What is Shorinji Kempo?

shōrinji kempō to wa?


Kaiso So Doshin

Shorinji Kempo was founded by So Doshin in 1947. He developed a system based on the techniques and the philosophy that he learned in China. So Doshin wanted to recreate the idea Boddhidharma had when he taught martial arts and zen philosophy at the Shaolin Temple.

Shorinji Kempo is not only a martial art or self defence. The basis of Shorinji Kempo is not to raise tough fighters, but to develop people who can act, help others and create a better society. Shorinji Kempo has three basic goals for its practitioners:

These are goshin rentan [護身練胆] (ability in self-defence), seishin shūyō [精神修養] (mental development) and kenkō sōshin [健康増進] (improved health). On often refer to Shorinji Kempo as a gyō [行] (discipline) that develops individuals.

The practice also have two basic concepts of how the practice is done, these are jiko kakuritsu [自己確立], which means “to build up one’s own self” and jita kyōraku [自他共楽] “mutual happiness for oneself and others.” One should never use Shorinji Kempo to create conflicts or to show off strength for one’s own gain. Even if one is forced to use one’s knowledge that should be the last resort. Shorinji Kempo should help instead of being upset. This philosophy, known as Kongo Zen and is based on Buddhism, is a very central part of Shorinji Kempo.

The Organisation

Shorinji Kempo Hombu

Shorinji Kempo Hombu

The organisationen is led by Shorinji Kempo Hombu (headquarters), located in the small town Tadotsu in Japan, which also issue all grading certificates. All Shorinji Kempo branches in Sweden are members of the Swedish Shorinji Kempo Federation (SSKF) (in Swedish Svenska Shorinji Kempoförbundet) wich is a sub-federation to the Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation (SB&K) (in Swedish Svenska Budo- och kampsportsförbundet) and by that the branches are also members of the Swedish Sports Confederation (Riksidrottsförbundet, RF). All branches are also, of course, members of the World Shorinji Kempo Oranization (WSKO).

Nippon Budokan

Nippon Budokan

Shorinji Kempo is also one of the nine gendai budō [現代武道] (modern budo*) which, together with the Nippon Budokan [日本武道館] formes the organization Nippon Budō Kyōgikai [日本武道協議会]. The nine gendai budō are: Aikido, Judo, Jukendo, Karatedo, Kendo, Kyudo, Naginata, Shorinji Kempo and Sumo.

* Modern, or gendai, budo refers to budo (Japanese martial arts) that are founded after 1868. Budo from before 1868 are called koryū budō [古流武道], or “old-style” martial arts.