Kempo is not only a martial art, but is also a registered religion in
Japan. It was founded in 1947 by Rev. Doshin So (1911 - 1980), who
mastered the martial arts forms from various Shaolin Zen masters during
his 17 year stay in China, before & during World War two. He chose the
name, Shorinji (which is the Japanese translation of the Chinese
characters for the words, "Shaolin Temple") because he wanted to carry
on the tradition of the Shaolin Temple by training and cultivating both
mind and body, along with the teachings of the Buddha. In 1951 he
brought his masterpiece training back to the small town of Tadotsu,
Japan and established his dojo to teach young people about the
importance of physical and mental training by pointing out the crucial
importance of "win and overcome oneself by unifying one's mind & body"
rather than defeating the offender. Today, 1.4 million members are
practicing world-wide in 28 countries and 3,000 dojos. Needless to say,
it is the largest organization of its kind. Since his death in 1980,
Yuuki So, (Doshin So's daughter), has been continuing her dad's vision &
teachings as president of the World Shorinji Kempo Organization. Today,
Shorinji Kempo is recognized not only as a martial art and a religion,
but also for its generous donations and commitments to world charities.
The Shorinji Kempo Organization headquarters are still located in
Tadotsu on the island of Shikoku in Kagawa-Ken, Japan.