We have all broken things in anger when things did not quite go our way and frustration reached its peak – whether it be an insignificant pencil on the office desk or an expensive video game controller on the coffee table. For Souvik Mukherjee, however, stones bear the unfortunate brunt of his fists of fury and instead of an outlet for frustration, it is an inlet for satisfaction.
That is because the 31-year-old from Siliguri, West Bengal, is a curious student-turned-dedicated master of the martial art Kyokushin Karate or WKO Shinkyokushin, as it is officially known. Its object-breaking offshoot is Tameshiwari - a test of will power, technique, physical strength and mental focus that Souvik claims only 11 in the world, including him, have mastered to such an extent.
As with many successful examples, Souvik’s inspiration budded from unfinished aspirations of father Siddhartha. The senior Mukherjee too had harboured dreams of making a career for himself in the martial arts, reaching the rank of green belt in Taekwondo during his teenage years before paternal intervention forced him to put his plans away and focus on a more ‘normal’ life.
“My father introduced me to films such as ‘Enter the Dragon’ and ‘Fists of Fury’ and encouraged me to take up karate at a young age, with Taekwondo,” says the now International Karate Organization-certified North Bengal branch chief. However, after achieving a silver medal at the 2006 East Zone Taekwondo Championship in Asansol and reaching 2nd keub senior red belt, Souvik decided to back out of Taekwondo after getting soured on too much political gamesmanship.
The 20-year-old karateka looked to Shinkyokushinkai karate instead - conceived in the dojo of Sosai Masutatsu Oyama during the 1950s in an effort to combine the best techniques and concepts of his apprentices from differential martial arts.
Under the guidance of Shihan Shivaji Ganguly, Souvik began to master this new and exciting form of martial art. “I appeared for the gradation test in 2010 under the Kolkata Kyokushin Karate Foundation and successfully became an international registered 1st dan black belt under Iko Matsushima Kyokushinkaikan.”
Build it and they will come
Armed with his new qualification, Souvik opened the Siliguri Kyokushin Karate Academy and eager pupils soon started passing through the gates. “It gives me a tremendous feeling of satisfaction to impart my knowledge to others and enable them to defend themselves and stay fit,” he says with an air of gratification.
Having earned his 2nd dan black belt in 2014 and then, after successfully breaking 40 stones, he was promoted to 3rd dan black belt. This propelled him to the post of branch chief, Iko-Seishin Kyokushin, North Bengal and also spurred him on to found the North Bengal Kyokushinkai Karate Academy. Looking ahead, Souvik hopes to expand beyond just Bengal and spread the word of Kyokushin Karate as far as he can.
“I could never have reached where I am today where it not for the undying support of my parents. Physically, emotionally or financially – whether ensuring my meals were ready, willing me on when the going got tough or paying for my endeavours, I could always count on them,” says the sensei.
Through it all, he remains devoted to the teachings of his guru, the late Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, who he affectionately refers to as the ‘Godmaster’ and imbues the same feeling in his now 60-strong students who pass through the doors of his dojo.
For any queries, Souvik can be reached at +91 7364832615