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Mushin (無心の心), A Mind Without Mind) Mushin is a mental state into which very highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat. One cannot simply "accomplish" this state as they must constantly practice this mental state during everyday activities, although it has been seen to be achieved unconsciously through various activities. When in this state, the user's mind is not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything. Upon doing so, the user is able to open their sixth sense and becomes capable of viewing the world around them with their Mind's Eye. In this state, the user's reflexes are pushed to the peak, allowing movement to become synchronized with the flow of the wind. It was demonstrated that the users of Mushin are able to focus their senses to dodge an opponent's attack by the smallest of margins in order to not waste any energy.
Mushin is achieved when a person's mind is free from thoughts of anger, fear, or ego during combat or everyday life. There is an absence of discursive thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react towards an opponent without hesitation and without disturbance from such thoughts. At this point, a person relies not on what they think should be the next move, but what is their trained natural reaction or what is felt intuitively. It is not a state of relaxed, near-sleeplessness, however. The mind could be said to be working at a very high speed, but with no intentions, plans or direction. In analogy a clear mind is compared to a still pond, which is able to clearly reflect the moon and trees. But just as waves in the pond will distort the picture of reality, so will the thoughts we hold onto disrupt the true perception of reality.
A user of Mushin would likely have to train for many years to be capable of maintained Mushin as it is heavily draining to those that first achieve it. This allows time for combinations of movements and exchanges of techniques to be practiced repetitively many thousands of times, until they can be performed spontaneously, without conscious thought, thus changing your natural reactions to be more effective in combat or whatever else you may be doing. If one is capable of truly listening to their teacher, however, it could become possible to attain this level in only a few years.
Some masters believe that Mushin is the state where a person finally understands the uselessness of techniques and becomes truly free to move. In fact, that person will no longer even consider themselves as "fighters" but merely living beings moving through space.
It has been said "The mind must always be in the state of 'flowing,' for when it stops anywhere that means the flow is interrupted and it is this interruption that is dangerous to the well-being of the mind. In the case of the swordsman, it means death. When the swordsman stands against his opponent, he is not to think of the opponent, nor of himself, nor of his enemy's sword movements. He just stands there with his sword which, forgetful of all technique, is ready only to follow the dictates of the subconscious. The man has effaced himself as the wielder of the sword. When he strikes, it is not the man but the sword in the hand of the man's subconscious that strikes."