無心, mushin (no intention, no thinking) is one of the many concepts we encounter when walking on the martial path.
I was reading recently a quote from Sensei where he explained that “During the times of the warring states in Japan, everyone was like a wild animal. Everyone would react to whatever you intended to do. So the only way to win was to have no intention”.*
Having no intention is quite a paradox when you imagine yourself being caught in a fight but becomes logical when you are actually fighting. The time to think is not available, chaos unfolds very rapidly and your reactions are only what remains from training your basics for many years.
You can know many techniques intellectually, the history of a given Ryûha, but nothing prepares you better than studying your basics thoroughly. Learn the taijutsu techniques, learn the weapons but trust yourself when it comes to survive. A book will never fight for you, you will.
This is why the bujinkan is so different from other martial art, it prepares you to survive not to collect waza. Sensei often says negatively that many teachers are “collectors”or “scholars”, and this is not what he is teaching. In fact we learn them to forget them. Staying at the collecting level is for “kindergartners” he said once in class.
If knowing the techniques is an important step in your progression, it is your 器, Ursula (ability) that makes the difference. And this ability can only come from the deep integration of basics within your mind and body.
Your sole intention should be to have no intention and to rely on Shingin Budō. Let the natural flow guide your actions.
* Hatsumi Masaaki in “Understand? Good. Play!” book by Benjamin Cole ISBN 0-9710849-5-5