“What if all this is new?”
This is a question that we see often asked by late-comers to Kyokushin-kan.
It is very common, particularly in the overseas branches that have little contact with Honbu, for perfectly competent Kyokushin practitioners and instructors to have spent many years training in Kyokushin without ever having had even the first lesson in bunkai, buki jutsu, ikken, or defending against face punches (or even kata, in some cases!). Kancho Royama would say, “relax! Don’t panic! Just start learning now, no matter how old you are, or how long you’ve been training! It’s not doing anything at all that should give you pause.”
In other words, even though this training is now commonplace in Kyokushin-kan, there is no reason for overseas students (or instructors) who haven’t even started to feel embarrassed and despair. Remember it is Kyokushin-kan’s philosophy that Kyokushin was great in the final decades of Mas Oyama’s life as well! It’s just that it’s our duty to make it even greater lest it slide towards the weaker end of the spectrum due to the neglect of certain areas of training. In order to do so, we need to incorporate this “new” training into all the rest of the training that we’ve always done. Kancho would point out that it’s the “incorporating” the new training into our old training that’s vital, much more so that mastering the new material.
Now, of course, we should also strive to master the new material, but the point is that it’s beginning, and pursuing, mastery that will enhance the totality of our Kyokushin training, and it is NOT necessary to have mastered the material even to introduce it to our students. Clearly the dan-level instructor who picks up a pair of sai for the first time will learn far quicker than the 10th kyu student who’s also holding a pair of sai for the first time.
In this sense, one might say, that the only cause for embarrassment is not trying at all (or, perhaps, not trying hard!). Kancho Royama is telling us to pursue these avenues of training, after all. To not do so at all, either out of fear or pride, would indeed be cause to reconsider one’s path.
That said, it should be clear why joining international seminars with Honbu instructors is so important. Kancho always says, “take what you’ve learned back to your countries, and PRACTICE it, and come back again next year for more.” In this way, we begin our training, we incorporate new elements into our training, and we follow the Kyokushin-kan Way.