Welcome to the Kokusai Shorinji Tekken Ryu RenmeiTM


The Kokusai Shorinji Tekken Ryu Renmei (International Shaolin Iron Fist System Federation) was organized in 2018 to promote the art of Shorinji Tekken Ryu as taught by Master Kim Ji-kooh, Soke Albert C. Church, and Shihans Robert Kelly and Ted Petit.

In May 1967, Master Kim called for Church sensei to study with him in Japan. Late in 1967 Church was named the art's successor and upon Kim's death, received the soden, scroll of transmission and became the next lineage Soke/Soji/Head Family of Shorinji Tekken Ryu, and related arts.

Tekken Ryu's teachings are a cohesive blend of art influences from China, Korea, Okinawa and Japan as passed down through the inherited art. The art emphasizes self-defense methods that are designed to be efficient and practical while using powerful strikes coupled with kicking methods, seizing and control, vital point attacks, joint locking, choking, and throws. These spheres of application require the student to learn the principles behind what makes technique work, therefore, mere emulation of physical technique will not allow the student to become an effective martial artist.

This system, like many others in martial arts history, shares an ancestry through the Shaolin Temple. And like many others that share that ancestry, the path from the temple to their current martial home took on many twists and turns before settling in as the known system they are today. Shorinji Tekken Ryu most certainly is no different!

The oral tradition of Tekken Ryu is, again, not unlike countless martial arts systems where system records cannot be verified due to temple burnings from government uprisings, system's head families moving and losing records during their travels or dying before revealing the whereabouts of pertinent documents.

Even the most revered martial arts systems today, at one point or another in their history, fall back on accepting historical information on "faith" without necessarily having the evidence to support its validity or accuracy. What matters most is the current system's approach at passing on the teachings in a clear, concise manner that will stand the test of time. I have spoken with numerous traditional martial artists about this subject and they make it very clear that the transmission of a martial art, in the current day, is what matters most.

The Iron Fist System TodayTM

Soke Church presented aspects of Tekken Ryu throughout the years after his return from Japan. At times, animal styled methods were taught. Other times wide, low stances with powerful, fluid strikes would be shown. And still yet; various kicking combinations were taught. Also, Soke Church was extremely effective with vital point attacks and would often insert these methods throughout the training.

Church continually worked towards blending all the system's training, including Tekken Ryu, into a singular, cohesive art under the Kamishin Ryu system name which he accomplished some years before his death in 1980.

So why resurrect the inherited art that Soke Church eventually blended into the Kamishin system?

This is the question I’ve asked myself along this journey. There are two statements that Church made concerning Master Kim that have stayed with me all these years. One that Kim requested his art not be blended with Japanese teachings and two Church promised Kim that he would promote the art of Tekken Ryu. Also, Church stated in one of his writings entitled “Soji’s Personal Remarks and Thoughts” that... “As the writer can reason, the martial arts are ever changing as to techniques for, if changes were not forthcoming, the style would grow stagnant.” And later in the same document...”This is why our Sau Lin Szu style is constantly being up-graded. Upgrading permits continuation; continuation fosters growth; growth leads to advancement; advancement lets to acceptance; and acceptance requires upgrading making the circle of events unending.”

Based on those statements, allowing the “new” Iron Fist system to stand on its own for today’s generation is my way of honoring Master Kim and Soke Church. My presentation of the Tekken Ryu system incorporates past, known system teachings coupled with historic research covering the various known system art influences. To honor Soke Church’s own words...this is my contribution at keeping the Tekken Ryu system alive.

The Kokusai Shorinji Tekken Ryu Renmei is dedicated to advancing the art of Tekken Ryu, the years of friendship and support of Robert and Linda Kelly, to the memory of Albert C. Church and Master Kim and to the advancement and promotion of "the martial way".