Mushin no shin (無心の心) is a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind. Mushin is a mental state into which very highly trained people are said to enter, who can also practice this mental state during other everyday activities.
Mushin is achieved when a person’s mind is free from thoughts of anger, fear, or ego during combat or everyday life. No thoughts of what comes next, no fear, everything just happens, the mind is in free flow, so the person is totally free to act. In combat, they react towards an opponent without intention or direction, no hesitation.
Mushin can be accomplished through many arts that train and refine the mind and body.
The highest level of karatedo is one where there is no thought process in any of your actions, the mind is completey free of thoughts, emotions and ego. It just happens, or as Bruce Lee said, ‘I do not hit, it hits all by itself‘
The state of mushin in karatedo can only be reached through practice and repetition, once reached you are in free flow and trust in yourself implicitly, letting your karate just happen, kumite or kata, it just happens, no thoughts, with everything naturally coming from the instinctual subconsciousness. A karateka’s techniques become truly free to move by themselves.
Repetition is imperative to train and get things planted into the subconscious. In a state of mushin, a karateka is not thinking what should be the next move, their natural instinct takes over.
Mushin is very closely related to another state of mind known as heijoshin. Heijoshin literally translates as constant stable spirit.