Philosophy of Kosho Ryu Kempo
“Kempo’s philosophy is to study and understand man’s relationship with nature. Kempo does not just deal with the physical arts; it also deals with the spiritual side of oneself, and mankind’s understanding of itself. Traditionally, Kempo students have studied much more than the physical martial arts. They also study philosophical classics, including the I Ching, the Book of Changes. They study the five elements and the In and Yo (Yin and Yang in Chinese). They understand the principle of balance, and how one can, through understanding balance, exist harmoniously with the whole of mankind. Within their own realm, in their own reality, they learn how to adjust their reality, behavior, or physical presence within others’ perception of reality. Primarily, they study themselves, in body, mind, and spirit. This microcosm leads to the understanding of all things.
Kempo, therefore means study, and practice, and the discipline of study and practice. The understanding of this philosophy, the embodiment of this practice, and the reality of this study prepares the Kempo-ka well for a possible conflict. Defending one’s self becomes very easy. Kosho is a way of life and an understanding of the process of life.
The objective of the Kosho Ryu student is to study and be able to relate to everything, abandon prejudices, and thus rid ourselves of conflict. Conflict is usually created from differences of opinion pertaining to physical or philosophical prejudices. Once the student begins to look for the similarities in all things and eliminates their prejudices, they learn to see that they were the root of their own conflicts.
Sho Chiku Bai Mon
Hand Postures of the Crest
Kigan – Praying Hands Position
1st Representation – The right hand (representing the physical) and the left hand (representing the spiritual) are placed together for peace and avoidance of conflict.
2nd Representation – Escaping/Repositioning Arts
3rd Representation – Skeletal Strikes
Kaishu – Open Hands Position
1st Representation – The right and left hand are placed in the shape of a mountain. Look at man as you you would a mountain from a distance, without nitpicking flaws and imperfections. Look for the good in man and situations!
2nd Representation – Folding Arts
3rd Representation – Internal Striking
Hoken – Covered Fist Position
1st Representation – The right hand (representing the physical skills) is covered by the left hand (representing the spiritual skills). One should temper his/her actions with morality, avoid conflict, and hide his/her weapons.
2nd Representation – Muscular Strikes
3rd Representation – Total Domination of Your Opponent