Quotes on Mushin, Flow and Open-Focus – Part 3 & References

Quotes from Kendo Sensei’s

  • Morishima Tateo (Hanshi, 8 dan)
    • Practising seiza will free you from “idle thoughts and delusion” and allow you to “strike naturally from a state of nothingness. [Kenshi247_Morishima3]
    • If you are thinking about some sort of ideal or worldly thoughts then you can’t move freely.  If your spirit is like a mirror you will be able to respond to your opponents movements and execute techniques freely.  [Kenshi247_Morishima4]
    • ... at the end of the day you should be facing your opponent in kamae and have “arrived at a situation where your hear(t) and mind are like a clear mirror” – this is the essence of kendo. [Kenshi247_Morishima5]
    • Striking when your opponents attacking feeling starts – having the ability to perceive this and to strike first – is the meaning of aiuchi. …  Technical skill goes without saying, but you must also having an unperturbed spirit when in kamae.  This is mushin.  If you do this, then your opponents striking feeling will be reflected in your heart. [Kenshi247_Morishima5]
  • The essential point is the removal of the attachments that routinely spring forth from within us, with the mind/heart neither stopping nor stagnating; in other words, by the cultivation of mushin (free from obstructive thoughts) and muga (selflessness, removal of the ego), and by being free of possessions (permeable or otherwise), you can arrive at a situation where your heart and mind are like a clear mirror. – Ishida Kazuto sensei as quoted by Morishima Tateo sensei in [Kenshi247_Morishima5]
  • At the risk of sounding grandiose, I’d say the ultimate goal in kendo is to master a strike in which the mind (ki), sword (ken) and body (tai) are united as one.  … When the three become one, you can strike as freely as you wish.   That’s the state which every Kendoist is endeavouring to attain. It’s not something you try to do.  It just happens.  That’s what’s difficult about it.  The more you’re self-conscious of it, the less possible it is to deliver. – Kenichi Ishida (8 dan) [NHK_8DanChallenge]
  • If you think about striking you will become confused.  If you think about not striking you will become confused.  It is when you are calm and not thinking about striking or being struck that real victory lies.  Striking while confused is useless.Nakayama Hakudo (Hanshi 10 Dan in Kendo, Iaido, and Jodo) [Kenshi247_27Teachings]
  • When I became 80 years old, I achieved the state of the immovable spirit. However, there are times when a random thought will enter my mind. I am striving to eliminate these random thoughts at this state (perhaps “stage”) in my life.  – Mochida Moriji (Hanshi, 10th dan) from [Kendoinfo_Mochida]
  • Chiba Masashi sensei used to practice a continuous set of 3000 suburi every day. . . .  but if we do aspire to reach a state of no-mind (mushin) in our keiko, the answer lies in constant repetition of the basics – Geoff Salmon (7th Dan) [KendoInfo_Moment].

Quotes from Naoki Eiga sensei (on Mushin-no-Waza)

Quotes from Iaido sensei‘s

  • From long ago it has been said that “the innermost secret of Iaido is always being in the moment, wherever you are, so that you can respond to anything swiftly”.  In other words, I think Iaido is about developing a mind in which you never become flustered and retain a calm presence of mind no matter what happens, dealing with things without becoming alarmed. – Shizufumi Ishido (Kendo Kyoshi 7 dan, Iaido Hanshi 8 dan, Jodo Kyoshi 8 dan) [Ishido]


[Csikszentmihalyi] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, 1990.

[Dienstmann] Giovanni Dienstmann, “Types of Meditation – An Overview of 23 Meditation Techniques,” LiveAndDare.com,*

[Fehmi] Les Fehmi, Jim Robbins, The Open-Focus Brain – Harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body, Trumpeter Books, 2007.

[Hisashi] Noma Hisashi (1910-1939), The Kendo Reader (PDF, 55 pages)

[Ishido] Shizufumi Ishido “Can you perform “Ni-ku, San-ke”? Devote yourself to acquiring Shu,” Article taken from the book The Eyes of the Iaido Grading Panelist (Iaido Shinsa-in no Me).

[Kendoinfo_Mochida] Geoff Salmon, “Kendo – More a marathon than a sprint!” Kendoinfo.net, May 24, 2011.

[KendoInfo_Moment] Geoff Salmon, “Getting lost in the moment,” KendoInfo.net, May 12, 2014.

[KendoNotes_EigaQuotes] “Some Quotes from a Documentary on Eiga Sensei and Mushin-no-Waza (無心の技),” KendoNotes.com, Oct 15, 2018.

[Kenshi247_27Teachings] George McCall, “27 teachings from past masters,” Kenshi247.net, Oct 2, 2018.

[Kenshi247_Morishima3] George Mcall, “From “Pursuing the spirit and modern kendo (part 3),” Kenshi247.net, March 30, 2011.

[Kenshi247_Morishima4] George Mcall, “From “Pursuing the spirit and modern kendo (part 4),” Kenshi247.net, March 30, 2011.

[Kenshi247_Morishima5] George Mcall, “From “Pursuing the spirit and modern kendo (part 5),” Kenshi247.net, March 30, 2011.

[Lippelt] Dominique P. Lippelt, Bernhard Hommel and Lorenza S. Colzato, “Focused attention, open monitoring and loving kindness meditation: effects on attention, conflict monitoring, and creativity – A review,” Frontiers in Psychology, Sept 23, 2014 (PDF, 5 pages).

[Mastery_Greene]  “Robert Greene:  Mastery & Research,” FindingMastery.net, Jan 25, 2017.

[More_Gap] Chetan More, “Mindfulness: Awareness in (the) Gap Between Thoughts or Gap Between Breaths,”  TheChoicelessAwareness.com, November 19, 2017.

[More_HowToMeditate] Chetan More, “How to Meditate?”  TheChoicelessAwareness.com, Nov. 3, 2017.

[Muller] Charles Muller, “Innate Enlightenment and No-thought:  A Response to the Critical Buddhist Position on Zen,” Int’l Conf. on Sôn at Paekyang-sa, Kwangju, Korea, August 22, 1998.

[Musashi] Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings (五輪書 Go-Rin-no-Sho), Translation by HolyBooks.com, 1644.

[NHK_8DanChallenge] “Kendo’s Gruelling Challenge – The 120 second Test of Spirit,” (Video) (心で闘う120秒 剣道・日本最難関試験に挑む)

[Suzuki] Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice.

[Takuan]  Takuan Soho, “The Unfettered Mind:  Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master,” (Translated by William Scott Wilson).

[Takuan_Wiki]  According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushin_(mental_state):  Takuan Soho, The Unfettered Mind:  Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman, Translated by William Scott Wilson, Shambhala, 2012.

[Tolle_YouNotYourMind] Eckhart Tolle, “You are Not Your Mind”, SoulfulLiving.com. An on-line reprint of Chapter 1 “You are Not Your Mind” of Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now – A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Namaste Publishing, 1999.




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