Prof. Phillip M. Skornia
 Zendo-ryu Karate Association InternationalTM



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Where spirituality,
self-awareness and philosophy 
come together  in
martial arts

Shorinji Zendo-ryu Karate is an ancient system that traces its history directly back to the Shaolin Temple.  However, because of its open-minded philosophy, it also has kept up-to-date with the scientific developments and techniques of newer styles over the centuries.  

The techniques of our system go back 2000 years to China and India when they were secret fighting techniques reserved only for royal families and elite warriors.  These techniques were so dangerous that only hand-picked and superior loyal individuals were allowed to learn them to protect the Chinese emperor.

Later, some select monks were allowed to learn as well.  The philosophical roots of Zendo-ryu are based on the principal of war (martial arts) and spiritual mind training found in India's ancient (4,000 years ago) Sanskrit classic, the Mahabharata
The Chinese name for Shorinji Zendo-ryu Karate is Shaolin Ssu Ch'an Tao Lau Ch'uan Fa (Kung Fu).  The founder of the special mind training and open-minded philosophy of Ch'an (Japanese Zen) was Bodhidharma.  He was the 28th Patriach of Buddha and a member of India's elite warrior class, the Ksatriya.  He brought Buddhism from India to China in 520 A.D. and founded Zen at the Shaolin Monastery (Japanese Shorinji).  Over the years, the Chinese monks and Ch'uan-fa Kung-fu (Japanese:  Kempo)  masters who studied Taoism (Japanese Do) combined and blended their knowledge of martial arts and philosophy (Zen and Do).  As a matter of fact, all present day Japanese and Korean martial arts that have Zen influence in them use the philosophical term "Do" in their art's name, as in (Japanese) Judo, Aikido, Karatedo, Kendo, Budo, Bushido, and (Korean) Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do and Hapkido. For complete history, go to:

The President of ZENDOKAITM(acronym for ZENDO-ryu Karate Association International) and present Shihan is Professor Phillip M. Skornia.  Even though Professor Skornia is highly ranked in Karate and holds Black Belts in many styles and has trained to the equivalent in  many other styles, he does not believe that a high rank alone proves superiority.  Consequently, Professor Skornia does not ever claim to be an infallible mejin (ultimate master) of Karate, even though some Karate organizations rank him as high as 10th degree Black Belt.  He considers himself still (even after over 60 years of experience and practice) just a student of Karate.  He realizes that as a man passes seventy years of age, he must, by necessity and aging, slow down.  But in the tradition of the Shaolin Zen priest warriors, it is Professor Skornia's hope to continue to teach and learn the ultimate truths of good techniques of the true Karate. 

Master Skornia is a Yamabushi, a Zen Mountain Warrior.  As a Shaolin Priest of Zen, he goes to the mountains evey year to train, study, and meditate for a month in the seclusion of the forest.  Training can go on forever at any age, and even though Professor Skornia has sustained very serious injuries years ago in Japan fighting full contact Karate and Jujitsu, making it impossible for him to ever compete again, he will continue to develop champions.  Currently, he has developed national Olympic and Senior champions, who have taken first place in several national Karate and Tae Kwondo competitions.  Professor Skornia was one of the first people to be ranked as a Master in  Tae Kwondo (Ohdokwon) 5th dan, 1971.  Currently he is ranked as a 9th dan. 

Professor Skornia fought ten years in Japan, Okinawa, China and South Asia, in over 1000 matches.  He has had both knees dislocated, nearly lost an eye, had his feet broken six times, plus several other injuries.  He was one of the pioneers of our present form of tournament rules and free style sparring training, which is much safer than the full contact Karate from the 1950's.  Professor Skornia was the All Japan Karate Association Black Belt Champion, 1961. 

Interesting note:  Mr. Skornia was the originator of the prototype of the knuckle cover handguard with fingers open that is now used in mixed martial arts.  He made it for the International Traditional Karate Federation in the mid 1970's.  It was presented in Japan when he went to the 1977 World Karate Championship in Tokyo.  The original prototype is still in the archives. 

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