View Full Version : Your roots are showing!

Tripitaka of AA
22nd January 2003, 07:53
With the recent questions on this forum about the lineage and roots of Shorinji Kempo's techniques, I feel compelled to ask the fundamental question;

Is Shorinji Kempo a growing art, or is it a set group of techniques that have a finite number and a "perfect" form?

This question could be modified to suit any or all arts it would seem, but surely Shorinji Kempo is the most likely to retain its character through generations, simply because of the strength of its organisational structure. The questions about family styles and Ryu suggest that it is almost impossible to stay fixed in a set of techniuqes without someone finding room for "improvement" and branching out...

Do we strive to attain Kaiso's form, or are we aiming at the form of his senior students? Will there be a great difference in thirty years time? Is the ultimate fate of the martial arts to have as many Ryu as there are gymnasiums and training halls in the world? Is it an impossible dream to have one style taught and studied to the same standards across the globe? Is Shorinji Kempo the closest thing to this goal?

Your thoughts pleas.

22nd January 2003, 10:39
Gassho, David.
One branch master at the Kyoto Busen once told me that there is no such thing as perfect form, because you can always be a little bit faster, a little bit crisper, and a little bit more accurate. HTH.

22nd January 2003, 13:03
As Shorinji Kempo is a "new" martial art, as techniques are passed down through generations of students, is it true to think that (maybe unknowingly) techniques are improved slightly from generation to generation. And slowly changing from Kaiso's original form? (In a good way)

John McCollum
22nd January 2003, 18:30

I'm firmly of the opinion that Shorinji Kempo is constantly evolving. I also think that it is able to significantly evolve while still being Shorinji Kempo.

Even though I've only been training for about four and a half years, I've become quite aware of a shift of emphasis in the teaching of Juho techniques. Up until quite recently, I feel I had been taught quite a solid, static shuho. This changed recently when, at a training seminar, the yudansha group was told by a senior instructor that "there is no shuho".

Cue collective jaws dropping.

What (I think) the instructor meant was that shuho was a fleeting moment, and that rather than trying to put ourselves in a strong position relative to our partners, we should focus on unbalancing our partners from the moment of first contact. Not really a change of what is being taught, but perhaps a subtle change in teaching style. It certainly changed the way I think about juho-waza.

From what I read of the late Mori-Sensei's teachings, he seemed to be emphasising the same principles.

To take another example, I'm sure we've all been in the following situation. While practicing a technique, two instructors will show you two entirely different ways of executing the technique. Both will wonder what on earth you are doing while doing the other's version.

Despite both instructors doing what seems to be an entirely different technique, they are undoubtably both doing Shorinji Kempo.

I think when you get to a certain stage, it's inevitable that you will adapt the technique to make it your own. Remember the Ri stage of Shu, Ha, Ri. Copy, adapt, master.

colin linz
23rd January 2003, 00:19
I know the techniques that Iíve been taught have changed over the years. When I first started in 1988 the juho techniques were more focused on pain, since then there has been a continuing evolution towards breaking balance. I believe that this was fuelled by the need to be able to practice regularly, and at speed without damaging your training partner. Has this been detrimental to the effectiveness of the techniques? I donít think so, if anything they have become more effective.

Evolution is a natural process, everything is always in a constant process of change. This is a natural law of of the universe, as such it is quite reasonable to expect Shorinji Kempo to also change over time, however it will be always Shorinji Kempo because it will always rely on the same basic principles.

Colin Linz

Anders Pettersson
23rd January 2003, 17:56

I am at work right now so this will be short.

I don't think that Shorinjikempo will change very much in its techniques and in my opinion it hasn't changed much for the 19 years I have been training.

However what has changed is the knowledge among non-Japanese instructors and also the way to teach techniques.

The Computer graphics that Hombu did some years before the 50th anniversary to explain how to make kuzushi in Juho-waza is an excellent example of evolution.

So I don't believe that the techniques that we have been learning have changed, but over the years we are learning them in a better way.


Tripitaka of AA
29th January 2003, 17:28
So have there been any major splits from the Hombu-based organisation over the years? I remember the ripples were still echoing from a spot of bother in the BSKF just before I started training, where an instructor had tried to break away (never did hear the full details, but it affected one branch quite badly and a knock-on effect was to add a little sourness to some of the comment on the BBC documentary "Way of the Warrior" - allegedly!).

It all seems like a storm in a teacup compared to the various splits and recriminations between organisations elsewhere (other arts and other countries, etc). Some of the stories that are mentioned elsewhere on the E-Budo forums suggest that most arts find it difficult to last beyond one generation without fragmenting and changing the style. It beats me how they can manage to think up enough new names!