Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Head Punching in Kyokushin Karate

Kyokushin karate has a very tough training program. One criticism that is leveled against the style is the lack of head punching in competition and sparring. What is this?

Below we have an excerpt from a post that appeared at The Martial Way which describes the reasoning behind this. The full post may be read here.

Why Kyokushin Fighters Do Not Punch to the Face

Almost anytime I post a video of a Kyokushin bout there is one or more people who either make a comment about how it isn’t “realistic” because they don’t punch to the face, or, they ask the question of why they don’t. I decided to do some research and create a post that I could just share anytime those comments or questions come up.

That being said, I wasn’t able to find a definitive answer, although a lot of speculation and hearsay. I would love to get a clear answer, perhaps from someone in the early days, or someone who asked Sosai Oyama directly.
From what I have gathered, in the early days of Kyokushin karate training, bare knuckle strikes to the face were allowed, but this resulted in many injuries, and blood, which caused some students to withdraw from training. Also, they wanted the matches to last, be a challenge and not end due to cuts. 

They did for some time wrap their hands in towels, but Sosai Oyama believed that wearing protective gloves would take away from the realistic nature that his style was building.

Therefore, it was decided that hand and elbow strikes to the face, head and neck would no longer be allowed in training and competition.

As a side, google Irish bare knuckle fighting and you will see for yourself the devastation this leaves.
Also, when Sosai Oyama was trying to get permission from the government to host the first All-Japan tournaments he was told face-punches would not be allowed. They could use protective gloves, but as stated earlier, Sosai Oyama believed that wearing protective gloves would detract from the realism that the style emphasized. I have also read that the Japanese public feared that competitors would die at the first full-contact All-Japan tournaments held by Mas Oyama in the late 1960′s, if face punching were allowed.

Furthermore, Japan at that time, and today, along with many governments around the world, do not allow bare-knuckle strikes to the head in any sanctioned competitions.
By the 1990′s when Sosai was still alive and Kyokushin achieved such enormous popularity, all Kyokushin tournaments, including the world tournaments held in Japan, did not allow the competitors the use of hand strikes (punches, elbows, etc.) to the head and face. This was done originally for an obvious reason, as stated above. No one wanted to see so many competitors bloodied and sent to the hospital after competitions.


Dirk Bruere said...

The biggest problem with bare knuckle fights is broken hands. Even the Irish fighters use hand wraps

Rick Matz said...

Yes, boxing gloves are meant to protect the puncher's hand more than the recipient's head.