View Single Post
Old 01-05-2007, 08:56 PM   #37
L. Camejo
L. Camejo's Avatar
Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I will have to give this a great deal of thought for sure, as I do believe that we achieve no mind in BJJ as well. We call it muscle memory I think. I don't really think about what I am doing, simply respond to what is in the moment. However, the key difference I think between the methodology of BJJ and Aikido is that mushin is more directly critical or rewarded as an isolated dynamic in aikido maybe than in any other art I have practiced.
Kevin, you hit upon a critical point here imho. When I roll with Judoka and Jujutsu guys, especially the good ones, one is enticed to get into this zone where one just relaxes and feels everything happening around them to feel the places where a submission or choke can be applied or at least places where leverage can be obtained to get into a superior position. I've been caught on more than one occasion closing my eyes when grappling on the ground to better feel my opponent and not get distracted by visual stimuli. One becomes very aware of one's orientation to the ground, relative position with the body of one's partner, lines of power and weakness, points of balance etc. During these times for some reason rolling never has the kind of exhausting effect it normally has since one has to focus on mind and body working in harmony to get anything to work right.

In Aikido I think the concept of Mu Shin and sensitivity become even more critical due to the ma ai being used, i.e. one of physical touch separation. This brings the question of how different sensory inputs affect one's operations within the Mu Shin state. Due to the longer range for Aikido one has to use eyesight (metsuke) and whatever other "range" senses one can apply to detect subtle changes in the opponent's mindset, movement and intent to attack. Since we are talking milliseconds between intent and action one needs to be quite sensitive to the other's actions. This is where we start hearing things like "project ki" towards the attacker which in my mind is a means of feeling out the attacker by bringing all the senses into play, sort of like echo-location but without the use of sound (if that makes any sense).

In grappling it's a lot easier to get into the state of proportionate movement alluded to earlier since one is often within very close contact and well within touch range of the aggressor. Touch adds a whole other level of sensory stimuli than eyesight does and I think this may have something to do with why grabs are used so much in Aikido training also. It helps to build that sense of connectivity through touch that we find in the closer range grappling arts. In Aikido however this sensitivity does not stop at the touch range but must also be projected over the distance between the attacker and the practitioner.

Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I think mushin can probably best be practiced in solitary meditation, but It seems like we always talk about the challenged associated with maintaining that state in daily life. I think, just maybe aikido is a wonderful practice that allows us to bridge that chasm and allows us to translate the practice into the physical and secular world a little more, especially when confronted with conflict and things that want to disrupt that state.
I agree. Meditation is a great way of achieving a static state of Mu Shin (where the body is not required to move instinctively). Aikido practice then challenges one to manifest the static state into a dynamic one. Reminds me of the whole static Zen and moving Zen paradigm.

Some interesting stuff to chew on I agree.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
  Reply With Quote