Masutatsu Ōyama (born Choi Yeong-eui July 27, 1923 – April 26, 1994), more commonly known as Mas Oyama, was a karate master who founded Kyokushin Karate, considered the first and most influential style of full-contact karate. A Zainichi Korean, he spent most of his life living in Japan and acquired Japanese citizenship in 1968.
Mas Oyama began studying Chinese martial arts at age 9 from a Chinese farmer who was working on the farm. His family name was Lee and Oyama said he was his very first teacher. The story of the young Oyama’s life is written in his earlier books. Mas Oyama was an amazing karate practitioner who fought and won regularly as a youth.
He invented full contact, or Kyokushin, Karate. Along the way, he beat up bulls, participated in multiple demonstrations in the U.S., and invented the 100-man kumite, a series of 90-second to two-minute fights against a constant flow of adversaries. Oyama completed the 100-man kumite three times over three consecutive days, surviving each battle along the way. His fighting prowess also included training in judo and boxing.
One story of Oyama’s youth involves Lee giving young Oyama a seed which he was to plant; when it sprouted, he was to jump over it one hundred times every day. As the seed grew and became a plant, Oyama later said, “I was able to jump between walls back and forth easily.” The writer, Ikki Kajiwara, and the publisher of the comics based the story on the life experience Oyama spoke to them about – thus the title became “Karate Baka Ichidai” (Karate Fanatic).
- 10th Dan Black Belt in Kyokushin Karate
- 4th Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate
- 7th Dan Black Belt in Gōjū-ryū Karate
- 4th Dan Black Belt in [Kosen judo 高專柔道]
Author to the famous book:
In 1963, Oyama wrote What is Karate which became a best seller in the US and sold million copies all over the world. It is still considered by many to be the “Bible” of Karate to this day. It was translated into Hungarian, French, and English. He also wrote many notable books which include The Kyokushin Way, This is Karate, Advanced Karate, Vital Karate, Essential Karate.