What is Shinsho?
Shinsho is a comprehensive American martial art, a strategic system emphasizing self-defense and inspirational personal growth. From a traditional perspective, Shinsho is a school of Kempo and Jujitsu.
At the basic level, Shinsho is an excellent method of physical development and body conditioning, making it healthy, strong, and flexible. Additionally, it is a powerful means of self-defense, where students learn how to identify, avoid, and escape attacks.
The advanced levels reflect the mastery of physical skills, harmonization with adversaries, precise targeting, balance manipulation, tactful power deployment, and effortless effort.
In the beginning of training, Shinsho may seem like a linear system of blocks and strikes, but as a student matures in the art it may seem like a system of continuous circular and linear striking combinations. Still at another period of training, Shinsho may seem to be a system filled with locks, throws, and strangulations. While other students will discover Shinsho is a system of continuous harmonization as the student learns to adhere to limbs and counter attacks. To an advanced student, Shinsho seems like a system of chi disruptions that attacks vital points. Which one of these is correct? That depends on the practitioner.
Because Shinsho is a comprehensive art, it has a great deal to offer. Different people will learn different aspects, and students will absorb what they are capable of from Shinsho. Some will become more physically fit, some will learn to defend themselves, some will learn to decrease the stress in their lives and focus their energies, some will learn a new way to approach life. It is entirely up to the student what they will take away from this powerful art.
What exactly is Kempo?
Kempo has to be one of the most difficult systems to define. It can be translated as “law of the fist”, or the “followed path of the controlled hand”. It has been known by many different names during different times. Names such as: Shaolin Chuan Fa, Kung Fu, Karate, Kenpo, and Te. However, regardless of its current expression or name, all true Kempo systems have at their foundation the maximum of training to develop the Self. The first difficulty that arises when attempting to define Kempo is the division of Kempo in its external and internal systems or schools.
To paint the internal Kempo systems with a broad brush, we find a system of relaxed postures, strong balance and rooting, sensitivity training, and dynamic chi development. its main strategies are breaking the adversary’s balance and a relaxed suppleness in “soft” strikes. Main stream examples of internal systems are Tai Chi Chuan, Pak-kua, and Hsing-I Chuan.
To paint external Kempo with a broad brush reveals a system of explosive hand strikes, devastating kicks, overwhelming combinations, and poised practicality. its focus is effective, efficient, and logical self-defense. Mainstream examples of external systems are Karate, and Kung Fu.
The higher levels of each system reflect the mastery of physical skills, harmonization with the adversaries, precise targeting, tactful power deployment, and effortless effort. These higher levels are reflected in the systems of chi disruption, balance manipulation, pressure point attacks, and concussive technologies.
However, as with all generalities, this basic description falls short of truly explaining a system as beautiful and complex as Kempo. It is similar in trying to describe all flowers to someone who has never experienced the sight of a rose or the smell of jasmine. To add further confusion to this picture, no two Kempo schools are exactly alike. Different schools focus on different understandings. So, when we look at Kempo, lets look at it like the wild flowers that grow naturally in the mountains. Each flower shares with it’s neighbors similarities such as, anatomy, nourishment from the soil, the need for sunlight, the mountain rains and vibrant life, yet each flower is a beautiful expression of its environment and resources through their unique colors, size, and fragrance. So too does Kempo uniquely express its differences among the various different regions of the world, from school to school, and instructor to instructor. That it has grown and flourished during different eras and different cultures speaks to its adaptability and effectiveness and ensures its inclusion in future generations.
What is Jujitsu?
Jujitsu can be translated as the “gentle art” or “flexible skill” or even the “essences of the gentleness and flexibility in a combat art”. It is a grappling art whose origins have been lost in antiquity. Regardless of how Jujitsu began, it developed into a powerful system of self-defense, which has been the parent art to such modern arts as Judo, Brazilian Jujitsu and Aikido. It is a system of balance disruption, wrestling, throwing, joint locking, choking, and submission.
The higher levels of this system reveal an intricate and beautiful system of effortless effort that includes precise striking of nerve centers, balance disruption of adversaries for throws, sweeps and takedown, powerful projections, and dynamic Ki (Chinese chi) development.
It perfectly complements the Kempo system. Jujitsu and Kempo have been paired together for so long it is truly difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends.
An unofficial history of Jujitsu
There is controversy as to what influence Ch’uan Fa (Kempo), especially Chin Na, has had on Jujitsu. It is known that China and Japan traded heavily during the formative years of Japan’s development. It was during this time that Japan adopted many things from their neighbors across the sea, such as the What is Jujitsu?Chinese written characters and many social traditions such as Zen (known in China as Chuan), the study of Confucian thought, and the philosophies of the Do (Taoism). Regardless of what exact relationship there is between the origins of Chin Na and Jujitsu, the two systems are practically identical in their application today. Jujitsu as taught today, encompasses empty-handed self-defense techniques developed from the centuries old military arts (Bujitsu) of the Japanese Samurai Warriors. Though the history of Jujitsu may well be considered to have begun in the second or first century BC, its renaissance, or “golden age”, was during the Tokugawan era (1603 – 1867 AD). The term Jujitsu, formulated in the Tokagawan era, translates to the art (Ju) of yielding, softness, suppleness, or pliability (Jitsu), meaning combative way.
When Kempo arrived on the shores of the mainland from Hawaii, it was filled with Jujitsu. Although some Kempo systems claim to contain Jujitsu, this is the stand up variety as opposed to a complete system. Keep in mind that the original name for Hawaiian Kempo was Kempo Jujitsu. It was full of stand up and ground fighting techniques that would rival any other system. Unfortunately, this had been lost due to a lack of awareness. Thanks to the re-emergence of Jujitsu, many Kempo stylists are now rediscovering the Jujitsu of their original curriculum.
What is Tai Chi?
The literal translation for the term Tai Chi Ch’uan Fa is “supreme ultimate boxing method”. It is a Taoist system of health maintenance and self-defense that can be accurately traced to the Chen village in the Ho-nan province of China. Written records of this kind of boxing date back to the 17th century A.D., but there is speculation that the roots grow much deeper.
There are myths and legends surrounding the birth of Tai Chi. Most sources lead us to a Taoist monk, Chang San Feng (1279-1368). Some claim that he was a Master of Shaolin, others that he is the inventor of the Dim Mak Pressure Point System. Chang San Feng reputedly formed this system of internal boxing while meditating, after seeing a snake and a crane in mortal combat.
Irrespective of it origins, millions practice tai chi for its proven health and relaxation benefits.