Meaning of Mushin

“Mushin No Shin”, the shortened “Mushin” is a Japanese Zen Principle of  “No Mind”  or “Mind without mind”.  Meaning to have a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion, and thus open to everything. The concept of Mushin Ryu Aikido Dojo is based upon this Zen Principle. To be able to act without thought about a technique while possessing an instantaneous flow of movements during an attack. Mushin Ryu Aikido Dojo holds the principle of being open-minded by incorporating different styles into our Aikido. A principle that is at the core of what makes Mushin Ryu Aikido Dojo different from other Aikido Schools and Organizations.

Takuan Soho (1573 – 1645) in “The Unfettered Mind”, offers a description of the principle of Mushin from the famous Zen Buddhist monk and an accomplished swordsman. In his work, Takuan connects aspects of Zen Buddhism with those of martial arts.

“When the swordsman stands against his opponent, he is not to think of the opponent, nor of himself, nor of his enemy`s sword movements. He just stands there with his sword which, forgetful of all technique, is ready only to follow the dictates of the subconscious. The man has effaced himself as the wielder of the sword. When he strikes, it is not the man but the sword in the hand of the man`s subconscious that strikes.” *Soho, Takuan. The Unfettered Mind. Trans. William Scott Wilson. (1986) Tokyo: Kodansha International Ltd. Takuan Soho is said to have been a friend and advisor to Miyamoto Musashi, an expert swordsman and author of The Book of Five Rings. Takuan tells Musashi not to be “preoccupied with a single spot.” If you are preoccupied, you lose mushin, and are not able to act effortlessly in any situation.

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