World Oyama Karate is based on the ancient traditional system of training. Our style is quite different from most modern styles of Karate. Modern Karate is arranged for education. This academic approach is not bad, but it misses some important basic points. In most modern Karate styles, the student just punches the air, kicks the air and blocks the air. There is no contact. Without contact, the student cannot really understand the connection between basic training, KATA training and KUMITE training. Too much emphasis is placed on the mental and spiritual aspects of Karate. Many modern Karate instructors fear that students will be hurt if they train with contact. But this results in too much emphasis on blocking and self defense. The result is that the fundamental purpose of Karate training is lost.
In other styles of modern Karate (not World Oyama), blocking is taught first. In World Oyama Karate, you first learn how to kick and punch. You cannot understand even the basic blocks - JODAN UKE, SOTO UKE, and GEDAN BARI - without first understanding the offensive kicks and punches that require these blocks. You cannot separate defense from offense. They are opposite sides of the same coin.
In Karate styles other than World Oyama, it is normal to teach all basic techniques simultaneously right from the beginning. This is very different from the teaching approach in ancient times. In those times, the master would choose one student and teach him only one or two techniques until the student had totally mastered those techniques. The master would never try to teach everything in one shot. It was very important that that one technique absolutely fit into the student's fighting style because his life depended on it. It is not good to teach everything at once. The teacher should teach one simple kick, punch or block technique and then go on to the next level only when that technique is mastered. This is our style of teaching. The foundation of our style are the official text books - Kyoten I-IV and Perfect Karate. These books ensure all World Oyama Karate students are taught in consistant manner.
We first teach basic attack techniques, not block techniques. By learning an offensive technique first, you can understand the importance of the block that is necessary for its defense. You understand the defense more deeply.
Also, in the World Oyama style, we always teach each technique with contact. Without contact, you will never really learn that technique . Without contact, you only learn the technique in your head. You can only imagine using the technique, and it doesn't really fit you. It is very important that you train until contact with every technique. Then you can feel it - mentally and physically. This doesn't mean that you have to kill your partner. You just have to make the contact enough to feel the impact.
All of the basic techniques and combinations are explained in the Karate Kyoten books, Volumes 1-4. Each book shows you how to train for approximately three months, and each volume takes you to a higher level. If you thoroughly study these books and train according to their direction, you will learn all the techniques and combinations of World Oyama Karate in approximately one year. The Karate Kyoten series also teaches you the training and fighting strategies of our style. These books are the teaching standard for every dojo within the World Oyama Karate Organization.
Most people think that they can properly learn Karate by training constantly in one spot. They think that proper training is to practice a technique over and over again in a stationary position and to just punch or kick the air. This is a big mistake. This style of training became popular because people were absorbed with the mystery of Karate. They believed Karate was so powerful that actual contact would be dangerous for students in the modern dojo. They thought that it was sufficient just to practice the punches and kicks repeatedly in the air while standing in one spot. This is not enough. Good basic training must include good KAMAE (body posture and position), movement and footwork, proper execution of the technique with contact, and then back to KAMAE. You must train through this entire cycle. It is not until then that you have finished basic training for the technique. As you train, make sure that your position, body posture, arm position and leg position are all correct before beginning the execution of the technique or combination. Add the footwork - slide, step or switch feet. Then execute the technique or combination correctly with contact. Finally, return to KAMAE that places you in good position for your next move. Without this full cycle, your training for this technique or combination is not complete.
So, if you train in a style where you supposedly learn all the techniques by only standing in one spot and punching and kicking the air, do not believe that you are learning Karate as students did in ancient times. World Oyama Karate has brought the true ancient way of learning Karate to modern training. In our teaching style, we connect basic training , KATA training and KUMITE training. It is important for the Karate student to understand the purpose of each type of training and the relationship between the three.
It is good to talk about the mental aspect of Karate and the spiritual world, BUT Karate is not a religion. It takes much more to properly understand Karate. It is through your sweat and hard training that your mind is opened to understanding. Only then can you can connect the mental with the physical and truly understand the point of Karate. This is our philosophy.
-- Soshi - Saiko Shihan Y. Oyama