Before this, 53rd All Open Karate Championships at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on April 17th, 2022, I would like to share Sosai Oyama’s “Concept for the 1st All Japan Open Tournament”, which he realized in 1969. In World Karate Magazine (published on March 30th, 2022) I had the opportunity to re-read, “Concept for the 1st All Japan Open Tournament”. I was deeply impressed and sincerely honored to be his student.
We have experienced the worldwide pandemic for more than two years and are currently facing international uncertainty by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As students of the International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan, I believe it is important to reconfirm Sosai Oyama’s philosophy, and share with you his original article, illustrating his inspiration toorganize the first ever, Open Tournament, 53 years ago, in 1969.
To all, who are experiencing adversity in the world right now, Sosai Oyama’s message is as relevant now, as it was then. We, the International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan, should be united under Sosai Oyama’s will, to overcome this difficulty and demonstrate to society, the power that the Kyokushin Budo Spirit has for a sound and peaceful world.
Kancho Shokei Matsui
President, International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan
Concept for the 1st All Japan Open Tournament By Sosai Masutatsu Oyama
Originally published in 1969
Karate is originally fighting skills without any weapons. Karate is peaceful martial arts for people who do not have any weapons to pursue peace. Karate skill with bare hands seems powerless in
this world where almost all superpower countries possess nuclear arsenals.
I believe it is the best time to emphasize Karate’s real spiritual value, because we must dispose of weapons to save the human race from extinction.
The most important idea, to ‘abandon weapons’ in this current world, is the basic principle of Karate, which is one of the martial arts in East Asia. This concept suggests that Karate should not be viewed as old traditional martial arts, but Karate needs to be viewed futuristic and prophetic peaceful martial arts.
Look at current international conflicts. In some cases, small guerrilla forces manage nuclear countries to make concessions. Those cases show that strength can be created in people who have courage and justice, without weapons. Sun Tzu’s Art of War could surpass western war strategy, and barehands could surpass nuclear power, as far as human beings possess the strong will to achieve peace. Barehand martial arts Karate seems backward but becomes the hope for the latest spiritual force for human freedom, equality, and peace.
Is it too much to say that Karate’s current popularity around the globe, illustrates the people’s disgust towards nuclear weapons?
Worldwide popularity of Karate reaches several million and surpasses other martial arts such as judo and boxing. You can watch many Karate scenes in Movies and TV, and Karate books become million-sellers. However, this popularity is scattered loosely, and real numbers are hard to capture because Karate does not have a center force (organization), nor common rules. So unfortunately, many are only for commercial purpose, using incorrect approaches, or are far from real Karate techniques. This situation prevents Karate from promoting its ultimate concept of a peaceful spirit and future.
Since our conception a decade ago, we, the International Karate Organization So-Honbu (world headquarters), have spread the Karate Spirit through our practice to 36 countries worldwide. During those years, I realize that Karate does not have a common standard, nor proper exchange among styles, and this situation is a big obstacle for Karate’s reach to society.
As I mentioned before, Karate does not have a center force (organization). This is because Karate’s motherland Japan does not have a center force of Karate. The consequences are that international countries such as USA, Korea, Australia, and northern Europe possibly having a greater Karate population than Japan.
This situation began because Japanese Karate styles each maintained a policy of secrecy, and shunned efforts to create a common standard to compete fairly. Karate has several millions of practitioners already worldwide, and Karate techniques are not secret any longer. Under these circumstances, it is almost comical for Japanese Karate styles keep secrecy policy among
In organizing the 1st All Japan Tournament, and the eventual World Open Tournament, we are prioritizing creating a common standard for fairness in competition. The standard should be
simple and clearly understandable for karate practitioners as well as for the general public.
So, in this tournament, the rules are very different from before.
1. Make Karate tournament ‘Open’
Until now, all Karate tournaments were held among participants from one style, or among several dojos, because Karate styles refused competition between styles to decide superiority.
This tournament will be the first one to open to styles in Japan. In order to create a common standard, we will not refuse any participants. Participation from many Karate practitioners will make this tournament fairer one.
2. Tameshiwari competition
Tameshiwari competition will be the first attempt in Japan. Karate styles very much despised Tameshiwari, but previous tournaments used some Karateka to perform Tameshiwari as a emonstration, to treat Tameshiwari as a special mysterious skill. It is very contradictory. In general, the public and Karate practitioners compare Karate skills based on numbers of materials such as wooden boards.
In reality, if you practice properly, Tameshiwari is easy to accomplish by anyone. The more power, speed and focus you gain, the more Tameshiwari you can achieve. Plus, its achievement can be compared by numbers, so it is very much a scientific determination as well as physical. If Tameshiwari becomes a competition, you may compare skills fairly without any curious mystery.
In the future, all Tameshiwari materials will be advanced to be uniform quality to become fairer, like weightlifting competition.
3. Make kumite matches realistic
Karate is martial arts, and you are supposed to fight to knock down your opponent. However, it is too dangerous to do it in the current society, so certain restrictions must be applied to kumite matches. In this tournament, kumite matches will be much more realistic than previous ones. Physical contact was prohibited up to now, but this tournament will allow full contact blows except to vital points such as the face.
Therefore, a competitor could win a match by knocking out his opponent.
This new kumite rule is established by studying other martial arts matches such as boxing and kick boxing in depth and taking into consideration the effects to the human body by contact blows. So, kumite matches will be realistic serious fights.
We believe a winner from Tameshiwari competition and kumite matches can be declared a real champion.