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Masutatsu Oyama
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Martial Artist
    (July 27, 1923-April 26, 1994)
    Created Kyokushin karate
    Published 'What is Karate?'
    He was born in South Korea, but wanted to be Japanese.
    Kyokushin karate is brutal, with sparring being a large part.
    When he died, the Kyokushin martial arts hierarchy fought amongst themselves and split.
    He never achieved his goal of three years of training in solitude.
    There is a high dropout rate in Kyokushin training, due to its intense nature.
    He believed in the principle 'One strike, certain death.'
    He began studying kempo at age 9, following that with shotokan at age 15.
    He joined the Japanese Imperial Army at age 15.
    He was extremely disciplined, training on mountains for up to 18 months at a time, 12 hours a day, every day.
    His training included punching trees, breaking rocks, and standing under waterfalls.
    It is said that he shaved off one eyebrow so he wouldn't leave training.
    He won the Karate Section of Japanese National Martial Arts Championships.
    He created Kyokushin karate, said to be the hardest formed practiced today.
    For this, he received the title of 'sosai,' the highest rank one can achieve in any martial art.
    It has a harsh training regimen that tends to brig out 'the best of the best.'
    It focuses on combat effectiveness.
    It incorporates moves from boxing and kickboxing into regular karate.
    He included the elements of courtesy, respect, wisdom and humility.
    Without them, Oyama believed, a fighter cannot possibly know when it is and is not appropriate to use his martial arts skills.
    He once said 'Karate begins with courtesy and ends with courtesy.'
    There are over 12 million practitioners worldwide.
    He took on all challengers, winning most in minutes or with only one strike. He fought over 250 like this and always won.
    He was so strong, he gained the nickname 'The Godhand.'
    He once fought three hundred people over the course of three days, only stopping when he ran out of willing and able participants.
    He fought and killed full-grown bulls with his bare hands. He was capable of using a knife edge strike to knock off their horns.
    He killed three bulls with only one blow.
    He was invited by West Point Military Academy and the FBI to train their recruits.
    'What is Karate?' sold over 500,000 copies.
    He died of lung cancer, but was not a smoker.
    His life was told in the manga series 'A Karate Fool for Life' and the movie 'Fighter in the Wind.'

Credit: Lorg Skyegon

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