Grandmaster Sebastian Soh
Nation, 15 March 1973, Page 9
Grandmaster Sebastian Soh at 21 years old, is already a third degree black belt karateka drilled in two systems – Shorinji Ryu Kempo
Karate-Do and Okinawan Kempo. The Shorinji Ryu is the Japanese adaptaion of
the arts which came to Japan from the Hsiao-Lin Ssu Temple in Honan Province of China – long
recognised as the starting point of the Asian fighting arts.
The Okinawan system is based on the
traditional martial art formulated by the peasants to ward off their attackers
during the lawless years.
With the best of both worlds, Grandmaster Sebastian blended them into a new, improvised art which will include a sprinkling of Chinese pugilistic.
According to Grandmasster Sebastian, there are three
basic differences between the Shorinji and Okinawan system which he managed to
reconcile and weave into the web of his art.
While Shorinji emphasises the soft approach, the other
system is characterised by short, swift and power-packed moves.
Also the gentle art deals more with the
internal strength and body conditioning whereas in the Okinawan programme, sanchin or
formal exercises take greater priority.
In the Shorinji, techniques are based on the circular
movement, and in the other – straight movements. Grandmaster Sebastian started his harsh routine of a martial arts’ trainee at the tender age of six. He learned Chinese pugilism from different Kung-fu experts first in Singapore and Taiwan before striking out in the field of karate in Japan.