The British Shorinji Kempo Federation held a taikai (competition) last Sunday.
Members of the federation performed embu, both individually (tanen), in groups (dantai) and in pairs (kumi).
Embu are choreographed fights and demonstrations, with participants being scored on technical accuracy, structure and flow, and spirit. Creating and performing an embu is an opportunity for students to learn which techniques flow well from one another, and to practice to a high standard.
The entrants were closely matched and at times it was not clear who the winners would be.
There was also a randori (sparring) competition. The participants, wearing body armour and helmets, fought to score points by using clear Shorinji Kempo techniques with good kiai and spirit. More points are scored for defensive techniques than for offence, in keeping with our emphasis on self defence.
It was a good experience for all who took part, including some who had their first try at assisting with the judging. I would encourage all Shorinji Kempo kenshi to take part in the next taikai!