Mushin No Shin, or No-Mindness

Last night’s class was gruelling. Some students are preparing for an upcoming tournament. The class was going to be divided between those conditioning for this, and those in regular training. However, it was decided we would all follow the tournament prep.

I have to also state that I quit smoking recently. It is something I have done on and off over the years. More on, then off. Having started training in Kyokushin gave me all the inspiration I needed to quit. I set my mind to it and haven’t looked back!

mushinSo, back to the training. Because so much of it is to increase stamina, my out of shape lungs have been in overdrive. Sensei drove us on drills. Punches, kicks, pad work, etc. The drills all built one onto the other. Methodically. It all culminated with the focus being on sparring.

Sparring. This is the area I feel I need the most work. However, I gave it my all. Working combinations and range. There was one part of the drill where I was to “push” or drive into the opponent (training partner). Sensei pointed out that I was dropping my head. I realize I was doing this because of that fear I have of being hit. However, once Sensei pointed it out, and also spoke to the class about the importance of keeping your head up and focused. I got it.
Something else also came to me. Mushin. English translation “no mind“. Mushin is a mental state into which very highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat. They also practice this mental state during everyday activities. The term is shortened from mushin no shin  (無心の心),  a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind and is also referred to as the state of “no-mindness“. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything.

Now, I am not saying I obtained mushin, but once I was able to at least ‘slow my mind’ down, I was able to put my head up and “see”. Suddenly I could not only see an attack, but able to counter it! This was a huge achievement for me. I am able to see I am on the right path with the right teacher. I have the beginner’s mind. When sensei speaks, I listen. Osu!

I remember two great scenes from The Last Samurai which exemplified Mushin. Enjoy. Osu!

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