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Paula Lydon
12-21-2002, 03:24 PM
~~I was told recently by a senior student to work on my zanshin--I tend to get caught up in the joy of the movement and don't really care what's going on around me :). Any tips on practices or just focus, focus, focus? Thanks!

Kevin Wilbanks
12-21-2002, 05:13 PM
I've always heard talk of zanshin revolving more aroung focussing on one's training partner(s) throughout the time when you are practicing with them. What's going on around you seems to be more about diffused or broad awareness, whereas I've always heard about zanshin in the context of focussed, targeted awareness. Perhaps it's both, but there does seem to be an either/or tradeoff involved, to some extent.

Nevertheless, in addition to the question of how to achieve more zanshin, how much zanshin is necessary or desireable seems to be a matter of disagreement between different schools and individuals. I was practicing some Donovan Waite-style wide-leg falls at a dojo I visited and some people there dismissed the practice as 'dangerous' due to the way it supposedly disrupted zanshin. At a certain point during some of the falls, you have your back turned to nage, and they claimed that nage could run up on you and whack you on the head during the lapse. To me, this seems like a pretty hypothetical danger in a training situation where I thought we were supposed to trust our partners - especially in this case, where the ukemi style may help reduce non-hypothetical wear-and-tear on the body. After all, I think O'Sensei was quite explicit about saying we should lower our eyes when bowing, which seems very similar.

Anyway, the point is that different people have different notions of how much zanshin is desireable in training. Some think you should keep your attention urgently glued on your partner at all times, as though you expect them to try to kill you by devious means during any momentary lapse. Others think some occasions require more zanshin than others and getting caught up in the joy of the movement and having a good time sometimes isn't such a bad thing.

12-21-2002, 05:52 PM
Zanshin and Mushin.

External Awareness and internal awareness.

Try clearing your thoughts before executing the technique. I find that when I'm not paying attention to myself, my technique improves as well as my awareness.

I say work on mushin before worrying about zanshin.

Hope that helps.


12-22-2002, 12:35 PM
Zanshin, IMHO, is the extended focus of your Waza. When you are done, keep your eyes and energy in their direction. Let them know you are still there. Now, soft focus your eyes (Me-tsuki) to use your peripheral vision to pick up movement around you. Its not either/or, its both.

Until again,