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Trainer’s Talk – Mental State

Mushin (無心; Japanese mushin; English translation “no mind”) is a mental state into which very highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat. They also practice this mental state during everyday activities. The term is shortened from mushin no shin, a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind and is also referred to as the state of “no-mindness”. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything. It is somewhat analogous to flow experienced by artists deeply in a creative process.

Mushin is achieved when a person’s mind is free from thoughts of anger, fear, or ego during combat or training. There is an absence of discursive thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react towards an opponent or task without hesitation and without disturbance from such thoughts. At this point, a person relies not on what they think should be the next move, but what is their trained natural reaction or what is felt intuitively. It is not a state of relaxed, near-sleepfulness, however. The mind could be said to be working at a very high speed, but with no intention, plan or direction.

How does this relate to me and why is Mike telling us about it? This is very relevant to your training and how you approach your training. When you walk in the door you need to start to focus on your training. I know it’s hard to focus some days, just tell yourself to think about the work ahead. Warm ups are a great time to get your mind right .Instead of excessive laughing/joking, maybe focus on your day. As you work through your session, let go of the thoughts of pain and fatigue.

Only think of the task at hand, one rep at a time until you are finished. You can also focus on your breathing. In/out, it’s that simple…breathe! You will see that your performance improves as you get better at it. This is something that has to be trained and know that you will need to work on it. If you are serious about getting better results and performing better, this is a good way to approach your days.

Another good habit to get into is NOT falling down when finished…you are strong! Keep your hands off your knees, stay up right, having a positive posture = positive mindset = positive results. Tell yourself you are strong! If you go to start a heavy squat and tell yourself “Too heavy”, guess what? FAIL! Always tell yourself you can do it, and then if you fail you will be
certain you gave it your all.

The mental prep that goes into a solid performance cannot be under estimated. Use your time wisely in the gym and get the most out of your training.

Good luck in the Open!!

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