Starting Kyokushin - What can I expect?


White Belt
Jan 30, 2005
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Hey guys,

I'm coming from a WTF TKD background (with the requisite Hapkido-lite thrown in). What can I expect from Kyokushin Karate? I've been looking at the curriculum for the dojo I plan to visit (once the holidays are over), and since TKD was heavily influenced by the Japanese family of Karate martial arts, the basics look very very similar. I was surprised to see things like spinning heel kicks and even flying side kicks in the curricula of this very traditional dojo. Their motto is "if it doesn't hurt, it isn't Kyokushin."

I know I'll have to learn all new forms by it seems like the basic techniques are there. I've done some Muay Thai and Kenpo Karate since I stopped formally training TKD five years ago.

I'm curious, and maybe other Karate practitioners can chime in, but will I be stuck poking around with white belts or will advancement come more quickly? I don't know what the Kyokushin stance is on other styles, but at my old TKD dojo, there was usually a month or two grace period where a new student was assesed (if he was coming in from a martial art), and then tested up to a higher ranking belt as per our instructor's recommendation. Is this pretty typical in Kyokushin? Anyway, thanks for the help guys!
"if it doesn't hurt, it isn't Kyokushin"

If it is a true Kyokushin school, that is true. I use to do it....and the bare knuckle sparring hurts like crazy. Also, the mentality is more aggresive than other arts. Think in terms of Mas Oyama's mentality. yes, alot of the kick are similar to TKD, but you and your opponents will be using them at full force with the intent to hurt. Hitting hard and correctly can be learned anywhere, the main advantage of the Kyokushin system is the mind frame it puts its fighters in.....they come out like hungry tigers who will not stop until the refree stops them. That is not the type of mentality you can learn over night, but something to be absorbed by being in the environment of other fighters and fighting with them.
I don't know about Kyokushin dojos in particular, but I did transfer over to from one style/school to another. I got to keep my rank, but advancement over the past year has been nada, not that it's a big problem with me. I'm just glad to be at a decent school where I really feel like I'm learning how to fight rather than just learning a bunch of kata.
I think there are only 2 forms in Kyokushin: one yo learn as a beginner and another you learn before moving to black belt.
You'll have no problem with the techniques; as DKM76 said, they are very similar. You may have a problem with conditioning, however. Imagine sparring full contact WTF TKD, but with low kicks, leg checks, way more punches and no protective gear. You do get used to it, but expect to feel sore after training for a month or two. Actually, it'll probably be good for you. If you're good at WTF style sparring you'll have much better footwork than these guys: I would suggest you take advantage of that. As for belt rank, only your instructor can answer that question.

Have fun. Kyokushin is one of the best styles of karate IMHO.
Thanks for the opinions guys. When I went into Muay Thai, I found moved much more laterally and did a lot of sliding kicks that really took some of the guys off their game. However, my hand skills are shit (as to be expected). I'm very excited about Kyokushin.
Kyokushin is great. Get ready to take some insane bodyshots.
At my dojo, it takes about 3-6 months for a new student to test to make sure he's becoming more proficient. You're not expected to know very much for orange belt, so I wouldn't think that getting orange belt holds a lot of weight around the dojo anyways.
I am very envious. I think kyokushin is absolutley awsome and i wish they had it around me.
Its a 'hardcore' mentality to training, alot of the tecniques are like any other karate style except for the low roundhouse thats thrown alot, that can take some getting used! just imagine doing your TKD without pads and banging against shins and elbows? conditoning! conditioning! yes your foot work from the fast TKD type of fighting will help you alot only thing you will have to do really is the conditioning for this type of kumite.. good luck
one thing that makes me respect kyokushin is the 100 man kumite.
Kyokushin has much more going for it than just the Kumite.
the guys are just soo much more physical in their ability to dish out and absorb punishment; that is the biggest diff, i sparred a couple'a them cats in mma type things (sparring) and their physicality stood out to me.

tht an almost everyone of those guys has power, i don't necessarily know if they all have natural power; but they commit to their shots and are soo aggressive and tech sound, it seems as if all of them have heavy hands/etc

should be fun and will def prepare u for self def/mma or any other type of high contact fighting/sparring
Kyokushin's first Kata is exactly the same as WTF's first poomsay, atleaste from my memorie of not practicing the tkd poomsay for a few years and 2 classes of kyokushin.

not really much differences, tkd originated from karate anyways so their techniques are the same. downblocks, reverse punches, knife hands, etc. same f'in techniques.