What is Shorinji Kempo?

Zen Buddhism was introduced to 6th century China by the Indian monk, Bodhidharma. It is believed that he brought the combined disciplines of seated meditation and martial arts training to the Shaolin temple (or si in Chinese), located in Hunan prefecture. The unarmed fighting techniques are called chu'an fa and the Chinese characters for Shaolin-si chu'an fa are 少林寺拳法. These characters are read in Japanese as Shorinji kempo. In other words Shorinji kempo are the fighting arts derived from the Shaolin temple. Kempo became the main form of spiritual discipline for the Buddhist monks in the Shaolin monastery. Wall paintings can still be seen in the temple today, of Indian monks practicing and teaching kempo to Chinese monks. Many forms of kempo developed from the Shorinji arts, and many modern martial arts, such as Okinawan karatedo, are rooted in Chinese kempo.

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