Masutatsu Oyama Workout

Background

Oyama was one of the first to bring Karate to America and founder of the Kyokushin style of Karate. His 1958 classic "What is Karate?" was one of the first books on the subject written in English, and designed to make the subject accessible to westerners.

Oyama initially became famous with stunts such as bull-fighting Karate-style. Unlike Mexican bull-fighters, he would actually wrestle the bull to the ground and break off one of its horns. (He wasn't too popular with animal rights activists in Tokyo.)

According to Oyama's 1958 book, strength and speed are more important than skill for Karate, and speed more important than strength. Also, he said it was very important to practice jumping.

Here are some recommendations he gives in "What is Karate?" (He doesn't give an exact workout.)

Exercises

Running - 4km per day
Rope-skipping - 20 minutes per day
Dumbell arm exercise (shoulder press?) - 200 times
Dips - 100 times
Push ups (with hands in fist) - 300 times
Inclined push ups - 100 times
Jumping side kick over 4 foot vaulting horse
Inclined dumbell bench press

Exercises requiring a partner:
Hitting bag with upper elbow and side of elbow - 200 times each
Practicing jumping kick with bag
Exercises for neck (with partner)
Leg exercise (squat with partner on back)
Back and Abdomen exercises with partner

Elsewhere in the book, Oyama said that he would bench press 175 pounds 500 times a day.

Then there are karate-specific exercises such as straw striking and exercises that are specific to board and stone breaking abilities. All this was in addition to practicing forms, sparring, etc.

Training Protocol

  • Extreme high rep weight training with added aerobics and sports-specific exercises
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