Kyokushin Opens Its Karate Arms Towards Youngsters — Kyokushin Karate NY
“OSU” Andrew Tatsuya Kamen (Center) has no fear for Kyokushin in his very first try-out lesson.
Kyokushin Karate, renowned as one of the most aggressive forms of Martial Arts, is always looking to the future. Deeply rooted in the true spirit of a fighter, Kyokushin aims for a much higher goal of a peaceful world.
Right in the middle of Manhattan, vigorous roars of “OSU” are echoing, at the NY head quarters of Kyokushin Karate. Kyokushin Karate was founded in Japan by the legendary Mas Oyama in 1964. It emphasizes “full-contact” fighting and practicality. In the words of the founder, “The heart of our Karate is real fighting. There can be no proof without real fighting. Without proof there is no trust. Without trust there is no respect.” The director of Kyokushin’s International Department , Katsuhito Gorai says, “As the world rapidly changes, we accommodate ourselves to new situations. We welcome change. After all, the heart and technique of our karate will never change.” That’s why he is currently more focused on propagating Kyokushin among the young generation.
Sunday morning at 10AM, the dojo is filled with 15 young kids ages 4 to 12, boys and girls, Asians and non-Asians alike. Kids sit and line up quietly. Andrew Tatsuya Kamen, 7, is joining them as a one-day-try-out student. He has been learning Shaorin Style Kung Fu but never Kyokushin. “I am not afraid of it at all. I am rather excited,” tells Andrew before the lesson.
Under the rigid instruction of Master Gorai, the kids spend the first 15 minutes in strenuous stretching. “In Kyokushin, we put importance on basic muscle training. This is our uniquness and it will be very helpful as a daily exercise for those who pursue other sports like golf or baseball,” says Master Gorai. Andrew, occasionally glancing at his mother Atsuko, seems a bit perplexed by unusual movement, but it is not long before he becomes able to follow other kids.
When the lesson progresses and the practice of kumite, or sparring begins, the excitement of the kids is heightened. Some kids demonstrate amazing high roundhouse kicks. Andrew tries his highest and strongest kick against the junior instructor. Master Gorai encourages full–contact-fighting, only in a proper manner, such as the foot-ankle angle of 90 degrees when you kick. “The more you train, the stronger you become. At the same time you become a pacifist. The real fighter is the one who seeks peace.”
After one hour of a focused lesson, Andrew came back to his mother, saying ”It was fun. I have never punched the opponent in Shaorin but I did today. It made me feel strong.” His mother Atsuko says, “I was so impressed to see the instructors are extremely trained and trustworthy. I would be happy to send my son for Karate lessons here.” The kids so busy playing Nintendo Karate Games should come to the Kyokushin Dojo in New York City. You will certainly find the real joy and meaning of fighting.
After half-an-hour of basic training, young students are encouraged to try full contact sparring with the experienced teachers.
Reported by Hideo Nakamura
Photo by Louis Chan
Kyokushin Karate New York
284 Fifth Ave., 2nd Fl. (at 30th St.)
New York, NY 10001
Hours: Mon, Wed: 12pm-9:30pm
Tue, Thu: 10am-9:30pm Fri: 12pm-8pm
Sat: 9:45am-3pm Sun: 9:45am-1pm
Kyokushin Karate New York offers both kids class (beginners, advanced) and adults classes (basics, advanced, bag training, kata, and fight techinique) as well as team training.
*Call for a more detailed class schedule.
*The class schedule of Harrison Dojo (at New York Dance / www.newyorkdance.com) and Fort Lee Dojo vary. Call for details.