1) Shoshin – Beginner’s Mind
Shoshin means “Beginner’s Mind” It reflects an attitude of eagerness and openness when beginning an endeavor, and a lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would. When you are in a state of shoshin you should be feeling enthusiastic, creative and above all optimistic and positive. Think about a time when you were getting ready to start something new that you were very passionate about. You were excited and wanted to start as soon as possible, ready to do or learn whatever it was you were about to start.
Getting into a state of shoshin would clearly be whenever you’re about to start something new, even ones you may be nervous about or dreading, but with an attitude of open minded which helps to make most situations that you once thought were difficult or unpleasant much more enjoyable as your confidence grows. Shoshin is an absence of preconceptions and a general sense of optimism. You shouldn’t be thinking too much about what is going to happen, you should just be eager to accept whatever comes and assured it will all be for the best.
Releasing preconceptions and an attitude of new is one of shoshin’s most valuable qualities. You can work on placing yourself in a state of shoshin even when doing something you’ve done before, but at a new level, with experience and wisdom to ensure that you aren’t making poor decisions based on preconceived biases. It also helps train you to keep a positive and eager outlook about everything that might come your way.
The phrase is also discussed in the book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, a Zen teacher. Suzuki outlines the framework behind shoshin, noting "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.
This refers to the kind of attitude that you probably had when you first started martial arts. You were excited and eager to learn. You had an attitude of openness, eagerness, and had no preconceptions of how to do your techniques. You just wanted to learn. This is the mind that you should have, even when you get to the point of learning advanced martial arts or mastery. Looking at how different arts may use the same or similar technique, but in very different ways. Using this in Bunkai or analysis or disassembly of Kata, and there are three distinct ways of looking at bunkai: Omote, Ura, Honto (more on this latter) Help beginners that are in this state, they can help remind you to find this state again. If you are a beginner, take your time and enjoy this state , don't be in a hurry to go to another level to soon.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you already know everything that you need to know. Maintain a beginner’s mind, even when you get to the higher levels of your martial art. The person who thinks that he or she already knows everything, is not open to learning anything. Maintain Shoshin when you are training with others and continue to learn from everyone you meet, what to do and what not to do.
Kyoshi Charles Riedmiller Head Instructor/Owner Summit Martial Arts Delaware, Ohio and has over 43 years experience in the Martial Arts, he started training in Goju Ryu karate and Judo at age 13. He been training in Goju Ryu & Shorin Ryu Karate, Kobudo, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido for over 4 decades and BJJ for over 20yrs with Professor Pedro Sauer. He has been dedicated to teaching authentic, high quality Martial Arts his entire life. Sensei Riedmiller has taught thousands of Military, Law Enforcement, pro-fighters/champions and martial art students of all ages.