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Thread: History: Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo and Chuan Fa

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    Default History: Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo and Chuan Fa

    This is an excerpt from "Kenpo/Kempo History", Research by Sadao Nishimoto:

    History of Kenpo/Kempo 527 A.D.

    Who was Tamo? Tamo was a Indian patriach of the Buddhist faith. Tamo is known as Bodhidharma and Daruma Daishi by the Japanese. Tamo taught the philosophy of Zen to the Chinese. This doctrine became the nations religion. At the time Tamo was teaching China was in its warring state.

    What was significant about Tamo's insights? Tamo insights of how we acquire inner peace! Tamo begin teaching at a Shaolin Monastery his beliefs. Tamo believed that peace was not in the world, but in the person. Tamo believed the attainment of enlightment was acquired by disciplining the body. Concluding that the spirit and the body were inseparable. Exercise for the Shaolin monks was provided by an innovative technique called the eighteen hand movement. Tamo worshipped according to his own conscience, and taught others how to find inner peace. Tamo taught that war and fighting were wrong, but that it was also wrong not to be able, to defend, one's self.

    Why did Martial Arts Flourish in China? China was in a state of war. As a result training in the martial arts became a part of the lifestyle. I've seen the "Tombs of China" when the tour came to Brigham Young University. I distinctly remember an usual tension in the art when I walked through the war periods. Everything was enormous and the feeling of war was present. I believe that in a warring atmosphere, civilization moves from art, poetry, religion, and sculturing; to combat, military build up, and philosophy to fit the external events.

    1372 A.D 1910 A.D

    How did chinese kenpo come to be? In 1372 A.D the Okinawa King Satto pledged in his domain to the Ming Emperor. This increased the trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries. In 1470, Okinawa king, Sho-ha-shi confiscated all weapons. Weaponless, the Okinawans begin to develop an sophisticated system, for self-defense. After being subjugated by the Japanese, in 1609, the Okinawans practiced in secret hoping to overcome their oppression. The Okinawans practiced Chinese Kenpo.

    Interesting note, there is no connection between Kosho Ryu (Mitose Family system) and Okinawa or the Okinawan arts. Kosho is similar to Aikijujutsu and Tai Chi put together.

    In 1644, China was conquered by the Manchus. Similar to the Okinawans, a Martial Art system of Chinese Boxing was developed, in the hope of returning their country to power. Interesting, Wing Chung was born, in an attempt, to train men for combat, by using a simplier & more effective method of martial arts (Innovation seeking to add order to chaos). Wing Chung pratitioners could learn quicker, fighting techniques compared to classical systems which took ten - fifteen years of study. Thereby, offering greater resistence to oppression, in shorter periods of time. The doctrines and philosophies of Chinese boxing spread throughout China.

    According to Mitose Sensei,
    Kosho Shorei Kempo was created by several happenings, spanning a period
    of centuries. During the invasion of China by Genghis Khan, the Head
    Monk of the Shaolin Temple fled China and found refuge with the Mitose
    family. The Mitose family already taught their own brand of Martial Arts
    for centuries and were also Shinto priests. In appreciation for the
    kindness of the Mitose’s, he taught them the 'highest art of Shaolin
    Chuan Fa taught at the temple.'(Shorinji Kempo in Japanese).

    The following is an excerpt from Mitose Sensei’s book,
    “What Is True Self Defense.”

    “Fifteen hundred years ago, the ancestor( of the Author) was a Shinto
    priest. He studied and taught many different martial arts including sword
    fighting, lance fighting, fighting with the bow and arrow, fighting
    on horseback, and swim fighting.
    Some arts looked like Kempo, Karate, Kung Fu, and
    Ju-jitsu- but they were different in many ways. He mastered all of these
    arts and became Grand Master.Then Grand Master Mitose founded a
    martial arts school and called his style Mitose’s Martial Art School.”

    In 1235 AD, the head of the Mitose clan converted
    to the pacifist teachings of Buddhism but was a grandmaster of an
    ancient and violent martial art which was a combination of that Shaolin
    Kung Fu and their Aikjujutsu. He meditated on this dilemma under an old
    pine tree which stood on the grounds of Mount Kinkai’s Shaka-In Buddhist
    monastery and became enlightened.

    “the Grand Master founded the Kosho Shorei Temple of
    Peace, True Self Defense and Kosho Shorei Yoga School.
    At that time , he made up the Coat of Arms and
    the Motto for his Temple. In his Temple, he taught
    how to escape from being harmed by using the escaping patterns,
    with God’s help.”

    He discovered the relationship between Man and Nature.
    From then on he was honored with the name Kosho Bosatsu meaning Old Pine
    Tree Enlightened One. Kosho Shorei is the philosophical art which he
    developed as a means for others to discover for themselves the Laws of
    Nature through a study of the secrets of this pacifist art of self
    protection.

    Kosho Ryu Kempo is similar to but much older than Karate,
    Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Judo, and Jujutsu but there is no other art like
    Kosho. It is not a style or system. It is a study of all the Natural
    Laws which govern the Universe. We pay more attention to our
    environment; therefore becoming scientists of the body, mind, and spirit
    and all that they come in contact with. Kosho students learn how to
    manipulate an attacker’s perception of his environment in such a way as
    to control his movement. Once one learns to do this, you need not punch,
    kick, throw, or even touch your attacker. This is the highest form of
    Kosho which is why Kosho is also known as True Self Defense, for no one
    need be hurt or killed. Although many styles had this knowledge long
    ago, Kosho is the only art that teaches this today.

    Another distinctive difference is that Kosho Shorei Kempo
    students learn not only all aspects of self defense and survival whether
    psychological or physical but also learn how to heal themselves through
    meditation, Kosho Shorei Yoga and Shiatsu/accupressure. When one knows
    how to heal, their self defense improves dramatically for they know the
    weaknesses of the human anatomy and physiology much better. We stress
    the study of the Healing Arts because society as a whole needs healing
    not more violence, which is otherwise stressed within other popular
    martial arts today. This is why many students of Kosho prefer to
    classify Kosho as a Life Art instead of a purely Martial Art.

    - Comments?
    Last edited by LeatheJ1; 18th April 2002 at 16:07.

  2. #2
    Kit LeBlanc Guest

    Default Comments...

    It's nice to have a fantasy........

    Take some college courses in Chinese and Japanese history. That oughta shed some light on where this goes wrong....

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    Admittedly, I am not a Japanese scholar, but I was hoping for better feedback than this. Where does the excerpt seem to go astray?

  4. #4
    Kit LeBlanc Guest

    Default Off the Top o' Me Head...

    For Starters:

    The whole Damo story is in question....I suggest reading through several back issues of Journal of Asian Martial Arts which treat with some of the irregularities...PARTICULARLY regarding his passing on of martial arts.

    While perhaps more of a case can be made for his bringing Zen (Chinese: Chan) to China, it hardly became "the nation's religion" (Indeed I think it was more popular in Japan than in China)>

    The Chinese Warring States period was between 403 BC and 221 BC. Of course he probably means was in "a" warring state and that could pretty much be most times in Chinese history, I guess.

    The whole "training in the martial arts was a lifestyle" is a pretty broad brush. For whom?

    Choosing to mention ONLY wing chun as being developed after the Manchu's (Qing Dynasty) glosses over pretty much all of the rest of an important time in Chinese martial arts history. Late Ming-Early QIng was probably when most of the systems practiced today had their germination, and when they probably started taking on their own identities and were being "named." Before that, or even still later, they were simply fighting arts with generic names, etc.

    The whole "classical systems taking ten or fifteen years of study" also strikes a sour note. There really weren't any highly established classical systems at that time. Even the arts that DID have an earlier history, like say the earliest incarnation of Xing Yi, were known for being very practical very quickly, though it may have taken a long time to MASTER. We also have to remember that it is said the number of Xing Yi techniques expanded a lot as time went on...Wang Xiangzhai wrote that Xing Yi had only three basic techniques originally, Taiji (not called Taiji until later) had 13! Taiji was ultimately derived from the Chen style family art (a precedent of the Pao Chui form), plus mixtures of Qi Jiguang's military stuff and other additions later developing into Taiji. Qi Jiguang had documented his stuff in the Ming dynasty, but he used it for military training, so it is doubtful it took ten years to master. Besides, Qi says boxing is more for exercise than for practical fighting....dead on since combat was carried out armed and armored.

    Shuaijiao, indisputably China's oldest fighting art, was well known for having a saying that one year of shuai jiao practice is better than three years in any other art. These were China's "classical arts."

    There would have to be some kind of documented evidence of the head monk of the Shaolin temple fleeing the Mongols and hiding out with the Mitose. What is documented about what happened to the Shaolin temple at this time? Is it even reasonable to assume that the head monk had to flee? Why? From what I have read in Yuan dynasty history the Mongols, already Lamaist Buddhists, did not go through China burning Buddhist temples and indeed accepted Buddhist monks as advisors, and even sponsored the printing of Buddhist works ..though they had a preference for Tibetan Buddhism. Indeed it seems the Buddhists had more to worry about from Chinese Taoists during the Yuan dynasty. Barring evidence which even says that the head monk left, or had reason to leave (we don't even need to know WHERE he went to make this at least a little more plausible ) this is one of those statements that is probably not provable, but not proved that it is wrong. So it has to be taken on faith. I would tend to take this with a large grain of salt.

    Pre-1235 karate didn't exist. Neither did jujutsu, really. Or aikijujutsu under that name (even accepting Daito-ryu traditional teachings that the art is far older than Takeda Sokaku's lifetime). Proto-arts with similar tactics probably did, but here he is claiming a codified, hundreds of years old priestly system of combat.

    Not bloody likely. This is the kind of "mythtory" doled out in the likes of Ohara books, Inside Kung Fu or Black Belt magazine.

    Don't believe everything you read...PARTICULARLY from a martial artist unless he also has a university degree in Asian history.

    Do a search through the older Bad Budo threads, there is a lot there on Kosho-ryu. Probably elsewhere, too.

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    I appreciate the feedback!

  6. #6
    komatsujin Guest

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    Hello,

    My problem with this whole thing is that in his first post James was quoting Mr.Sadao Nishimoto who in turn tried on a couple of occasions to both, quote Mitose Sensei, as well as give his own interpretation. So what we have here is a guy quoting a guy who is in turn quoting another guy and then addlibing and embelishing like crazy.

    This whole problem starts with a gross misunderstanding of the two history stories given by James Mitose.

    The partial quote given from Mitose's book "what is true self-defense?" was Mitose's condensed "Genesis-like" history not of Kosho Ryu Kempo, but of Kosho Shorei Ryu. Which itself is not a physical martial art at all but a holistic form of self-defense comprised of religion,exercise, diet and nutrition, breathing and energy collection exercizes, a socially significant philosophy, and yes also a series of dodging and escaping arts in which you do not physicaly engage your opponent.

    The history of Kosho Ryu Kempo(the martial arts) is much later in Japanese history, according to Mitose it was added to the curriculum just prior to the Tokugawa period(started in 1603). Mitose Sensei always taught that Daruma Daishi did not teach punching and kicking. He was a man of peace and a passivist. Mitose taught that what was brought to his ancestors from the priest fleeing China was not martial arts, but religion(Rinzai Zen), and yoga. The kempo arts did not come into Kosho Ryu until much later. Mitose claimed to be the 21st inheritor of his family art(Kosho Ryu Kempo). Kosho Shorei Ryu does not have a lineage and for that matter probably did not even have a name for centuries. These kind of stories/fables are quite common among the koryu. Many koryu in Japanese history have tried to link their arts to divine inspiration, great warriors, famous martial artists, and yes even the head priest at Shaolin all in an effort to make their arts seem larger than life. You would be ammazed to notice how many koryu dating from around just pre-and just post-Tokugawa period that have somewhere around 21 generations. It's uncanny.

    - Mike Brown

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    OK - now I see the problems with this piece. It really is amazing how little ommissions and digressions here and there can lead up to a compilation that falls short of the mark like this. I originally looked at it and read it in a way that made sense to me, but I can see that I was filling in the gaps in my head - not really reading it. Now I can really appreciate how misguided writings, (and readings) as innocent as they may be, can lead to great misunderstandings.

    I happened upon this piece when I was searching for a snippet of info on Kosho and Chuan Fa. Not much out there. I am not familiar with the author, but I was hoping that either he or the content of the piece would jog someone's memory or spark their attention. Thankfully, it did.

    The original reason that I was looking around was that I began reading The Bodhisattva Warriors: The Origin, Inner Philosophy, History and Symbolism of the Buddhist Martial Art Within India and China, by Nagaboshi, Shifu Tomio, Shifu Terrence Dukes, Terence Dukes, Tomio S. Nagaboshi. I am interested in wrapping my head around the Shaolin roots of Kosho and other arts.

  8. #8
    Kit LeBlanc Guest

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    Originally posted by LeatheJ1

    The original reason that I was looking around was that I began reading The Bodhisattva Warriors: The Origin, Inner Philosophy, History and Symbolism of the Buddhist Martial Art Within India and China, by Nagaboshi, Shifu Tomio, Shifu Terrence Dukes, Terence Dukes, Tomio S. Nagaboshi. I am interested in wrapping my head around the Shaolin roots of Kosho and other arts.
    A work rife with inaccuracies and unsubstantiated conjecture, and by a man widely regarded as Bad Budo and a fraud, according to what has been researched about him...do a search in Bad Budo and all will be revealed....

    Stick with academic sources and journals for real information. Hard to find, but you can search some stuff. Ralph Sawyer and Stanley Henning are good reads for actual Chinese martial arts history. Henning especially.....Journal of Asian Martial Arts has printed some of his stuff...check out the back issues and buy the ones with his bylines in them.

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    Once again, I am indebted to you. I will look into the works of Ralph Sawyer and Stanley Henning.

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    Henning provided multiple entries about Chinese MA in Tom Green's "Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia" (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2001). The 2-volume set costs $175, so see if you can talk your public library into buying a set for its reference section.

    Sawyer's only online article of which I am aware is "Chinese Warfare: The Paradox of the Unlearned Lesson," American Diplomacy, http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/AD...na_sawyer.html .

    If you're buying back issues of JAsianMA, don't forget to get a copy of 1:4 (1992), as you'll want Spiessbach, Michael F. "Bodhidharma, Meditating Monk, Martial Arts Master or Make-Believe?"

    Online, see Holcombe, Charles, "Theater of Combat: A Critical Look at the Chinese Martial Arts," Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 1:4, 1992; an earlier version appears at http://pears2.lib.ohio-state.edu/FUL...ADM/holcom.htm . Another good online article is Peiser, Benny Josef. "Western Theories about the Origins of Sport in Ancient China," http://www.umist.ac.uk/UMIST_Sport/peiser2.html .

    If you have access to a university library, some dry but valuable texts include:

    Esherick, Joseph W. The Origins of the Boxer Uprising (Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1987)

    Gladney, Dru C. Muslim Chinese: Ethnic Nationalism in the People’s Republic of China (Cambridge, MA: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 2nd edition, 1996)

    Huang, Ray. 1587: A Year of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty in Decline (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981)

    Liu, James J.Y. The Chinese Knight-Errant (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967)

    Naquin, Susan. Millenarian Rebellion in China: The Eight Trigrams Uprising of 1813 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1976)

    Naquin, Susan. Shantung Rebellion: The Wang Lun Uprising of 1774 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981)

    Prip-Møller, J. Chinese Buddhist Monasteries: Their Plan and Its Function as a Setting for Buddhist Monastic Life (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2nd edition, 1967)

    Seidel, Anna. "A Taoist Immortal of the Ming Dynasty: Chang San-feng," Self and Society in Ming Thought, edited by William Theodore de Bary and the Conference on Ming Thought (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970)

  11. #11
    Kit LeBlanc Guest

    Default Joe Done it Again...

    Joe,

    Thanks, I wasn't aware of the Sawyer piece you linked to....great stuff, love those woodblock prints.

    The Spiessbach article is the one I meant RE: Bodhidharma. Esherick's Boxer Rebellion book has some real gems in it RE: Chinese martial arts, but ya gotta weed through the book for them.

    Liu's Chinese Knight Errant is good to get a feel for the Chinese attitude toward the "wandering warriors," but there is very little directly related to martial arts in it.

    Love to get my hands on Henning's entry on Chinese Martial Arts in the Green encyclopedia...I think Dr. Bodiford has something in there too......but at $175 it is going to have to wait...

    I would also recommend Brian Kennedy's stuff over at EJMAS.

  12. #12
    komatsujin Guest

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    Kit leBlanc and Joseph Svinth,

    Thanks for a couple of exellent, well informed posts. Mr. Svinth, that bibliography was excellent. A few books that I havn't read. Looks like I'm headed back to the library. Most less informed martial artists would consider it blasphemy to imply that Daruma, was probably not the "founder of Shaolin" boxing methods. Mitose Sensei always taught that generations after Daruma, "evil" students took his methods and developed destructive arts from them.

    James, You originaly asked about the history of Kosho Ryu. If you read Bruce Haines' book "Karate's history and traditions" you can find that he has a more lenghty interview with Mitose were he asks specifically about the history of Kosho Ryu Kempo(the war-time arts of Kosho Ryu). Although even in this book much of what is writen comes from other sources. It is here that Mitose stated that members of his families clan in both Kumamoto and Nagasaki(then Higo and Hizen) traveled to China and brought back knowledge of chuan fa just prior to the Tokugawa period. It is interesting to note that in 1592 when Hideyoshi began his quest to unify all of Asia under his command that the two main generals leading the war were Konishi Yukinaga and Kato Kiyamasa who were the daimyo of southern and northern Higo respectively. Both men brought their armies made up of their own men as well as most of the local smaller samurai clans of their domains. When Hideyoshi died unexpectedly in 1598 the armies were called back to Japan. Many koryu, maybe even most, that include "kempo" in the curriculum of their arts claim that kempo was added to their arts around that same time period. Many scholars have suggested that it is not unlikely that samurai could/would have brought home knowledge of this type when returning to Japan. Especially when considered in light of the reletively long time spent there compared to the few battles acctually fought. In the six years spent there, there was apparently alot of down time.

    -Mike Brown

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    Q. What does a young man do with his young lady until midnight?
    A. The same thing he did until 9, only three more times.



    Regarding the previous bibliography, read Huang's book first, as it contains an excellent account of the Ming general Ch’i Chi-kuang, who in 1562 started work on an influential military manual called Chi’hsiao hsin-shu, or "New Text of Practical Tactics." Although most of Chi’s text and illustrations were devoted to battlefield maneuver and armed techniques, this was nonetheless the first Ming Dynasty text to provide realistic descriptions of Shaolin ch’uan fa. (Moves from the northern Shaolin sword form chi men jen are among the illustrations accompanying the text.) The reason was that Ch’i had found that recruits handled their weapons more confidently if they were first taught to wrestle and box.

    Of particular relevance here is that in 1592, following the Japanese invasion of Korea, the Korean government created a Hullyon Togam, or "General Directorate for Military Training." Its purpose was to teach peasants to be musketeers, archers, or pikemen, and its pedagogy came from Ch'i's "New Text of Practical Tactics."

    The timing is right, and so, although I can't prove it, it is reasonable to assume that some Japanese soldiers would have studied Ch'i's manual for professional reasons.

    As for Bodhidharma, note that in the early sixth century, Saint Benedict was simultaneously introducing the idea of Christian monastic labors into France and Italy. In France, as in China, prayer services, or matins, were held every three to four hours. To increase the power of prayer, simultaneity was encouraged. Yet there was a problem here: not only were hours of different length during the summer and winter, but sundials didn’t work in the dark, water-clocks froze in the winter, and guards ("watches") sometimes fell asleep or got distracted, and so did not light one-hour candles or incense sticks. More importantly, none of these devices were useful for making the precise astronomical observations that astrology required. So research continued into ways of making more accurate timekeeping devices, research that resulted in the invention of mechanical bell-ringers during the eleventh century and mechanical clocks during the thirteenth.

    All a long way of saying that different folks learn different lessons from the same stimuli.

  14. #14
    Mekugi Guest

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    This might be a reasonable allegation/assumption if it were true that Hideyoshi attempted to invade China by sending armies to the mainland. You're talking about Korea here.

    Originally posted by komatsujin
    Kit leBlanc and Joseph Svinth,

    It is interesting to note that in 1592 when Hideyoshi began his quest to unify all of Asia under his command that the two main generals leading the war were Konishi Yukinaga and Kato Kiyamasa who were the daimyo of southern and northern Higo respectively. Both men brought their armies made up of their own men as well as most of the local smaller samurai clans of their domains. When Hideyoshi died unexpectedly in 1598 the armies were called back to Japan. Many koryu, maybe even most, that include "kempo" in the curriculum of their arts claim that kempo was added to their arts around that same time period. Many scholars have suggested that it is not unlikely that samurai could/would have brought home knowledge of this type when returning to Japan. Especially when considered in light of the reletively long time spent there compared to the few battles acctually fought. In the six years spent there, there was apparently alot of down time.

    -Mike Brown

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