Akira Masuda

Our new mission is to affect “human communication” through the Way of Karate, by means of which we want to “understand” the differences embodied in the various disparate cultures, and, through that “understanding,” to grasp its universality. In addition, we want to make the Way of Karate useful in fermenting an ideology and a sense of values for nurturing “respect” for each other. We are convinced that this is the ideal developmental form of the Way of Karate. And we call people who are mutually involved in accomplishing this mission “BUDO-MAN.”  

Akira Masuda

An exceptional fighter known for his strong kicks; Akira Masuda is one of a select few individuals to have completed the gruelling 100-man Kumite Challenge of Kyokushin Karate. He was the last man to complete the challenge in front of Kyokushin Karate founder, Mas Oyama.

Akira Masuda was born on 22 May 1962 in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. Like most Japanese boys, he was taught Judo at school. By the time he was in high school, he had become Captain of the school’s Judo team.

Masuda developed an interest in Karate. By 1978 he joined the Kyokushin Kaikan Ishikawa dojo. As expected, training was tough. However, he progressed steadily through the ranks.

In 1982 Masuda took part in his first All Japan Tournament. He finished in eighth place. The following year at the 15th All Japan Tournament he finished in fifth place.

Masuda competed in his first world tournament in 1984. At the third running of the event, he finished in ninth place. He lost to Yasuto Onishi of Japan. 192 competitors from 60 countries took part in the three-day tournament. Three years later, at the 4th World Tournament he lost to Andy Hug, he lost to Shokei Matsui in the final. Masuda defeated Michael Thompson to claim third place.

At the 18th All Japan Tournament, Masuda finished in second place. This was followed by a fourth-place finish in the 21st All Japan Tournament in 1989. The following year he defeated Kenji Midori in the final of the 22nd All Japan Tournament.

On 19 May 1991, Akira Masuda became the 12th man to complete the 100-man Kumite Challenge. He was the last man to complete the challenge while Mas Oyama was alive. The challenge, devised by Oyama, is famous for being one of the most difficult challenges in Karate. By the time Masuda faced his 60th opponent in the trial, he was extremely exhausted. He showed tremendous spirit in his last forty fights, fighting on pure instinct.

Between 2-4 November 1991, the 5th World Tournament took place with 250 competitors from 105 countries competing. Masuda made it to the final, where he lost to Kenji Midori.

After Kyokushin Karate founder Mas Oyama died on 26 April 1994, his International Karate Organisation (IKO) splintered into several groups:

  • IKO-1 now led by Shokei Matsui
  • IKO-2 now led by Kenji Midori
  • IKO-3 now led by Yoshikazu Matsushima

Masuda joined the IKO-2 group.

The 6th World Tournament IKO-2 took place in February 1996. 172 competitors took part in the tournament. Masuda finished in fifth place, losing to Norichika Tsukamoto, the eventual World Champion.

Known for his exceptional technical skill, Matsuda has transmitted some of his knowledge into two books:

  • Freestyle Karate (published in 2007)
  • Masuda Akira-Go, Budojin Toshite Ikru (published 2009)

Masuda is the Chief Director of the International Budo-Man Association (IBMA). At his dojo, Kyokushin Kaikan Masuda Dojo he has spent the last couple of years using his expertise to transmit his wealth of knowledge to a new generation of Kyokushin karateka, especially in the area of freestyle fighting.

Below is a video showing this top competitor in action:

Author: Patrick Donkor

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