The martial art of Shorinji Kempo, which has now spread far and wide in all parts of the world, was originally established in the town of Tadotsu in Japan. The founder of this unique style, a Japanese man born Nakano Michiomi, but took the Chinese pronunciation of his Kanji characters of So Doshin (who was more commonly known as ‘Kaiso’ = The founder) He lived in China from the age of 11 with his grandfather, until mid 1947.
During the 1930s' he was travelling around China (Manchuria in particular) making maps for the Japanese military. He used the study of martial arts as a cover for his extensive movements. He learned a form of Aikido from his grandfather and many styles of Kung Fu from various Sifu as he travelled.
After witnessing the defeated people when So Doshin returned to his home country, he was saddened to see the discouraged and disillusioned youth of his homeland. It was then that he decided to dedicate the remainder of his life for the betterment of the youth of his country. His sole aim was to bring about physical, mental and spiritual strength and rebuild the lost confidence in the young people who would shape the future of the country.
Kaiso reorganized all the techniques from the various styles he knew into a 680 odd technique system that has a defence for any attack.
At the same time he created the teachings of Kongo Zen, a blend of original Buddhism, Zen and his own philosophy based around the concept of improving the quality of life for everyone by developing good considerate people who have the strength to stand up to injustice and bullying.
However the youth did not want to stand around and listen to another preacher telling them how to live their lives. So he used the techniques as a bait to attract the youth who had to listen to his messages interspersed in the lessons.
Gradually the message took hold and momentum built and students started to see the benefits of this and took up the challenge to spread the word. From this origin Shorinji Kempo spread around Japan and then to the world.
Kongo Zen is the philosophy created by So Doshin as a part of Shorinji Kempo. In recent years it has been de-emphasized outside Japan to the disappointment of some senior Western Kenshi (practitioners).
The self defense techniques cover both defenses against punches and kicks and when grabbed. Equal emphasis is placed on the study of both aspects referred to as Goho and Juho respectively.
The punch kick system called Goho (and loosely resembles Karate,) however relies on speed and striking vital points, rather than power. It covers a wide variety of punches and kicks and extensive blocking and dodging. During training the emphasis is on defence, so practice is focused on blocking and counter attack. The staff (Bo) Short staff (Jo) and batten (Nyoi den) are also taught at senior levels. How to attack vital points is also taught in great depth at this level.
Juho starts with escapes when grabbed, it covers every possible combination of grabs, one hand on one, two hands on two or two hands on one as well as arm and clothing in the same variations, each of these variations can be any combination of grab and pull or grab and push or twist or push and pull etc. Then continues with the attacker standing from the side and rear, sitting and standing.
The next stage is twisting, so each of the various escapes above, can, rather than escape, maintain contact and keep control of the attacker buy using joint twisting techniques, which can cause very intense pain rendering the attacker incapable of resistance. At high levels the application of technique is so fast that you don't register any pain but find yourself pinned on the floor wondering what happened.
These then lead to throws, to put the attacker on the floor and be pinned.
Also taught within Juho are the following... Chokes, arresting techniques, pressure on vital points, and tying up with belt or what have you.
Zen meditation also forms an important part of practice.
Meditation is practiced in order to calm the mind, be aware of his inner self and to keep his breathing regulated.
The martial art of Shorinji Kempo was designed to help any person defend themselves effectively and efficiently against any kind of violence, no matter how small or what age they are. It is a method which can be used to empower the weaker to take control of the stronger without the use of unnecessary force and in the absence of serious injuries. The basic formulae of physics, physiology and mechanics followed in this form are responsible for ensuring that everybody can learn and execute this style of martial art irrespective of their age or gender.
The use of appoximately 138 vital points in the human body which are utilized by Shorinji Kempo for counter attack.
The purpose of Shorinji Kempo is not to fight without a valid reason and inflict pain on others. The technique is only meant for defending oneself from a violent attack and making the opponent incapable of causing further damage without causing him any serious injury.