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Ryu's design for Street Fighter 6 appears to more closely resemble his real world inspiration who earned the name Godhand

Minus the beard of course

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • March 14, 2022 at 8:30 p.m. PDT • Comments: 30

If you ask just about anyone on Earth to name a fighting game character, the most common response would be Street Fighter's Ryu because the no-nonsense martial arts man is and has been the symbol and icon of the genre for the past 3 decades.

With Street Fighter 6, Ryu is shown to have received a pretty stark design change that some may have noticed makes him more closely resemble the real world karate master who inspired the character's creation.

Even if you don't know the connections to the fighting game poster boy, you may well have heard of the legend of Masutatsu Oyama, who earned the nickname of Godhand.

Born as Choi Young-Eui in 1923, Mas Oyama immigrated to Japan from Korea at only 15 years old where he chose his new name and began studying karate fittingly under the Shotokan founder's son.

The tank of a man would dedicate his life to martial arts where he'd open his own dojo, found Kyokushin style karate, and wrote multiple books, including what some apparently still call the 'Bible' of karate being simply titled What is Karate.

Although he was of fairly average height, 5'8" (173 cm), Oyama's muscular build made him look quite stocky, especially without his gi.

Wide Ryu has become something of a meme following SF6's reveal for being an absolute brickhouse, but his stature and physique appear to more closely resemble that of Oyama's build than arguably ever before (albeit even more muscular).

You can most clearly see this in the karate master's wide chest and shoulders, although we won't know if this was a conscious decision by the developers unless they choose to tell us the thought process behind Ryu's new design.

Oyama also had a bit of a wide and hardened face / jaw, especially in his later years, which can also be seen on SF6 Ryu compared to where he was in Street Fighter 5 and previous entries.

One could have a valid argument some of the Street Fighter 2-era artwork for Ryu captured much of the build and spirit of Oyama, but we believe this is the closest he's actually looked in-game.

As for the origins of the original world warrior, Street Fighter's original creator Takashi Nishiyama was apparently a big fan of the manga series Karate Master, which was a fictional story based on the life of Oyama.

His world-renowned martial arts skills and philosophies would help inspire Nishiyama to craft the first Street Fighter and Ryu along with it.

Like the Hadoken thrower, Oyama spent much of his time training in solitude in the forests and mountains developing his own style and purpose.

His crafted karate style focuses on hard-hitting yet simple / practical strikes, which is certainly a staple of Ryu's too... although I'm not sure I'd call crouching jabs very practical in a real fight.

The dude was also just tough as nails, considering he'd run a 100-man kumite multiple days in a row.

Oyama earned quite a bit of fame too fighting and defeating bulls with his bare hands, which eventually earned him the nickname Godhand.

While Mas Oyama lived to be 71 years old (passing away in 1994), he was around to see Street Fighter 2 explode into a worldwide phenomenon, but we can't find anything to suggest that he knew of or acknowledged the inspiration he had on the series.

Funnily enough, Oyama also reportedly inspired the creation of Takuma Sakazaki / Mr. Karate in the Art of Fighting over at SNK too.

If you've never done so, we definitely recommend reading or watching more about the life of Mas Oyama because boy is it an interesting tale.

Banner source. Image source Osufelipekl.

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