Kyokushin-kan Technical Committee
To understand the mission of the Kyokushin-kan Technical Committee, chaired by Shihan Hiroto Okazaki, it is important to understand Kyokushin-kan’s view that technical material (kata, bunkai, kihon, etc.) play an integral role in honing karate fighting ability. In our mission statement, we said that it is our intent to promote the best of what Sosai’s Kyokushin is, was, and will be, rather than taking Kyokushin to be a snapshot of whatever it was at the single moment in time in which we, ourselves, learned from Sosai.
Shihan Okazaki teaching Bunkai.
Traditionally, there was no question in the minds of Kyokushin karateka that that practice of kata and kihon WAS practice inseparable from the pursuit of indomitable fighting ability. It was only later, after Kyokushin’s boom in popularity in the 80’s and 90’s, that newer generations, sportsmen by comparison, began to emphasize training methods that indeed took them to tournament fighting ability quicker (such as bag training and kickmit training), but could never take them to a true mastery of Budo karate (e.g. as applicable in the self-defense situation where there are no rules, and where the karateka, by definition, is disadvantaged). To this generation of students, in many cases kihon, ido, kata, and bunkai became the material they had to learn to “get promoted” but it had little to do with their ability to win tournaments. In many unfortunate cases, it became the warm-up portion, or the mere cardio portion, of the karate class that would then move on to bag training and kumite drills.
Accordingly, it is the mission of the Kyokushin-kan Technical Committee to undo this damage for all of Kyokushin-kan, with the hope of influencing all of Kyokushin. Students must be given the guidance to 1. first correct, and later master kihon, kata, and bunkai, and students must be made to 2. understand how that training is integral to their development of fighting ability as well. Perhaps the very first truth that we hold to be self evident is that, whereas there may be many variations of individual techniques that might serve their purpose in different situations, in kata there is only one correct way to perform each individual movement because each movement of each kata visualizes a particular, defined incoming attack. Yes, in order to achieve our goal, we will work to UNIFY all kata and bunkai — we will endeavor to perform all movements in exactly the same way — however it’s a mistake to believe that the reason why we choose a certain way might be because of arbitrary choice, or preference. Nothing could be further from the truth. We will unify kata, to make them all correct, because there is only one “mastered” correct way to do them.
Ishijima Shihan (left) and Kobayashi Sensei (right) were the mens’ and women’s World Tournament Kata Champions in Moscow in 2005.
The Kyokushin-kan Technical Committee is chaired by Kancho’s named successor, Shihan Hiroto Okazaki, and is composed of a dozen Japanese Shihan-level instructors appointed to 4-year terms, who meet to deepen their practice of kata, bunki and buki jutsu (traditional weapons training), in order, also, to standardize these techniques and teach them other other non-committee-member students and instructors.
Many of the essays included here on Honbu’s site under the “Technical Standard” tab, go into detail to explain Kyokushin-kan’s convictions regarding technical enhancement.