Kyokushin and Shito-Ryu are Japanese karate styles. Both focus on self-discipline and personal development. During the training and off-training, the practitioners are expected to portray high levels of discipline.

Kyokushin karate is a style of karate that originated in Japan. It was founded by Masutatsu Oyama in the 1950s and has since become the world’s most popular style of karate.

Kyokushin is known for its strong emphasis on physical conditioning and sparring. Training in Kyokushin typically involves a combination of techniques, such as punches, kicks, and knee strikes, as well as sparring and conditioning exercises.

Kyokushin also incorporates elements of other martial arts, such as judo and boxing, into its training.

One of the unique features of Kyokushin is the use of bare-knuckle sparring and the “Kumite” (sparring) tournaments that are held by the International Karate Organization (IKO).

The tournaments are open to all Kyokushin students regardless of rank and are designed to test their skills and determination.

Shito-Ryu is a traditional style of karate that originated in Western Japan. It was founded by Kenwa Mabuni in 1939.

It is characterized by kata (pre-arranged forms), sparring, and other conditioning exercises. It uses both hard and soft techniques. Kata in Shito-Ryu is performed with a partner and involves practicing various techniques and combinations in a predetermined sequence.

Sparring in Shito-Ryu, called “Kumite,” is typically non-contact or semi-contact and is focused on developing proper technique and control. It also uses other elements of martial arts such as kendo and judo.

In addition to its physical training, Shito-Ryu also emphasizes the development of a strong character and cultivating a positive attitude.

Its practitioners are encouraged to strive for self-improvement and use the discipline and focus developed through their training to contribute to society positively.

Shito-Ryu is among the oldest styles of karate and has a rich history and tradition. It is a popular choice for those interested in traditional martial arts and the study of karate as a means of self-improvement and personal development.

Differences between Shito-Ryu vs. Kyokushin karate styles

Use of their bodies

Shito-Ryu practitioners keep their upper bodies relaxed and use quick footwork to move in and out of range. On the other hand, Kyokushin keeps their upper body tenser and uses strongly rooted stances to gain power for their techniques.

Training methods

Shito-Ryu focuses on Kihon (basic techniques) and kata (pre-arranged forms). In comparison, Kyokushin emphasizes sparring and full-contact fighting of the opponent. Also, Kyokushin uses tough, rigorous training, including full-force sparring and protective gear.


Shito-Ryu emphasizes lighter, quicker movements and fast-linear strikes. In contrast, Kyokushin focuses on heavier, more powerful techniques and full-contact sparring.


Even though the two karate styles have differences, they also have similarities. The similarities include the following:

  • Both focus on self-discipline and personal development. During the training and off-training, the practitioners are expected to portray high levels of discipline.
  • The two styles lead to improved physical and mental health. During the training, body movements and the use of different techniques lead to improved physical fitness and reduced stress levels, promoting mental and physical health.
  • Both karate styles are rich in Japanese culture. During the training, Japanese traditional tools and techniques are practiced. Hence, they promote Japanese history and culture.
  • Origin: Although the two martial arts are different and have different training methods, they both originate in Japan.

What to choose

What to choose depends on personal goals and interests. Each of the karate styles is associated with different techniques and results.

Therefore, you must choose what you want as the end result and your capabilities. For instance, if you are interested in using basic techniques, then you could choose Shito-Ryu since it is associated with kata, all basic techniques.

However, if you want rigorous and rough training, you could choose Kyokushin or even Shito-Ryu as it incorporates both hard and soft techniques.

If you are looking for a traditional martial art that emphasizes precise technique and self-defense, then Shito-Ryu might be a good choice. If you are interested in full-contact sparring and physical conditioning, then Kyokushin could be the best choice.

Generally, both karate styles are essential for self-defense and personal gains such as mental and physical health.

However, before training, you must find out which karate style suits you. Therefore, it is important to try out both styles and see which fits you most before deciding what to choose.

Closing thoughts

Shito-Ryu and Kyokushin are Japanese karate martial arts emphasizing self-discipline. They have similarities such as origin, emphasis on Japanese culture, focus on self-discipline and personal development and are associated with improved physical and mental health.

However, martial arts differ in methods of training, techniques used, and the use of body parts. The choice of martial art depends on your interests and goals.

It is important to try both styles before deciding which martial art to choose.

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