Shorinji Kempo, the discipline of Kongo Zen, aims to develop the people who will help others. The qualities that will help you to do this with all your heart are bravery, motivation, intelligence, and a sense of what is right. The basic characteristics of these principles should be understood at the outset by each practitioner.
Ken Zen Ichinyo – Body and Mind are the same
The first characteristic is ken zen Ichinyo. Ken refers to the body and zen to the spirit. The body and mind are not separate, and so it is impossible to achieve spiritual awakening or peace of mind only through mental or spiritual training.
Riki Ai Funi – Strength and Love Stand Together
The second characteristic is riki ai funi. Riki (strength) represents “strength”, “intellect”, and “action”. Ai (Love) represents “gentleness”, “compassion”, and “a way of thinking”. Riki Ai funi emphasizes the necessity for the balance of both power and compassion.
Shushu Koju – Defend First, Attack After
This principle is important first for its spiritual value, and only second for defence’s strategic advantages. This principle is important not only as a part of a practitioner’s mental attitude, but also in the study method of techniques based on counterattacks. It is central to the practice of Kongo Zen Shorinji Kempo for both moral and technical reasons.
Fusatsu Katsujin Ken – Protect People without Injury
Kongo Zen Shorinji Kempo is very effective as a way of stopping violence, and it has been designed so that if used properly, it can allow you to immobilize an opponent without causing any bodily harm. Kongozen Shorinji Kempo strives to be a discipline which contributes to the welfare of all, and should only be used to restrain those seeking to harm others.
Goju Ittai – Hard and Soft Work only Together
Kongo Zen Shorinji Kempo takes two systems of hard and soft techniques and combines them. Upon looking, one can find soft parts in techniques classified as goho and hard parts in those classified as juho. You should not expect the techniques to be rigidly bound by the categorizations of hard and soft. Hard and soft elements unite to form each technique. This is a major characteristic of Kongo Zen Shorinji Kempo and a challenge for your training.
Kumite Shutai – Pair Work is Fundamental
The sixth characteristic of Shorinji Kempo, Kumite Shutai, emphasizes practice in pairs, no matter which technique is being practiced. When practice is conducted in pairs, you will find that there is a limit to how much you can progress without your partners ‘making matching progress.