Hard and soft make one whole

The techniques of Shorinji Kempo are composed of

a) goho (hard methods) which are applied when, after receiving and fending off an attacker’s strikes and kicks, one counterattacks with blows to the opponent’s body, and

b) juho (soft methods) including throws, releases, and joint reverses against the attacker who grabs your wrist or clothes.

When goho and juho are skillfully combined, they supplement and reinforce each other to become even more effective.

In Shorinji Kempo, gōhō and jūhō are used depending on the situation. If someone were to grab you by the front of the shirt, it wouldn’t do to suddenly use gōhō and strike the person. Likewise, if an opponent coming at you with a string of punches, jūhō alone would not be an adequate defense. This provision of both gōhō and jūhō, one or the other to be used depending on the situation, is explained in Shorinji Kempo is one of its special characteristics, known as “gōjū ittai” (hard and soft make one whole).

Kaiso used to say, “strategy is a thing that changes“, to explain Shorinji Kempo’s characteristic distinction of hard and soft responses depending on the attacker’s approach. Moreover, he did not restrict the thinking behind “hard and soft united” to the realm of physical techniques saying: “The essence of Shorinji Kempo is something that can be used in daily life.” He explained the connection between Shorinji Kempo’s technical approach and its basic approach to daily life saying: “It’s doing a good job of grasping that chance that comes and goes in a flash, or responding to the variations. And you don’t lose focus. I think that’s the best.“

This is gōjū ittai.