In Shorinji Kempo, hoi is a formal garment used at special occasions. There are no set rules regarding who can wear it, but it is said that “good” kenshis (practitioners) may wear it, which is generally interpreted to mean those who have a black belt.Continue reading
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?
There 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
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.
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].
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.
Here is a little guide with information that can be good to know before taking a grading examination.
As for the first grading tests one can usually be able to do them, if one practices regularly, after about one semester. Continue reading
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
To tie the obi (belt) is often difficult for new members, we have therefore put up some pictures here of the most common way to tie the belt in Shorinji Kempo. Click on the images to see a larger version.
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.
For children there are sleeve badges indicating rank, bukai sodeshō, the color of the chevrons is the same as the color of the belt for that degree, and the number of chevrons indicate the level of that belt color. Continue reading
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