Kyokushin Karate started in Malaysia in the late ‘60s, initiated by the late Sensei Joe Chin Tut Ching, the Branch Chief of Malaysia at the time. It was only taught in Penang. In 1978, Sosai Mas Oyama sent 4 top Japanese instructors to propagate Kyokushin Karate in Malaysia. They were Sensei Y. Matsushima, Sensei K. Sato and two other instructors.Later in 1982, Sosai Mas Oyama sent his Ushi deshi, Sensei Yoshinaga to open Imbi dojo. Sensei Wakuchi, another Ushi Deshi also became guest instructors teaching kata while on transit to Italy. Imbi dojo was notorious for being challenged by gangsters in the area due to Sensei Yoshinaga’s bold signage; “ WORLD’S STRONGEST KARATE ”.
It was there that the young Shihan Michael Ding challenged Sensei Yoshinaga. Shihan Michael Ding eventually became Yoshinaga’s first and last student. After the death of the second Branch Chief Michael Ch’ng and Yoshinaga’s return to Japan, Kyokushin in Malaysia was virtually non existent. It was only after Shihan Michael Ding was appointed as the 3rd Branch Chief in late ‘90s that it was finally revived in Malaysia. Starting with only a handful of students, Shihan Michael tirelessly taught and trained this martial art that was perfected by Mas Oyama over 60 years ago.
In 2010, Shihan Michael Ding successfully hosted the 1st All Asia Open Kyokushin-kan Karate Tournament. It was during this tournament that Kancho Royama (Chairman of Kyokushin-kan Japan) awarded him the title of Shihan and 5th Dan after passing his Godan in Japan. Shihan Michael officially became the Country Representative for Malaysia when Sensei Yu Mun succeeded him as Branch Chief. Shihan Michael is known for his principles and strictness, choosing quality over the quantity of shodans he produces. Kyokushin-kan Malaysia is the only faction of Kyokushin in Malaysia that practices what it preaches of which the Shihan and Senseis still actively participate in tournaments and attend regular international camps to standardise the Kyokushin teaching syllabus. Along with Kancho Royama, Shihan Michael aims to ensure that the Kyokushin training philosophies and methods passed down to his students are the same authentic teachings taught by Sosai Oyama 60 years ago, and not diluted Kyokushin for the masses.
Under the leadership of Shihan Michael, Kyokushin Malaysia has seen tremendous growth and with the support of loyal students and parents, will thrive for many decades to come.