Hōkei 法形 can be translated as ”form” or ”pattern”. When talking about form, one often thinks of kata 型 that is used by many other budō 武道. The second character (kanji) in hōkei can also be read as kata, but it isn’t the same kanji as the one that most often is used for ”kata” in other budō. The meaning of ”kata” and ”hōkei” is similar, but there is a certain difference.

When one talk about hōkei, one usually think of forms that are done in single form. In Shorinji Kempo there are of course also that type of forms (see further down on this page). But the primary in Shorinji Kempo is pair-practice (see kumite shutai under the Characteristics of Shorinji Kempo).

Gōhō hōkei (Kenshi wearing hōi).

Gōhō kanji


niō ken

Niō ken 仁王拳 is a group of techniques with defence against different types of strikes against jōdan (the head) and a counter attack.
Niō ken contains 21 different techniques.

sangō ken

Sangō ken 三合拳 contains techniques with defence against strikes or kicks against chūdan (stomach) and a counter attack with kick.
Sangō ken contains 9 different techniques.

ten'ō ken

Ten’ō ken 天王拳 defence against a series of attacks that i begin with a strike to jōdan and counter with kick.
Ten’ō ken contains 9 different techniques.

byakuren ken

Byakuren ken 白蓮拳 – Typical of techniques in the byakuren ken group is dan han geki, which means that one perform defence and counter with the same hand.
Byakuren ken contains 6 different techniques.

chiō ken

Chiō ken 地王拳 is defence against a series of attacks that begins with a kick chūdan or gedan (lower part).
Chiō ken contains 6 different techniques.

kakuritsu ken

Kakuritsu ken 鶴立拳is techniques that mainly means defences with the leg against kicks aimed for gedan and counter with kick.
Kakuritsu ken contains 5 different techniques.


Jūhō hōkei (Kenshi wearing hōi).
Jūhō hōkei (Kenshi wearing hōi).



ryūō ken

Ryūō ken 龍王拳 is techniques for escaping from different types of grabs.
Ryūō ken contains 27 different techniques.

ryūka ken

Ryūka ken 龍華拳is a group of techniques developed from Ryūō ken, but instead of escaping one does take downs or throws. These techniques are essential in Shorinji Kempo.
Ryūka ken contains 56 different techniques.

goka ken

Goka ken 五花拳 is throwing techniques, some of them by defence from strikes and then grab and throw.
Goka ken contains 26 different techniques.

kongō ken

Kongō ken 金剛拳 is techniques of pinning a person.
Kongō ken contains 27 different techniques.

rakan ken

Rakan ken 羅漢拳 is a set of techniques with defence mainly against grabs in the clothes (sleeve or collar), strangles etc.
Rakan ken contains 47 different techniques.

rakan teihō

Rakan teihō 羅漢締法 is a group of techniques with different strangulation methods.
Rakan teihō contains 8 different methods.

rakan appō

Rakan appō 羅漢圧法 is techniques that use kyūsho 急所. This group of techniques is a part of the exam to 6th dan.
Rakan appō contains 35 different techniques.


Tanen hōkei – series of techniques in single form

Tenchi ken dai ikkei – dai rokkei (1-6)
Ryūō ken dai ikkei
Giwa ken dai ikkei, dai nikei (1, 2)
Byakuren ken dai ikkei
Kō manji ken (manji no kata)
Ryū no kata (gyaku gote tanen)