Free the mind and your ass will follow!  

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Writing in his work Hei-Ho-Kaden-Sho (Hereditary Manual of Martial Arts), Yagyu Munenori (1571-1647) said ,"A mind that stops changing and becomes rigid will result in disaster. While mind, with no shape and no colour, is imperceptable to the eyes, it is still recognisable if it is fixed and strays over something. Just as white silk becomes red in colour if it is stained with red dyes, so the human mind becomes visible if it is stained by emotion or thought." Achieving the state of mushin ("no mind") is the goal of martial arts training. A mind that is visible because it is coloured by thought or emotion, cannot by definition be in a state of mushin. No embu in Iaido should therefore show the emotions or thought because this would betray a mind that is fixed and rigid. This illustrates the link between Zen philosophy and martial arts very well. A mind that is visible to an enemy means that he can easily devise a strategy to gain victory. A mind that is free and can move without restriction cannot be caught in this way.

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