Mokusu / Mushin

Discussion in 'Jujutsu / Judo' started by zacaria, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. zacaria

    zacaria White Belt

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    Hey,

    I have three general questions :

    (1) What stage of Budoka you achieve if you train 8 years Judo and JuJutsu beggining in childhood ?
    (2) Is it possible to achive a stage of an empty mind (mushin) after 8 years of practicing Judo/JuJutsu?
    (3) How does the mushin state of mind express itself ?


    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    Answer to one, in my opinion a drop in a bucket.
    Answer to two, yes if you have the right teacher to point the way
    Answer to three, how does one explain emptiness to someone full of expectation and time constraints
     
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  3. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Hello zacaria, welcome to the forum.
    You probably won't really like the non-answer that I'm going to give you, but here it is anyway, based on my experiences in the Japanese martial arts ...

    You are setting yourself up for frustration by looking for concrete answers to questions on Japanese language and concepts. Japanese language, and thus their outlook on concepts such as mushin, tend to be very fluid and will shift depending upon the context within which they are used.

    The answer to all three of your questions is "it depends". For the first two, it depends on how well you've practiced over 8 years, how good your instructor was, what exactly you've been practicing, and who you are comparing yourself to. For the third question, it depends upon the context since it's a Japanese concept. The most common usage I've noticed in the martial arts refers to the ability to respond without thinking. Having responses so ingrained in your body that your body can move and respond properly without having to stop and think about it first. However, it can also refer to the ability to face an opponent without preconceptions, and turning off your conscious thoughts in order to simply react to the opponent. It can also refer to the moment when a person gets confronted with violence. This causes an adrenaline dump that can shut down the thinking part of your brain causing you to react on instinct.

    My advice is "don't worry about it." Instead of trying to define things, simply train and let the definitions and concepts take care of themselves.
     
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  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    1) I'm not even sure how you would measure that. I've known people who studied for more than a decade and only became just competent, and others who became proficient in 5 years.

    2) That's not a single point. You don't one day suddenly find yourself practicing with mushin; it is gradual. NGA, for instance, is divided into 5 sets of 10 techniques (the core curriculum). Most students will find themselves getting to some level of mushin on 2-3 of those techniques after a year, and a couple of years later they won't think that was mushin, at all. With blocks, however, they'll likely have some level of mushin in weeks. The same for stances and some of the transitions (the movement).

    3) That depends how you interpret it. In physical technique, it largely means you don't find yourself "selecting" a response. Rather, you just respond. In your mental attitude (philosophically), I interpret it as learning without preconception. So, when someone shows me a new technique, I can either try to interpret it through my own filters, or I can simply learn and absorb - the latter being a better representation of "mushin". I'm not convinced, however, that mushin-learning is always the best path. Like so many things in life, it works best in some contexts.
     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Mushin is when the carton of milk falls off the kitchen table and you grab it before it hits the floor without thinking "Oh, dear, the milk has fallen off the table, I will catch it now."

    When you perform techniques in the absence of deciding to do them, that's mushin.

    Beginners have mushin. But there is a void where the technique should be. Then they fill that void with technique. But they think about it. Then they learn to trust their training and the mushin returns.
     
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  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's about as good a definition as I've ever read, Bill. I'll be stealing that (nope, not giving credit, because I'll forget where I stole it from) the next time I use that term with students.
     
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  7. zacaria

    zacaria White Belt

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    Ok thanks for the answers!

    I asked this questions because I realised i trained Judo and JuJutsu about 8 years till I was 17 or something. Now I forgot about it all. But now I was in some dojos and suddenly could to several Kata without thinking about and they were all correct.

    Mushin is when the carton of milk falls off the kitchen table and you grab it before it hits the floor without thinking "Oh, dear, the milk has fallen off the table, I will catch it now."​

    That exactly happend about 4 weeks ago in the grocery store. Somethin fall down from the table and I catch it before it fall to the ground. I didn't realise it, till a child said to his mother "woww mom did you see this how fast that was".

    What I am thinking about is that some parts of my life are just saved in my sub conscienies, because I fall in somekind of mokusu / múshin or whatevery you want to call it, if somebody of my family is talked about or in danger.
    I really think I have some evedince for that. Because no slowy all thinks from this time since I am 16 break up and I can remeber them fluenlty.

    What do you think about that?
     
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  8. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    I first started noticing the "oddly catching falling objects" after about 7ish years of training. Now it happens with reasonable frequency. I had another experience in a recent tournament of entering a new level of "the zone". As I was facing my opponent, I had a distinct visual perception change: everything turned noticeably gold. My girlfriend told me about reading about a yogi who had the same perception change when I mentioned it to her. Interesting stuff.
     
  9. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I'm sorry but I'm going to have to go against the grain here...

    I don't think there's anything magical, mystical, nor transcendental about mushin. It's about making things reflexive (for lack of a better term) rather than involving thought. Just because Asians gave it a term doesn't make it all deep and highly philosophical. It's about not thinking and just physically doing.

    A few months back, I was practicing prearranged sparring in the dojo. They're a matter of memorizing specific attacks and defenses. At times I was thinking too much about minor details and messing up the entire thing. At times I was thinking a few steps ahead and messing up. I kept telling myself to stop thinking. Once I shut up and listened to myself and stopped thinking about it, it flowed the way it was supposed to. Mushin. No mind.

    Think about athletes. If they stop and think during a play, they're done. Think of soldiers. Think of anyone who can't afford to second guess themself at the moment of truth. To paraphrase Maverick in Top Gun "You have no time to think when you're up there. If you think, you're dead."

    Being "in the zone" is the modern western way of expressing mushin. It's not some mystical power to people who haven't heard the term mushin before.

    There's nothing really special about catching a milk carton before it hits the floor. If there were, MAists would have a monopoly on the skill. It's not all Hollywood like the scene in Mr. & Mrs. Smith where Brad Pitt (or was it Angelina Jolie?) knocks over the vase and the other one catches it, and they both simultaneously realize that their spouse is an assasin.
     
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  10. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    It doesnt have to be MMA it just has to be important.
     
  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I had a moment of personal awesomeness in Paris about 15 years ago. I was there with my girlfriend at the time, and we were in a Lemoges shop. She went to pick one up and knocked two others off the edge of the crowded shelf. Without thinking, I quietly reached out and caught one in each hand about 10 inches below the shelf and set them back up. It was very impressive. I was impressed with me, anyway. But then, I'm easily impressed by me.
     
  12. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    We have a saying in Japan of "It hits" To release an arrow from the bow and not consciously aim for the target. But it 'will' hit. An awareness. A sort of sixth sense.

    I did this with my headmaster once and he hit the roof as we practice 'sen'. To take advantage of the opponents commitment. I liken it to a mosquito buzzing around that you can casually squash. It's like you have all the time in the world to respond to a given situation.
     

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