Mushin No Shin in the Martial Arts…the Final Word

Mushin No Shin, or, Mind of No Mind

I want to talk about nothing.

I mean that quite literally.

mushin no shinWhen you are learning martial arts

there is this thing called Reaction Time.

Let’s say a fellow comes in with an attack,

and you move back,

when the correct move should have been

to move forward.

But you can’t seem to move forward,

your instinct is to move back,

and that is your immediate reaction.

The reason you are training in the martial arts is not to reinforce reaction,

but to reach the stage

where you have choice.

Where you can assess the situation

and do the right thing.

In other words,

to get rid of reaction time.


reaction time,

to react,

means you are moving

because something else made you move.

You have to reach the stage

where you move

when and where

you want to move.

In other words,

instead of reacting,

you are moving

‘in the now.’


how do you move

‘in the now.’

This is where the concept known as

mushin no shin

comes in.

Mushin no shin


‘mind of no mind.’

In other words,

you don’t waste time having thoughts,

or reacting to survival patterns,



move ‘in the now’

and in the right manner

as dictated by your choice.

Not a reaction,

but a choice,

based on now.

Making decisions in the now,

and not…


or some other time,

based on some pattern made into ‘instinct,’

but which is really automatic reaction.

Let’s say you are with a friend

and you are watching

somebody do something,

and they do something stupid,

which is actually sort of funny.

You look at your friend

and he looks at you

at the some moment,

and you see it in each others eyes,

and you laugh.

That was a spontaneous ‘in the now’ moment.

Not the thing with the fellow made you laugh,

but the thing with your friend.

That moment needed no verbal communication,

no explanation,

you both got it,

at the same moment.


make your friend into an enemy with a sword,

and have that same moment,

where you look at him,

see everything that is happening,

and you do the exact right thing

when he swings that sword.

Not a step back in reaction,

not a flinch,

not a yell or attempt to move,

but the exact right and correct

and complete motion

that solves that moment.

When you say mushin no shin,

mind of no mind,

you are talking about that moment,

when you put aside thinking about something,

or having reaction,

and just do everything that is exactly appropriate

for that moment and situation.

You are talking about putting aside the mind.

Putting aside the thing that is cluttered with appointments and facebook and the need to go shopping and what your girl said to you this morning when she burnt the eggs and..

Put all that aside,


Just do,

and have that doing exactly right and appropriate,

based on now,

and not training patterns

or extraneous emotions,

or whatever.


you could also call this thing of

mind of no mind

by several other terms.

You could say

time of no time,

because it is based on a single thought

(as opposed to mental cogitations)

and it feels like you are in a place where there is no time.

You could call it

the emotion of no emotion


the motion of no emotion.

Or the place of thinking without thinking.

You could call it,

and here we stretch

without leaving the truth

motion of no motion


a notion of no motion


something else.

But what it is,

is when you don’t think,

even to rely on trained patterns

and just do

and that in the correct manner.

The really terrible thing is…

you have to train

to reach the place where you don’t rely on training.

You have to practice until you reach intuition.

I hope this explains mushin no shin

and why I am a classical martial artist,

and the benefit of the classical method.

Anybody who knows me

knows I don’t disparage the classical method,



merely wish to improve it.

Remember that URL I gave you.


have yourself a great and intuitive work out!


zen martial arts

This has been a page about Mushin no shin in the Martial Arts.

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