“Mushin” meaning No Mind
No, this doesn’t mean absent-mindedness or imply some airhead joke. This is a state of being that one can achieve with enough practice. This state is found in many people when they drive a car and even in accomplished musicians when the play with ease and in a seemingly effortless way. Think about this for a second: have you even been driving in a car and once you arrived at your destination, you couldn’t remember specifics about the trip, such as stoplights, lane changes, breaking, etc.? That is because many aspects of driving become second nature after we have been doing them for a long time.
This second nature may seem elusive, but it is far from. In Japanese, it is called Mushin or No Mind a better use may be Mushin no shin or “the mind without the mind”. Even though I put it that way is may seem mystical but it is not. As a martial artist you want to get to this state of being. How you get there is practice, practice, practice. In many ways we want our skills to be an instinctual part of us; something we can do without thinking about it, thereby becoming Mushin no shin, or mind without mind.
How we can obtain this state of being is just exactly what I said previously, practice and more practice. Anything worth achieving is worth working for and that means practice. Whether it is music, martial arts or other endeavors, if you want it to be instinctual, effortless or seemingly without thinking then practice is what you must do.
In the martial arts world there are two essential means of practice: repetitive and adrenal. Repetitive is just that; you repeat the action over and over again so that your motor skills and coordination improve and become second nature. The adrenal method, contrary to popular belief, has been around for hundreds of years in many different varieties. The best use is to perform the techniques under some form of adrenal stress.
When both of these training methodologies are implemented, the path to Mushin is shortened. However, repetitive continuous learning is essential. So keep practicing, do your best to always improve, and the state of Mushin will be right around the corner.