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Oxford University
Shorinji Kempo

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SYLLABUS

The Grading System

Like many of the other martial arts, Shōrinji Kempō has a grading system of belts to allow structured learning and to acknowledge achievement and understanding. Everyone starts at white belt (5th Kyū) and then is examined at a grading every time they wish to go up to the next belt. The five novice belts are white, yellow, green, blue and brown which are also known as 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st Kyū respectively.

To attain each of these belts a minimum number of training sessions must have been attended and the syllabus techniques for the desired grade must be learnt. The higher novice belts also require some knowledge of the philosophy of Shōrinji Kempō and also demand the presentation of a rehearsed sequence of techniques performed with a partner (embu).

Grading exams are fairly relaxed at novice level, but become more serious the higher the grade, however even the lowest grade exams can still be a bit daunting! The gradings are performed by another Instructor (Sensei) and are usually carried out together with a group of people from both the Oxford dojo and others.

Having attained Shodan (1st Dan/black belt) it remains possible to continue grading since, 1st Dan is only the first non-novice grade. Look at it this way: the chief instructors in Japan are 9th Dan!

The Syllabus

Outlined below are the syllabus techniques required to reach each of the belts up to San Dan (3rd Dan). The techniques names are all in Japanese and although not easy to understand at a glance, picking up the basic Japanese commands is fairly easy. In training, our Sensei uses the Japanese names for the techniques and then usually repeats them in English.

The Japanese language instructions also allow for training to be conducted in a universally understood set of commands, aiding those who may not have mastered a country's native language. This means that you could train in other dojos while visiting foreign countries (we have also had our share of international kenshi). The Japanese does not pose a barrier to learning; it just makes everything sound far more impressive! Self-defence certainly doesn't sound boring with technique names such as "Kumade Zuki" or "Ryu Nage".


4th kyū
yellow belt
Gōhō
(hard techniques)
Uchi uke zuki (inward block punch)
Mae ryūsui geri (forward flowing water kick)
Ushiro ryūsui geri (backward flowing water kick)
Uwa uke geri (upward block kick)
Jūhō
(soft techniques)
Kote nuki (forearm escape)
Yori nuki (twisting escape)
Gyaku gote (reverse forearm)
Ude jūji (arm cross)
Ukemi
(the art of falling safely)
Yoko ukemi (horizontal roll) / ōten yori okiagari (getting up using a barrel roll)
Daisharin (cartwheel)
Basic technical
Japanese words
Greetings, Commands and Announcements
Rei - "bow" - Palms together in salutation
Naore - "recover" - Hands down
Shūgō - "assemble"
Seiretsu - "line up"
Chakuza - "sit down" - Sit in Seiza position (see below)
Kiritsu - "stand up"
Kesshu (gamae) - "concentration (stance)" - Stance taken when listening to instructions.
Onegaishimasu - "please" (polite form) - Said before an exercise
Arigatō gozaimashita - "thank you" (polite form) - Said after an exercise
Hajime - "begin"
Yame - "stop"
... hajimemasu - "beginning of ..."
... owarimasu - "end of ..."
 
Other Useful Vocabulary
Kamae - Stance (also -gamae, as a suffix)
Seiza - Formal sitting position: kneeling with the tops of the feet flat on the floor, and sitting on the soles
Anza - Relaxed sitting position: cross-legged
Kiai - Shout / Fighting spirit
Shin kokyū - Deep breath
Chosoku - Breathing control
Renshū - Training
Junbi taisō - Preparatory exercises (warm-up)
Kihon - Basics
Waza - Techniques
Otagai ni - (with) each other
Counting 1. Ichi
2. Ni
3. San
4. Shi / Yon
5. Go
6. Roku
7. Shichi / Nana
8. Hachi
9. Kyū
10. Jū
Gakka
(Study Subjects)
How to behave at the dojo
3rd kyū
green belt
Gōhō Uwa uke zuki
Shita uke geri
Shita uke jun geri
Tsuki ten ichi
Jū̄hō Ryōte yori nuki
Maki nuki (katate & ryōte)
Okuri gote
Okuri maki tembin
Ukemi Mae ukemi
Ushiro ukemi
Kata (tan en) Tenchiken dai ichi
Gakka Motivation and Goals for the Founding of Shōrinji Kempō
Key Attitudes Toward Training
The Five Elements of Atemi
The Three Essentials of Ken (gi, jutsu, ryaku)
2nd kyū
blue belt
Gōhō Tenshin geri
Uchi uke geri
Yoko tenshin geri
Han tenshin geri
Juji uke geri
Tsubame gaeshi
Chidori gaeshi
Jū̄hō Kiri nuki (uchi & soto)
Juji nuki (katate & ryōte)
Gassho nuki
Juji gote (katate & ryōte)
Ryaku jūji gote
Ryōte okuri gote
Kiri kaeshi nuki (katate & morote)
Sankaku nuki
Kiri gote (katate & morote)
Kata (tan en) Tenchiken dai ichi - ni
Giwaken dai ichi
Gakka Shōrinji Kempō is a Discipline that Develops Individuals
How to Study the Technical and Philosophical Teachings
Ma'ai and Opportunity for Offence and Defence
On Mind, Ki and Strength
1st kyū
brown belt
Gōhō Soto uke zuki
Soto uke geri
Soto oshi uke zuki
Kusshin zuki
Kusshin geri
Jū̄hō Jōhaku nuki (katate & ryōte)
Oshi kiri nuki
Jōhaku dori (katate & ryōte)
Jōhaku maki (katate)
Sode nuki
Sode dori
Sode maki
Sode maki tembin
Eri nuki
Ude maki
Kata muna otoshi
Eri jūji
Gyaku gote ura gaeshi nage
Kata (tan en) Tenchiken dai ichi - yon
Ryūōken dai ichi
Kata (sō tai) Tenchiken dai ichi
Giwaken dai ichi
Gakka The Six Distinguishing Characteristics of Shōrinji Kempō
Three Teachings of Ken (shu, ha, ri)
Key Principles
On Sen (Initiative)
Shodan
black belt
(1st degree)
Gōhō Kinteki geri hiza uke
Gyaku geri hiza uke
Mawashi geri sambo uke
Harai uke geri
Furi ten ni
Keri ten san
Tsuki ten san
Jū̄hō Nidan nuki
Oshi gote (katate & ryōte)
Oshi nuki (katate)
Kote maki gaeshi
Hiki nuki (morote)
Maki gote (katate & morote)
Juji nuki (morote)
Juji gote (morote)
Kata (tan en) Tenchiken dai ichi - roku
Byakuren ken dai ichi
Kata (sō tai) Tenchiken dai ichi
Tenchiken dai ni
Gakka:
Home Assignments
What is True Strength
Your motives in starting Shōrinji Kempō and your present state of mind
Gakka: Supervised
Essay Examination
Shōrinji Kempō is a Discipline that Develops Individuals
The Six Distinguishing Characteristics of Shōrinji Kempō
Key Attitudes Toward Training
The Five Elements of Atemi
Systems of the Training (kihon, hokei, randori, embu)
On Kisei and Kiai
Ma'ai and Opportunity for Offence and Defence
What is Truth Strength?
Ni Dan
black belt
(2nd degree)
Gakka:
Home Assignments
Shōrinji Kempō is a Discipline that Develops Individuals
Shōrinji Kempō Symbols and Activities
Gakka: Supervised
Essay Examination
The Six Distinguishing Characteristics of Shōrinji Kempō
Motivation and Goals for the Founding of Shōrinji Kempō
Three Teachings of Ken (shu, ha, ri)
Three Essentials of Ken (gi, jutsu, ryaku)
Principles used for Shōrinji Kempō
On Chinkon Practice
Technical Classifications of Shōrinji Kempō
On Mind, Ki, and Strength
Shōrinji Kempō is a Discipline that Develops Individuals
San Dan
black belt
(3rd degree)
Gakka:
Home Assignments
The Six Distinguishing Characteristics of Shōrinji Kempō
History and Founding of Shōrinji Kempō
Gakka: Supervised
Essay Examination
History and Founding of Shōrinji Kempō
On Sen (Initiative)
Ma'ai and Opportunity for Offense and Defense
Shōrinji Kempō Symbols and Activities
Pressure points of the head, face, and neck (22 points)
Pressure points of the arm and hand (15 points)
Pressure points of the leg and foot (21 points)
Pressure points of the chest and stomach (12 points)
The Six Distinguishing Characteristics of Shōrinji Kempō

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