Mokuso (Empty Mind)
Mokuso is part of the training of the mind called 'Mushin', which comes from Zen Buddhism. One must attempt to return to the mental state of a new-born-child that is without a sense of fear, not conscious of distress, pain, cold etc. A baby cannot anticipate these things and therefore has no fear and does not hesitate before moving.
An adult knows fear and is afraid. When attacked they feel tense and are often useless against the assailant because
movement is restricted.
If one sees a beautiful flower, normally the mind concentrates on it, but with an empty mind (Mokuso) the mind is aware of everything else as well as the flower.
So when one fights an enemy, attacking and defending, if only concentrating on blocking techniques, the mind is restricted to that movement, but if the mind is empty (and blocking practised enough) the body is able to do the next movement automatically and movements will always be natural.
If the body is tense it is wasting energy and restricting speed, it is essential to move without being conscious of it. That feeling is called Mushin.
How to practice Mokuso
- Sit in seiza position.
- Back straight, chin pulled in, eyes half closed.
- Look at a spot in the floor 2 metres in front of you.
- In the beginning it is difficult to empty your mind so the first step is to practice Susosu-Kan, that is control of the mind.
- To do this count from 1 to 10 slowly, repeatedly.
- Breathe in as you count 1 and out as you count 2 etc. Do not concentrate on anything but counting.
- If you can do this for 30 minutes then you can control your mind.
- The next step is to empty your mind. If you have to think about emptying your mind, it is not empty, there should be no effort involved.
- When you can do that you will find a great difference in your free fighting.