followed between North and South Korea he gave up these
efforts and concentrated on karate. In 1947, after he had won the
All-Japan Karate Tournament, he resolved to live his life in the
way of karate and determined to follow the doctrines of its way.
After 1948, for a full three years, he secluded himself from human
society, devoting himself completely to a life according to the
precept of Zen. He lived in temples and in the mountains and subjected
himself to the disciplines of the martial arts both night and day.
Through such rigorous training as seated meditation under waterfalls,
struggles with wild animals, and smashing trees and stones with
his bare hands, Oyama refined not only his doctrine of karate,
but also his own mind and body. When he had completed this course
of rigid discipline, his self-confidence returned to him. In 1951,
he returned to civilization from his mountain retreat to teach
the true meaning of karate to the world.
His amazing techniques, manifested most dramatically
in his ability to rip the horns from bulls, caused a sensation
in the karate world. The renown of Oyama karate flashed abroad
with such speed that a training hall soon became necessary for
the many students clamoring to be trained in the Oyama way. Oyama's
1952 karate tour of thirty-two of the United States met with great
success. In 1956, he toured Southeast Asia, and in 1962, starting
in Europe, he went around the entire world establishing training
halls for the Oyama karate method.
Now Oyama karate halls number 17 in the United
States and 76 in 16 other countries of the world. The number of
students already exceeds 100,000. In 1958, for the sake of these
students, Oyama published his first karate guidebook, What is
Karate? In Japan, the first Oyama training hall, the Kyokushin
Kaikan, opened in 1955, and in 1964 a new five-story hall, with
present Prime Minister Eisaku Sato as honorary chairman, began
carrying on the master's training program.