Yamoaka Tesshu’s Hundred Man Duel
During the mid-nineteenth century (Gregorian, of course) there lived a great sword master in Japan by the name of Yamaoka Tesshu, who was the founder of the Hokushin Itto-Ryo. This man is reputed to have completed a 100-man duel, in which he fought (and defeated) one hundred consecutive opponents with the shinai (the bamboo sword used to practise kendo.
Masahiko Kimura’s Two Hundred Man Throwing
Masahiko Kimura, arguably the most famous judoka in the history of the sport, was a close friend of Mas Oyama. Oyama said of him that Kimura was the only person he knew who trained as hard or harder than Oyama did himself! Kimura’s record in All-Japan Judo title (12 years, including WW-II when no championships were held) was bettered only by Yasuhiro Yamashita, who held the title for 9 consecutive years. In the Japanese Judo world, there is a saying that goes “Before Kimura, no Kimura. After Kimura, no Kimura.
Though the author (Shihan Cameron Quinn) of my major reference could not confirm it, it is said that that Kimura completed the 100-man throwing against two hundred black belts for two consecutive days, and was not defeated once.
Mas Oyama’s Three Hundred Man Kumite
The hundred-man kumite (hyakunin kumite) might well be seen as the ultimate test of physical and mental perseverance in Martial Arts, or for that matter, many other sports today. In essence, the exercise consists of 2-minute rounds of kumite with 100 opponents, preferably a different one for each round.
It was with these examples in mind that Oyama decided to test his own abilities. And he would go one day better! He chose the strongest students in his dojo, who were to fight him one at a time until they’d all had a turn, and then they’d start from the beginning again, until the three hundred rounds were up. He defeated them all, never wavering in his resolve, despite the fact that he himself suffered severe physical injury in the process.
Each student had to face him about four times over the three days, though some never made it past the first day due to Oyama’s powerful blows. Legend even has it that Oyama was willing to go for a FOURTH day, but no one else was willing or able! This took place no long after he had completed his mountain training.