The First World Open Karate Tournament was held on the 1st and 2nd of November, 1975 in Tokyo under the auspices of the International Karate Organization, Kyokushinkaikan.
This tournament, long desired and long planned by Kancho Oyama, was organized primarily to give Karate-Ka around the world the opportunity to meet each other in organized combat and to therefore further foster friendship and the development of the Kyokushinkaikan. Tokyo Honbu Headquarters sponsored a four man, one coach, team from 35 countries, the tournament was also attended by kick-boxers from Thailand and Kung-Fu exponents from Hong Kong. Although ‘World Tournaments’ have been held by other Karate Associations around the world, this was the first truly ‘Open’ Karate tournament and contained many unique features. Exponents from other styles were encouraged, there were no weight divisions, thereby being truly open, there was no Kata (Iota being considered too ‘difficult to truly and fairly judge), and Tameshiwari was obligatory in order to pass into each round of fighting. Kyokushin-tournament rules are unique in the Karate world due to the Kyokushin philosophy of full contact, knockdown fighting with no protective equipment. Kyokushin-Karate has a 25 year history as a true combat Karate, differing from the non-contact styles and from the recently popular American style of full contact in which exponents are heavily dressed in all manner of protective equipment.
However, recognizing the need for a certain degree of protection for tournament purposes, rules banning any hand contact to the face, contact to the groin and grabbing were formulated. Further, exponents received penalties for running out of the ring too many times, for bad attitude and for being hesitant to engage in battle.
In order to demonstrate power and skill, exponents were required to pass set Tameshiwari tests before being accepted into each round. Tameshiwari by Seiken, Enpi, Keri, and Shuto were required successively, the number of boards being set at four, although exponents could request more boards if desired.
Exponents won either by Ippon(one point), or Waza-ari (half a point), judges
decision, decision by weight (in which a difference of 10Kg. gave the lighter person _the victory) or decision by the number of boards broken.
The tournament itself was a great success, attracting a record crowd of 15,000 on the final day. All countries performed well, but it was the Japanese exponents who excelled most brilliantly, a result of their hard, dedicated and selfless training. Demonstrations Were also performed which justly earned much acclaim.
The first 10 places were as follows;
1st K. Sato Japan
2nd H. Royama Japan
3rd J. Ninomiya Japan
4th D. Oishi Japan
5th T. Sato Japan
6th T. Azuma Japan
7th C. Martin U.S.A.
8th F. Clark Britan
9th H. Collins Britan
10th T. Higashidani Japan
After the tournament was over, a Sayonara Party was held to which all _participating persons from the competitors to staff were invited. It was a huge success, binding many strong ties of friendship. Exponents of Karate from all around the world arrived in Tokyo from their various countries, bewildered and overwhelmed. They met together, fought together and socialized together in the true spirit of Kyokushin during a hectic, exciting and rewarding five day stay in Tokyo. They parted no longer the strangers they were when they arrived, firmly vowing to meet again at the next tournament.
The Second World Open Tournament will be held in Tokyo again in November of 1979, and preparations are already under way. It is hoped that even more countries will compete and that the standard will be even higher. Kancho Oyama hopes that all Branches are training suitable members to represent their countries in this next tournament, and looks forward to meeting them all in the spirit of Kyokushin.