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The Kyokushin Karate Roots of Michael Jai White

Kyokushin karate teacher Brian Bastien and student/teacher/actor Michael Jai White at the VictorY Dojo in Burbank, CA, photographed for Black Belt magazine.

Victory Dojo & Fitness chief instructor Brian Bastien looks on as kyokushin karate black belt and film/TV actor Michael Jai White talks to the young students in attendance.

Kyokushin karate — the fighting art founded by Mas Oyama, a man who battled live bulls, occasionally lopping off their horns with his knifehand strike — has a reputation for toughness, including full-contact sparring with minimal safety gear.

But that never scared off Michael Jai White, a lifelong martial artist and actor who’s part of the Victory Dojo & Fitness family. In fact, Michael Jai White has always enjoyed the physicality and discipline of the art, calling it his “savior.”

“I had a lot of angst growing up, and martial arts just felt natural to me,” said Michael Jai White, who holds black belts in seven styles. “I enjoyed fighting when I was a kid. I used every excuse I could to fight.” He began studying shotokan karate at age 7, then switched to kyokushin under Shigeru Oyama.

The latter was the art in which he received his first black belt while still a teenager. He hopes Victory Dojo — located in Burbank, California — will do for today’s youth what his kyokushin dojo did for him. To that end, when he’s in town during breaks from his busy schedule, he’s helping mold it into a school that emphasizes character development as well as physical skills.

And this month, Victory Dojo celebrates the 50th anniversary of its headquarters’ founding.

VICTORY DOJO: THE KYOKUSHIN KARATE HOME OF
MICHAEL JAI WHITE

Michael Jai White Takes You Inside the Kyokushin Karate School He Calls Home When He’s Not Working in Film and TV



Learn about the genesis of brutal tests such as
the 100-man kumite in this FREE download!
History of Karate: Inside Mas Oyama’s
Hard-Core Kyokushin Karate Conditioning Program


“Our school is very basic and very traditional — the way we train is the way they’ve trained in Japan for the past 50 years,” said Michael Jai White, who joined the venture as a “spiritual partner” with his teacher, Brian Bastien.

The headquarters dojo was founded in 1964, according to Robert Christophe, head instructor at Victory Dojo. Brian Bastien opened his Victory Dojo branch at the Burbank YMCA, but he was forced to move because the staff wanted to eliminate sparring from his classes. “We’re a fighting style,” Brian Bastien said, “so without fighting, it’s just like dancing.”

When Michael Jai White isn’t acting, directing or writing screenplays, he’s at the school teaching clinics in techniques and weapons. His message is simple: The discipline required to succeed in the martial arts transfers directly to the world outside the dojo.

“Discipline has helped me in all facets of my life,” he said. “You can pretty much do anything if you have discipline. When you push yourself, you realize you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.”

After hopping from career to career, what Michael Jai White set his mind to was acting. He worked with Jean-Claude Van Damme on Universal Soldier in 1992, then starred in Tyson, Spawn, Black Dynamite and both Why Did I Get Married? movies. Among the newest notches on his belt are an appearance in The Dark Knight and the role of leading man and director for Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown.

But like a true karate master, Michael Jai White downplays his fame.

“I’m not a celebrity in my school,” Michael Jai White said. “That quickly goes out the window when you’re sweating together. It’s more about the fact that I’m a 230-pound guy who hits hard. I think that supersedes celebrity.”

White obviously takes his martial arts seriously, which is precisely what he conveys to his students. “If you’re trying your best, if you’re pushing yourself, I don’t care if you’re athletically gifted or not — it’s the effort you put out,” he said. “As long as you do that, I have respect for you.”

October-November 2014 issue of Black Belt magazine featuring kyokushin karate black belt and martial arts movie actor MIchael Jai White.

 

 

 


CLICK HERE FOR YOUR
SNEAK PEEK OF THE
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF BLACK BELT MAGAZINE, FEATURING MICHAEL JAI WHITE!


 

 




Related Martial Arts Books, E-Books,
DVDs and Video Downloads

Full-Contact Karate: Advanced Sparring Techniques and Hard-Core Physical Conditioning

Shotokan’s Secret: The Hidden Truth Behind Karate’s Fighting Origins — Expanded Edition

Dojo Dynamics: Essential Marketing Principles for Martial Arts Schools

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  1. Watch Sneak Peeks of 5 Upcoming Martial Arts Movies Featuring Michael Jai White, Donnie Yen, Don Wilson, Georges St-Pierre and Cynthia Rothrock! | Martial Demo Website linked to this post on September 1, 2014

    [...] Wednesday, August 27, 2014, we posted a behind-the-scenes video of martial artist and film/TV actor Michael Jai White during his off time working with young students at Victory Dojo & Fitness in Burbank, [...]

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  2. Watch Sneak Peeks of 5 Upcoming Martial Arts Movies Featuring Michael Jai White, Donnie Yen, Don Wilson, Georges St-Pierre and Cynthia Rothrock! - Mehanhapkido.com linked to this post on September 1, 2014

    [...] Wednesday, August 27, 2014, we posted a behind-the-scenes video of martial artist and film/TV actor Michael Jai White during his off time working with young students at Victory Dojo & Fitness in Burbank, [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  3. Sneak Preview of the October-November 2014 Issue of Black Belt Magazine, Featuring Michael Jai White on the Cover! | Martial Demo Website linked to this post on September 3, 2014

    [...] and actor — and now the Black Belt Hall of Fame’s 2014 Man of the Year — Michael Jai White (Watch him in action at his dojo in Burbank, CA! ) [...]

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  4. Eliminate Jujitsu Dojo | MMA News linked to this post on November 12, 2014

    [...] The Kyokushin Karate Roots of Michael Jai White … – Black Belt magazine takes you inside the kyokushin karate dojo where martial artist and actor Michael Jai White spends some of his time teaching kids…. [...]

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