Following a weekend of Yoshinkan Aikido training with Robert Mustard Sensei 8th Dan at the Eagle Dojo in Nottingham. I’ve been reflecting upon the concepts of Kamae, Zanshin, Mushin, Fudshon, Shoshin and Metsuke All important concepts within Japanese Martial Arts to understand and use.

Kamae is often loosly translated as “ready” in the context of modern training. Actually we should consider Kamae as being the physical body condition that results from one’s level of mental preparedness.

Zanshin is more of an emotional state of relaxed alertness, before, during and after a technique helping us to be mindful of where one’s opponent is and how to defend against them and other potential threats.

Mushin can be loosely translated as no-mind. That is to say that we practice our physical skills to thoroughly, that we do not need to think about using them, they just occur at the right moment. The mind is free from any thoughts of ego, anger or fear and is able to act with no hesitation.

Fudoshin is closely linked to Mushin, it deals with the mind staying calm and stable during momements of potential stress and acting with composure.

Metsuke relates to the eyes and we were not only observing our partners but also with our experience (of body biomechanics) senses and by reading your opponent’s intention. The eyes should initiating any attack or defence with the body following.

These are important points to recall and to practice, to cap it off, it is necessary to utilise the skilfulness of the technique, by utilising the whole body to delivery it. This is the concept of Shin (mind), Gi (skill), and Tai (body) utilising Shoshin or a beginners mindset. An eagerness to learn with no preconceptions and an openness to study, even at an advanced level.