The 5 Minds Of Karate
1) Sho-shin – Beginner’s Mind
This refers to the type of mentality you probably had when you first started martial arts. everything was new and exciting. You were eager to learn. You had an open minded eagerness, and you had no preconceptions of how to do your techniques. you had nothing to compare it to or relate to any previous experience. You just wanted to learn. This is the mentality that you need to have even at at advances level or experience in you martial arts training.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you know everything that you need to know.
ALWAYS Maintain a beginner’s mind. Remain Humble. The person who thinks he or she already knows everything, is not open to learning anything. Maintain Sho-shin when you are training with others and continue to learn from everyone you meet.
2) Zan-shin – Lingering Mind “Awareness”
Zan-shin is a state of mind where you are totally in the present moment. It is a state where you are completely aware of your environment and your surroundings. You are relaxed, but completely aware and alert of everything around you and even a sense of the time that has passed or events that are about to come.
It is a state of being totally aware of your environment – front, back, up, down, and both sides. It is total awareness, a state of where your mind is always alert and prepared for action. Zan-Shin can only be achieved by serious practice and training, not playing around.
3) Mu-shin – No Mind
Mu-shin literally means mind-no-mind or “empty mind”. It is a state where you are acting but not having to think about your actions. Achieving the state of Mu-shin is at the core of Japanese martial arts and can only be achieved by years of practice.
The moon’s reflection in a lake is only clear when the water is perfectly still. If there are waves or ripples, the moon’s reflection is distorted. You could think of Mu-shin as being a state of mind where there is no distortion or thoughts, yet you are still acting.
The Japanese say that Mu-shin cannot be understood with the intellect, but rather, it must be experienced. And that is true. When you go into Mu-shin, your mind is quiet, but your body is acting. To achieve this state, your mind must be free from any conscious thought, including anger, hesitation, doubt, fear, or thinking about how to do what you are doing. You simply act. You allow your spirit to guide your body.
4) Fudo-shin – Immovable Mind
Fudo-shin represents a mind that is totally at peace and unwavering in every situation. It is a mind that filled with courage and determination. There is no fear in the immovable mind; it is in a state of complete composure and peace.
When you have achieved the immovable mind, you will feel that you can achieve anything, that you are invincible. Fudo-shin is a fighters mind too. In order to have the fighting spirit to over come challenges, you must adapt Fudo-shin. Your mind cannot be disturbed, no matter what. In this state, you are able to face fear, danger, and even death with a calm spirit.
When you develop your mind to the point of having Fudo-shin, or an immovable mind, you will be free from anger, fear, and doubt. You will approach every situation with a calm mind that can’t be moved. Fudo-shin is also like having a mind of calm determination.
5) Sen-shin – Enlightened Mind
The enlightened mind is the highest level of the 5 Spirits of Budo. At this level, you will hold all life as sacred and precious. You will be able to visualize how everything fits together to make the whole. You will able to see the balance in the universe clearly. You will understand how each part of the Universe is connected and how everything effects everything regardless of how big or small somethings seems in the grand chemed of things. Everything is connected.
Once you reach this level you will see the world in a totally different way. Your thoughts and intentions will be pure and sincere. You will wish harm to no-one. you will always seek PEACE in your surroundings and that of others. Your mind and spirit along with your actions will become one. Reaching Sen-shin is truly rare. It cannot be forced, its something that comes after a lifetime of practicing controlling your thoughts and purifying your spirit. There is saying: "Everything is by intention" Put your spirit, mind and body into your training each and every session.
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Shihan Joseph Claycomb