View Full Version : Should Seiho Be Included In Gradings?

10th September 2003, 00:59
A while back, I was talking to Paul White Sensei and he said that in his opinion, seiho should be included as part of grading examinations. What is your opinion? Do we do too much seiho, or not enough? And how far should seiho be a formal part of the grading syllabus?

10th September 2003, 02:34
In my limited experience we do not do near enough. I am certain that some dojo's have different expectations of seiho than others. I think that if you are able to help ease each others aches and pains that you receive during practice you are able to train harder and with a little less fear of injury.
I would love to see more equality in training and testing we train and test Juho and goho but nothing of the other aspect of Shorinji Kempo

10th September 2003, 02:50
Originally posted by Random
I would love to see more equality in training and testing we train and test Juho and goho but nothing of the other aspect of Shorinji Kempo
What about howa, Kurt?

Gary Dolce
10th September 2003, 04:41

Yes, I would like to see more formal training in seiho. But most of the seiho training I have had in Shorinji Kempo has not been effective (the training itself, not the seiho). I think the difficulty is that seiho is not as conducive to large scale training as goho and juho are. It is possible for an instructor to stand in front of a room of 40 people, demonstrate a juho technique several times, watch them practice it, provide them some feedback, and end the class knowing that some percentage of them are on their way to learning the technique.

To successfully teach seiho to the point that students can actually apply it, I believe the instruction must be on a much smaller scale - as close to one-on-one as possible. When you practice a juho technique, you know immediately whether the technique is working properly or not based on whether your partner falls. When you are practicing the procedure for dealing with a dislocation, you have no idea whether you are doing it right unless you either have a real dislocation to try it out on or you are working very closely with a teacher who is experienced enough to give direct feedback. At some point, practice has to occur on real injuries if students are to understand the right amount of pressure to apply, the proper direction to apply it etc. The standard approach of having an instructor demonstrate how to fix a dislocation and then having 20 pairs of students go through the motions with each other does not inspire confidence.

I also think much more time would need to be devoted to seiho. Think of how long and how many repititions it takes to learn simple goho and juho techniques. Is seiho any less complex? Yet seiho seems to usually be an afterthought at seminars and training camps. Are we ready to devote a quarter to a third of our practice time to it?

If seiho were to be included on tests, I hope it wouldn't be the same kind of simple pen and paper memorization exercise as the current kyusho questions are. I can imagine combining it with the 3-dan kyusho questions in a practical exam: First you have to knock your partner out, then you have to revive him. ;)


10th September 2003, 06:59

One of my newest friends here in Visby is a Naprapath with education also in acupuncture and shiatsu. When I showed the Shorinjikempo targets (kyusho-points) that we usually strike/kick/put pressure on during a training session he immediately asked how we treat these points after practice? The answer I had was - usually not at all.

He told that this hitting and kicking vulnerable point could really be harmful for the student in the long-term. He told me that it was crucial for a teacher to understand how to treat the effects of hitting and kicking kyusho points. I think this is true.

My answer is that we need to do more seiho but not only do but also we must understand what we do. Seiho at grading exams might be a good way to accomplish this.

Best regards
Johan Frendin

Tripitaka of AA
10th September 2003, 08:47
I think that every Kenshi finds pleasure and satisfaction from giving and recieving Seiho. They enjoy learning and are usually hungry for more.

Unfortunately, Seiho is an enormous ocean of knowledge, which we only have time to sip at when we are taking a short break. The amount of study it deserves would warrant a whole separate training life and a split personality. Which I think is why it ends up being neglected to a large degree. The Instructors know enough to know that they can't teach it in the time allowed.

If you imagine going to a class where today's technique was drawing drawing a sword (katana) and performing a straightforward slash from right shoulder of an opponent to left side. You can see how the subject (Iaido) might be suffering from a lack of depth that could make the small knowledge more dangerous than a complete absence of knowledge.

Errr. That hasn't come out quite right, but do you see what I'm getting at. Seiho is a lot to learn. If you can't do it justice, then best to leave it for later.

I loved doing Seiho. Never learned as much as I'd like. Never took enough time to practice what I had been taught. I could never say to someone "Hey, I know some accupressure massage, let me help you"... but friends who knew I did Shorinji Kempo would still say "can you do some of your magic massage on my arm". If I know enough to know that I can be doing it wrong then I should know enough to NOT do this.

Should Seiho be graded? Should it be included more in class time, or is it something to be practiced at home (I'm thinking of the standard back-realignment stuff, not the repair of dislocation or knock-out revival, obviously)?

10th September 2003, 09:53
For me, Seiho is one of the most fascinating and mysterious aspects of the practice of Shorinji Kempo and whenever we get an opportunity to receive instruction on the topic, I relish it but also feel a little bitter as there is just never enough of it.
Sure, all the reasons given above for not doing more of it (one-on-one would be ideal, "too big" a topic to even attempt until much later etc.) sound sensible but ultimately, the only progress in any field of practice can be achieved by repeated, incremental training. That's why I wonder why Seiho, formally one of the pillars of Shorinji Kempo, does not get its fixed slot in each lesson, however short. (After Howa? Just before the end? When?)
As an examination topic it might prove less fruitful as perhaps it may be hard to tell whether the relevant Kenshi are getting the tiny nuances right - and those seem to make all the difference.

Nicky Geldart
10th September 2003, 12:35
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
Should Seiho be graded? Should it be included more in class time, or is it something to be practiced at home (I'm thinking of the standard back-realignment stuff, not the repair of dislocation or knock-out revival, obviously)?

Personally I think seiho including some repair of dislocation and knock-out revival should be looked at when grading to ni dan or san dan. If you are teaching I feel it's important that you can deal with any accidents that may happen in the Dojo.

There is another martial art in the hall we use before one of our sessions at Bournemouth and on more than one occasion one of the students has had to leave to find one of the sport centres first aiders. Presumably this is because the guy teaching the lesson can't deal with the accident, which I find amazing. I certainly wouldn't want to be taught by someone who couldn't perform basic first aid so it's a bonus when you are taught by someone as knowledgeable about Seiho as Sensei Russ.:nw:

Unfortunately as our sessions at Bournemouth only last an hour and a half we don't get to do as much seiho as we would like, but Sensei always makes an effort to put it in to the lesson if we request it. So perhaps we should be asking for it more...

John McCollum
10th September 2003, 15:56
Originally posted by johan_frendin

He told that this hitting and kicking vulnerable point could really be harmful for the student in the long-term. He told me that it was crucial for a teacher to understand how to treat the effects of hitting and kicking kyusho points. I think this is true.

Yes Johan, this is true. A friend of mine is very experienced in Muay Thai. He said that many aging kickboxers become incontinent as they age due to the repeated heavy impact on fushin!

I'm in agreement with David here; it saddens me when seiho is reduced to being stuck onto the last ten minutes of a two hour class. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing properly IMO. Ideally, I would like to go with a minimum of half an hour so that both partners can practice the techniques properly.

tony leith
10th September 2003, 16:11
Worthwhile point from John about the kind of time we devote to seiho - I have heard Mizuno Sensei say when teaching seiho that he expects students to find time outside class to practice seiho techniques, so perhaps we shouldn't regard ourselves as simply limited to time spent in the dojo (bearing in mind due caution about practising techniques under proper supervision). Even with my limited knowledge, I have been able to help a fair number of people with minor aches and pains etc.

I know I've said this before, but I do think that with things that are part of the established corpus of Kempo technical knowledge but not on the syllabus, there is a real risk of over generations of kenshi them becoming the prerogative or privilege of a lucky few rather than part of our common heritage. I'm content to leave ordering the syllabus to my elders and betters, obviously, but it does seems to be a real possibility to me.

Tony leith

10th September 2003, 16:20
It should be run as seperate syllabus with seperate gradings running alongside the technical levels.
It's sooo dangerous that juniors should not be allowed access to senior grade knowledge.
That way when they're drunk in the kitchen at student paries they can't say "I know a cure for a stiff neck!"
It gives me nightmares.

Steve Williams
10th September 2003, 17:16
Seiho at gradings..... NO

But it should be taught more in classes, and it should be taught more to the senior instructors. It is not to any great extent at the moment, and most of the high grade instructors in the BSKF do a little "supplimentary" learning in seiho/seiho based exercise to fully understand/teach it (I know I do, although not nearly as much as Paul White sensei and Peter Moore sensei, to name a couple).

Oh, and e-budo official line...... Pinkshinpads, I know who you are, but not everyone else has that privilage, so please follow the rules
Please sign your posts with your full name

David Dunn
10th September 2003, 23:00
I'm not sure how you could grade seiho, which presumably is why it is not tested.

The other issue is whether we do enough of it. I think it is important here to distinguish the different branches of seiho. Mizuno Sensei sometimes replaces howa with seiho. More often than not it is kappo-ho or seikotsu-ho.

Kappo are the resusitation techniques, and for exactly the reason that Nicky stated, we should all know them. If there is an accident in the dojo, you should know how to perform jodan, chudan, gedan kappo. In my experience, suigetsu and kinteki ate are the most common accidents. A good whack to the appropriate kyusho is quite remedial.

Nicky's other point: going to fetch a qualified first aider isn't necessarily a bad reflection. It is a sensible contingency sometimes

Seikotsu is the branch of seiho for correcting or re-aligning the skeletal structure. Fujimoto Sensei's neck stretching is a case in point, as is the basic palm pressing down the spine or stretching the legs over. I guess dislocations come into this branch, but I am not an expert.

To return to the point, Sensei teaches these two branches in small mouthfuls, quite frequently. The point is that you can practice them quite quickly, and in some ways they are the most immediately remedial of seiho waza.

The other two branches are seikei and seimyaku. These techniques take some time to perform as efficacious treatments. For example, pressing down the meridians of the back is something that you should spend a long and patient time doing. Or pressing hyaku-e (et al) for a headache (or piles!) is something that you need to do for 10-20 minutes. These aren't the kind of things that can really be taught in a short class. You can only learn the principles and try to practice as much as you can outside the dojo. Part of the goal of seiho is to develop a sensitivity to the human body, your own and others. Of course goho and juho share this, but these two methods are more amenable to practice in the dojo.

I think that I've picked up seiho slowly but surely, and that might be the nature of it.

10th September 2003, 23:09
Originally posted by Steve Williams
Seiho at gradings..... NO
Why not, Sensei?

13th September 2003, 01:41
Originally posted by Kimpatsu

What about howa, Kurt?

Mind elaborating ?? what is Howa

Please I just tested to 4th kyu.
We do learn the kata forms and philosophy
I am very happy with my experiences in Shorinji Kempo thus far but I would love to see some of the healing I have been reading about.

I have been buying books on reflexology and Shiatsu recently to help deal with some of the aches and pains my wife and I have after a good practice.
Does anyone have any books they would recommend that would be good references to help learning this ??

Tripitaka of AA
13th September 2003, 19:33
Hi Kurt

I'm glad you explained about 4th Kyu as it makes a difference to what people might say in response to your points. Welcome to the Worldwide Shorinji Kempo family.

You'll find that recently there has been a lot of activity on this forum by British Kenshi, hence the many references to British Shorinji Kempo Federation (BSKF) and Mizuno Sensei - the UK Chief Instructor who brought Shorinji Kempo to the UK some thirty years ago. But don't be offput, there are Kenshi here from all parts of the globe. Not everyone goes drinking with Kimpatsu, or can do the "Georgie Shuffle".

Howa, I've recently been corrected, means lecture. The term for the part of the lesson when Sensei will ask the Kenshi to gather round and listen to a talk. The topic will vary from class to class, and when it is about the aspects of Kongo Zen philosophy it is termed "Gakka".

Seiho is like Shiatsu, but does not necessarily make all the claims that a Shiatsu practicioner might make. You'll find that it is introduced gradually during your training. For a great many people, the pace is too slow, they are keen to do loads more of the massage, learn all the kyusho (pressure points) and cure the world's ills with as many thumb presses as they can muster. It is difficult to appreciate why it is necessary to take it slow, but the further you get, the more you realise why they're not teaching it yet. It has a lot to do with understanding your own body, your strength and your sensitivity.

The Seiho that you'll learn first will be about trying to straighten the spine and how to relieve tired muscles in the legs. These basic techniques are relatively safe, can be practiced unsupervised and will help to develop an understanding between partners. Later on, you might be shown how Sensei would act to deal with dislocations or knockouts in the Dojo. It is not something to be undertaken lightly and therefore you need to be 100% confident in your abiities before doing that kind of work. Sensei might show you, but he won't teach you until you're ready (and I'm thinking that means 5-6 years on... ;) )

By all means read up on Shiatsu, as long as your Sensei is OK with that, but bear in mind that it is similar, not necessarily the same. The reason I say check with Sensei, is that he might be able to steer you to a reputable school, or might prefer you to stick to the Shorinji Kempo method from the start. Sometimes learning something else is a major distraction that can set you back months or years by having to unlearn... You might have seen some of the threads about Cross-Training.

If anyone else reckons I'm giving Kurt some incorrect or dumb info, please feel free to jump in and trample on my stuff. I'm no authority after all... :D

13th September 2003, 22:58
Well today we actually did some Seiho. It was wonderful as I thought it would be. Just a few simple methods to limber up the legs and we were shown a pressure point to relieve aches in the hip/sacroiliac which will help me allot since my back is a little worse for the wear it has taken over the years. Just a few minutes took away a constant pain I have had in my hip for the last month.
We did this before the session instead of after which I understood was a little unusual but the instructor needed to leave before our normal Saturday quitting time.
All in all the more I learn the more the aspects of Seiho in conjunction with everything else make Shorinji Kempo better and better.
Thanks for the explanation David it appears we do have Howa to answer Tony's question. Plus with the wealth of information on the aspects of Kongo Zen I am pretty familiar with most of the Gakka it appears.
Also remember we are learning in Alabama so we do not really speak English even according to most :rolleyes: making learning other languages even harder.