There are over 600 techniques in Shorinji kempo, covering every possible means of protecting oneself in almost any situation.
The Shorinji kempo technical syllabus comprises both hard techniques known as 'goho' and soft techniques known as 'juho'. Goho involves a wide variety of strikes, blocks, etc., whilst juho involves joint reversals, releases, restraints, takedowns and throws. Whilst most martial disciplines are predominantly characterised by either approach, it is not safe to say that Shorinji kempo is simply a mixture of the two. The Shorinji kempo repertoire is designed on the assumption that neither the goho or juho approach will be the most appropriate response in any given situation and a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental principles of each is the only appropriate preparation for a physical encounter. As a consequence, in practice the two systems are not used independently but hand in hand. This creates a unique, all round system of self defence based on technique rather than strength.
All of the techniques of Shorinji kempo are designed around a comprehensive understanding of the vital points on the human body. With this understanding, delivering a counter-attack to any one of these points in the correct manner maximises the practitioner's actions whilst minimising the physical effort required. The requirement for physical strength is therefore minimised and in keeping with the ethical component of budo an opponent may be immobilised without causing any permanent damage. Shorinji kempo recognises 138 such points.
In addition to the strict aesthetic standards required, emphasis is also placed on the practical application of the skills acquired. The teaching methods employed include a variety of exercises, which ensure that practice is informative, challenging, enjoyable and safe.