Become part of a pioneering LGBTQIA+ martial arts community

At Camden Shorinji Kempo we’re proud to be an openly LGBTQIA+ Shorinji Kempo martial arts club. Everyone is welcome.

2023 London Pride

Camden Kempo is an inclusive not fot profit Shorinji Kempo club founded by LGBTQIA+ folks. We create a space for all genders, sexualities and abilities to explore this traditional martial art. Our Shorinji Kempo club is governed by the BSKF, and we are proud to say that LGBTQIA+ people are welcomed at every single BSKF club across the UK. Having said that, we are the only openly LGBTQIA+ Shorinji Kempo club in the UK and as far as we know world wide.

We started our club with a small inclusivity statement to protect our instructors from having to out themselves at each class. We all know how draining that can be. The response to this small act, from Shorinji Kempo practitioners around the world, was so positive, we have built on that foundation and fly the rainbow flag in everything we do.

Over 75% of our club identifies as LGBTQIA with nearly every letter represented. In our last survey people said they were Asexual, Bisexual, Argumentative, Lesbian, Male Heterosexual, Non-binary Lesbian, Queer and Ace.

We work closely with lots of different LGBTQIA+ organisations

Just after founding the club in 2019, we became members of Out For Sport – a grassroots organisation run by London’s LGBTQ+ sports clubs. Out For Sport aims to increase participation in LGBTQIA+ sports in and around London. As part of Out For Sport, we party (of course!) and meet regularly to work towards LGBTQIA+ inclusion.

And we get involved in campaigns

As an active member of the community we have participated in many campaigns such as Trans Sports Day organised by London Royals Hockey Club..

Since 2020 we have been working with Stonewall on their Rainbow Laces campaign, to raise awareness and they have highlighted Shorinji Kempo as a sport getting LGBTQ+ inclusion right.

Each year we march in London Pride.

We make Shorinji Kempo more inclusive

We worked with our Federation, the BSKF, to ensure that the last tournament we ran was completed LGTBQIA+ inclusive – read more.

And we celebrate!

We have a packed social schedule for our members including Online Quizzes, Eurovision, Halloween, and Pride Marches as well as planning to attend the Gay Games.

Here are some highlights of the things we do with our community.

Out For Sports Fair – each year a group of us attend the fair hosted by Out For Sport and we had a bit of fun whilst we were there (we’re not always serious!).

July 2022 London Pride

For the first time our club marched the route of the London Pride, showing off our kata skills as we went. Kata is a set of choreographed meaningful moves. We dressed for the occasion, decorated with the rainbow flag, and showed some of the other marchers some moves, Branch Masters Kavita and Ofelia broke out into sparring (randori) at various intervals and there were even some takedowns! Check it out on Facebook. We had a fabulous time soaking up the unity and love of the occasion.

July 2020 – Lockdown pride.

Instead of marching in our first pride we were featured on the big screens at Piccadilly Circus and the BT Tower as part of Pride in London‘s (COVID-19) virtual Pride. We were so excited that we even went full TikTok to celebrate!

Camden Shorinji Kempo at Piccadilly Circus! The text reads: “Camden Kempo might fight – literally – for fun but we are also committed to always showing up for our wider LGBTQ+ community”

We’ve also been interviewed by Pride Sports as part of their Pride month Q&A. It was amazing to share our thoughts about Kempo and the unique way we practice at Camden; our Buffy-esque moves are never far away…

Our club doing gassho rei at the annual Out For Sports party in the Mayor for London’s office!
Halloween Buffy Style 2022