Shorinji Kempo Culture
The Gassho Rei
In Shorinji Kempo, we do not use the Japanese style bow. Instead, we salute our seniors and each other using the gassho rei. This greeting symbolizes the mutual respect between each student, regardless of rank, age or ability. The gassho rei is performed by holding the left and right palms held together in front of the face. This salutation is done many times throughout the training sessions and in interactions between students and teachers.
All practice and learning in Shorinji Kempo is done through paired training; throughout the training sessions, mutual effort and cooperation is constantly emphasized. Each kenshi, especially when taking the offensive position, is asked to always be aware of their partner, not in terms of how best to attack the defender, but to also be aware of their limits and to not cause harm.
It may seem paradoxical to have a meditation session in a martial arts class, but the chinkon session is as much a part of Shorinji Kempo as the study of self defense techniques. Meditation is incorporated because it aids the kenshi in attaining mental clarity and calmness. It also provides physical benefits, as meditation teaches correct breathing and posture.