The Crest of Kosho Shorei Ryu
The Mon (Japanese for "crest" or "seal") sums up all of Kosho Ryu. It is an amalgam of symbols that describe the rich heritage of Kosho.
The Octagon itself contains the rest of the symbols. It represents the 8-fold Path of Buddhism.
- right speech
- right understanding
- right means of livelihood
- right effort
- right meditation
- right action
- right intention
- right awareness
It's eight points symbolize the complete Kosho system of study. They represent the study of:
- Energy Collection
- Healing Arts
- Japanese Yoga
- Escaping Arts
- Folding Arts
- War Arts
The Octagon also points to the 8 directions of movement used in all escaping arts (thus all of Kempo), as well as the movements for the proper use of weaponry.
Three types of tree branches are displayed, pine, bamboo and plum. Pine is enduring and strong. It represents the desire for a long and healthy life. Bamboo is flexible and versitile. It represents truth and honesty because it hides nothing within. Plum symbolizes nobility, wisdom and courage because it is the first flower to bloom. It blooms when there is still snow on the ground. The three together are related to the Japanese art of flower arangement (taken very seriously by and studied by the Samurai, along with Shodo, Japanese caligriaphy), as well as the standing stone, kneeling stone and lying stone of Japanese Gardens.
Next are shown three circles, each depicting a pair of human hands:
Kigan, "Praying Hands". Kigan represents the attitude of asking for peace. On the physical level this represents the escaping arts, as well as skeletal striking.
Kaishu, "Open Hands". Kaishu represents seeing only the good in others, like standing back and taking in the view of the whole mountain. It represents focus, and an open, unarmed image. On the physical level it represents the push-pull or grappling arts, as well as the internal blows of Kosho.
Hoken, "Covered Fist". Hoken represents the physical (fist) side guided and controlled by the ethical/spiritual (open hand) side. On the physical level Hoken represents the striking or war arts, and the muscular strikes of the system. Hoken is often termed "the Treasure in the pocket", or the "secret in the pocket", because we do not openly display our skills, and call them out only when necessary. Some other meanings of the fist are masculine striking, physical body, while the open hand represents female striking, emotions, mind, spirit, ethics.
There is no part of Kosho Ryu that is not displayed in some way on the Mon.