I have been asked what Senshin means and why I chose it for the name of this blog. Senshin is one of the Five Spirits of Budo. Budo, for those of you that do not know, means the Way of the Warrior. The following information has been borrowed from a post by Dan Penrod, an aikido instructor in the United States. His explanation of the Five Spirits is what inspired me to chose Senshin as the name for this blog.
The Fives Spirits of Budo are:
- Shoshin: (初心) Beginners’ Mind
- Zanshin: (残心) Lingering Mind
- Mushin: (無心) No Mind
- Fudoshin: (不動心) Immovable Mind
- Senshin (先心) Purified spirit; Enlightened Attitude
These very old concepts are largely ignored in modern Martial Arts. The student who takes the time to understand these lessons will mature to become a strong and competent martial artist and human being. The student who does not take the time to know and embrace these lesson will always be lacking in their training and life.
The following is a comment I received on my original blog from Jill Lampi.
I’ve been thinking about how to teach the budo aspect of karate, being a newbie instructor just learning how to deal with the varying needs of the students in the one-room schoolhouse environment. I can see the benefit of applying the various mental states, but I’m not quite sure how to talk about them and begin to incorporate them into my lessons. Any suggestions or personal anecdotes you can offer? My classes range from 6 year old white belts with limited attention span through to brown belts of varying ages and attention spans 😉 But mostly youth, below 12 years of age. Jill
Here is my response.
I would, maybe start by introducing them to the term.
– Start with Shoshin. This is like a little baby when it comes into the World, eyes wide open trying to absorb as much information as they can.
– Zanshin is a state of heightened awareness. I work on this with my students and the younger ones will enjoy this. Get a blindfold and have them do kata blindfolded. Another exercise that we do blindfolded is one in the middle blindfolded. Then have 4 students (not blindfolded) on the outside: One at 12 o’clock(spot 1), one at 3 o’clock(spot 2), one at 6 o’clock(spot 3) and one at 9 o’clock(spot 4). Makes sure everyone in the group knows their number. When you call a number the person in that spot, steps in and punches stomach level. Also add the #5 and where all 4 attack at the same time. The blindfolded student has to block and counter. Call the numbers in order (1,2,3,4,5) then call them mixed up(3, 2, 4, 5, 1).
– Mushin in like being in the “zone”. I talk about when I tested for Shodan. I trained really hard on my Tekki Shodan but it was not cutting it. I just felt really uncomfortable with it. Eventually, I got to a point that it was looking good. Fast forward to grading day. I performed Bassai Dai for Shihan Okazaki and then awaited the words…Tekki Shodan. Shihan Okazaki began to speak and at that moment I went black. My body took over and I performed a kata. The next day while driving home, I turned to my wife and asked her way kata Shihan Okazaki asked for. She looked at me strangely and said, “Heian Sandan, you nailed it! What do you mean, what kata?” I didn’t register what I was doing. My body just did it. I was in the zone, Mushin (No Mind).
– Fudoshin would be showing strong composure. This will come with time. Show them how a competitor holds their ground waiting for the opponent to attack so they can catch them with an attack of their own before the opponent can land their attack.
– Senshin is what we all wish to obtain. It is something that is possible but is rare. A good movie for youth to watch to understand Senshin is called the Last Dragon. I am working on a review of it right now.