Tag Archives: Fear

Zanshin (Remaining Mind) -Shibumi Project

23 Feb



The goal of performing my Shibumi Kata is to modify your physical, emotional or  psychological state to a more favorable state than prior to such performance. This is true of Sanchin Kata or any karate kata. Once this goal is achieved, you must maintain it for maximum effect. Your modified physical state, from fatigue to exhilaration for example, is readily apparent. A modified emotional or psychological state, from anxiety or depression to a positive state for example, is more subtle.

As to your emotional or psychological state, a martial arts state-of-mind known as Zanshin (pronounced Zohn-shin) is relevant. The kanji for Zanshin translates as “remaining mind.”

Kanji - Zanshin

Kanji – Zanshin

After a kata is performed, Zanshin is invoked by martial artists to maintain a martial state-of-mind. Their mind “remains in the battle.” Within the context of Karate, this means that the mind remains alert to further confrontation wherein one would be required to defend oneself. Once assured that either the continuation of the conflict or attack from another is no longer a threat, the martial artist then returns to his default state-of-mind. I propose that such a default psychological state should be the state of mushin-no-shin.

Within the context of my Shibumi Kata, or Sanchin Kata, Zanshin means that your improved emotional or psychological state is to maintained throughout the rest of your day. Thus if you find you are suffering from a dilatory emotional or psychological state (anxiety, depression, etc.) you should perform one or all of the movements of the Shibumi Kata for the purpose of transforming that state to a more positive state of mind. For example, you may feel physically well but be anxious or depressed. Notwithstanding your physical well-being, you should perform Shibumi for the sole purpose of modifying your mental state. Once Shibumi is performed and your mental state modified, you want to maintain that state. Thus the “remaining mind” of Zanshin.

If you find your mental state deteriorating, you are able to either perform Shibumi Kata again, or if you are unable to then mentally recall the transformative process of the Shibumi techniques.

In extreme emotional or psychological situations Zanshin serves as a bridge to more advanced and aggressive psychological states. An example of one such advanced, aggressive state of mind is that of Tomaranu Kokoro (“Unstoppable Mind”).

In closing, I wish you – Shibumi,


Sensei John Szmitkowski


24 Oct
Since Sensei Thomas DeFelice first opened the door to his Goshin-Do Karate-Do in May, 1965, his style of Karate has not only been dedicated to improving the human condition, but also exploring aspects of our nature that transcend karate. In my stewardship of Goshin-Do Karate-Do, I have attempted and continue to attempt to evolve and further this exploration. This journey has led me to identify aspects of Karate-Do protocols and ideology that enrich and enhance all life participants. The following explores one area of my exploration.
FEAR. For some, the spoken word inflicts upon the listener that which it defines. Simply, fear imposes fear. Through the exploration of Goshin-Do Karate-Do, three sources of martial, combat oriented, fear have been identified. They are
  Kiki Oji: Fear of an enemy’s reputation;                                                               Mikuzure: Fear of an enemy’s appearance;                                                         Futanren: Fear of inadequate training.

While all three sources of martial fear can be used to analyze the fear we encounter in our daily lives, only one source of fear will be addressed in this article. The first two sources of fear are derived from sources external to ourselves. Despite the external basis of Kiki Oji and Mikuzure, both are entirely subjective and are defined by each individual person. Fear derived from either Kiki Oji or Mikuzure is not easily mitigated. The basis for the fear lies deep within one’s individual psyche. Thus, mitigation and elimination requires a deep level of introspection acknowledgement of the source of fear and resolution. Such an analysis is beyond the scope of this article.

In contrast to Kiki Oji and Mikuzure, the fear derived from Futanren is entirely within our control to understand, acknowledge and resolve. It is the one source of fear that is entirely within our control. To understand Futanren, we must explore its roots in Goshin-Do Karate-Do. Within the Goshin-Do Karate-Do Dojo, each individual training session was unique in and of itself. One had to obtain the maximum benefit from each session. The most basic benefit of training in Goshin-Do Karate was the element of self-defense. One trained as if one would be required to defend oneself immediately. This attitude recognized the fleeting nature of training. That is to say that if one trained less than earnestly, the training session was wasted. Such waste could be at one’s peril. If one was required to actually defend oneself, one could not rewind time to the last training session at dojo and train harder or more earnestly. The same is true with life in general.

We do not necessarily train to engage in life. We can; however, prepare ourselves to engage in life. Such preparation is the cornerstone of mitigating Futanren which, in this context, can be described as fear of inadequate preparation. We are required to regularly prepare ourselves for life’s challenges. Thus, we routinely are called upon to engage in life events that place demands upon our physical, mental and emotional well being. The key to mitigating the stress, or fear, of such demands is preparation. Perhaps the most common example in which we have all experienced Futanren is in grade school. We all were required to pass various tests and exams in order to pass a class. How many of us sat down to take a test and wished we had spent an extra one half hour in earnest study? This is an example of Futanren. By extension, we can envision many life scenarios where we have advance knowledge of a demand to be placed upon us. Whether we prepare for and address that demand and the sincerity within which we prepare to meet the demand will dictate whether or not we experience the stress or fear of Futanren.

The epiphenomenon of Futanren are ignorance (failure to address a situation), procrastination, and self-compromise (as in acceptance of a less than full preparation). These epiphenomenon result in a deleterious attack upon our sense of well being and contentment. They rob us of any feeling of accomplishment. In order to experience life to its fullest, we must conduct our lives in such a manner as to irradiate Futanren from our catalogue of emotions. There is a saying derived from Western sports that bears upon the martial ideology of Futanren: The will to win is not nearly important as the will to PREPARE to win. (See Endnote # 1). This is the foundation to preparing for life’s demands. We must always be mindful of the preparation so as to erase Futanren.

In closing, I remain,



Sensei John Szmitkowski, Soke, Jiriki Kata-Do


ENDNOTES:1. There are many sources of this saying including, inter alia, basketball Coach Bobby Knight. 

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