This post was written by Will Ng, 2nd Dan. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of the Mayfair branch nor the BSKF.
It has finally happened. In the space of a few years, a number of groups that had split from the World Shorinji Kempo Organisation (WSKO), some previously unconnected or unknown to each other, finally came together and took part in the inaugural international seminar under the banner of International Kempo Association (IKA). But it wasn’t just a case of participating in any training seminar. Rather, every group that joined together this weekend has helped build the new organisation, one where each and every person can freely express themselves, and contribute to goals of Shorinji kempo. Shorinji kempo has finally returned to its roots - to Japan, to So Doshin’s founding philosophy and techniques.
The training seminar kicked off on the morning of the 10th October, and was attended by over 70 representatives from Japan, the UK, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic and Hong Kong. Despite jet lags from previous day’s travels, the energy and atmosphere were positive, and spirits ran high. Everyone was determined to learn as much as possible not only from the masters of the art, but also from each other. We all made a point to train with kenshi we hadn't trained with before, and regularly change partners to maximise our learning, and made lots of new friends along the way.
Mizuno Sensei (8th Dan, chief instructor of the BSKF) led the philosophy session after lunch, in English and Japanese. One thing he said that particularly stood out was this:
“You must take responsibility for your life, your actions and decisions...Your responsibility is your life. On each occasion, you must help yourself. There is no one from whom you can ask for help. Which way shall I go? That is your responsibility.”
Indeed, every action and decision that we make is solely and entirely our own responsibility. To fully comprehend and realise this idea actually requires a great deal of courage. The courage to believe, the courage to stand firm for your beliefs, and the courage to own up to your actions.
But that is not to say we cannot support each other. The establishment of the IKA was only made possible by the solidarity and comradeship each country, branch and individual have shown to each other. Both concepts of individual responsibility and support for others were accurately and eloquently reflected throughout our training and our attitudes to training this weekend.
After-party speeches. Gratitude, friendship and love between Mizuno Sensei, Imai Sensei and Yoshinaga Sensei.
The after-party took place on the Sunday evening at the hotel where we stayed. Drinks were flowing, more new friends were made (in a less painful setting), and emotions ran high. The end of the training ended on a high note, but this was only the beginning. As each of us stood together, shoulder to shoulder, this was only the beginning of a movement that will only become bigger and stronger. And so a new era has begun.
The BSKF would like to thank Yoshinaga Sensei, Imai Sensei, and all other Sensei’s, kenshi and helpers who made the event so smooth, enjoyable and most importantly of all, fun. We fully appreciate that a phenomenal amount of work has been put into it and to make this possible, so thank you. We look forward to many more successful seminars to come!