But I haven't really fully understood the initial timing the sense that "connection" starts before the physical engagement. That's something I'm trying to think through.
I think we are sort of talking about this on another thread dealing with Mindlessness or No Mind.
I certainly don't understand it. Philosophically yes. maybe a little in practice.
I was in Mozambique last year and was able to read body language of various individuals on the street, I would split from my buddy and trail behind, walk on the opposite sides of the street etc. We pretty much went everywhere we wanted and were never mugged once. A few others I was with got rolled for money a few times. I think you do develop a general awareness apparently through training, as my buddy thought I was nuts because I would say "those guys over there are setting us up for something, I am going over here to split the difference". He could not see it or understand what I was doing to prevent it.
In the literal samurai sense of mushin in a one on one battle, not sure I get it that much. One of MMA guys I trained with, Steve Van Fleet, seemed to be able to shut me down before I would attack it was as if he knew what was coming and slight shifts in my body caused him to read the situation and respond before I could strike. Hence I never felt like I wanted to attack him for fear of what was going to happen.