On the 15th to 17th of May we had a Unity Koshukai (koshukai usually translates to “study session”). The official name of the camp was “Shorinji Kempo Unity Study Session Sweden 2015 – 少林寺 拳法 UNITY 講習会スウェーデン 2015. The first study session of this kind was held in Bromma last year and this year it was Karlstad’s turn to be the host. We had about 65 participants from Finland, UK, Russia, Germany, France, Italy and of course from Sweden. The instructors, who was appointed by our hombu (head quarters) in Japan, was Kaihoko-sensei and Fujii-sensei.
Unfortunately it was settled a bit late on what instructors that could come to this year’s Koshukai, which led to that information got out a bit late and we probably got a little less participants than if we had had all details settled earlier. But finally we got two very qualified instrcutors.
Kaihoko Masayuki sensei, Shorinji Kempo International Instructor (kokusai shidōin), 7th dan seihanshi and Dōinchō of Yamagata Tendo dōin.
Fujii Shogo sensei, Shorinji Kempo International Instructor (kokusai shidōin), 7th dan seihanshi and Betsuinchō of Tokyo Otsuka Dōin. Fujii-sensei has previously bee the dōinchō of hombu dōin.
The schedule was structured in a similar way all three days, after samu we started with chinkon gyō followed by warming up and kihon. Then it was separated into two groups 1st kyū – 2nd dan and 3rd dan – 6th dan for technical training divided in gōhō and jūhō. The two instructors rotated between the two groups so everyone had a chance to get the instructions from both their teachings. Every day there was also hōwa (lecture) about Kongo Zen’s philosophy and on the final day we also had a lecture on the rules for embu competition and how to judge embu.
Attention in the Media
Thanks Karlstad shibu’s chairman Christer Enfors we received very good media attention. There were some live interviews on Swedish Radio P4, the largest local newspaper NWT (Nya Wermlands-Tidningen) also took a lot of pictures and interviewed some of the participants, which resulted in a large part of the front page and a full spread in the Saturday’s newspaper.
We also had a visit from the Swedish Television SVT’s “Värmlandsnytt” (the region’s news program) made a report that was broadcasted on the Wednesday after the training camp, they also wrote a short report on the SVT home page (Swedish only).
A comment from Fujii-sensei after the study session:
I would like to express my wholehearted appreciation for your hospitality given to us by Anders sensei, Swedish Branch Masters, and all the Swedish Kenshi.
Thank you very much.
It was a great, enjoyable event, where the enthusiasm shown by all of the participants invigorated my life energy.
The Founder Doshin So wrote in one of his books:
“The reason why Shorinji Kempo has its tremendous value as ‘Gyo’ for developing people is that it is a way with which people can enjoy practicing respecting each other, and also that it is a wide and deep path that will never end and complete even you go through it all your life.”
On this wide and deep path, let’s keep walking together along with all the comrades around the world.
I look forward to seeing you again at Hombu.
Comments from some of the Participants
Alexander Sofronov, Baltika shibu, Russia
There were three days of excellent practice under the guidance of Kaihoko sensei and Fujii sensei. I’ve taken part several times in Swedish Shorinji Kempo gasshuku. Every time it gives positive emotions and feeling of atmosphere of real friendship and cooperation. This time I was the only Russian but I was not alone. Many thanks to Leif and the guys from Bromma branch for their help and funny time we spent. I like Sweden with its nature, beautiful cities but most of all friendly people. This event was a good and rare opportunity for me to train together with well qualified and strongly motivated kenshi from different countries. In fact there were represented Sweden, Japan, Finland, Germany, Italy, UK, France and Russia! It necessary to say that every Shorinji Kempo Unity Study Session is very useful and rich of the trainings and new knowledges. This time was not exception. These days of training filled me by new impressions and experience. The party is integral part of the Gasshuku is worth special remark. It was the comfortable way when we could discuss news in informal way drinking and enjoying meal. The only idea of next day training stopped that fun. I was a bit grievous of those three days passing very quickly and that I left old and new congenial friends with common aspirations. This trip once again confirmed that the personal relations based on Shorinji Kempo’s ideas have no obstacles in the form of borders, distances, personal preferences, cultural features and different languages. I’d like to thank Anders sensei for the invitation and perfect organization of the gasshuku. I am already waiting next time!
Juha Utriainen, Säynätsalo shibu, Finland
All Finnish participants travelled to Karlstad with great expectations, and we really got more than any of us could hope. Extremely skilful and fascinating teaching from both Sensei, friendly atmosphere and well organized event, thanks to Anders Pettersson Sensei. Shorinji Kempo always gives new aspects to our training, and that always amazes me. I like to thank both Kaiohoko-sensei and Fujii-sensei that they shared their knowledge to us.
Bodhi F. De Raffaele, Roma Eur shibu, Italy
Incredible experience, thanks to all the instructors, organizers, all the kenshi and obviously to Petterson Sensei who made this possible. As I said to some of you we felt exactly like in a family meeting, with friends we met before and even with those we met for the first time. that feeling is priceless and we brought it home with us. that’s what Shorinji Kempo is about! Hope to meet you all really soon. Greetings from Roma Eur Branch.
Paul Browne, Harrow Shibu, United Kingdom
The kōshūkai in Karlstad was one of the most enjoyable I have attended. The whole seminar was conducted in a spirit of friendship, from the most senior sensei to the most junior kenshi and I left having renewed contact with old friends and made many new ones. Fujii sensei and Kaihoko sensei taught in an inspirational way that made familiar techniques seem fresh and made you look at them in a different way, thinking of new ways to improve. The hōwa helped reinforce that Shorinji Kempo is so much more than just a martial art.
One aspect of the training on the course was the emphasis on improving one specific part of a technique, in gōhō it was the umpohō and taisabaki particularly in being fast but controlled when stepping and the rotation of the hips and shoulders in blocking and striking. In jūhō it was kakete, the action of the gripping hand in making a technique successful. The best part of this training was that whilst it was challenging it was also achievable and you could feel technique improving while you practised. Another really enjoyable part of the training was having the chance to practice techniques from outside of the normal hōkei. Kenshi often don’t realise how wide the techniques of Shorinji Kempo are so the chance to practice idori waza, ground techniques and varieties of hiji ate helped to expand the knowledge of students and encourage them to look more deeply into the possibilities in training. The lesson on the construction and judging of embu gave an insight both into how to use it for both deeper training and competition. Separate from the physical training was the social ‘training’ much of it accompanied by excellent food and responsible drinking Smiley smile, where Kenshi from all over Europe (and Japan) used their common interest in Shorinji Kempo to build friendships that withstand the distance between their homes and infrequent meetings. I left the kōshūkai with a ‘souvenir’ in the shape of a knee injury that is still troubling me, but even so I wouldn’t have wanted to have missed it, it was that good.
Laurent Espeso, Vaurigard shibu, France
I really had a great time during the last Karlstad Unity Koshukai and i was able to meet some new friends and of course the old ones from Sweden, Finland, England and Russia. It is always funny to meet kenshi I know for more than 20 years during seminars travelling in many different countries.
Since It was my first trip to Sweden and i was travelling alone from France I was a bit worried about the language matter arriving in Stockholm but I could quickly realize that all the Swedish and Finnish kenshi are fluent in English.
We had the chance to have some great and rare teachings from Fujii sensei and Kaihoko sensei and thanks to Kenneth for the translating work we were all able to understand all the difficult and interesting lectures.
I was very impressed by the Swedish people and would like to come back to visit the country with my wife very soon. Sometimes i had the sensation that i was travelling inside Japan because everybody was taking care of me. That’s not a common feeling when travelling abroad nowadays.
At last, I would like to thanks Anders Pettersson sensei for inviting me to join the Kōshūkai and for helping me with all the organizational details and make my trip smoother and all the Kenshi from Karlstad Branch for the great work and their behaviour regarding the foreigners who join the Seminar.
Sven Hebbe & Daniela Kozian, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
We had the chance to experience three days full of great practice, best food and good organization as well as nice and funny conversations and happy time together with new and old friends – this koshukai was worth any effort to go there
It’s always good to see how people around the world can have such a good time in a respectful atmosphere.
Graham Cooper, Harrow shibu, United Kingdom
From the start the event was well planned and the organization was timed with precision. The instruction plan format followed in a seamless relaxed manner. Instruction from the two sensei was unique. Energized and inspirational. Showing that Shorinji Kempo is an art of many fascinating angles of approach.
I am still inspired 2 months later from the teaching styles. Each of us has different ways to get techniques to work. The approach shown was fun and educational.
Leif Kekonius, Bromma shibu
A very rewarding camp with pedagogic instructors who gave us a lot. It is inspiring to see techniques performed with such precision and simplicity. We got a lot of details with us to practice in our own dojos and a lot of exercises to improve our techniques.
Christer Enfors, Karlstad shibu
We were very lucky to get the opportunity to practice with the highly qualified, pleasant and enthusiastic instructors Kaihoko-sensei and Fujii-sensei, and in our own home town no less!