WHAT IS KARATE: At first glance karate is a system of self defense designed to incapacitate an attacker. However after years of training one realizes it is much more than this and has many more tangible benefits.

For me - Karate is a way of thinking and acting. The karate man is powered by the spirit of OSU. It is an over whelming desire to strive and persevere. The desire is to overcome obstacles at any cost and succeed. It is acting without hesitation - in effect being spontaneous. The karate man takes these values with him out of the Dojo and into life. Attack life and grasp the moment.
Why Kyokushin: All karate is great physical and mental training. However there are differences between the hundreds of styles available. The major difference is attitude and spirit. Kyokushin karate focuses on developing a formidable spirit through relentlessly harsh physical training. Unlike other karate styles Kyokushin is Full contact - So you get to see if your techniques would really drop a person or not. Its realistic. You react how you train. If you train not to hit - then you won't hit on the street. It hardens your body and teaches you to take a hit. However the bruises and physical training is secondary to the Warrior spirit it develops in you.
Training in Japan: For Kyokushin - Training in Japan is almost identical to training in a Kyokushin Dojo anywhere in the world. The classes begin with stretching, warms ups (40 Mins) which include many squats (150), pushups (150), Situps (150), Burpees (150), Backups (150). After this Kihon or basic training begins with practising basic techniques, blocks and punches. Following basic training is kumite training - which begins by focusing on kumite techniques. This may be supplemented with bag work or mitt work to develop power in attacks. After this free fighting is initiated and everyone fights everyone in the dojo. The main strategy to to conserve your energy and make your attack so effective it requires the least amount of energy available.
Aftewards, the Dojo is cleaned by the students with a brush.
My afterthoughts concerning training and Zen: The spirit of karate is similar to the spirit found in Zen - that is being spontaneous. One must train his body again and again and again and again - so in time one can execute the technique without thinking. In Free fighting to think can mean to lose the fight. Mushin - or " No mind " is what every karateka strives to achieve. The bnody must act without the mind or the technique will be too slow. If one could compare this to something - breathing would be a good example. Do we think to breathe ?? No. Fighting should be the same. It should be natural and flowing like waves crashing along the beach of a desserted island. It should be fluid and without gaps or Tsuki.
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