Not to kill, but to awaken

Fusatsu Katsujin

Shorinji Kempo is an art of self-defense against opponents who the intent of harming you. There is no need to kill or wound the opponent; it is sufficient if one can make him lose the will to fight or prevent him from rash actions. Accordingly, the techniques are designed to apply optimal force to the various pressure points of the body, make the opponent stop moving.

In keeping with the character of these techniques, the phrase “one blow, certain death” is not used in Shorinji Kempo. In the past, this characteristic was summed up by the phrase, “no killing no injuries”, and now it is stated with “No killing, enlivening people”. It is not just a matter of overpowering an opponent with harmful intent. One aims to dispute the wrong and tries to convince one’s opponent not to do it, that is the way of thinking signified by fusatsu katsujin.

One day, a self-proclaimed high-ranking martial arts man came calling. Clearly he had come to make a challenge, and he said: “I’ll show you that I can throw you from a seated position; so grab my arms.” When Kaiso grasped his wrists, he attempted to apply a joint lock, but Kaiso countered with pressure to points on the outer wrists, causing piercing pain. Furthermore, when the man pulled his hands back out of pain, Kaiso followed and got a joint lock of his own and flipped him over from the seated position. With a red face, the man said: “Just from your grabbing me my hands went numb. You’re quite strong, aren’t you?” Kaiso answered: “I am not a strong man. Your hands didn’t go numb because of my strength; it was because of a Shorinji Kempo technique. Someone who wins by fighting is the lowest of the low. To truly win, you must convince the other. If you don’t win their assent, then it is not a victory.“

The word “win”, which he used, does not mean competing in a competition and beating one’s opponent. Only when one dispute the other’s wrong and convinces him of it, only then does it seem one can claim a victory. Kaiso further explains: “If someone wants to kill another, there are many better ways to do so. To make a person come alive, to give someone the will to live and the joy of living, and to be able to receive the same – this is the way of Shorinji Kempo.“