"This, then, is our history; this, then, is our Kamishin Do story; this is the Way of the Nippon Kobudo Rengokai..." Prof. Albert C. Church, 1971.

This page is dedicated to one of my personal instructors Soke Albert C. Church Jr. to whom I still to this day respect for his committment to the development of the many arts that was taught within the Nippon Kobudo RengoKai. I was personally trained by Soke Church at the Honbu Dojo in Charleston, SC. I studied and was ranked in the arts of Tetsuken Ryu, Kamishin Ryu, Sei-Shin Ryu Ju-Jitsu, So Rim Churl Kwon Do Hapkido and was exposed to many other concepts through the years I trained with Soke Church.

I have compiled some history of Soke's system through other fine students that had also studied with Soke. The system was a very beautiful and powerful art. Many of the Shihans went in different ways as I did after Soke recognized myself as the Soke/Shodai of the Shaolin Kempo Karate Federation, International. The system which I teach is based on the arts taught by Soke Church.

The Kamishin style is primarily a self-defense system, with elements from hard fist, aiki-juisu, iaido, kempo, and kobudo. Kamishin Ryu originated in northern China nearly 800years ago. It was first known as (English translation) YOUNG FOREST TEMPLE, RESPECTABLE FIST, FIST WAY. The style was eventually brought to Korea where an American G.I. named Albert Church began to study it under the direction of C.C Wang. Mr. Wang moved to Japan and was joined by Church who studied under him for 20 years. Upon Wang's death in 1967, Church inherited the sokeship (leadership) of the system. At this time the style was called SHORINJI TETSUKEN DO. Church had the art formally recognized by the Japanese government and it was given the name KAMISHIN RYU (School of the Divine Heart). In 1969 Church returned to the U.S. and founded the system's U.S. branch in Charleston, S.C.. Dr. Church died unexpectedly in 1980. Today his arts are still taught and practiced by many of his students who seek to carry on the


In the early 1900’s, the Japanese signed a peace treaty with Korea which, in the interest of the Japanese, essentially banned military combat techniques. Korea was essentially a colony of Japan. Sport techniques were introduced by the Japanese. In 1941, Japan, pressing Koreans in the military again encouraged and taught martial arts, including Jujutsu, a comprehensive Japanese combative art. With the defeat of Japan in 1945, Koreans once again practiced their martial arts. The style moved to Japan in 1956 when the Soji, Kim C. Whang, sought medical treatment not available in war torn Korea. After arrival in Japan, there was an assimilation of Japanese techniques into the system. In the Japanese language, the system was called Shorin-Ji Tetsu-Ken Ryu. The Japanese, in 1922, established federations to provide registered diplomas of instruction. All fighting arts are divided into categories according to fighting methods such as Kara-Te: primarily strikes with hands and feet, Ju-Jutsu: primarily throwing techniques, Kobudo: weapons techniques, and Kempo Jutsu: combined arts. After arrival in Japan, the system was arranged by fighting method to conform to Japanese customs. This allowed acceptance by the All Japan Karate Way Federation and the All Japan Ancient Fighting Way Federation. The system was then given the name Kamishin Ryu or Kanshin Ryu (Divine-Heart Style), which was divided into Kamishin Ryu Karate Do, Kamishin Ryu Ju-Jutsu, Kamishin Ryu Kobudo, and Kamishin Ryu Kempo.

In 1967, Kim C. Koh (Japanese for Whang) called for Albert C. Church, Jr., a student from the Korean war period, to continue his study of the art, so that he might become heir to the style. When Soke Koh died at an old age in 1969, Albert C. Church, Jr. Became Soke of Chin-Chen or Shorinji Tetsuken Ryu.
Soke Church returned to the United States. His system included the Nippon Kobudo Rengo-Kai and the American Hapkido Karate Federation.

In 1980 Soke Church unexpectedly died and the organization and system went through many changes. Many of the Shihans at that time went their seperate ways in their martial arts training.
The organization continued with some of the dedicated and loyal students to carry it on. I in my own way am still keeping the system alive through the Shaolin Kempo Karate Federation, International by teaching the forms that were taught to me by Soke Church and keeping his principles alive.
One of the pledges that Soke Church had goes like this:

"I come before you with these empty hands, they are the hands of peace when necessary the hands of war. The knowledge I have gain through training is for the defense of myself, my loves ones, my country and those deserving.  To use this knowledge wrongly is my shame. To use this knowledge properly is my honor. My left hand is the hand of peace and is opened in friendship, my right hand is my clinched fist of war. Together they represent my martial way and my very life."

Is is with much pride and honor that I can say I was one of Soke Church's loyal students. It is

an honor to be able to share this page with all of the martial artist that did not get to meet such a great person as Soke Church. Soke Church's name will never die.

Soke/Shodai John M. Stover

Kamishin way.