Sho Chiku Bai (Pine, Bamboo, Plum) BREAKDOWN

In Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo, our crest know as the MON contains within it the Sho Chiku Bai (Pine, Bamboo, Plum), embodies profound philosophical and martial principles that resonate deeply with our martial art.

Firstly, the Sho (Matsuda), represented by the Pine, symbolizes the virtues of longevity, youthfulness, and robust health. Just as the evergreen pine thrives and lives long, it reminds us of the importance of enduring friendship that stands strong against all trials. This unwavering loyalty is akin to the principles of Taoism, guiding us to cultivate meaningful connections and unyielding support within our martial arts community. Moreover, the pine needles’ use as ornaments during special occasions like Christmas and New Year highlights the significance of celebrating unity and camaraderie.

Secondly, the Chiku (Take), symbolized by the Bamboo, holds the essence of honesty and purity. When one cuts into bamboo, they find emptiness within, free from any hidden evils. This mirrors the core value of Kosho Ryu practitioners, who remain humble and receptive to continuous learning, always emptying themselves of ego and arrogance. The bamboo also exemplifies disciplined application, reminding us to uphold loyalty and steadfastness in all endeavors. It further aligns with the principles of Buddhism, guiding us to follow a path of self-awareness and self-improvement.

Lastly, the Bai (Baika), embodied by the Plum, radiates beauty, nobility, and courage. This flower dauntlessly blossoms even in the presence of snow on the ground, symbolizing resilience and strength amidst adversity. Similarly, Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo practitioners embrace challenges with courage and honor, upholding the noble values of our martial art. The plum’s early flowering also reflects our commitment to being ahead in our training and always striving for excellence. Moreover, the Japanese people’s fondness for the plum fruit, especially during sickness, emphasizes the plum’s connection to Shintoism, guiding us to find spiritual solace and healing in our practice.

As students of Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo, we proudly embrace the profound meanings within the Sho Chiku Bai crest. Each element serves as a reminder of the values and principles we embody on our martial arts journey. Through the enduring friendship of the pine, the honesty and discipline of the bamboo, and the courage and nobility of the plum, we are empowered to grow not just as martial artists but as individuals striving for excellence and spiritual growth. Let us carry the spirit of Sho Chiku Bai in our hearts as we continue to train, learn, and contribute to the legacy of Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo.

Shihan Bill Tzizik