Maybe I am the only one who feels short changed, but a 4th Dan in Shotokan and a 4th Dan in Judo and all we get is hard straight punches and low kicks until somebody falls down, or not. It makes me wonder just what was Oyama's foundational degrees in Shotokan and Judo. Yeah, I admit this is heresy, but it seems to me Kyokushin developed as a answer to Shotokan and point fighting rather than as a search for ultimate truth. The truth these days seems to be, I don't know , MMA, at the very least Enshin, or Kudo. The Shotokan question was answered decades ago and Kyokushin stopped searching for the ultimate truth. One might argue that the search for ultimate truth is inward, yeah maybe. . . So why have we been kicking ourselves all these years? I'm a little grumpy today.
One of the reasons I felt at home straight away in Enshin is that 3 second grab. In the video of the first Kyokushin World Tournament in 1975 the explanation of the rules clearly states grabbing is allowed for 'up to two seconds'.
That's the way I was taught and it works. If you fought as an 'A frame' with your head too close you got grabbed and knee'd in the face. If you left a kick in instead of withdrawing it, you were grabbed and thrown. So we had to move well in the early times and Enshin has kept that.
That's not to claim superiority, there are tough and capable fighters - and pussies - in all systems, but if you want to train as Mas Oyama originally intended - with grabs and throws - join Enshin.
Gary's comments reminded me of my early tournaments too. My first Nationals in 1978 let us grab somewhat, although the exact rules were grey, more likely because the referees at the time had such little experience. They really were thrown in at the deep end. I remember we could grab the head and pull down for knees. By the 1980 Nationals that rule had been changed to being allowed to just hook the head with the open hands. It was removed altogether after that.
I think Sosai had a lot of experience and skill he just left out of Kyokushin because he had an agenda. He wanted to make Kyokushin unique, popular, easy for fans to understand. Judo was not popular as a spectator sport. Nor was traditional karate. Then he came along with the Kyokushin rules and it became a real sensation. My first All Japan (as a spectator) was the 8th, where Toshikazu Sato fought Joko Ninomiya in the final. The place was packed to the rafters. So he got something right. That's where everyone's focus went. With the benefit of hindsight we can say how good it would have been to incorporate groundwork and judo throws, but we didn't. I even lived in LA for a year in 1980 and trained in the afternoons at the LA City College. And 20 metres away Gene LeBell was running his grappling classes. I thought, "Pffft, what a waste of time, I'll stick Kyokushin." As the saying goes, if I knew then what I know now...
As far as skills go, if you think about how fast Kyokushin grew (he had seen 10 million + come through by the time he was in his early 50's) it was impossible to enforce high technical standards. So things were really sloppy in many dojos. Tough, hard training, but sloppy. So Nei Chu was a really tough SOB who steamrollered fighters in kumite with his explosive power. technical? I don't know. But from the Shotokan side the argument was that his karate was not really karate at all. Just brawling. But it worked. It's hard to argue with it if it works.
I think Sosai's students had more of an opportunity to experiment. Without minimising the quality of any style, Seido-juku more or less a blend of Kyokushin with Zen. Daido-juku is more or less Kyokushin with judo. Ashihara and Enshin started as Kyokushin with aikido flow. Shidokan was Kyokushin with a kickboxing blend. They are all more than just that of course, but that is an easy way to classify them in a sentence. And that was according to Sosai directly to me. So like Hokuto said, the students took the baton and ran with it and filled voids they felt were lacking. At the end of the day, though, they all found a great base in Kyokushin. More an attitude, a mindset than technique.