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100 Man Kumite


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Kyokushin Karate
100 Man Kumite

The hundred-man kumite might well be seen as the ultimate test of physical and mental perseverance in Martial Arts, or for that matter, many other sports today. In essence, the exercise consists of 2-minute rounds of kumite with 100 opponents, preferably a different one for each round.

Yamoaka Tesshu's Hundred Man Duel

During the mid-nineteenth century (Gregorian, of course) there lived a great sword master in Japan by the name of Yamaoka Tesshu, who was the founder of the Hokushin Itto-Ryo. This man is reputed to have completed a 100 man duel, in which he fought (and defeated) one hundred consecutive opponents with the shinai (the bamboo sword used to practice kendo.

Masahiko Kimura's Two Hundred Man Throwing

Masahiko Kimura, arguably the most famous judoka in the history of the sport, was a close friend of Mas Oyama. Oyama said of him that Kimura was the only person he knew who trained as hard or harder than Oyama did himself! Kimura's record in All-Japan Judo title (12 years, including WW-II when no championships were held) was bettered only by Yasuhiro Yamashita, who held the title for 9 consecutive years. In the Japanese Judo world, there is a saying that goes "Before Kimura, no Kimura. After Kimura, no Kimura.

Though the author (Shihan Cameron Quinn) of my major reference could not confirm it, it is said that that Kimura completed the 100 man throwing against two hundred black belts for two consecutive days, and was not defeated once.

Mas Oyama's Three Hundred Man Kumite

It was with these examples in mind that Oyama decided to test his own abilities. And he would go one day better! He chose the strongest students in his dojo, who were to fight him one at a time until they'd all had a turn, and then they'd start from the beginning again, until the three hundred rounds were up. He defeated them all, never wavering in his resolve, despite the fact that he himself suffered severe physical injury in the process.

Each student had to face him about four times over the three days, though some never made it past the first day due to Oyama's powerful blows. Legend even has it that Oyama was willing to go for a FOURTH day, but no one else was willing or able! This took place no long after he had completed his mountain training.

The One hundred man Kumite

Having set the example, Mas Oyama started to institute the 100-man kumite as a requirement for attaining 4th or 5th dan. He soon found however, that not everyone had the spirit to do it, though the physical skill could "easily" be taught. The indomitable will, courage, and determination — the " Spirit of Osu" in it's extreme — just wasn't to be found in everyone. Thus it became a voluntary exercise for those few who had the right stuff.

At first, the fights could be completed over two days if so desired by the person doing it, but after 1967, Mas Oyama decided that they should all be fought on the same day. In addition to the basic requirement of 100 fights, other requirements are that the competitor must clearly win at least 50% of the fights, and if knocked down, should not stay down for longer than 5 seconds.

In Australia, and possibly elsewhere, the 50 man kumite is a lesser (but still no mean achievement) feat that can be attempted.

In Great Britain, and anywhere else under the aegis of Hanshi Steve Arneil, anyone can choose to do any number of fights e.g. 10, 20, 30 , 40, 50 etc.... and he or she will get a certificate for this achievement. This in recognition that, while not everyone maybe able to meet the ultimate Kyokushin benchmark of 100 fights, personal bench-marks are just as important an attainment. After all, even 10 knockdown fights in swift succession can come to as much as half an hour of solid fighting.

Who's done what?

One Hundred

Apart from Oyama's spectacular 3 days in a row, a number of other people have tried and completed the 100 man kumite — but not many. The list below gives the names of these incredible men, and it is notable that most of them are still very active in karate, having achieved a high rank. Some are even heads of their own styles which, of course, are heavily derivative of Kyokushin. Initially, people had the choice do it over two days, with 50 fights per day, but later it became compulsory to do it all in one day.

Steve Arneil (1965)Steve Arneil of Great Britain (now 8th Dan) was the very first, and he did them all in one day (pers.comm). He is now the head of the International Federation of Karate (IFK) based in the UK, and which is not affiliated with the Honbu in Japan.

Tadashi Nakamura (1965)Now known as Kaicho Nakamura, he is the founder of World Seido Karate, based in New York

Shigeru Oyama (1966)No relationship to Sosai, he is now head of his own style, World Oyama Karate based in New York.

Loek Hollander (1967)

John Jarvis (1967)A New Zealander.

Howard CollinsHe was the first to do it compulsorily in one day.

Miyuki Miura (Friday the 13th, April 1972)The first Japanese to do it in one day, he now heads the Midwest Headquarters of the World Oyama Karate offshoot.

Akiyoshi Matsui (1986)Akiyoshi Matsui is the (vigourously disputed) successor to Mas Oyama as kancho or head of the International Karate Organisation (IKO) (listed as IKO(1) in the this website - Shah). He was the winner of the 1985 and 1986 Japanese Open Championships, and the 1987 4th World Open Karate Tournament. Ademir de Costa (1987)This Brazilian was 4th in the 1983 World Championships.

Keiji Sanpei (March, 1990) Akira Masuda (March, 1991)

Kenji Yamaki (March, 1995)He was the winner of the 1995 World Championships. He did his 100 at the same time as Francisco Filho below. His results were:

  ippon gachi                           22
  waza ari/yusei gachi (combined)               61
  hiki wake                             12
  make                                   5


Francisco Filho (Feb and March,1995)Thanks to Jake Calvo's Japanese magazine and neighbour (who translated for him) we know that this incredible Brazilian did it twice, within the short period of two months. The first time it was in Brazil, and the second time in Japan, on the same day as Kenji Yamaki. He then went on, in the same year, to also place 3rd in the November 1995 World Championships.

Jake also kindly provided the results of Filho's two sessions. The Brazilian bouts were 1 minute and 30 seconds each. and the event took 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete. The Japanese bouts were probably the regulation 2 minutes each, with no total time provided.
                               Brazil         Japan
  ippon gachi (full point)       41             26
  waza ari (half point)          18             38
  yusei gachi (decision)          9             12
  hiki wake (draw)               32             24
  make (losses)                   0              0

It has been confirmed, by Sensei Ademir da Costa via Helder Sampaio from Brazil, that Francisco Filho practiced 50 man kumite EVERY Friday! While it was not full-contact sparring, (probably similar to what I know as jiyu kumite), and Sensei Filho pulled his punches, the 50 opponents however were not required to do so. It should however be noted that this was STANDARD training for any of the 1995 World Championship fighters in the dojo. It was not just Francisco who did it.

All I can say is "OSU!"

Hajime Kazumi (Sat, 13th March,1999)Hajime Kazumi completed his 100 man kumite at the new IKO(1) Honbu. Results were obtained from the official IKO(1) site and are as follows:
Time per Kumite 1 minute 30 seconds
Time Started 11:38
Time Finished 15:42
Total Fighting Time 3 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds
Total Spending Time 4 hours 4 minutes
Results 58 wins, 42 draws, no losses
Ippons: 16 (Ippon: 2, Awase-Ippon: 14)
Wins by decision: 42 (Waza-ari: 15)