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Kenji Yamaki, from being bullied to a great champion


Former Kyokushin Karate champion Kenji Yamaki's inspiring story is one of resilience, courage, and triumph in the face of adversity. He faced illness, bullying, and three suicide attempts before turning to Kyokushin karate, at the age of 15, as a path to self-discovery.


He is a living example of Osu no Seishin and how dedication, hard work, and an indomitable will can overcome even the greatest difficulties.


Facing bullying at school


Kenji Yamaki is a 15-year-old schoolboy who faces a situation no child should have to endure: bullying. Although he is 1.80 meters tall, Kenji, who weighs 55 kilograms, is the target of constant bullying because of his anemia. He feels helpless and unable to defend himself, saying: "I was very weak. Everyone was trying to attack me.


Karate training is a great way to become more disciplined and gain strength, but for Kenji Yamaki it was also the key to ending his bullying problems. As all martial artists know, Kyokushin is a full-contact fighting style that requires discipline and dedication. For Kenji, this meant honing his skills in the dojo and learning to defend himself against bullies. The problem disappeared completely after a year," he says.


Kenji Yamaki is an inspiring example of the power of resilience and courage. Kenji was able to overcome his difficulties to become not only a national champion but also a world champion. But his greatest achievement is undoubtedly surviving the 100-man Kumite, a feat that few have accomplished.


18 March 1995, the 100-man Kumite


After all his tournament victories, Kenji was determined to become one of the few men to finish 100-man Kumite (fights).


After 70 consecutive fights, he had been pushed to his limits. Starting with opponent #71, he became almost unconscious in the ring and has no memory of half of his fights - becoming a human punching bag and automatically moving like a robotic machine with no memory of his actions or the opponents he faced.


Despite being in a trance-like state, Kenji managed to persevere to the end of the event after three hours and twenty-seven minutes of grueling fighting.

Kenji Yamaki finished the test with an incredible record of 83 wins, 12 draws, and only five losses, including 22 knockdowns.


Immediately after the test, he was hospitalized. Yamaki was taken to the emergency room where doctors were shocked to find his body in such a critical condition. The doctor said he was "like being hit by a truck", his kidneys were damaged. He lost consciousness and almost died."


In conclusion, Kenji proved his worth, showing what kind of fighter he is by his determination to complete the 100-man Kumite. It was an impressive feat, pushing him beyond his physical limits and into more challenging opponents. He showed immense courage and strength in the face of adversity, refusing to give up even when it seemed impossible. His story is one that reminds us all to never give up and to always strive for excellence, no matter how difficult the situation is.


Tournament results


IKO 18th All Japan Open Karate Championship 1986 Open Kumite – 3rd place

IKO 20th All Japan Open Karate Championship 1988 Open Kumite – 3rd place

IKO 21st All Japan Open Karate Championship 1989 Open Kumite – Champion

IKO 22nd All Japan Open Karate Championship 1990 Open Kumite – 8th place

IKO 5th World Open Kyokushin Karate Tournament 1991 Open Kumite - 5th place

IKO 24th All Japan Open Karate Championship 1992 Open Kumite - 7th place

IKO 10th All Japan Weight Category Karate Tournament 1993 Heavyweight – Champion

IKO 25th All Japan Open Karate Championship 1993 Open Kumite – 7th place

IKO 26th All Japan Open Karate Championship 1994 Open Kumite – Champion

IK0 1995 Hyakunin Kumite - 100 fights

IKO 6th World Open Tournament 1995 Open Kumite - Champion


Gaëtan Sauvé

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