The British Shorinji Kempo Federation, also known as the BSFK, have been the main teachers of Shorinji Kempo in the UK for nearly fifty years. Since Sensei Tameo Mizuno arrived on these shores back in the 70s, this organisation has continued to expand and now it is responsible for Kempo clubs all across Great Britain. They are also the founders of the International Kempo Association, which was created as a means to encourage friendly and close links between organisations teaching Shorinji Tempo around the world.
A Bit about Shorinji Kempo
At the heart of Shorinji Kempo is practical Kongo Zen philosophy and useful self-defense techniques. This type of martial arts aims to develop your potential and create a balanced individual, both physically and mentally. Its main aim is to instill in you the confidence that you need to stand up to your ideals and defend yourself. By doing this you will be able to help those in and need and be a benefit to society.
The self-defense part of it uses both soft and hard techniques - juho and goho. Juho is what you will use when you are held against your will, while goho comprises of swift and accurate punches, kicks, dodges, and blocks. The two techniques are used side by side to create a well-rounded style of self-defense that is based on technique more than strength - it is a technique that, when done properly, can ward off any type of attack.
Shorinji Kempo also includes Zazen and Seiho meditation. Zazen is seated meditation that is used to calm your mind and regulate your breathing, while Seiho is an acupressure massage that is used to relax your muscles, regulate your circulation, and relieve any tension that you have.
What to Expect in a Training Session
Shorinji Kempo training is very varied, and all instructors are encouraged to come up with their own styles of teaching. However, all training sessions are based around a common structure, and we have listed these below for you:
- Warm up (Taiso): You will do a variety of stretches to prevent injuries and to raise your heart rate
- Basics (Kihon): You will learn and practice the basic movements
- Philosophy and seated meditation (Chinkon): You will discuss Shorinji Kempo philosophy and practice your controlled breathing
- Techniques (Waza): You will learn about specific responses to real-life situations
Below are some questions that people ask us regularly.
Do I Need to Be Fit?
Shorinji Kempo is something that people of all sizes and shapes can do. We know that people have different abilities, so we will never rush you and will allow you to train according to your fitness levels. Many people start learning Shorinji Kempo as a means to improve their fitness, and we will be more than happy to help you reach your goals.
Is Shorinji Kempo Suitable for Small People?
Absolutely! Shorinji Kempo is suitable for anyone and the techniques that it makes use of have been designed in such a way to make sure that the size and strength of a person do not even come into the equation.
Is It Safe? Will I Get Hurt?
The aim of our Shorini Kempo lessons is to improve as one and not for one person to beat another person. However, it is still a semi-contact activity, so accidents can occur, but they are rare.
How Long Will It Take Before I Am a Black-Belt?
If being a black-belt is something that is that important to you, then we recommend that you just go to the shop and buy one. In Shornji Kempo there is a grading system in place, but it is there to measure your progress, and getting a black belt does not automatically mean that you are Bruce Lee. With regular practice sessions, most students will be ready to take the first test (yellow belt) after about 3 months. With regular practice and complete dedication, it is possible to get your black belt in about three years.