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Elite Mental Training Program: Shoshin – Beginners Mind

July 02, 20172 min read

“In The Beginner’s Mind There Are Many Possibilities, In The Experts There Are Few”

The goal of training is always to keep beginners mind. An empty mind is a ready mind, it is always ready for anything and is open to everything. Think of Yoi or ready stance, from this position all things are possible, advancing, retreating, forward, backwards, sidewards, ducking, jumping. Responding not reacting, the mind should mirror the body, relaxed, calm, centered and ready for all possibilities.

It is easier for an expert to defeat someone with a few years training then a novice beginner. The beginner is untrained or unconditioned to a particular style of movement that the expert expects within their style so is unpredictable.

A judoka and a kendoka agreed to fight in each others art.  The judo lost in the judo fight and the kendoka lost in the kendo fight.  The reason is cause both forgot Shoshin.  Both expected the other to play within the rules of the game they knew.  The other not knowing the rules of engagement rushed in and either threw their opponent or hit him with the sword thus winning.

In feudal japan, in Tokyo, a sword fencing school where having their students killed and could not understand why even high ranking students where being killed with a simple sword thrust to the chest.  When the killer was found he explained that the school trained a technique repeatedly when the sword was drawn from the scabbard and raised above he head before delivering a downward cut.  Because it wa a basic technique it had been trained 1000s of times.  And students where conditioned to block the downward strike.  The Killer aimplw awitched his aword in his hands, raising the scabbard high in the air, forcing the students conditioning to kick in.  The student blocked the downward scabbard strike, while the killer stabbed them in the heart from below.  A complete lack of Shoshin.  Shoshin definitely contains Zanshin.

In training your opponent learns to move with you sometimes facilitating the move, lock, th row, strike etc.  Train to flow and respond with a different technique in the case the chosen one doesn’t work on the street.

Nothing outside yourself can cause you any trouble unless you let it. You yourself make the waves in your mind. If you leave your mind as it is, it will become calm.  This is zazen/meditation or the correct mindset while training.  Always keep your mind open to new possibilities.  Experts believe they know best cos they are trained and conditioned but in life listen to the opinions of everybody sometimes the simpliest solutions come from the mouths of babes or beginners.  In Shoshin let every being be your teacher.  Learn, adapted, respond, grow.

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