Today in the martial arts there is a heavy influence on 'sport' aspects. There is no problem with this however it can often mask the real purpose of martial arts training. The lifetime study of a martial art is not about competition with others, but concurring the self.

When ever I think of great masters my mind goes off to Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido and others who truly understood and embodied what the martial arts are all about. I could list literally hundreds of names, but we all know the legacy of these masters.

What is high level martial arts? It is the understanding of movement, and of control of the self. The word 'mushin' immediately comes to mind. This is a Chinese word that translates to "a mental state into which very highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat. The term is shortened from mushin no shin (????), a Zen expression meaning mind of no mind. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything."

The martial artist or warrior does not think of losing in battle. This is because the ego is not in the way. He understands both victory and defeat and so considers neither. He does not face an opponent because there is no opponent. He concurred himself, the only opponent long ago. There is no fear of death, because he understands life.

All movement is natural and without effort, effortless effort. He is both hard and soft, yin and yang depending on the circumstance. Emotion is absent from conflict, because conflict no longer exists. He is ready for anything, but expecting nothing. The martial arts has taught him balance in all things.

One of the best examples of this mind is water. Water is the one of the softest substances known, yet it can do untold damage to anything in it's path. Study the effortless movements of water, then compare them you yourself. Continue my friends on the true martial arts path of self understanding and knowledge.