mas oyama

Steve Arneil

The International Federation of Karate is reporting its founder, British kyokushin karate pioneer Steve Arneil, passed away on Friday at the age of 86. Perhaps best known as the coach of the 1975 British world championship team, Arneil was born in South Africa and learned judo and Chinese martial arts as a youngster. He later traveled to China and South Korea to continue studying martial arts, eventually making his way to Japan where, in 1961, he was introduced to kyokushin karate founder Mas Oyama.

Arneil spent four years at Oyama's school during kyokushin's formative period, training alongside many of the style's early notables such as Tadashi Nakamura and Kenji Kurosaki. In 1965 he moved to London where, with Bob Boulton, he formed the British Karate Kyokushinkai organization. In 1975 he was chosen to coach the British team, composed of karateka from all styles, which took the gold medal at the third World Karate Championships. In 1991, after a controversial kyokushin tournament in Japan that Arneil said was fixed in favor of the Japanese fighters, he left Oyama's organization founding his own IKF.

Without a doubt, Bruce Lee is planet Earth's most famous fighter, but his influence extends far beyond the martial arts. Find out how extensive — and long-lived — it is.

A great artist is measured not just by his fame or even his achievements. He’s measured by his influence on others. Fame alone is nothing. An artist can be well-known for quality work or infamous for terrible work. Achievements are similar. A man can spend a lifetime creating technically amazing things, but his list of achievements is as inspiring as an accountant’s ledger. Influence is different. Great artists make people want to be artists. This is taken from literary theory — specifically, the work of literary critic Harold Bloom — but it applies to the martial arts, too. Just like Bloom’s “strong poets” who influence all subsequent poets, we have our collection of martial artists whose influence permeates certain arts. Examples: Karate was never the same after Mas Oyama created kyokushin, and the contemporary grappling arts are infused with the strategies and techniques of Jigoro Kano’s judo. In our time, only one martial artist has achieved an influence that spans everything: Bruce Lee.

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Think you know what it's like to endure a test like the 100-man kumite? Watch this exclusive testimony from Kenji Yamaki, one of only 14 men said to have survived the test, and see if it's something you could survive.

Kenji Yamaki is one of only 14 people in the world claimed to have endured the 100-man kumite — the ultimate test of martial arts mastery devised by Mas Oyama, the founder of kyokushin karate. If you weren't on-site to witness that event, you may have seen Kenji Yamaki in 1989's The Punisher portraying a member of the Yakuza. Or you may have seen him on both the May 2011 and the February/March 2014 issues of Black Belt magazine. Of course, you're most likely to find him teaching at his Yamaki Karate dojo in Torrance. It is from that school in Southern California that we interviewed Kenji Yamaki for the special-features section of his best-selling two-DVD set Full-Contact Karate: Advanced Sparring Techniques and Hard-Core Physical Conditioning regarding this topic of the 100-man kumite. Kenji Yamaki spoke candidly about what happened to him, offering us — and viewers of his two-DVD set — a vivid first-person account of pitting his will and body against staggering physical and mental punishment.

KENJI YAMAKI VIDEO Modern Karate Master Offers His Account of Surviving the 100-Man Kumite


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You may have seen karate master Kenji Yamaki in the 1989 Dolph Lundgren film The Punisher, in which he portrayed a Yakuza member. You may have seen him on the cover of the May 2011 issue of Black Belt. You may have seen him teaching students at his Yamaki Karate dojo in Torrance, California. Or maybe you haven't seen this 6-foot-1-inch, 230-pound, eighth-dan powerhouse ever before in your life. But that's about to change, as Black Belt wraps production on the new two-disc karate DVD set Full-Contact Karate: Advanced Sparring Techniques and Hard-Core Physical Conditioning. And we've got an exclusive sneak peek of these action-packed instructional DVDs!

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