Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Shoshin - Beginners Mind: San Shin Part 1

I want to write about Shoshin (初心), meaning beginner's mind, or spirit of a newborn. This is a very important concept and the word appears in many places in Bujinkan training. It is in the San Shin starting Kamae, Shoshin no Kamae, and the first level of San Shin, Shoshin Go Gata.

San Shin means three hearts form, and Shoshin is the first heart of San Shin. In this level we focus on the physical, solo movements of the five different Gata, or Kata. Now, Soke has also spoken about the true San Shin being Saino Kon Ki. This adds a new level of understanding, but I am not going to write on this here, this is a something that i will only speak on in class.

So, this is the focus for new students, the beginner's mind students. Focusing on the physical movements and learning them. Now, an important aspect of Shoshin is for martial artists to try and reach this again later in their training. You see, we start with white belts on to represent the Shoshin. You are starting at a point of an infant in the training. This is a good thing. Then you clutter your mind with all of the training, eventually attaining Shodan, or beginner's dan level. The first level of black belt. This represents all the training you have accomplished. Eventually black belts wear and fray and the white underneath shows through. Many budoka replace the belt with a new one at this point, while others keep the worn belt to let the white show through. Some belts in this state are more white than black. There are some high level instructors who actually wear a white belt.

Now, Soke speaks on the importance of letting the Zero Mind become our goal in training. We cannot simply go from white belt to zero mind, the years of training are vital, but eventually we strive to achieve the zero mind, to where we can let go and just move without needing to make anything in particular happen. This is far more advanced than it may sound.

So, essentially we are coming full circle, much like the Maru symbol shown here. The brush is coming around to meet the line where it began, and this symbol means zero. Maru (まる) can also mean correct or circle in addition to zero.

See you in on the mat at Living-Warrior Dojo, your school for traditional Bujinkan Ninjutsu martial arts. Martial arts school and training for Meridian, Boise, Kuna, Star, Nampa and surrounding communities.