Do you know “Shorinji Kenpo”?
This is modern martial art based on Shaolin kung fu, and about 220,000 people in 40 countries (45,000 in Japan) learn this Kenpo.
But do you know that “Shorinji Kenpo” originated in Tadotsu-cho in Kagawa Prefecture?
“Kongozen Sohonzan Shorinji” is the birthplace of Shorinji Kenpo.
This is the head temple of “Kongozen,” one of the Zen Buddhism sects, in Tadotsu-cho, Kagawa Prefecture.
Mr. Tomita gives us a tour of the temple, and explains about what Shorinji Kenpo is.
Shorinji Kenpo is not for defeating an opponent.
The aim of Shorinji Kenpo is “harmony,” through creating something positive by supporting your opponent, and improving both your characters.
So the symbol mark displays the important elements needed in learning the spirit of Shorinji Kenpo.
Mr. Tomita says, “The black and white circles in the center are called “Soen,” and this mark evolved from Manji (Buddhist cross) which symbolizes harmony. The black motif surrounding these circles is a shield protecting the idea of harmony, and 4 dots in those shields represent the principles of the Yin and Yang of heaven and earth.”
Let’s watch a demonstration of Shorinji Kenpo
After the tour, you can watch a Shorinji Kenpo demonstration in the main hall.
We are amazed much more than we thought by this powerful and acrobatic martial art.
Shorinji Kenpo’s flowing and efficient movement seems to follow physical principles.
We really would like many people to see this demonstration directly.
Ease your mind and let’s try a “zazen” experience.
Not only can you watch the martial arts, you can try a “zazen (Zen meditation)” experience here.
“Let’s do meditation by repeatedly taking deep breaths. Imagine that good energy comes into and fills your body, and circulates inside you.”
The sound of a drum signals the start and the end of the meditation.
If your posture is slackens, then the monk touches your shoulder gently with the wooden staff.
It is really difficult to remove entirely the distraction in your mind. However, you can find the value of having a time when you can notice and feel the sound of leaves swinging with the wind and birds singing quietly.
“My Step Course,” an experience for women
There are some experiences you can have other than Zen meditation.
For example, you can choose a lesson of self-defense arts, or the “My Step Course,” which is a Shorinji Kenpo health program for women.
‘My Step Course” is an exercise with Shorinji Kenpo techniques, and focuses on breathing, posture, and consciousness.
The main purpose is stress reduction and counter-acting a lack of exercise.
Even a program for elderly people is available.
Watch the instructor’s movement, and move your body with the cues.
Let’s feel how the muscles you don’t use much in everyday life are stimulated…!
The next step is the movement to the rhythm of music, which is done faster than the first one.
Pushing your fists, and bending your body with dance steps….
When you hear the word “Kenpo” or “martial arts,” you may think that it is too difficult. But maybe this tour and experience will change your image of “Shorinji Kenpo,” and even help you feel familiar with it.
A photo in uniform!
They might be able to deal flexibly with any requests or scheduling, so ask them when you make a reservation.
There are various events and performances held at this temple, such as a Shorinji Kenpo performance with the traditional Japanese drum inherited at this location, or “Health Zen Meditation Meeting” once a month, and so on.
How about visiting this temple getting as taste for the ideas and techniques of Shorinji Kenpo?
Kongozen Sohonzan Shorinji
Address／3-1-48, Hondori, Tadotsu-cho, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa
Closed／The end of the year and New Year’s holiday
Experience／At least 5 people (negotiable), reservation required at least 2 weeks before the experience
Required time：1 to 1.5 hours (including the inside tour)
Time for start：Negotiable
Closest station／JR Tadotsu Station
Photographs and text by Megumi Yamada
Megumi Yamada Although I was born in Kagawa, after graduating high school I spent time in America, Kyoto, and East Timor, and now live in Kagawa again. I’m currently rediscovering the beauty of my hometown. I love to draw and take pictures.
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