Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Technique of the Week (February 6th, 2011)

From Sensei Kevin Reymond

Downtown Ueshiro Shorin- Ryu Karate Dojo

Empty Mind

In Musashi’s travels he studied with a Zen priest, Takuan Soho, who wrote among things “The Unfettered Mind” and “The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom”. Takuan writes in the latter, “If ten men, each with a sword, come at you with weapons slashing, if you parry each sword without stopping the mind at each action, and go from one to the next, you will not be lacking in a proper action for every one of the ten.”

Musashi believed that you should not be slowed or preoccupied by what you see or hear. He writes, “Even when the action is extraordinarily lively on the battlefield, you should take the principle of the martial arts to the extreme and keep your mind unmoved”…”Let your mind sway peacefully, not allowing it to stop for even a moment”. In the Water chapter he goes on to say,” In all things…immobility is undesirable. Immobility means dead hand; mobility means living hand”. In our study of Shorin-ryu we call this concept “empty mind”.

To achieve empty mind requires constant practice and repetition so that the moves and techniques are there for you when needed. Specifically,we should consider taking ourselves out of our comfort zone by doing repetitions of kata facing different directions, in varying environments ( i.e. outdoors, in snow, on beach etc.) and blindfolded. Further, more training of bunkai and prearranged against opponents of different, heights, weights and skill levels. These are just some thoughts on the path to developing techniques, confidence in those techniques and I believe at that point towards achieving empty mind.

Sensei Reymond

Downtown Ueshiro Shorin- Ryu Karate Dojo