Our History

Our Kyokushin Karate Founder

Sosai Mas Oyama, was the founder of Kyokushin Karate (1923-1994). He was ranked 10th Dan Black Belt in Kyokushin Karate.

He started training at Chinese Kempo at the age of nine. When he was 15 years old, he started training in karate under Genchin Funakoshi. Mas. Oyama trained hard under various teachers and made great progress, becoming a 4th Dan at the age of 22. Two years later, in 1947, he won the All Japan Karate Championship.

In 1948, Mas. Oyama decided to undergo the rigors of training alone in the mountains. This he did on Mt. Kiyosumi in the Chiba Prefecture, where he stayed for 18 months, training daily to strengthen his body and spirit. It was in 1950, after returning from the mountains, that Mas. Oyama first started matching his strength against that of a bull. He fought a total of 52 bulls, killing three and breaking the horns off of 40. 

In 1954, Mas. Oyama made his first of many visits to North America where he held numerous demonstrations and participated in many fights against boxers and wrestlers. He won all fights he participated in.

In 1953 Oyama opened his own karate dojo, named Oyama Dojo (form of Gōjū-ryū), in Tokyo, Japan. This dojo was the beginning of the KYOKUSHINKAIKAN. In 1964, the Tokyo Honbu was officially opened and the International Karate Organization-Kyokushinkaikan (I.K.O.K.) was established. Kyokushin Karate today is one of the largest and most famous/influential of all karate styles.

Our Shihan/Chief Instructor

Shihan Tom Kupa is our chief instructor and co owner of Kupa International Martial Arts, with over 40 years of Martial Arts experience. He is a 6th Degree Blackbelt in Kyokushin Karate, and a 1st Degree blackbelt in Gosuku Ryu Karate. He is also a Kickboxing Master who has created his own unique Kickboxing style and training syllabus.

Shihan Tom Kupa is also the Vice President of Kyokushin Schools of Karate Union Worldwide.

In 2009, Tom was inducted into The New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame for his many years of dedication & service to both his community and to martial arts in Australasia.