Kenny Buffaloe
Christian trains Kyokushin Karate at 3 years old.

Father and Son Master Kyokushin Karate While Traveling the World

Simon Moya-Smith

It was 12 years ago, and Kenneth “Kenny” Buffaloe, a Kyokushin Karate instructor, was in his dojo beating a bag, practicing his technique, when, suddenly, he turned and noticed his son, Christian, was imitating his every move.

Fast forward to the present. Christian, now 14, is a rising star in full-contact Kyokushin Karate. He has competed all over the world and continues to train two and half hours daily with his father (who’s also his sensei) in their home dojo in rural North Carolina.

“Our training is a lot of bag work, a lot of running, jumping ropes, sit-ups, conditioning, pad work, focus training,” Kenny told ICTMN. “We do a lot of fight-oriented training because our style is a fighting style – it’s not like the play-Karate stuff. I mean they’re really fighting (each other).”

According to Kenny, Kyokushin Karate is aggressive and because it is full contact, the 50-year-old style of Karate has a lack of followers in the U.S., but its notoriety grows exponentially worldwide.

Its popularity is due in part to its practicality, Kenny said. Kyokushin is a style of fighting that prepares one for real-life situations, or street fights, and not just bouts at tournaments with other trained fighters.

And although Kyokushin Karate can be brutal and the training grueling, Christian, who took to it at the age of two and a half years old, said he loves every minute of it.

“As far back as I can remember, the first time I saw it, I’ve really been drawn to it. I really love it,” he said. “It’s very, very hard and tough, both physically and mentally, but I still feel like [it’s] a challenge that I want to pass through.”

To date, Christian has placed first at seven of the 14 championships he’s competed in. He ranked in the top three at the other seven.

Christian -- an honor student -- added that he believes Kyokushin is a positive influence as it helps him focus on his studies.

“It helps your character. It builds you up,” he said. “The philosophy of the style can also help you in everyday life, the way you deal with people and everything; health benefits. Everything,” he said.


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