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Thread: Japanese Kempo ?

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    Default Japanese Kempo ?

    From Wikipedia:
    In Japanese martial arts, kenpō is used to designate Chinese martial arts, (much as the term kung fu is used in English-speaking countries), koryu jujutsu styles as well as several gendai budo such as Shorinji Kempo, Kenpo kai and Nippon Kempo. The "m" romanization is often preferred when describing such arts in a Japanese context to avoid confusion with terms romanized as "kenpō" in the government of Japan and some forms of kenjutsu, such as that practiced within the Bujinkan. The various arts that are called kenpō or kempo in Japan do not necessarily share any lineage, theory or technical corpus.
    Can anyone expand on this? Give some examples of Japanese Kempo styles, etc? Theres a bit more in Martialpedia but it'd be nice to freshen and expand the entry a bit.
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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    There is "Shorinji Kempo". This is a system that is half religion and half martial art. No kididng. It was created by a man named "Doshin So", who had ties with the Yakuza (if memory serves). He was also employed as a spy by Japan, serving in China. While there he studied "Shaolin Gung-Fu". Shorinji is the Japanese version of the word "Shaolin", actually I think that the sufix "Ji" means "temple". I could be wrong.

    The system is arranged a lot like traditional Jujutsu systems. They have lots of striking, but their system relies heavily on the activation of presure points and throws/take-downs.

    The religion side of the art, I'm really not sure about. I know it's a recognized sect, registered with the Japanese government.

    It's not very well represented in the West, from what I've seen.
    VERY interesting. I've seen some GOOD stuff on it on U-tube. Check it out.


    As far as most other uses of "Kempo":
    If it has an "N" instead of an "M" ... then it's most likely a derivitive of the Mitose/Chow lineage.
    But KeMpo is a common word in Japanes/Ryukyu dialects that denotes a form of pugilism. Karate could have just as easily been called "Kempo". In fact I think that for some time Itosu, one of the instructors of Gichin Funakoshi, called it Kempo.

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Shorinji Kempo is probably the most widely practiced martial art style in the world. I knew an Australian BB on another forum. I think you are overstating the religous aspects of it, however it does have very nationalistic tenets in its philosophy. The Shorinji Kenpo schools are known to have FOUGHT the Yakuza and tried to provide an influence to the better during a troubled time in Japan's history (post WW2) much like the BKF and the Black Panters or later the street gangs (not that I would draw any parallels between BP and yakuza!!)

    Watch any of Sonny Chiba's movies - Streetfighter, etc - he does Shorinji Kempo. They use the 'wheel of life' symbol (the nazis used the mirror image of this symbol - swastika).
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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    I was just reading in Classical Fighting Arts magazine an article about the myth of Boddhidharma. That's right the MYTH. but anyway, my point is that this article references the term "Kempo" as a japanese word that was used, at least in the 17th century, to refer to the style of fighting that came from China via Okinawa, also known as "Chinese Boxing". Literally "Fist Principle" He mentions a very old kempo ryu that even documented a chinese teacher in the early 1600s on a stone marker that still stands today. Kempo was taken up by professional soldiers and included more than striking (according to this article) and eventually became known as jujutsu by the 1700s.


    It's a great article and, for me at least, it put to bed the myth of the Shaolin Temple, DaMo, the Muscle Tendon Change Classic, etc etc. Pretty much all of that whole body of mythology can be traced back to a serialized novel in a Shanghai newspaper in 1909-1910 - and almost NO mention of any of the elements of the Da Mo story can be found in any literature or documentation prior to that.
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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    There is "Shorinji Kempo"... While there he studied "Shaolin Gung-Fu". Shorinji is the Japanese version of the word "Shaolin", actually I think that the sufix "Ji" means "temple". I could be wrong.

    Your Brother
    John
    I have also read similar things about Shorinji Kempo. There is a school here in San Francisco, and a number of years ago I visited and watched a class. The head instructor is (or was at that time) 6th dan, from Japan, and I was told by one of the students that that was considered a VERY high level in the Shorinji Kempo system.

    At any rate, from what I observed, it had very little resemblance to Shaolin. I believe the system does not use Kata or Forms of any kind, which is very contrary to how Shaolin arts tend to be structured and passed on. The way they delivered strikes and such on a basic level also seemed to be very different from what I have seen in Shaolin. So I just don't know what to think about the supposed Shaolin connection. Personally, I have my doubts.

    However, they did appear to be very good at what they were doing, and none of the above is meant to be a negative judgement of their skills.
    Michael


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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCC View Post
    Shorinji Kempo is probably the most widely practiced martial art style in the world. I knew an Australian BB on another forum. I think you are overstating the religous aspects of it, however it does have very nationalistic tenets in its philosophy. The Shorinji Kenpo schools are known to have FOUGHT the Yakuza and tried to provide an influence to the better during a troubled time in Japan's history (post WW2) much like the BKF and the Black Panters or later the street gangs (not that I would draw any parallels between BP and yakuza!!)

    Watch any of Sonny Chiba's movies - Streetfighter, etc - he does Shorinji Kempo. They use the 'wheel of life' symbol (the nazis used the mirror image of this symbol - swastika).

    Yes, "Killing Machine" is one of my favorite movies.


    Here is a nice video of a Shorinji Kenpo demo (pardon the French)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3dpMNPTvIc
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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCC View Post
    Shorinji Kempo is probably the most widely practiced martial art style in the world. I knew an Australian BB on another forum. I think you are overstating the religous aspects of it, however it does have very nationalistic tenets in its philosophy. The Shorinji Kenpo schools are known to have FOUGHT the Yakuza and tried to provide an influence to the better during a troubled time in Japan's history (post WW2) much like the BKF and the Black Panters or later the street gangs (not that I would draw any parallels between BP and yakuza!!)

    Watch any of Sonny Chiba's movies - Streetfighter, etc - he does Shorinji Kempo. They use the 'wheel of life' symbol (the nazis used the mirror image of this symbol - swastika).
    Hey David-
    You may be right, I think maybe I was overstating it as being "HALF" religion. Maybe 1/3 would be more accurate., even then....that element is really only stressed in Japan, where the schools are actually registered as "Doin" and not "Dojo"....Doin denoting them as a place of religious training.

    According to what I've been told and read (Keep in mind, I have NO first hand info on this) Doshin So's original intent wasn't even to teach martial arts, but to spread Kongo Zen and rebuild the national spirit of Japan by working on philosophy and adherance to Buddhist virtues w/in Kongo Zen.
    When he realized that people weren't listening to him or following what he said..... he began teaching martial arts along with his talks on religious practice and character development.

    Also: You are CORRECT. Doshin So opposed the Japanese mafia (Yakuza), a fact that is greatly popularized in Japanese comic books and movies. The form of mafia that he was involved with were the "Black Triads" (Tongs?) in China.

    HERE {LINK} is a good link to an article about Doshin So and his founding of Shorinji Ryu Kempo.

    NOT sure about the art being nearly as widespread as you're mentioning. I definitely feel it's not very well represented in the US at least. In the article I linked to states at the end that
    Today Shorinjikempo have spread to 27 countries outside of Japan, and continues to grow, slowly but steadily.
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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    If you want further online resources there is a active contingent of Shorinji Kempo Practioners over on e-Budo, many based out of England although they do have branches in the USA & Canada.

    My outside understanding through past e-Budo threads reading is that:
    - the Shorinji Kempo organization is unique in that it is highly centralized - with only one valid organizational structure (Japan-based)
    - that the Shorinji Kempo term was copyrighted long ago
    - their kenshi (instructors) are not permitted to be full-time teachers (earn a living) from their instructional teachings

    There is a major philosophical/religious aspect to the SK training that appears to be a source of dissonance with some Western students.

    Somebody once quipped (not me) and described Shorinji Kempo as a cross between Shotokan Karate and Aikido, this view has some validity since they themselves break down their techniques between Goho (hard) & Juho (soft).

    As far as their founder Do Shin and his lineage and his personal history, much has been debated.
    John McPartland

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Thank you for your input senjojutsu.

    From what I've seen, it would be accurate to say that their technique-quality impresses me as sort of a fluid blend between Aikijutsu and Wado Ryu Karate. Like you said, they divide their methods between the soft & hard, and from what I understand, they also have no Kata per say, but they place a great deal of emphasis on their self defense techniques and regard them almost like most systems regard their kata...and they place a HIGH premium on always working with a partner. Hardly NEVER throwing techniques into empty air.

    I like that.
    If I had the opportunity to attend a dojo, I think I'd like to check it out.

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Shorin is the okinawan way of saying "shaolin" So, it was used to identify arts that came from China and then Okinawa. This is in change to the other method of identifying okinawan arts by where they were mainly practiced (naha-te, shuri-te). The original shuri-te was modified and later became what is now called shorin-ryu.

    Choki Motobu refered to his art as "kempo", and it was very close in meaning to kara-te in reference to boxing or hand arts. Chuan Fa in chinese means fist law, in okinawan the word for fist law/method is "kempo".

    Shorinji Kempo would VERY roughly be translated as the fist method of the shaolin temple. I don't think this is to mean it is a direct transmission of the shaolin arts, but to acknowledge their chinese roots.

    As for the religious aspect of Shorinji Kenpo, if I remember correctly, it was founded in 1947 when martial arts were banned. By starting it as a religion they were able to practice their art and maintain their practice without violating the ban. Yes, there are religious aspects to it, but it was not started only for that purpose.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    As for the religious aspect of Shorinji Kenpo,
    Yes, there are religious aspects to it, but it was not started only for that purpose.
    I know where you're coming from.
    Here's a quote from that article that I linked too that leads me to think that the spiritual/religious aspect preceded the martial aspect...though now they are more hand in hand.
    Founder decided to devote the remainder of his life to developing the kind of people who could help Japan regain the respect and trust of the world. He decided to depend on true Buddhism to achieve his purpose, but he also realized that it would do no good to go live in the mountains as a hermit. To develop people, he had to remain where the people lived their daily lives. He knew that people would not pay much attention to just preaching; he sought for something he could offer people that would attract and hold their interest, as well as benefit them.


    One night, the Founder had a dream of a bearded Daruma, who was walking away from him and pointing with his finger. Founder tried to follow, but could not move and called out, asking Daruma to wait. He was awakened by the sound of his own voice. After thinking about the dream, Founder decided that Daruma was telling him to follow in his footsteps. Here was the solution to provide the action needed to attract people! Founder decided to teach Arahan no Ken (a martial art), which Daruma is said to have brought to China from India.
    Then....as for the authenticity of this article......at the bottom of it it says this:
    This brief history was taken from an official translation provided by the International Office of the World Shorinji Kempo Organization (WSKO).
    So it's pretty much their official record of things, it would seem.

    Please understand, I'm not at all "against" Shorinji Kempo or it's founder for melding Kongo Zen and Martial arts together! That's their business. But I do think this is accurate.


    On another note: I do appreciate what you wrote about the "Shorin" name. I'd forgotten about that. Also I'd forgotten that Motobu Sensei was a big proponent for calling it "Kempo". Thanks...

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Very interesting thread.
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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    One of the things I find really interesting in both Kempo, and Kenpo, is that even in their earliest renditions, this term is used as a catch phrase for a type of hyrbid martial system. Although the name can be translated as Fist Method (Boxing), many of the systems (Kosho Shorei Ryu and Araki Ryu Kempo comes to mind) makes extensive use of weapons.

    Here is another kempo that can be considered one of the koryu (old systems) from back in the day. Araki Ryu Kempo

    IN any case...

    Here are a few clips or Araki Ryu:



    PART II



    PART III



    Looking at this Kempo versus what we often see in America (especially koryu like this) it goes to show the difference in what something like this is used for.

    Regards,
    Walt

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Quote Originally Posted by kroh View Post
    One of the things I find really interesting in both Kempo, and Kenpo, is that even in their earliest renditions, this term is used as a catch phrase for a type of hyrbid martial system. Although the name can be translated as Fist Method (Boxing), many of the systems (Kosho Shorei Ryu and Araki Ryu Kempo comes to mind) makes extensive use of weapons.

    Here is another kempo that can be considered one of the koryu (old systems) from back in the day. Araki Ryu Kempo

    IN any case...

    Here are a few clips or Araki Ryu:



    PART II



    PART III



    Looking at this Kempo versus what we often see in America (especially koryu like this) it goes to show the difference in what something like this is used for.

    Regards,
    Walt
    I wonder if in the name of this style the same kanji for kempo (fist law) is used, or if it is the same symbol as in "kendo".
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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    That is a good observation. I believe that the ACTUAL name of the style is Araki Ryu Kogusoku. A loose definition of the last term is "armored wrestling." I believe in the Japanese Dictionary of Martial Systems (Bugei Ryuha Daijiten) they list it that way .

    In any case, it is sometimes referred to by the name kempo in the west as that is a more widely understood term. Guys like Donn Draeger and Ellis Amdur spent their whole lives learning about this stuff so to try and explain old martial traditions to a Westerner with no background in Japanese society... seems like they use the term Kempo every once in a while.

    In any case, I believe Mr. Amdur is the subject matter expert (on Araki Ryu) in North America. His website lists a little about the system...

    http://www.ellisamdur.com/martial_arts.html

    Regards,
    Walt

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    One of the Gendai Budo (Modern Martial Arts) forms of Kempo to come out of Japan was the form created by So Doshin in 1947. Shorinji Kempo is one of those fringe martial arts that is getting more and more popular by the minute. If you have never had the opportunity to check out a demo... they are usually a lot of fun and very explosive.

    Here are a couple of examples of Embu, or demonstrations. Kind of like throw away kata...







    Regards,
    Walt

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    Even though VERY controversial... Kosho-Shorei Ryu Kempo is trying to gain acceptance amongst the martial arts community in Japan. Through the system Historian, Mike Brown, they are attempting to trace the lineage of the system in order to get a clear and cut picture of its roots in Japan so they can have it included into the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten.

    As far as I am aware, they have not been able to have it verified yet but I haven't checked it in some time. Maybe some of the Kosho boards can lend some insight into this.

    In any case... Here is a clip of the current custodian of the system, Bruce Jushnick (probably butchered that horribly).



    Regards,
    Walt

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    The original style of kempo I studied and got my black belt in, although now called Shao-lin Kempo-Karate, is not descended from or related to the systems of Mr. Villari, Cerio, or the USSD version, but was originally called Shorinji Tetsuken Ryu, among other variations. It was brought to Japan in 1954 by Mr. K.C. Kooh, and passed to Albert Church, who took it to Charleston, SC, and combined it with elements of other arts he studied, I think some form of aikijutsu and shito ryu karate to form Kamishin Ryu. My own instructor studied with and was promoted by Mr. Church, and formed what he called Shao-lin Kempo-Karate by taking the old Tetsuken and adding elements of jujitsu as well as five animal forms from his studies elsewhere.
    The Kamishin Ryu organization still exists, based in Charelston, and there are several other kempo systems which were formed after Mr. Church's passing.
    As some may know, Mr. Church was a somewhat controversial figure, and there are those better qualified to talk at greater length about him and his art.
    What I know firsthand is the skill and knowledge of my first instructor, as well as that of other people who came out of the Tetsuken/Kamishin lineage, and that's what counts, at least in my book.
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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    This is worth watching. I would love to pick up this art.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h41awYIaUiU
    Daffy, fighting with his $1.25 quarter staff : "Ho! Haha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!" (quarter staff bounces off log, bending his beak. He straightens it back to normal, and starts speaking to himself) "Something's amiss here... hmm, let me run through it. Ho, haha, guard, turn, parry, dodge, spin, ha, thrust." (beak bends again) "Got it." (straightens beak, and starts his fighting moves again.) "Ho! Haha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin!"

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    Default Re: Japanese Kempo ?

    I used to be heavily involved in this art. If you can find an instructor it is a lot a lot of fun (although keep in mind that a religious philosophy is heavily mixed into the training).

    Regards,
    Walt

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