Some Quotes from a Documentary on Eiga Sensei and Mushin-no-Waza (無心の技)

There is an inspirational documentary of Naoki Eiga sensei produced by NHK in 2003 [Eiga_Documentary].  In the video, he reflects on the reason behind his initial loss to Masahiro Miyazaki sensei in the 1999 All-Japan quarter-finals and his subsequent win in a rematch in the 2000 All-Japan finals.  In those parts, he and the narrator mention the term mushin-no-waza a number of times – in addition to how the state of mind and attachments can affect the ability to manifest such a wazaMushin-no-waza could be translated as techniques arising naturally and instinctively – from an empty mind or flow state.  I heartily recommend watching the video.

Here’s some quotes of his assessment of the above two matches and on mushin-no-waza from the English version of the documentary.  In a few places, my interpretation of the Japanese words differs somewhat from the English translation in the video.  In those instances, I have included an additional translation (in red font) and a transcription of his original words or the narrator’s in Japanese.


Quotes on His Loss to Miyazki Sensei [Eiga_Documentary]

  • “What happened?” I asked myself.  I practiced my ‘do’ counter to Miyazaki’s famous men strike.  Lured him in and struck.  And yet he beat me with a decisive men.  It wasn’t that he was expecting my ‘do’ counter, but in that decisive moment, he moved in with a clear mind and total commitment.  My own move was calculated and considered.  That was the difference.  . . .
  • I was totally obsessed with winning.  And because of that, I couldn’t move instinctively.  I was blocking my own instincts – holding them back. 
    • My translation: 
      • I was totally fixated on (the aspect of) only winning or losing the match.  Despite wanting mushin-no-waza (waza from mushin) in such a condition, naturally, it doesn’t come out.*
      • ただ単に勝負勝ち負けだけにこだわっている。そこにやっぱり無心の技と言うか、その求めている。ところが、やっぱ(り)出ないとおもいますね。Tadatanni shoubu kachi makedakeni kodawatteiru. sokoni yappari mushinno wazato iuka sokoni motometeiru.  dokoroga yappa(ri) denai to omoimasune.
  • I was driven by some strange desire.  That was what I had to overcome.  I needed to work on something else.  My spiritual and mental strength.  That was my problem – the challenge I faced.
  • Narrator:  The desire to win, the fear of defeat.  Eiga focused everything on one thought:  the single blow.
    • My translation:
      • His aim was a single blow (hit, strike) that threw away everything – the desire to win, the fear of defeat.
      • 勝ちたいという欲、敗れることへの恐れ。目指したのは、すべてを捨て切った一撃. Kachitai to iu yoku, yabureru koto e no osore. Mezashita no wa, subete o sute kitta ichigeki.

Quotes on His Win Against Miyazki Sensei [Eiga_Documentary]

  • It wasn’t a move that I had thought about.  I couldn’t do it now.  But that was the ultimate kendo technique – the perfect blow.
    • My translation of the last sentence:
      • I believe that that is the ultimate kendo technique – mushin-no-waza.
      • 考えてという技じゃないと思いますし、今でも打てないですけれども、そこは最高の技と思います。剣道の無心の技というか。Kangaete toiu wazaja naito omoimasushi. imademo uttenai desukeredomo, sokowa saikouno waza to omoimasu. Kendono mushin no waza to iuka.

* To confirm my translation of this quote which seems to differ quite a bit from the video translation, this separate article in Japanese [AlchemyOfAthletes] expresses Eiga sensei‘s words in line with my translation albeit more simply:  As long as the focus is only on winning and losing a match, this thing called mushin-no-waza will not come out.「ただ単に勝ち負けにこだわっているかぎり、『無心の技』というものは出ない」


[Eiga_Documentary] “Japan Documentary:  A Single Blow,” – Naoki Eiga senshu (にんげんドキュメント ただ一撃にかける – 栄花直輝選手 [DVD])

[AlchemyOfAthletes]「ただ一撃にかける」その2:剣道の最高の「無心の技」アスリートの錬金術 〜スポーツの美を語ろう〜, Aug 15, 2014.



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