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  • D. Branchaud

Mushin - 'No Mind'

Updated: May 26, 2023

Mushin refers to a state of mind that is achieved through intense focus and discipline. The word "mushin" is derived from two Japanese characters, "mu" which means "no," and "shin" which means "mind" or "spirit." Together, the term "mushin" refers to a state of mind where the practitioner is free from distractions, emotions, and ego, and is able to act spontaneously and without hesitation. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of mushin and how it relates to martial arts.


Mushin has been an important concept in martial arts for centuries. It originated in Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and being fully aware of one's surroundings. This concept was adopted by martial artists who saw the value of being able to act without hesitation in combat situations.


Mushin is a state of mind that is sought after by martial artists because it allows them to react to their opponent's movements without thinking or planning. This can give the practitioner an advantage in combat situations where split-second decisions can mean the difference between victory and defeat.


In addition to its benefits in combat, mushin can also help you to stay calm and focused in stressful situations. This can be especially useful in moments of conflict that may lead up to a physical altercation.


Achieving mushin requires a great deal of discipline and practice. One of the keys to achieving mushin is to focus on the present moment and to let go of distracting thoughts and emotions. This can be improved through meditation and other mindfulness practices.



'Mushin', by Tetsuhiro Hokama Sensei



Another important aspect of achieving mushin is to train often and consistently. This will help to develop the muscle memory and reflexes that are necessary to react quickly and without hesitation.


Finally, it is important to approach training with a humble and open mind. Practitioners must be willing to learn from their mistakes. This will help to cultivate the mindset necessary to achieve mushin.


At Kodokai, we have opportunities to practice mushin in every class. Exercises where one can freely respond to a training partners 'attack' provide good opportunities to work on this. Beware, however, that if you are trying to remember techniques or attempting to apply a specific technique rather than responding spontaneously, then you are not working on mushin. Mushin and planning, are incompatible. Many of our striking drills also provide opportunities to practice mushin. Of course, you first need to be doing things more or less correctly before you attempt to let go of thought!


Mushin allows practitioners to act spontaneously and without hesitation, giving them an advantage in combat situations. With practice and dedication, any serious martial artist can learn to achieve mushin and reap the benefits that come with it.

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