Kyokushin full-contact karate involves finding strength beyond muscles and beyond mind.
Sean Devlin, 31, just opened Winnipeg Kyokushin-Kan Devlin Dojo at the Victoria Community Centre, 80 Derek St., and he’s hoping to find students who will embrace the kyokushin philosophy.
"I find the training to be so truthful and reflective of what it is to be a real martial art," Devlin said. "It isn’t watered-down in any sense of the word, it’s to the point, and effective."
Devlin himself began studying martial arts when he was four years old.
"Ninja Turtles," Devlin said. "I watched that and I guess I was getting my dad to hold up pillows for me so I could hit them."
Since those days Devlin, whose day-job is working with youth at risk at New Directions, has gained plenty of kyokushin experience.
"I’ve had over 100 full-contact fights," said Devlin, who has represented Canada at world level three times.
"Competing at many different levels really gives you the insights into what is really effective and how a martial art is really used," Devlin said. "I was graded in Japan to my current rank and now I’ve been given the opportunity to head up what it is we do here."
Devlin decided to open the dojo because he said "kyokushin karate is a way of life".
"It’s not just a hobby or habit, where I teach and where we train, it’s not just a gym or to come hang out," Devlin said. "It’s a place where we go to better ourselves and to learn about who we are as people."
Although kyokushin is full contact, Devlin, who is a new father, wants parents to know that contact is introduced gradually and that everyone wears padding and mouth guards.
"They are like little walking tanks," Devlin said. "I’ve never seen anybody hurt."
Devlin’s goal for the dojo is to help make kyokushin karate stronger in Winnipeg.
"In Winnipeg, we’re really separated," Devlin said. "In Montreal, kyokushin is huge, in New Brunswick it’s huge, in Toronto it’s huge, everywhere but Winnipeg. But the kyokushin community out there is huge, and everyone is like a family."