Shaolin Si Tie Chuan Fa (Young Forest Temple Iron Fist Method) is the name of our system founded in the Henan (Honan) province of north central China during the Ming dynasty. This system of martial application was based upon the long staff and fist/foot techniques, in association with the monks of the Shaolin Si (Young Forest Temple).
The Shaolin Si Temple was located about 40 miles from the city of Luoyang (Lo-yang) on the mountain of Songshan. The temple was isolated from the main stream life at the time when Manchu tribes of Mongolia invaded and overran most of China. It is believed that a number of warlords went to this temple to hide from the Manchu armies and to form a resistance effort.
As the monks of the temple were peaceful, they offered no resistance to the warlords. In turn, the warriors caused no harm to the monks. The warlords organized a school of fighting arts based on the knowledge they had gathered throughout their lives and taught their methods of fighting to young men who also wished to resist the Manchu rulers. The warriors also began to take up the teachings of the peaceful monks and their manner of dress. These monks traveled from one temple to another, across the wide reaches of China. Soon the warrior monks began to travel with the peaceful monks, in part to serve as protection for them and as a cover to go to other temples and cities to spread their knowledge.
With certainty, the lineage of this art can be traced to one of it's headmasters as far back as 1679 in the Chen village to a man named Yon Ho Chen. When he passed away in 1751 the leadership of the art of Shaolin Si Tie Chuan Fa, was passed on to his son, Lee Ho Chen. Lee Ho Chen died in 1814 passing the art to one of his students, a master named Lee Chi Wang.
Lee Chi Wang is accredited with moving the art from China to Korea when he settled in Ingea Village, central Korea (Likely located in the modern Pyongyang City area). Here he blended the external "Iron Fist" art with the native Korean art of Taekkyeon, (jump/kick and fist methods). In Korea the art was known as So Rim Sa Churl Kwon Bup (Young Forest Temple, Iron Fist Method).
Lee Chi Wang died in 1881. It is known that the son, Kim Chi Wang, was trained in the Korean national Taekkyeon arts as well as So Rim Sa Tang Soo Do/Kong Soo Do and Jujutsu/Judo forms brought to Korea during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945). When he was considered of age, senior students of his father passed on the remaining succession of the "Iron Fist" art to him.
Master Wang settled in the area known as Yong Dong Po near the present capital city of South Korea, Seoul and later in life trained in the newly formed Chang Moo Kwon arts as well.
The inherited Chinese fist forms were blended with the other martial arts practiced by Master Wang into a somewhat strong system of self-defense.
This syle moved to Japan, Mishima-shi, Shizuoka-ken, in 1956, when Wang sensei (Kim Chi Wang used his Japanized name, Kin Ki-Oh in Japan) sought medical treatment, which was not available in the battle torn Korean nation. In the Japanese language the system was called Shorinji Tetsu-Kempo (The kanji for Iron Fist is Tetsu-ken, but in the Japanese language Tetsu-ken is read as Tekken.)
Shinshin Ryu Modern History
Albert C. Church, Jr., sensei began training in So Rim Sa Churl Kwon Bup (Do)** in Korea while stationed there for the Korean conflict in 1950. At this time the system was a small self-defense discipline similar to Hapkido of today. Church sensei earned the equivalent to a Sandan (Roughly Boxer Level 2) in So Rim Sa Churl Kwon Bup before returning to the U.S. in 1952.
** Note: The art of So Rim Sa Churl Kwon Bup has also been known as So Rim Sa Churl Kwon Do. Some of the reason for this change was attributed to the Japanese occupation of Korea in 1910, effectively stopping the teaching of all Kwon Bup styles in Korea.
In 1962, Harold Martin began training under Church sensei in the various teachings Church sensei offered.
During the early to late 60's, Church sensei also taught Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate and Hakko Ryu Jujutsu under the Hakko Ryu Martial Arts Federation (HMAF). In 1967, Church sensei named his senior-most student, Harold Martin as Hombu Dojo-Cho (home school chief instructor) and left the daily running of his school to him. Church sensei then traveled back to Japan at the request of his instructor to once again train. Then in a surprise move, Ki-Oh sensei, due to personal illness and inability to continue teaching his discipline, officially appointed Church sensei as his lineage succesor "Soke Dai" (Inheritor Elect).
During this time period (1967-1969), Church sensei also trained with Ryuho Okuyama, Soke, Hakko Ryu Jujutsu, Teruo Hayashi, Kaicho, Seishinkai and Shogo Kuniba, Soke in his inherited art of Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate-do and earned the rank of Godan and the Shihan title.
Kuniba sensei was allowed by Church sensei to review his densho (scroll of succession) and decided to personally sponsor Church sensei and his formally awarded discipline of Shorinji Tetsu Kempo-jutsu before the Zen Nippon Karate-Do Renmei in order to insure world-wide recognition. In 1968, as per the Seishinkai Shihan Committee, Kuniba sensei prepared a scroll recognizing... "Nippon Kobudo Kamishin Ryu, Soke, Albert C. Church..." and a license as the founder-President (Kaicho) of the martial ways organization named Nippon Kobudo Rengokai. The term Kamishin Ryu was derived from the scroll of succession and added to receive acceptance as a "Japanized" martial system, and presumably to not be confused with the more popular Shorinji Kempo arts. Ko-budo in this text means "ancient martial ways". All techniques utilized in it's three ryugi (sub-styles) were continued on from the Shorinji Tetsu-Kempo with the only exceptions being certain Kata forms introduced into the ryugi of Kempo, influenced by Ryukyu Karate-do; specific techniques of Daito/Hakko Ryu Aiki-jujutsu introduced into the ryugi of Jujutsu and certain sword techniques of Kuniba Ha Mugai Ryu Iaido into the ryugi of Buki-jutsu (weapons) now known as Mugai Ho Shinshin Ryu Iaijutsu.
During this time, 1967, Thomas Brandon began training under Church sensei in Japan in his martial arts as well as Military combatives.
In May 1969, Church sensei returned to the United States where he promptly set forth to develop the organizational structure of the Nippon Kobudo Rengokai.
In 1970, Church sensei named Harold Martin sensei as his Ichi Bon Deshi (#1 Student) and Soke Dai (Next Generation Head-Family) of both Shorinji Tetsu-Kempo and Nippon Kamishin Ryu. This was done since Church sensei had no son to leave his inherited art to. Robert Kelly and Thomas Brandon were also named as Soke Dai(s) (Next Generation Head-Family) which began the Ryugi division break up of the system into teaching factions (Ha). The Ryu-ha passed to Soke-Dai Thomas Brandon was considered a sub-style of the inherited Shoalin system called, at this time, Nippon Kempo Wang Ha Tetsuken Ho Kamishin Ryugi (Hissho Ryu) and was developed by Church sensei and Brandon sensei into a Chinese based system to be used for Law Enforcement and Military. The teachings of this sub-system utilizes Chin-Na grappling techniques and arresting measures as well as various ancient and modern weapons up to and including fire-arms.
In 1975, Thomas Brandon was also named as as Fuku-Kaicho (Vice President) of the Nippon Kobudo Rengokai.
In 1976, due to familial disagreements concerning the divorce and remarriage of Church sensei, Robert Kelly was dismissed from the organization and all appointments within the Kai were rescinded.
In 1977, Church sensei named Harold Martin as Kaicho Dai (Next Generation President) over the Nippon Kobudo Rengokai which includes the arts of Shorinji Tetsu-Kempo (aka Shaolinji Karate Do Nippon Tetsu-Ken Ryu (Young Forest Temple China Hand Way Japan Iron Fist Style)) and Nippon Kamishin Ryu (This fact is not only documented but witnessed by the senior instructors who were still active at that time and at the appointment Kai meeting). At this time Church sensei created his Kamishinkai International and taught his personal art of Shorinji Tetsu-Ken Do Kanda Ha Kamishin Ryu (Some people still debate over Kai structure documents provided but they all ignore the testimonies of the senior instructors present during the reconstruction of the Kai).
Between 1977 and the death of Church sensei (1980), the organization went into a severe time of reorganization. One letter was put out by Church sensei in 1979, stating that Harold Martin resigned from the organization, this was disputed by Martin sensei and he was reinstated (although any such documentation showing this would have long since been "lost"). After this document, we have ranking certificates and documents written showing Martin sensei still active in the organization up to and after Church sensei's death. In 1980, Church sensei died and the art of Kamishin Ryu went into a further time of disarray. At this time, Catherine Church, Church sensei's 2nd wife, assumed responsibilities over Church sensei's Kamishinkai International organization. Harold Martin left the KSKI organization as to no longer associate with the KSKI, now controlled by Catherine Church, and began teaching on a case by case basis. Thomas Brandon continued developing his lineage as passed to him from Church sensei, now known as Ko Sie Ha Shaolinji Tetsuken Ryu.
In 2002, Darrell Collins became the personal student under Martin Soke and by summer of 2003, became Soke-Dai (Inheritor Elect) of Martin Soke's teaching system.
In 2006, Harold Martin named Darrell Collins as the inheritor by lineage succession of his system which includes his teachings of the Shorinji Tetsu-Kempo as well as the Nippon Kamishin Ryu. In 2016 Harold Martin, Dai-Soke, passed away.
In 2017, Thomas Brandon also named Darrell Collins as the inheritor by lineage succession of his system of Shorinji Tetsu Kempo Ryuha (Koh Ha), thus giving Collins Soke, two distinct systems passed from Church Soke by lineage succession.
The documents of succession from Church sensei, as well as current lineage succession paperwork is on file at the Shinshin Ryu Hombu Dojo.
As you can see, the art of "Kamishin Ryu" has a past filled with changes and divisions as do most arts when it's head-master dies prematurely. Unfortunately, these divisions and factions continue to this day.
Kokusai Shinshin Bugei Renmei (KSBR)
The Kokusai Shinshin Bugei Renmei (Divine Heart Federation - International) was created by Darrell Collins, Soke, in 2017, to act as a "covering" organization of the his inherited arts. The naming convention of Shinshin is a more traditional way of saying Divine Heart and further separates these teachings from others who are teaching the arts as passed from Church sensei. The KSBR has several active instructor level seniors, who were trained by Church sensei and Martin sensei, acting as a Kai Instructor board. The Senior Technical Advisors are Thomas Brandon, Tai-Sijo (Inheritor), Koh Ha Shorinji Tekken Ryu and Fuku Kaicho (Vice President), Kokusai Shinshin Bugei Renmei, Tony Annesi, Kaiso (Founder), Takeshin Budo-Bushido Kai, Roy Jerry Hobbs, Kaiso (Founder), Dentokan Budo, Ron Cherry, Kaiso (Founder), Shorinji Toraken Ryu-AKKA, Michel Hawi, Sijo (Inheritor) Tai Nei Chuan and Timothy Raynor, Sijo-Hanshi, Fu Jowel Pai. The senior student/instructors include black belts such as Tom Laquiere, Hanshi-Hachidan, George Newkirk, Hanshi-Hachidan and Jim Murphy, Hanshi-Hachidan.