WSKO Board Member
WSKO Official Instructor
Shorinji Kempo European Office General Secretary
Chief Instructor of the French Shorinji Kempo Federation
Paris Branch Master, France
La Clef Branch Master, France
-- How did you come to start practicing Shorinji Kempo?
When I started college, I was invited by a friend - I was tall, you see. Probably I was marked out for recruiting. At the time the club was competing for dominance over another club, so they probably needed strong guys. So, I didn't join because of the philosophy or anything like that. It's because my friend said go on and do it that I started.
After I started college, I was singled out. People like Arai Sensei and Uno Sempai* would pull me out and say something like, "You, randori!" It was like that for me all the time. I would be the only junior, and everyone else there would be seniors.
* "Sempai" is an ordinary term of respect for one's seniors in a group.
-- Did you like randori then?
No, it's not that I liked it. Some people say they want to be more powerful, but in my case I was strong from the beginning. Of course, when I partner up, it's that I don't want to lose. Because I'm a man.
-- What was the attraction that kept you doing Shorinji Kempo for so long?
My parents used to say the same kinds of things as Kaiso. Things my parents would say, and that the priest at the temple that took me in as a child used to say, they were close to what Shorinji Kempo had to say. I was raised hearing that type of thing, see. So, it's more like, Shorinji Kempo is similar to the kind of things I grew up doing.
You see, from childhood I was always being told things like, "You have to stand up for the weak." Same kind of thing [as Shorinji Kempo], right?
But, I want to live beautifully, and to die beautifully. This is one of my philosophical tenets.
-- What do you mean when you say, "beautiful?"
That would have to be, "benevolence, justice, loyalty, filiality, decorum, and shame. It's a man's way of life modeled on these ideals, you know.
-- Would you say that Shorinji Kempo's techniques are beautiful compared to those of other martial arts?
It's pretty, Shorinji Kempo. But, the logic talk is a bit too dominant. More fundamental techniques, repeated over and over within free play, doing it so that people can really use the techniques, that's what I like.
-- Do you like teaching Shorinji Kempo?
To cut to the chase, more than teaching, I like to practice. Honestly. But, that way it doesn't spread, and the community won't grow, so that's why I teach, I guess. When people have kids they say, "The children will fulfill the dream." That's not how it works. It's your self that's living. You're living by giving your self a dream. Still, personal relations are important. I've known that lesson since I was a kid. So rather, I want my future to be a certain way, so I discipline my wife, and I discipline my kids. I also cultivate my students. If possible, I also want my friends to become the kind of friends that will allow us to understand each other. I grow, and I can cultivate others.
The characters for "human being" are written with the ideographs for "person" and "space between," so you can't become beautiful all on your own. To avoid fights, you make the kind of friendships where you can understand each other.
-- Is the reason you chose France related to the idea of beauty?
You know I'm the first person to go to Europe. If you look at a map, it's basically the area that's in the middle of Europe. So, I was thinking that if I were somewhere around there, I could spread Shorinji Kempo to all kinds of places.
I had in mind the goal of spreading Shorinji Kempo. If I were going to do it, after all, that's the kind of thing I had in mind. Look, I had things I was responsible for, but I put all that aside, so, yes, I had thought it through that far.
So, the next year, after making three branches, I went back [to Japan]. When I went back, Kaiso said to everyone, "Aosaka made four branches in one year." In a rush, I went back [to France], made the fourth, and when I came back to Japan he said, "He made seven." And that's how it went, multiplying them one after another. So before long, the fire leaped to Switzerland, to Italy, and to Spain... It wasn't like now when there are so many, but at the time I made one or two in each country.
-- This is a different subject, but do you have a technique you like particularly?
A technique I like, hmm? In goho, that'd be jun zuki. Because it's fast, and you can protect your midline, in jun. See, if the opponent is tough, I always take him on with jun. Because if you kick you'll end up one one leg. And you can't always avoid getting caught at some point and having your balance broken. But if you strike with the hand, both feet are on the ground, basically. That's why it's jun zuki.
For gyaku techniques... I like the kannuki techniques, but for something that I've really used in fights, that would be kata muna otoshi. Now, when I say kata muna otoshi, I mean where you take it on the opponent's outer side. Not the kihon version, where you take it in front of the opponent, but when someone's suddenly grabbed you and you take it while moving to the outside. If you take it in front, that's really dangerous, when you miscarry the technique. When I went to the West, I tried various approaches, but in the end, it's kata muna otoshi.
-- Do you still get in fights?
Now?... At this age, if I were still getting in fights, I'd be treated like an idiot! Still, there are times when I intercede, and there are some people who get mad even though you talk to them. So, it's a pain to tell people like that to please stop, so sometimes there's no way around giving out a whack. Sometimes you tell people things like, "Half for others..." and you still can't resolve anything. If you want to spread the circle as philosophy or a religious view, there are lots of higher religious people who could do that better than me.
I teach that sort of thing too, but after all, the effectiveness as a defensive art is useful in so many more ways. Sure, it can help you make comrades and friends, and its good for your health, but if those were the purpose, there are lots of other good ways available, especially in the West.
But that's not the point. It may also be good for your health, but first and foremost it is useful for self-defense, you gain good personal relations, and you make lots of good friends, and thatfs why everyone does Shorinji Kempo. Number one, for both men and women, is self defense. Then after that, personal relations.
-- Finally, a word to WSKO kenshi.
Hmmm, I suppose that would have to be Riki Ai Funi. Also, the more human aspect would be Benevolence, Justice, Loyalty, Filiality, Decorum, and Shame. I mention these [virtues] because in some ways they aren't very present in the West - Benevolence, Justice, Loyalty, Filiality, Decorum, and Shame. When people do something wrong, you have to cultivate in them a feeling that says, "I am ashamed."
One of the things Kaiso wanted to communicate was compassion, "Think about things from the other person's perspective," right? That's a matter of Benevolence. Benevolence, within spiritual culture, is ahead of the West. Shame is the same. To demand, "Feel ashamed," when there is something that goes against the philosophy or code in yourself is something very advanced in a spiritual culture. This is clearly culture that the East can be proud of.
To ask what is the reality of this shame, it is that one has a law within oneself. Something like hara-kiri is a method, after one has done something that violates the law within oneself, for resolving the matter. So, it is definitely not some erotic, grotesque absurdity.
So, to teach something like this, it's about getting people overseas to understand Japanese culture. I tell people this a lot. Among all of Japan's exports, there is only one that's really "Made in Japan." All the rest are just like things from the West. And that one thing is Budo. That's the Shorinji Kempo that Kaiso created. What I'm saying is, in that sense, I teach with great pride.
I think what I'd like WSKO kenshi to learn is Benevolence, Justice, Loyalty, Filiality, Decorum, and Shame. You can probably only show these by doing, and by having people put them into action. It means saying, "Look at the way Aosaka lives." Well, I don't push it on them unreasonably. I show them by doing, and I say if you think it's good, why not try doing the same? That's the feeling, you see. If it were a mistake, then one seed wouldn't have grown into 40,000 people.
Still, it's precisely because Shorinji Kempo is a good thing that the kenshi population in Europe is 40,000, right? Benevolence, Justice, Loyalty, Filiality, Decorum, and Shame - if they were taught properly, don't you think Japanese people would be understood as well? I think so.
-- Thank you.
World Shorinji Kempo Organization Headquarters,
In the conference room on June 12, 2003]