■April 20, 2015
Last April 12 the Shorinji Kempo Fifth National Children’s Gasshuku was held, spurred by the Portuguese Shorinji Kempo Federation, through its Technical Department, and with direct support from Oriental Branch in facilitating for the second time to this activity the access to excellent conditions of Basic School of Olaias. As has been tradition, this children seminar is exclusively and intentionally directed to the young Kenshi up to 12 years of age, while ensuring optimal conditions for Shorinji Kempo teaching, practice, and learning according to the specific characteristics of this population. Moreover, we privilege the contact between young Kenshi through the Shorinji Kempo, materializing one of the main features – Kumite Shutai (Paired practice is primary), and the principles of friendship, respect, mutual support, and cooperation. In addition, we aim that young Kenshi know about other Masters, Assistants, and Instructors and other Branch to understand the national reality in order to motivate them through the diversity of contacts and experiences. 80 Kenshi and 13 teaching staff between Masters, Assistants, and Instructors, all from current affiliates of the Federation gathered at this seminar, in its fifth consecutive year. Throughout the day many games were held, and many techniques and Tan En were learned and practiced. But most of all, we overcame the challenge put in the early stage – make new friends! All participants, later in the day, had developed new friendships and created new bonds that will continue to be deepened along the practice with other activities. The constant laughter and concentration of these young people and the energy of its strong Kiai foresee a beautiful future for the Shorinji Kempo in Portugal, and all of us will work so that these young people continue to like Shorinji Kempo and being best people through this singular martial art. One can not fail to point out a peculiarity of this seminar which was a novelty introduced by the Federation in relation to the Kenshi registration. Each participant had to ensure that part of her/his registration was held in foodstuffs to be distributed on the day to an institution selected by the Federation. The selected institution was Por1Fio – “by a thread” – (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Por1Fio-Associa%C3%A7%C3%A3o-Solid%C3%A1ria/374437659365747) that is dedicated to collecting goods from various categories to distribute for families and people who are literally “by a thread” in their lives with the difficulties that are going on. This institution, during that day, received between 140kg to 150kg of food (which we now know to have been spread over 8 needy families). With this gesture, the young Kenshi were able to see firsthand that a modest help makes a big difference when all come together, and that Shorinji Kempo is truly a form of social expression in the materialization of one of the most important maxims of Kaiso So Doshin “half for one’s own happiness and half for the happiness of others.” Later in the day the feeling could not be more rewarding and that of mission accomplished, and the votes that we turn to find the sixth seminar in 2016, where we expect even more Kenshi!