from the syllabus

A brief history of the founding, based on the material in the syllabus, may read as follows: Now the World Shorinji Kempo organizations carries the responsibility for promoting and guarding the quality of shorinji kempo, which is now (2014) practiced all over the world.

A recent initiative of WSKO is the Unity Training, such as the one I recently visited organised by the Spanish Shorinji Kempo Federation, under inspiring guidance of Kawashima sensei, meant to establish a uniform approach to both the techniques of shorinji kempo as well as more official issues such as the logo, the philosophy and the protocal for judging embus and refereeing randori.

why shorinji kempo

As indicated above, in the material from the syllabus, shorinji kempo is based on the kongo zen philosophy:

The main purpose of kongo zen practice is to discipline the mind and body. It is particularly designed to benefit the practitioner in three areas of life: self defense, spiritual development, and improved health. As such shorinji kempo, the discipline of kongo zen, may be regarded as a vehicle to develop people who will help others, who have bravery, motivation, intelligence, and a sense of what is right ...

Reading in the philosospy of Kaiso, I am struck by some already familar phrases:

  • horizontal communication
  • half for yourself, half for the others
  • plan for 10 years ahead
These phrases emphasize for me, respectively, how important it is to break through hierarchic, institutionalized relations, and communicate from person to person, to maintain personal strength and refuse to be seduced by in the end powerless altruism, and to keep an eye on the future, in establishing goals and committing oneself to what is worth striving for, which includes to built a community as exemplified by shorinji kempo all over the world, where people find both individual training and mutual support.

The actuality of these visions may also be seen in our current society, where (from a more professional perspective) for example horizontal communication has proven its worth in innovations in a range of areas in a connected world, that is via social networks and interest groups. The other items in the philosophy may (again from a professional perspective) be seen as counterbalancing the risk of losing oneself in technology and entertainment, resulting in indifference and a lack of commitment.

Although the current situation is radically different from the one in which Kaiso founded shorinji kempo, the basic tenets of individual responsibility and strength, while building on a community, still hold strong in the world of today, that is characterized not only by technical affluence but also the de-personalization through institutionalized relations, and, let's not forget, as a remedy against an unhealthy lifestyle!