Bomi Joseph is at the forefront of the bio-hacking movement. Since 1984 he has dedicated his career to researching “endohealth.” His goal is to promote the medicinal properties of plants and lessen the public’s dependence on pharmaceuticals. Additionally, Bomi is a highly sought-after speaker and has given numerous presentations on human health. He is a leading authority on food & drug safety, drug intolerance, and food-related diseases. Bomi currently advises leading food/pharmaceutical companies, the Food & Agricultural Organization, and the World Health Organization– primarily in the areas of food and drug safety, additives, foodborne diseases, and genetically modified foods.
Dr. Joseph earned his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. His dissertation was on ligand binding to G Protein Receptors on cell membrane surfaces. Dr. Joseph is currently a member of the Harvard Business School Association of Northern California. He is also a member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy and a founding member of The Obesity Society.
Along with his professional career, Bomi is also the author of the popular motivational book, “Unfettered” (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GMB4Q2C). He is the Branch Chief of Silicon Valley Kyokushin Karate, a private pilot, and an avid athlete. He enjoys communing with nature, spending time with his son, meditating, playing the guitar, and listening to music.
What is your favorite hobby?
My favorite hobby is training Kyokushin Karate. Kyokushin is a full-contact martial art that originated from Japan and was founded by Masutatsu (“Mas”) Oyama. He is widely considered one of the toughest men to grace the earth.
Kyokushin’s training is intense and students spar regularly. Its sparring differs from other martial arts styles. In Kyokushin, students do not wear any protective gear. They sparr without gloves or shin pads. Although this form of karate doesn’t seem likely for everyone, it can be a lot of fun with a good instructor.
The advantages are significant. A kyokushin karateka is capable of performing stupendous feats. His body gets gradually conditioned to taking full blows and kicks. They are lethal fighters.
How did you get started with it?
My father was a diplomat stationed in Japan and when I was young, I saw Mas Oyama and a group of his students smashing down a building in Tokyo on TV. Mas Oyama had seen an advertisement for a wrecking company to tear down a building. He called the contact and offered to do it for half the price. He got the contract.
He then called the local TV Network and asked them if they wanted to film a bunch of guys smashing down a building. On the day of the demolition, the TV crew filmed Mas Oyama and his band of students smash down a tall building with their bare hands, feet, and heads. The owner of the building expected a wrecking company to show up with a demolition machine and a wrecking ball. For half price, he got a dozen maniacal karatekas, in their gis systematically smashing through everything they saw with their bodies. It was an astonishing display of power that captivated that nation. It was 1969 and I turned to my Dad and said “I want to do that.” My father’s immediate horrified reaction was quite negative.
Tell us what you love about it.
It has made me realize that the human body is capable of incredible feats if it is gradually and consistently trained. The keywords are “consistent” and “gradually.” Most people never push their bodies to achieve anything.
It has developed my mind to be very strong. And the mind is the most powerful part of my being. In order to practice Kyokushin, you have to overcome many natural and normal fears. Sparring in class is pretty tough, but fairly safe because you are normally sparring with seniors and juniors you know well, and who are not trying to hurt you. Sparring in Kyokushin competitions is rough because some pretty tough strangers are trying to knock you out senseless.
It has helped my mind not live in fear. Kyokushin has made me a pretty relaxed and laid-back individual.
What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?
I am the local Branch Chief of a major Kyokushin dojo (school). It is a 120’ by 80’ dojo with state-of-the-art “Dollamur” mats. It is also a full-featured Health facility located in Campbell, CA. We have our own private parking space with a free rapid 240-V electric car charging station for members. We have separate men’s and women’s changing rooms and bathrooms.
We have six heavy punching bags, custom-made conditioning equipment, and strength training machines. There are gymnastic rings, Pull-Up Bars, Free Weights, Smith Machines, TRX Band Stations, and Resistance Machines. We have a formal pliability and flexibility area with Sand Bells, Stretch Bar, Yoga Straps, Rope pulleys, Dharma Yoga Wheels, Trapeze Yoga Swings, and instructors to help.
It’s fair to say that I have sunk a decent amount of money into my hobby.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?
This is a big-ticket item but it sets my hobby dojo apart and into a league of its own- https://dollamur.com/. The best martial arts mats in the world.
Kyokushin World Shop is the place to go for high-quality Gis. https://www.kyokushinworldshop.com/us/
Century Martial Arts (https://www.centurymartialarts.com/) is a safe and convenient martial arts store.
We have most of the weapons custom made and Cocobolo wood is my favorite for Nunchakus and Tonfas.
How much money have you invested into it and how much should a beginner invest to get started?
I am a purist. I started “old school.” Other than investing in my “Gi”, I spent no money on equipment. A good instructor whose heart is in training students is the most important thing to have. This is hard to find because most martial arts instructors are in it to make money. I don’t begrudge someone hustling to make money. But my Senseis loved their art and in training us.
We trained in fields and roofs. We did knuckle pushups on cinder blocks. Squats, sit-ups, jumping, and spinning kicks. We held pads for each other. We sparred and sprinted. I could go on and on. Everything we did that made us extremely strong was free.
It’s only when I became relatively successful that I started “investing” money in fancy equipment. It hasn’t made me stronger. It has made me more comfortable. Superb training is free. At least relatively free.
Are there any good books for beginners interested in your hobby?
One of the best books in Karate is “Perfect Karate” (Asahi Press) by my legendary Sensei, who regrettably has passed away. It is written by Shigeru Oyama, Yasuhiko Oyama and Miyuki Miura. Honestly, the book is no substitute for learning from one of the authors. Soshu Shigeru Oyama is no more than his brother, Yasihiko Oyama has an excellent dojo in Homewood, Alabama (https://www.worldoyama.com.) Shihan Miura has a world class dojo in Oak Park, IL (http://www.miuradojo.com.)
This book is a must-have for a karateka who is advanced. The techniques and simple and highly effective. The pointers are world-class. I am biased towards training with a good instructor. Most things are counterintuitive and a good instructor will break the poor habits that are natural and instinctive and help you hone a highly effective style.
Are there any videos you can recommend for beginners? Please include any links.
Videos are a much better way to learn than books. Warms ups are very important. This 16-minute video is a good warm-up routine, especially if you are young and limber- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_VjN6bzgwU.
A slow and detailed beginner video to start learning Kyokushin is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMkjKNcEtnY.
The complete video instruction by Shokei Matsui is the Bible of Kyokushin instruction- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il9ObsFHjVM.
How has your hobby changed your life?
It’s a part of who I am. It affects the way I think and the way I feel. When I train regularly I feel very good about myself. If I do not train, I feel something important is missing in my life. Kyokushin karatekas are an elite group. Only a Kyokushin fighter can relate to another Kyokushin fighter.
What advice do you have for others just starting out?
Find a great instructor. Find a Sensei who has sunk most of his life training in Kyokushin. He will benefit your life in ways I will never be able to describe in this interview.
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