Shorinji Kempo is a system for self-improvement and training with many similarities to Shaolin kungfu, including using the same first three kanji. It was established in 1947 by Doshin So, a Japanese martial artist.
Shorinji Kempo is a system of “self-defense and training”, “mental training ” and “promoting health”, whose training methods are based on the concept that “spirit and body are not separable” and that it is integral to “train both body and spirit”. Through employing a well organized technical training schedule, Shorinji Kempo claims to help the practitioner”establish oneself” and to promote “mutual comfort”. The philosophy and techniques of Shorinji Kempo are outlined in their handbook.
The organization of Shorinji Kempo group is divided into 5 entities:
- Religious entity (金剛禅総本山少林寺: Kongō-zen Sōhon-zan Shōrinji),
- Foundation entity Shorinji Kempo Foundation Federation(一般財団法人少林寺拳法連盟: Ippan-zaidan-hōjin Shōrinji-kempō Renmei),
- Educational entity Zenrin Gakuen College(学校法人禅林学園: Gakkō-hōjin Zenrin Gakuen),
- Global entity World Shorinji Kempo Organization, WSKO (少林寺拳法世界連合: Shōrinji-kenpō Sekai Rengō),
- Intellectual property entity (Shorinji Kempo Unity).
The relationship between these 5 entities is very close because of the unique fusion of religion, budo and education. (source: web site of Shorinji Kempo Foundation Federation and Shorinji Kempo Kyohan written by Doshin So)
Before you continue reading about this fascinating martial art take some time to look at martial arts in London where you could train.
There are two sides of Shorinji Kempo which are believed to be true budō (武道) and educational system. As the latter, the organization is well known among boys and girls for their mental training institution as well as body training facilities dōjō (道場).
Doshin So as the founder of Shorinji Kempo wanted to establish not only an organization which incorporated mental and physical training but also wanted to educate Japanese people who had been completely demoralised by World War II/ Pacific Rim War. His aim was to defuse those who had lost their way and rebuild Japan for the future. It is said that he tried to teach philosophy based on the original buddhism and zen but no one followed him. Then he thought to follow Bodhidharma who was believed to be the originator of zen as the mental training and ekkin-gyō (易筋行) as the body training according to his book. Both of these are later to become the main training methods of Shorinji Kempo.
Technically, Shorinji Kempo has a whole set of defense techniques but the demonstration known as embu (演武) is the commonly demonstrated technique. It is usually performed by 2 persons and called kumi-embu(組演武). The embu consists of 6 sections and each section includes a series of techniques which are either gōhō (剛法) or jūhō (柔法). During the embu, one person attacks and another person defends, they then swap roles and repeat the technique immediately. Each technique is known as hien (飛燕) or flying swallow which represents speed and smoothness of those techniques. The embu is occasionally performed wearing a black gown hōi (法衣) at the beginning ceremony of annual taikai (大会) or convention.
For more information see wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shorinji_Kempo