Shorinji Tekken RyuTM
The kanji for the system name would
|Albert C. Church, Jr.
Shorinji Tekken Ryu / Nippon Kobudo Kamishin Ryu
Lineage HeritageOral tradition teaches us that the lineage of this art can be traced as far back as 1679 to the Henan Province in China. The art, at that time, was known as Sau Lin Szu Chin Chen Pao Quan, (Young Forest Temple, Metal [fist], Chen family, Cannon/pounding, Fist Method), and eventually moved from China to Korea during the 1800's. Here, the art blended with the native Tae Kyon, (Jump/kick and Fist methods). In Korea, the art was known as Solimsa Cheol Gwon, (Young Forest Temple, Iron Fist Method). The style blended with the laws of Hwarang-do, the ethical code developed by Korean warriors in the 6th century, becoming a style with a blended fighting system. The Chinese hand forms were blended with the Korean Tae Kyon forms into a somewhat strong system of self-defense. .
In 1950, as a member of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, Albert Curtis Church, Jr., met and began studying Master Koh's Solimsa Cheol Gwon. Church sensei was rotated stateside in 1952 where upon he began teaching Master Koh's art.
The style moved to Japan, Mishima-shi, Shizuoka-ken, in 1956, when Master Koh sought medical treatment which was not available in the battle torn Korean nation. In the Japanese language, the system was then called Shorinji Tekken Ryu.
Nippon Kobudo Kamishin Ryu
While living and training in Japan, Church sensei became close friends with Shogo Kuniba, Soke (by succession), of Motobu-ha Shito Ryu Karate-do. Kuniba sponsored Church before the Zen Nippon Kodudo Renmei and Zen Nippon Karate-do Renmei of Kyoto and Osaka after reviewing the Shorinji Tekken Ryu Soden that Church received. It was decided at that time that the art of Shorinji Tekken RyuTM should be renamed as Nippon Kobudo Kamishin Ryu. Therefore, the newly founded name of this art was officially released in Japan in 1968.
A special scroll was prepared by Kuniba and presented to Church, in Japan, in 1968.
In 1969, prior to Church's return to the United States, Kuniba presented him with a kanban, (formal teaching authorization sign).
After receiving the authorization and support of Shogo Kuniba, Church returned to the United States to teach the newly renamed art of Nippon Kobudo Kamishin Ryu. It was Church's goal for his students to train within the teachings of the "martial way".
When Soke Church returned stateside, this time as Kamishin Ryu's new head family, the system's hierarchical structure began taking shape. At that time, Church named Robert Kelly, his future son-in-law, as the system inheritor and as a soke-dai. Kelly sensei received a document of lineage transmission in 1971.
Robert Kelly, Shorinji Tekken Ryu
Robert Kelly, for personal reasons, has chosen not to publicly teach the art that he was named inherior of 1971. In late 1995, Kelly signed and sealed a letter of lineage transmission through him giving Petit full sponsorship, permission and backing to carry on the Shorinji Tekken Ryu lineage teaching as Head Family.
Shorinji Tekken Ryu
Kokusai Shorinji Tekken Ryu Renmei
Lineage and Naming Conventions
Various English-language system documents from Soke Church, over the years, have listed our inherited art’s name as “Sau Lin Szu Chin Chen Pa Ming Chuan Fa”. Translated as ‘Young Forest Temple – Metal (fist) – Chen family – Eight* – Ming** – Fist method’.
*The “Pa” translation was never verified. One translation of ‘Pa’ is ‘eight’ 八.
**Soke Church said that “Ming” 明 was the era-name in which this art was established, but we
cannot find any other example of applied era-names when compared to many traditional
historical Chinese boxing arts.
We have no copies of the original scroll by Master Koh, nor complete copies of the scroll created by Shogo Kuniba sensei and given to Soke Church. The scrolls exist, but the possessor has not yet provided complete images of both scrolls' contents. Only a partial image of the Kuniba scroll as seen directly below….
…and Kuniba sensei’s certificate of support for Soke Church’s inherited art and the newly founded Kamishin Ryu art seen below.
2. 八段 宗家
3. アルバート・C・チャーチ 殿
10. 聖心館柔術 Seishinkan Jujutsu 居合道 Iaido
11. 柔道 Judo 神心流唐手道 Kamishin Ryu Karatedo
12. 拳歩術 Kenpo Jutsu 少林寺鉄拳流 Shorinji Tekken Ryu
1. Certificate; proof; evidence
2. Hachi Dan Soke [8th dan Head of House]
3. Mr. Albert C. Church, Jr.
4. I [Kuniba], of this Japan Kobudo Seishinkan and Seishinkan
5. International Combined Budo Federation in America
6. Only one American Chapter, Japan Kobudo Federa-
7. tion USA [and] is authorized/licensed the left [below] bujutsu te-
8. ach [teach] for the purpose as organizational representative
9. and such is acknowledged/recognized.
10. Seishinkan Jujutsu Iaido
11. Judo Kamishin Ryu Karatedo [note the use of 唐Kara/China]
12. Kenpo Jutsu [wrong kanji used should be 法 ~po] Shorinji Tekken Ryu
13. Showa 46th year , June the 1st
14. Seishinkan International Budo Federation Chairman
15. Shogo Kuniba [official seal stamped]
8th degree black belt, Soke/head of family
Mr. Albert C. Church, Jr.
I, Shogo Kuniba, Chairman of the Japan Kobudo Seishinkan and the Seishinkan International Combined Budo Federation hereby recognize/acknowledge Mr. Albert C. Church, Jr. as [our] organizational representative, and that there is only one branch chapter in America, the Japan Kobudo Federation USA. I acknowledge/recognize him as the Organizational Representative, [and] that his purpose is to establish and teach the following martial arts: Seishinkan Jujutsu, Iaido, Judo; Kamishin Ryu Karatedo, Kenpo jutsu, and Shorinji Tekken Ryu.
1 June 1971
Chairman, Seishinkan International Budo Federation
All translations above provided by Guy Power, Renshi seventh dan, Toyama Ryu/ Nakamura Ryu Batto-Do (founded by Nakamura Taizaburo, Hanshi tenth dan Toyama Ryu Iaido). Guy Power was the USA representative of the International Batto-do Federation and is now retired. Power sensei was introduced to Iaido (Mugai Ryu) by Church sensei from 1970-1972.