Shorinji Tekken RyuTM
was formally presented to Albert C. Church, Jr. as it's 5th Lineage Inheritor.

Based on Church's Tekken Ryu inheritance and after review of his soden (scroll of transmission) the new art of Nippon Kobudo Kamishin Ryu was founded in the Kanagawa prefecture of Japan in 1968 by Albert C. Church with sponsorship by Shogo Kuniba, Head Family, 3rd lineage generation successor of Motobu-ha Shitoryu.

See scroll of "sponsorship".


The kanji for the system name would
read as follows:
Shorinji / Tetsu / Ken Ryu
When written or spoken as one name,
TetsuKen becomes TekKen respectively.

Albert C. Church, Jr.
Shorinji Tekken Ryu / Nippon Kobudo Kamishin Ryu
Head Family

Lineage Heritage

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 Pao Chuan, i.e., Young Forest Temple, Chin 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, (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. The family's Chinese hand forms were blended with the Korean Tae Kyon forms into a strong system of self-defense. . 



At this point in time, the current head family, Kim Chi Koh, was trained in the Tae Kyon (Korean ancient kicking art...this is not the modern Taekwondo sport art), Te (Okinawan art), Tang Su (a Chinese based art that is not the Tang Su Do art established at a later time in Korea) and Kong Su Do arts. Master Koh's family settled in Yong Dong Po near the present capital city of South Korea,Seoul. The armies of Japan occupied Korea, in the late 1880's, bringing with them the art of jujutsu, which was later used by Master Koh to enhance this style.




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. 

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

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

Shorinji Tekken Ryu
The organization Church sensei began shaping eventually flourished with over 7,000 registered students. Then in the mid 1970’s-time frame after a series of events, the organizational structure began to falter. When the dust settled, events found the hombu (headquarters school) dojo closing, and the entire upper level of the organization hierarchy being removed. Church had literally become inaccessible and was not seen for approximately one year. During this time, a number of top-level students stepped away from the art. However, once Church was back on the scene and the hombu re-opened, the residual effects from the confusion that started in the mid 1970's never seemed to disappear.

Then unexpectedly in 1980, Church sensei died.

Ted Petit sensei began his training within Nippon Kobudo Kamishin Ryu / Shorinji Tekken Ryu in 1971 (Albert C. Church, Jr., Head Family). He first trained under one of Soke Church’s black belt instructors then eventually under Church and Kelly directly. At that time Robert Kelly was Soke Church's documented inheritor.

It was Church's goal for his students to train within a combined martial structure, therefore, during the 1970's, Petit earned separate black belt rankings under the Kamishin Ryu system.

By 1979 Petit moved to Texas. In 1980, he received a late night phone call from Robert and Linda Kelly informing him of Church's death (Linda Kelly is Church's oldest daughter).

In 1995, Robert Kelly, shihan, signed and sealed a letter of lineage transmission to him giving Petit full sponsorship, permission and backing to carry on the Shorinji Tekken Ryu lineage teaching as Head Family.

Since that time, and to this day, Petit has trained in various arts to enhance his martial, cultural and philosophical knowledge:

OmoteSenke Chanoyu (Japanese Tea Ceremony)
Nakamura Ryu Batto Do - Guy Power
Matayoshi Kobudo - Franko Sanguinetti / Bob Johnson
Gracie Jujutsu - Kazeka Muniz
Wu Style Tai Chi - Harry Phillips

Petit has authored the first of a three-volume book set (Shorinji Tekken Ryu - The Iron Fist System Today) about the Shorinji Tekken Ryu system and its influences from China, Korea and Japan which is available on

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.

Ted Petit
Shorinji Tekken Ryu
Kokusai Shorinji Tekken Ryu Renmei
Head Family

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.

1.   證
2.   八段 宗家
3.   アルバート・C・チャーチ 殿
4.   私は是に日本武道聖心館-聖心館
5.   国際総合武道連盟の合衆国に於る
6.   唯一の米国支部として日本古武道連
7.   盟USAを許可し左記武術を指
8.   導する目的の組織代表者である
9.   事を承認する。
10. 聖心館柔術  Seishinkan Jujutsu         居合道 Iaido
11. 柔道 Judo              神心流手道 Kamishin Ryu Karatedo   
12.  拳術   Kenpo Jutsu                       少林寺鉄拳流 Shorinji Tekken Ryu
13. 昭和四十六年六月一日
14. 聖心館国際武道連合会長
15. 国場将豪

Direct Translation:

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 Kara/China]
12.  Kenpo Jutsu  [wrong kanji used should be ~po]             Shorinji Tekken Ryu
13.  Showa 46th year [1971], June the 1st
14.  Seishinkan International Budo Federation Chairman
15.  Shogo Kuniba [official seal stamped]


Standard English:

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
Shogo Kuniba
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.