Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate was born in Korea in 1923. From a very early age he had great interest in martial arts, beginning with studying Chinese Kenpo (chuan fa) when he was 9 years old, while living on a farm in China. Returning to Korea when he was 12 he continued his training with local Korean martial arts. At the age of 15 he traveled to Japan and not long after continued his training. He began studying with a focus on judo and karate, eventually achieving 4th Dan Black Belt in Shotokan, 7th Dan Black Belt in Goju-ryu Karate, 4th Dan Black Belt in Judo.One of Mas Oyama’s instructors was So Nei Chu. A senior student of the founder of Goju-ryu Karate, Chojun Miyagi. It was So Nei Chu who encouraged the young Oyama to dedicate his life to Budo, or the Martial Way. Mr. So suggested that Oyama retreat to a lone mountain for solace, to train his mind and body.Following his advice, Oyama traveled to Mt. Minobu where he lived in isolation, training for 12 hours a day, standing under ice cold waterfalls, running and jumping over bushes and boulders as well as using trees as makiwara ( striking aides ). After many months he returned to civilization where he won the karate division of the first Japanese Martial Arts Championships. Again he retreated to the mountains, this time to Mt. Kiyozumi where he continued his rigorous training as well as studying the ancient classics on the Martial Arts, Zen and philosophy. After 18 months he was confident in his ability to return and maintain control of his life.