Shorinji Kempo: A Japanese Martial Art

✅ Practical self-defence skills
✅ Friendly atmosphere, open to all
✅ “Hard” punches and kicks
✅ “Soft” eludes and throws
✅ Meditation and philosophy
✅ Develop your body and mind
✅ Classes in South Bristol

What is Shorinji Kempo?

Shorinji Kempo is a martial art for self defence and training both the mind and the body. Its teachings include a complete range of defence techniques that range from punches and kicks to throws and locks, a form of shiatsu massage (seiho), seated meditation and philosophy.

Goho – the hard way

Strikes – punches and kicks – and defences against them. Dodges and deflections turn the attacker’s strength against them, and precise aim improves the effectiveness of your attacks. [Read more about strikes and blocks]

Juho – the soft way

Movements which involve continuous contact with your opponent – mainly escapes from being grabbed, with the option to either elude entirely or throw the opponent on the floor. Similar to the hard techniques, the soft way uses the opponent’s momentum and balance against them. [Read more about eludes and throws]

Chinkon – meditation

Every class includes a few minutes of seated meditation. This calms and focuses the mind and helps to improve breathing control. [Read more about meditation]

Howa – philosophy

Our philosophy was created to improve the life of people, and the world around them. Over time you expect to become more confident, have an increased sense of what is right and wrong, and also possess increased courage to uphold your beliefs. [Read more about philosophy]

Seiho – healing

Kempo includes healing and resuscitation techniques based on the same set of meridians used in traditional Chinese medicine. Making a positive contribution to society is key to the philosophy and this side of the martial art is a clear manifestation of this principle. [Read more about healing]

Our teachers

Our two instructors are Sensei Mike (5th Dan) and Sensei Nicki (4th Dan), both with many years of experience in teaching the art. [Read more about teachers]

Our dojo locations and class times

Our Bristol martial arts classes are run three times a week across two locations in South Bristol. Beginners are welcome at any of the classes.

On Friday evening and Saturday morning we are at Totterdown Methodist Church. On Monday evening we are at Windmill Hill City Farm. [Read more about our locations]

Bristol Shorinji Kempo is affiliated to the British Shorinji Kempo Federation, so if you’re visiting another city you can drop by another dojo and be just as welcome as you are here. [Find a BSKF dojo in another city]

Our other services

Schools and Youth Clubs

We run one-off self defence sessions for young people. Sensei Nicki has an enhanced DBS check for working with children and has completed the Safeguarding Children in Sport qualification. [Read more about schools self defence sessions]


Sensei Nicki is a qualified Brownie, Guide, and Ranger leader in Bristol West division and is happy to attend your unit to run UMAs in the Be Well theme – for example Triple boxer for Brownies or Mastering the moves for Guides. [Read more about Girlguiding activities]


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Are your martial arts classes suitable for complete beginners?

Yes, absolutely! We practice basics in every class so that the moves become instinctive. When we’re doing more complicated things you’ll be matched with someone your own level so you can improve together, or given one-to-one instruction by a senior student.

Is it suitable for women/small people?

Definitely! All the “power” in Shorinji Kempo comes from accuracy and speed rather than muscle strength, so it’s no problem being small. Sensei Nicki is pretty short too, so she understands how to make the moves work against taller/stronger opponents.

I’m really unfit, does that matter?

No. Everyone trains to their own level, so if you’re not fit you can ease into it and if you’re super fit you can go full speed. Our martial arts classes contain not only physical exercise but also philosophy and more complex movements that need to be practiced slowly at first, so don’t worry about having to go super fast all the time!

Do you teach children?

Children aged 14+ are welcome at our normal classes, with parental permission. Sensei Nicki has an enhanced DBS check for working with children and has completed the EduCare Child Protection in Sport and Active Leisure qualification.

We do not currently have a dedicated class for younger children.

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