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Thread: The Real (verifiable) History of Shorinji Kempo

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Default The Real (verifiable) History of Shorinji Kempo

    Hi All,

    edit: Apologies, just realised the subject lines reads as if I have the info, but I'm seeking the info, as below


    I'm wonder, today where there is a lot more information out and a lot information can be confirmed, proven/disproven,
    I'm just wondering if there is any clear confirmed history for Doshin So's training background?

    This is more for historical interest and not for/against legitimacy etc ....
    Just I'm interest in the real origins of this unique Art that is Shorinji Kempo,
    as personally I don't hold much belief in the whole trained at and became a grandmaster of Chinese MA at Shaolin Temple etc .....

    The other line research is that Shorinji Kempo's true origins like in Daito-Ryu jujutsu and Hakkyo-Ryu jujutsu

    So I'm wondering if there is any thing along the lines of "commenced martial arts training at age ___ with [name](verifiable person), inthe Art of ___ , for X years, then between age xx and xx he studied with [name](verifiable person) in ____ system. from age xx to xx studied ____ and received a teaching license in ____ from/by ____"

    I haven't looked at this kind of thing in a long time ... but I think there was confirmed records of Doshin So studying Hakko Ryu to a main degree?

    I'd also be interested regarding he formal/if any Zen training and qualifications ....

    Again this isn't against any thing and even IF some of the history is inaccurate or fabricated ... Master Doshin So surely created a wonderful Martial Art from a wonder motivation .. "the person ...."

    Many Thanks

    Ps. maybe there is already these days cleared authenticated History out there already, in which case please point me there~ thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    I sent a note off to someone who may be able to answer your questions for you. Hopefully, he'll be able to stop by.
    Cady Goldfield

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Oxfordshire, UK
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    Stanley Pranin interviewed Ryuho Okayama, Hakko Ryu's Nidai Soke in 2003. It's a short interview with only a paragraph on Doshin So's involvement in Hakko Ryu, but is probably as close as you'll get to a primary source.
    Last edited by giles; 12th May 2023 at 17:00.
    Giles Chamberlin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Skövde, Sweden
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    I looked into this a few years ago and though I can't really offer any verified sources on the matter, there is, or at least there was, quite a bit of information on Japanese Wikipedia.

    So firstly, the Chinese influence. It is pretty established that he did train in Byakurenmon-ken and Giwamon-ken. He supposedly was also given some kind of grandmaster rank in at least one of these two but what that title really means is for me a bit unclear. It doesn't necessarily mean that he inherited the art and became its big kahuna but might just mean a license to teach, kind of like a menkyo. There is not a lot left of these styles so we cannot really see the influence they've had on what became Shorinji Kempo.

    For the Japanese influence, Kaiso was raised for several years by his paternal grandfather, So Shigeto. He was a renowned martial artist specializing in kendo and sojutsu. But he was also allegedly very proficient in koryu jujutsu, most likely Fusen ryu. I see that this information is now on English wikipedia, it wasn't a few years ago when I found this on the Japanese site. Might even have been me who added it to the English site but it was more than ten years ago so not sure.

    As for the Hakko ryu influence, this is what I believe are my own words on wikipedia:
    Many sources claim that Doshin So trained in Hakkō-ryū Jūjutsu and that techniques from there was incorporated in Shorinji Kempo. However, the Shorinji Kempo headquarters has no records of this and the records of the Hakkō-ryū organization merely show that he sat in on a few sessions. Any implication that Hakkō-ryū may have had on Shorinji Kempo would have been very minor since he got back to Japan in 1946 and Shorinji Kempo was founded the following year (Hakkō-ryū was founded in 1941 when Sō was still in Manchuria).
    I personally believe that the koryu jujutsu training that he got from his grandfather is the core of Shorinji Kempo. You can find some Fusen Ryu clips on YouTube where you'll see some similarities.

    Sorry about not being able to offer any verifiable sources but hopefully it sorts out some questions at least.
    Peter Thorvald
    Shorinji Kempo

  5. Likes Cady Goldfield liked this post
  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Soon a year old thread but i shoot anyway, but just with speculation.

    First - i have no idea what the two Chinese boxing methods ”Byakurenmon ken” and ”Giwamon ken” translates to Chinese, anyone know ?

    Wang Xiangzhai master of Xingyiquan and later founder of Yiquan visited the Shaolin temple sometime in the early 1900.s. He mentions that there where no ”gong fu” practiced at the temple at the time exept for one of the few monks who just stayed around to keep up some sort of mainainance of the temple which was somewhat in ruins, the one monk an old man knew superficially two techniques/moves of Xinyiba boxing. The monks name was mentioned in writings( i can't find it now, the name is identical to the name Doshin-so supposedly have mentioned too about the monk he met at the Shaolin temple.
    And the basic - block/parry and stike that seem goes as a read thread trough Shorinji kempo shows quite similar to some exercises the nowadays recreated Xinyiba display.

    Also doen't the Shorinji kempo oganization today acnowledge that Doshin So mainly drew inspiration from the murals at the Shaolin temple displying monks in sparring action ?

    Tryggve Rick

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