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ZAN SHIN

ZAN SHIN is often known as remaining mind. 残ZAN means remaining and 心SHIN means heart/mind.

In some martial arts, this refers to a certain body/mind state of after-technique. In Kendo, after execution of successful tecnique, the body form remains. Not like football; after making a goal, flip over or victorious peformance, etc. In Kendo, ZAN SHIN after completing a successful technique is considered to be an important part of winning point. In Kyudo, the body posture remains calm after loosing of an arrow.

In martial fighting, no ZAN SHIN can lead to death or life issues. In this way, ZAN SHIN sounds like alertness or on guards as well.

How about ZAN SHIN in Aikido? “Surely, it is a part of the practice!” you may say. Personally, in Aikido, maybe because there is no combat nor competition, I feel practice of ZAN SHIN is rather left to the individual than something constantly and collectively conscious about. So, the other day, we had a ZAN SHIN focused class. Several things came up but obviously ZAN SHIN is not only after the techqnque. It is before, during and after. The feeling of ZAN SHIN is energising, powerful, intense and can be joyful. And it can be alerting if one is thinking about ZAN SHIN but not necessarily must be the case all the time.

On the other hand, this word ZAN SHIN refers to appreciation or learning processes. In tea ceremony, for example, after the guests left the tea room, instead of starting cleaning up immediately, seeing the guests off quietly from behind and making a tea for yourself in the room the guest left in order to reflect the time with him/her, with ZAN SHIN. Remaining the heart that you were fully present with the guest. By that way, what was great and positive in the practice becomes more so in yourself.

Thanks to the guest, there is a learning. Thanks to the space and tools, there is a growth. That is why we clean and purify the space and polish the tools with appreciation. And we express the feelings by bowing to the space, tools, teachers and partners or guest.

I found a newsletter written by a principle at an elementary school in Japan. It says “If every single person in the society leaves heart to what he/she did and spend every day with appreciation towards teacheers, family, community members, classmates, and tools used, everyone will have a day with greater feeling. ZAN SHIN is a heartful action which motivates you to next action in your life.”

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Mitchy


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