ENTERING “MUSHIN” (The Mind Without Thinking)

One of the signs of mastery in anything is the ability to perform without too much thinking. To reach this level when we’re learning something, we need to go through these four stages:

1 – Unconscious Incompetence

We learn the basics as beginners, but we “don’t know what we don’t know” because everything is brand-new.

2 – Conscious Incompetence

We start practicing and showing some ability but are consciously aware of how much we still have to learn.

3 – Conscious Competence

We develop in our training and our skills improve, but we still concentrate and think about our performance.

4 – Unconscious Competence

We master the ability to perform without thinking, so our actions flow without interference from the mind.

This long process can take several years but following it should be a big part of your Martial Arts Training.

·   First, learn to make all of your techniques automatic, so you can execute them flawlessly without needing to think about them.

·   Next, work on planting your strategies inside yourself, so your movements happen without any pre-planning.

·   The most important – and most difficult – part of entering Mushin is silencing the voice that always talks in your head.

One of the best ways to work on entering Mushin is to practice your forms without thinking. Like your teachers say, “don’t DO the form – let the form do itself THROUGH you.” When you feel aware of letting go and the form takes over, your mind will start to clear. Then, you can enter this state whenever you take a fighting stance, practice a technique, or sense danger in your surroundings.

Entering Mushin in your training can sharpen your focus, speed up your reactions, improve your awareness, and help you make progress toward earning your Black Belt.