Back in the summer of 1989, I had received my Shodan in Renbukai Karate.
It was a tough style in its own right with a demanding kata curriculum.
They also had their version of full contact sparring known as Bogu.
I enjoyed that very much. At that time, I used to randomly go the local video
store to rent out martial arts movies. By chance, I stumbled upon this VHS tape,
known as "Fighting Black Kings." Initially, I did not understand the "no" face punch
rule. However, I began to really appreciate the continuous sparring format with
knockout kicks to the head. (Also at the time, I had competed in many Japanese
point tournaments, winning a few, but was disenchanted with the lack of combination
techniques and the ease in which some fighters "feigned" their injuries to win
matches. There were a few times where I got disqualified.) I became SOLD with this
Kyokushin phenomena! In 1990, while at San Jose State University, I joined World
Oyama Karate and received my Shodan in 1995.
Ironically, if I did not stumble upon this VHS documentary, I would have never
found out about Kyokushin. Black Belt magazine every now and then might have
had a Kyokushin article, however, these things can easily be missed if there
is no television coverage to see how good this art really is. Another important point
while looking up the Yellow Pages in 1990, (pre-internet days), when I stumbled upon a
school named World Oyama Karate, it said in parenthesis, a derivative of Kyokushin.
Of course at that time, I thought Kyokushin was Kyokushin. I had no idea about the
splinter groups and offshoots. If I did not see this parenthesis, I probably would
not have joined not knowing any better. However, maybe I would have because
there was another catch phrase in the advertisement which stated "full contact"
It was a rewarding experience.