Mushin Mugamae, a magical phrase used by Kenji Tomiki to highlight the essence of martial arts. He used martial arts as a vehicle to understand the man behind Kenji Tomiki and invited us to do the same, as a passionate person for martial arts.
However, Mushin mugamae means nothing if we forget our deepest feelings. Those deeper feelings are all about “sensitiveness”. Without “sensitivity” our life becomes boring and you will not get any “Kokoro”. The idea of “Kokoro” translates better like our “heart”, not the physical but the emotional heart. If the emotional heart becomes active, our sensitivity goes up and we are fully aware of the world in which we live.
Mushin mugamae and Kokoro are very practical skills and can only be used when implemented in our training.
Someone asked: “I have heard that Taiji Boxing comes from Daoism. The principles of Daoism emphasize non-competition. As Laozi said [Daodejing, chapter 8]: ‘If you do not compete, you will not lose.’ But boxing arts are all about fighting against people. If we say “don’t fight”, doesn’t that contradict what boxing arts are for?”運用
I replied that this is indeed the unique characteristic of Taiji Boxing. It says in the Treatise: “The basic of basics is to forget about your plans and simply respond to the opponent. We often make the mistake of ignoring what is right in front of us in favor of something that has nothing to do with our immediate circumstances.” This is a fundamental Taiji Boxing principle, to let go of your own ego and pay full attention to what the opponent is doing. If you can let go of yourself and follow the opponent, does this does not conform to the concept of non-competing?
ON APPLYING THE ART
by Shi Diaomei
[published in Taiwan by the 華新印書館有限公司 Huaxin Publishing Company, June, 1959]
In the quote above, there is a remarkable sentence: “The basic of basics is to forget about your plans and simply respond to the opponent”.
In my opinion this reflects in simple words the idea of Mushin Mugamae. Theoretically spoken, this is a concept which can be understood easily on an intellectual level. But practically, this is a completely other story.
Action with a “Mushin Mugamae” attitude
Sometimes the perception of Mushin Mugamae is about “no action”, “motionless”. Actually, there can be much action by applying Mushin Mugamae. When our sensitivity is active, we can move without intent to control and/or harm the opponent. That doesn’t mean we don’t have control over the opponent’s actions. The no-intention, action is not recognised as aggressive by the opponent. The skill of “Sen” or ” taking the initiative” are the result of of no-intention in action.
There are plenty of ways to show “no intention”. The following is a non-exclusive list.
Touching the opponent
When you make physical contact with the opponent, you only have ” the intention” to touch. No other thoughts are in your mind. In this case, the opponent is not offended by your action.
Touching is like using a feather to touch the opponent without power. The structure of the feather is not disturbed.
Moving with the opponent
After touching the opponent, we can move with him without using power. Our mind has no intention to change something in our relationship with the opponent.
Borrowing the opponent’s power
This is only possible if you can touch and move along with the opponent.
Borrowing the power is storing the energy in your body. This energy can be used after you have neutralized the power of the opponent which exceeded your storage capacity.
Tenshikei or rotational strength storing and releasing, is such an example.
Neutralizing the opponent’s power
When you borrow the opponent’s power, there is a chance your opponent has much more than you can store. You have to neutralize this energy into the earth. Your body will act as an energy transmitter. You only can do this when your body has a good structure (shizentai). This structure can act in two ways, incoming power and outgoing power.
Pushing the opponent – issuing power
There are a number of ways to push. A basic idea is to use the rebound of the neutralized energy from the opponent and/or release the stored power.
Using pushing power can be done without the use of energy produced by yourself. It gives you an advantage that you don’t waste energy.
Of course, it is also possible to generate strength by using our body smartly and economically. We can find many examples of merging mind and body applications in the field of high-performance sports activities. After all, martial arts can be considered a high level of sport.
Our force can be channelled in different ways and will depend on the circumstances of our relationship with the opponent or training partner.
Attract the opponent’s power
Everyone knows the power of “seduction”. There is a constant attraction to sugar, alcohol, tobacco and sex.
How to drag in the power of the opponent before a physical manifestation of an attack is an act of seducing the opponent.
Essentially, the art of seduction rests on the creation of an image in the mind. This image will feed an intention, and this intention must be captured with touch skill, as explained above.
It is totally different to force a reaction by means of a physical attack.
Everybody knows the skill of “go-no-sen”. This is a defensive action after the physical appearance of an attack. We can find many examples in the basic kata.
Unfortunately, I think it’s a misunderstanding of the application in the kata. A skillfull attacker will not attack you if there is no gap in your posture. You’re supposed to invite the attack.
Koryu no kata
In Koryu no kata dai Ichi, several examples can be found of the previously mentioned applications of “Mushin Mugamae” performed by Takeshi Inoue and dr Lee ah Loi.