This article is from the Martial Arts FAQ, by Matthew Weigel firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Contributor: Mark Edward Bober (email@example.com)
Kosho Ryu Ken/mpo is a philosophical art much like Jeet Kune Do but
with a Zen influences...lots of mind science material and healing
arts. It is not a style of compiled kata or specific techniques..it is
a study of all motion and therefore cannot be stylised to look like a
specific teacher or animal movement. Thus, this writeup will discuss
only the history of the art.
Kosho Shorei Kempo was created by several happenings, spanning a
period of centuries. According to Mitose Sensei, during the invasion
of Genghis Khan, the Head Monk of the Shaolin Temple fled China and
found refuge with the Mitose family. In appreciation for the kindness
of the Mitose's, he taught them Shaolin Chuan Fa (Shorinji Kempo in
Japanese). From James Mitose's book:
"Fifteen hundred years ago, the ancestor (of the Author) was a Shinto
priest. He studied and taught many different martial arts including
sword fighting, lance fighting, fighting with the bow and arrow,
fighting on horseback, and swim fighting. Some arts looked like Kempo,
Karate, Gongfu, and Ju-jitsu- but they were different in many ways.
He mastered all of these arts and became Grand Master. Then Grand
Master Mitose founded a martial arts school and called his style
Mitose's Martial Art School."
In 1235 a Shinto priest whom James Mitose called his first ancestor
became enlightened to what we call Kempo. According to Mitose, this
man was a martial arts master and a Buddhist monk studying at Shaka-In
who found it difficult to be both. His religion taught him pacifism;
his martial art taught him destruction. He pondered this dilemma under
an old pine tree meaning Kosho in Japanese. He became enlightened and
was from then on known as, Kosho Bosatsu, the Old Pine Tree
Enlightened One. He discovered the relationship between man and Nature
and also the secret of the Escaping Arts which is what makes Kempo a
True and Pure Kempo or study of all Natural Law through a Martial Arts
medium. Then "the Grand Master founded the Kosho Shorei Temple of
Peace, True Self Defense and Kosho Shorei Yoga School. At that time,
he made up the Coat of Arms and the Motto for his Temple. In his
Temple, he taught how to escape from being harmed by using the
escaping patterns, with God's help."
Only 2 people in the world learned the Escaping Arts from Mitose
Sensei and one of these two learned all the facets of Kosho, namely
its 22 Generation Grandmaster Bruce Juchnik. The highest goal is to
defend oneself without body contact unlike Okinawan/Japanese Karate
systems or many other Ken/mpo systems.
Kosho Ryu influences can be seen in Ed Parker and his creation
American Kenpo. He added many labels to concepts inherent in Kosho
that had Japanese names or no labels at all.
References: "What Is Self Defense" 1953 James M. Mitose
"What Is True Self Defense" 1981 James M. Mitose