Zanshin – Martial Arts Alertness/Readiness
Zanshin is a term used in Japanese martial arts that means alertness/readiness and a higher state of awareness.The literal translation is ‘remaining mind’. Zanshin should be applied to every aspect of the martial arts whether you are learning, performing or teaching any technique.
Complete focus is especially important when using weapons not only with real weapons such as Bokken, Bo, Jo, Nunchaku, etc but also with practice (foam or rubber) weapons. Zanshin is especially important when using Shinken (live/sharp blades) in Japanese martial arts such as Kenjutsu, and Iaido. As well as with weapon based disciplines, Zanshin is equally important in all aspects of the martial arts and should be applied equally to empty hand techniques such as strikes, blocks, kata and kumite (sparring). Zanshin is also extremely useful in everyday applications such as using knifes (especially when preparing food), using power tools (or any tool for that matter!), crossing the street, walking home after a night out (ladies!!!), watching the kids and pretty much everything you do on a daily basis (including social interaction, conversation, comments, manners and such).
It is easy to become complacent with tasks (or techniques) that are performed every day and that is where most accidents/mistakes occur! By training the mind to be aware of every aspect of what could go wrong (without over worrying which is a distraction in itself and counteracts Zanshin in both the Martial Arts and everyday life) you can avoid many mistakes/accidents though unfortunately many accidents/incidents are caused unavoidably by others who are distracted, oblivious or just downright reckless, careless or unconcerned about the consequences of their everyday activities.