Category Archives: Articles

Practicing alone

Complement your training to achieve more in less time

Most people who practice martial arts settle for practicing only when their club or school does. And that’s perfectly okay. Most people don’t have the time or inclination to do more. But the question is: are you like most people, or do you want to be better than most people?

Bild som visar färigifyllt veckoschema på papper.

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To Buy Dōgi & Obi


Dōgi - Black LabelThere are Shorinji Kempo dōgi (training suit) in a number of different qualities and you can buy them from two different stores, Maekawa shouten and Ozaki. They have the same kind of dōgi and the same prices, so it does not matter much which shop one choose to buy from. We usually recommend the models “Black Label” or “Gold Label” for our adult members, and to children we recommend “White Label”. Continue reading

About the Grading System

Zenzen shugaku - Calligraphy by Morikawa Zeoh sensei

Zenzen shugaku – Calligraphy by Morikawa Zeoh sensei

In Shorinji Kempo, we have, as in most other Japanese budo (martial arts), a grading system. The grading system (kaikyū seido [階級制度]) is set up as a step by step curriculum so that it is easier to learn and it is based on the idea of zenzen shugaku [漸々修学], ie. step by step learning. All branches in the whole world follows the same kamokuhyō (curriculum), which also specifies minimum requirements for how long time it must be between gradings, and how many practice sessions you need before you are qualified to test for the next level. In Shorinji Kempo, there are three different types of ranks, they are explained in more detail in the following paragraphs. All grading certificates, for both kyū as well as dan ranks, are issued by Shorinji Kempo Hombu.


Coloured belts (obi) which indicates the kyū rank of kenshi

Coloured belts (obi) which indicates the kyū rank of kenshi

The first type of grading one encounter is bukai [武階], “martial rank”, which means kyū and dan ranks, just as in most other martial arts. These gradings include both a practical test of the techniques, as well as a theoretical test. For kyū grades it is a written homework and for dan grades it is a written homework and a written test on the day of the grading. For higher dan grades there is also an interview.

For children that are 9 years old or younger there are eight kyū ranks and for all who are 10 years or older there are six kyū ranks. Children that are 12 years or younger have a somewhat different kamokuhyō (curriculum) where all so called gyaku waza (techniques that attacks joints) are removed. Kyū ranks begin with a high figure and goes down to first kyū which is the level before black (dan grade). When one are new one wear a white belt, this is called minarai (beginner). The youngest children have yellow belt for the ranks of 8th & 7th kyū, then there are green belt for the grades 6th, 5th, & 4th kyū, and brown belt for 3rd, 2nd & 1st kyū. Dan ranks begin with 1 dan (shodan), 2 dan (nidan) and so on, up to 9 dan which is the highest bukai rank in Shorinji Kempo.


The second type of degree is hōkai [法階], which roughly means philosophical rank. If you meet the criteria, you can get the first four hōkai ranks together with the corresponding bukai rank. Then hōkai ranks come after bukai, one must have had fifth dan a certain period of time before one can make the written test for next hōkai rank daikenshi, etc. This is the order of the hōkai ranks: junkenshi [准拳士], shōkenshi [少拳士], chūkenshi [中拳士], seikenshi [正拳士], daikenshi [大拳士], junhanshi [准範士], seihanshi [正範士], daihanshi [大範士].


Wagesa - that kenshi with sōkai rank can wear

Wagesa – that kenshi with sōkai rank can wear

The third type of ranking in Shorinji Kempo is sōkai [僧階], “priesthood ranks.” These are for those who join sōseki [僧籍] (priesthood). There are eleven levels of sōkai and they are shō dōshi [少導師], gon chū dōshi [権中導師], chū dōshi [中導師], gon dai dōshi [権大導師], dai dōshi [大導師], gon shō hōshi [権少法師], shō hōshi [少法師], gon chū hōshi [権中法師], chū hōshi [中法師], gon dai hōshi [権大法師], dai hōshi [大法師].
In principle, one must train in a dōin (available only in Japan) to get sōkai ranks.


Makimono (scroll) with Dōkun

Makimono (scroll) with Dōkun

The text that is read during chinkon gyō is called Dōkun. It consists of Seiku [聖句] (meditation), Seigan [誓願] (oath), Dōkun [道訓] (teaching of the way) and Shinjō [信条] (creed). (In Japanese Dōin one also read a section that is called Raihaishi, in that case these text are collectively referred to as Kyōten [教典].) Below is a short explanation of these texts, as well as the official English version of them. At the bottom those that are interested can also find the original in Japanese, both in romaji (our alphabet) and with kanji/hiragana. Continue reading

Clothing during Shorinji Kempo Practice

During practice dōgi should be used.

Colour of dōgi shall be white and have breast badge embroidered. Sodeshō (sleeve badge) that indicates branch and possibly function/rank shall be on the left side, the lower part of the arm badge should meet the seam of the sleeve.

Name shall be on the back side of the collar of the dōgi, on the lower part of the front of the dōgi (extension of the collar) and close to the upper part of the dōgi trousers.

Sleeves of the dōgi should not be rolled up and the length should be between elbow and wrist.

Lower part of the dōgi trousers shall be between ankle and knee.

When wearing underwear under dōgi, it must be worn so as not to be visible, use a white t-shirt.

Use a correct obi (belt, varies depending on rank), do not use an obi that are miscoloured or unnecessary worn.

Feet shall be bare if not special circumstances require different.



Should be on the backside of the dōgi collar, lower part of the front of the dōgi (extension of the collar) and close to the upper edge of the dōgi trousers.


The length of the sleeves should be between the elbow and the wrist.


The length of the trousers should be between the knee and the ankle.


Breast badge

Shall be embroidered on the dōgi.

Sodeshō (Sleeve badge)

① Sleeve badge (may vary depending on title and rank) should be on the upper part of the left sleeve, the lower part of the badge should meet the seam of the sleeve.
② Sleeve badge that indicates rank for shōnenbu (children’s group) should be on the right sleeve’s upper part (in the shape of a V), the upper part of the badge should meet the seam of the sleeve.


The lower edge of the dōgi trousers shall be in line with the lower edge of the hōi.
The dōgi trousers shall not be viewable below the hem of the hōi.


Sodeshō (arm badges)

All kenshi should have a sodeshō (sleeve badge) on their dōgi (training suit) which indicates the branch name (or country), organizational affiliation, and to some extent, degree. In Sweden we use branch name, which also is done in Japan and many other countries, however many countries have chosen to have country name on their badges. Continue reading