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Founded in Japan in 1947 by Doshin So, Shorinji Kempo is a way of nurturing people. It is a unique combination of philosophy, mastery of techniques, and an educational system.


While developing themselves, students also support each other, learning teachings on how to live happily together and techniques which strengthen them and allow them to grow with their fellow partners. These techniques and teachings are intertwined, and are taught in combination through Shorinji Kempo’s educational system.

Doshin So

Seniors members of Shorinji Kempo NL with in the center, K. Kawashima sensei and N. Mukaida sensei

Six Distinguishing Characteristics of Shorinji Kempo:


Ken Zen Ichinyo (Unity of Ken and Zen)

Ken refers to the physical body, while Zen refers to mind and spirit. Body and spirit are not separate entities as they are closely intertwined. In Shorinji Kempo it is deemed important to maintain a balance between physical training and spiritual training.


Riiki Ai Funi (Strength and love in harmony)

Even if you are full of a sense of justice and compassion, you cannot help or assist others unless you have strength. Conversely, no matter how strong you might be, your power will not be used correctly unless you have pride and a creed. Harmonization of strength and love with unification of intellect and compassion is the code of conduct of Shorinji Kempo.


Shushu Koju (Defence is primary, offence subordinate)

The technical method of Shorinji Kempo is constructed around defending against any unjustified attack, and after completely protecting oneself, counter-attacking. By making your position impregnable, you will be able to calmly observe the condition of your opponent, which you can take advantage of when you deliver an effective counter-attack.


Fusatsu Katsujin (Not to kill, but to awaken)

The physical techniques of Shorinji Kempo are not for killing or injuring people. They are for protecting yourself and others and letting both live. People train themselves in the techniques of Shorinji Kempo in order to discover human potential and enjoy their own growth.


Go Ju Ittai (Hard and soft make one whole)

The techniques of Shorinji Kempo are composed of a) goho (hard methods) which are applied when, after receiving and fending off an attacker’s strikes and kicks, one counter-attacks with blows to the opponent’s body, and b) juho (soft methods) including throws, releases, and joint reverses against the attacker who grabs your wrist or clothes. When goho and juho are skilfully combined, they supplement and reinforce each other to become even more effective.


Kumite Shutai (Paired practice is primary)

In Shorinji Kempo, training in pairs is the norm. This not only allows you to develop practical skills to respond to your partners movements properly and flexibly but also to improve yourselves together and share the joy with your partner.

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