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Kyokugenryu Karate Organization at the time of Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Illustration by Hiroaki

The Kyokugenryu Karate (極限流空手きょくげんりゅうからて, lit. Extreme Limit Style Empty Hand) is a fictitious fighting style employed by several characters in the Art of Fighting, Garou: Mark of the Wolves and The King of Fighters games produced by SNK.

Background

Takuma, after fighting several opponents and reading their moves, eventually devised the style from his years of fighting. It allows the user to polish and refine their strengths into a perfect combative technique. While called "karate", it is actually a free-form mixed martial art that roughly employs principles from the Sanchin and Saifa styles. Ideally, a user can excel at both offensive and defensive movements, making them an all-powerful being of strength. The style encourages the users to use their "ki" to extend throughout their body and precisely concentrate the force into their strikes, creating a powerful result with enough practice.

In the Art of Fighting series, Kyokugen Karate is described as a deadly martial art that can only be taught with a mind that focuses on self-defense. It therefore limits the amount of users for the more advanced techniques, as Takuma needs to hand select his disciples.

The King of Fighters series notes that Kyokugen Karate has a dojo chain. Takuma and his family gain plenty of students due to the publicity they gain from participating in the tournaments. But he (and sometimes Ryo) have every hopeful student immediately undergo rigorous and pain-staking training, even for simple moves and manners of defense. For example, Takuma considers 500 sit-ups to be a normal warm up for beginners. Takuma also makes soba (wheat noodles) at an impossible rate for his students, making them sick of them rather quickly. His inability to change his training regime causes the dojos to lose students quickly, putting the family business into jeopardy various times in the series.

There are at least four known dojos. The main and first dojo founded by Takuma is in South Town. Dojos are also established in Mexico and Japan, though they are only known to exist in dream matches and alternate realities. Marco Rodriguez eventually becomes the teacher of a dojo in Brazil.

Signature attacks of the form include the Kou'ou Ken (either as a ki projectile, invisible ki blast, or an ki-infused palm), Kohou (a jumping uppercut with either the front or back hand, depending on the practitioner), Hien Shipuukyaku (either a twisting, forward-moving kick or a horizontal flying kick with a followup), Zanretsuken (a flurry of punches with the forehand at lightning-fast speed), Haou Shoukouken (a massive ki projectile that is the height of the upper body), and iconic ougi known as Ryuuko Ranbu (a kata that has the user dash at the opponent before going into a barrage of punches and kicks, ending with a Kohou or series of Haou Shoukoukens). The individual practitioners also have their own specialized attacks, such as Robert's Gei'ei Kyaku (a series of high-speed kicks) or Ryo's Tenchi Haou Ken (a massive chamber punch to the midsection that can instantly cause an opponent to become dazed).

Known Practitioners

By order of seniority of Kyokugenryu Karate (all alive):

Image
Character
Powers/Skills
Belt Color/Graduation
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Takuma Sakazaki (A.K.A. Mr. Karate), founder and grandmaster of the style.
Gather Chi, Energy Projectile and Multiple Attacks.
Black (10º Dan for both personas; ゅうだん).
file
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Ryo Sakazaki (A.K.A. Mr. Karate II), sensei (master) and direct successor of the style.
Gather Chi, Energy Projectile and Multiple Attacks.
Black (5º Dan for Ryo and 6º Dan for Mr. Karate; 練士).
file
Robert Garcia, disciple and the first known foreign practitioner of the style.
Gather Chi, Energy Projectile and Multiple Attacks.
Black (4º Dan; ゆうだんしゃ).
file
Marco Rodrigues (A.K.A. Khushnood Butt), teacher of the Brazilian division of the style and disciple of Ryo Sakazaki.
Gather Chi, Energy Projectile, Sense, Energy and Multiple Attacks
Black (2º Dan; ゆうだんしゃ).
file
Yuri Sakazaki, disciple and the first known female practitioner of the style.
Gather Chi, Energy Projectile, Energy Reflector and Copying Techiniques.
Brown (1st Kyu; 一休 [in the most of her apperances]); Yellow (5th kyu; ごきゅう [KOF XIII]).

Worthy of mention may be the Mr. Karate title, used at different times by Takuma and Ryo, which appears to imply that the individual using it is the current master of the art.

As a side note, three other known disciples of the technique are protagonists in the Days of Memories series. Sho Hayate's cameo appearance in the Kyokugen Dojo stage in KOF XIII could imply that he is either learning the style or is just an acquaintance of the Kyokugen practitioners. Enta Girl is also an apprentice of the style.

Ryo, Robert, Takuma, Yuri, Marco, and other Kyokugenryu Karate "Practitioners".

Humorously, in The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match (a non-canonical Dream Match game), the special ending picture of the "Former Art of Fighting Team" (a Team consisting of Ryo, Robert and Takuma) depicts several other characters as "practitioners" of the martial art style. These "practitioners" (from left to right, back row to front row) includes Ryuhaku Todoh, Geese Howard, Billy Kane, K', Clone Zero, Joe Higashi, Clark Still, Iori Yagami, Kyo Kusanagi, & Heavy-D!.

All the ranks and belts of its practitioners are named according to the most real-life Karate style.

Trivia

  • The poster flyer for the Kyokugen Karate Dojo in Garou: Mark of the Wolves is a reference to the poster of 1973 film Enter the Dragon.

Martial Arts Influences

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