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Five Powerful Japanese Concepts Every Warrior Must Know

Do you practice Karate, Kickboxing, BJJ or MMA. These five powerful Japanese concepts are a must for everyone who is on a journey to discover the warrior within. Lets read.

1. Heijoshin

A true warrior stays calm in all situations
Warrior: Calm in the Wind

Heijoshin is a Japanese concept that refers to the state of mind where one has complete control over emotions and thoughts. This state allows one to remain calm and composed even in stressful situations.

I remember when Sensei Yashpal demonstrated the power of Heijoshin. We were driving back from a camp, five of us in the car and all Black Belts. Suddenly a man driving bumped into our car, causing him to spill his drink all over himself. The man didn't apologise and started yelling at us, giving us grave threats.
Some of us were ready for a fight, but Sensei remained calm and composed. He bowed to the man, apologised for the inconvenience, and offered him a drink. Sensei's response took aback the man, and he quickly backed down. He thanked Sensei and walked away peacefully.

It was a powerful lesson in the power of Heijoshin. Sensei's ability to control his emotions and remain calm in a stressful situation prevented a potential fight and positively impacted the man who was initially angry. This experience taught me that true strength lies in controlling emotions and thoughts.

2. Mushin

Clear Thoughts
Empty Mind

The Japanese concept of "Mushin" refers to a state of mind where one clears their thoughts and emotions to achieve a state of complete mental clarity. It is a state of mind where one is entirely present at the moment, without any distractions or preconceived notions.

My Chachu and I loved to practice shooting with an air rifle. He often talked about the importance of an empty mind in the shooting. One day, he gave me a target to shoot inside a broken street lamp. It looked impossible, I was nervous and anxious, but he told me to clear my mind and focus on the target.
As I loaded the air-rifle, I felt my mind race with thoughts of hitting the target and impressing Chachu. But then, I remembered his words and cleared my mind of all distractions. I was completely present at that moment, focused only on the target.
When I let go of the pallet, it flew straight and true, hitting the target with a satisfying thud. Chachu smiled and nodded, impressed with my shot. I realised then that Mushin wasn't just important in shooting; it was a valuable skill for life. By clearing our minds, we can achieve a state of mental clarity that allows us to perform at our best, free from distractions and self-doubt.

3. Shoshin

Eagerness to learn new
Eagerness to learn new

The Japanese concept of "Shoshin" refers to a mindset of openness and eagerness to learn, even as an expert in a particular field. It is a state of mind where one approaches each situation with a beginner's mind, free from preconceived notions or biases.

Recently in my trek in Sikkim, I had a trek leader who embodied the concept of Shoshin. He was a renowned expert in his field, yet he always approached each suggestion with curiosity and eagerness to learn. He encouraged us to ask questions and challenge our assumptions, constantly pushing us to think critically.
One day, he taught us the basics of setting up a tent and packing the bags. Instead of simply lecturing, he asked us to explain if we knew about the subject. One of the young trekkers showed an innovative way to pack. The teacher listened intently, asking questions and offering gentle guidance.
Through this process, the teacher gained a new perspective on the subject, seeing it through the eyes of a beginner once again. And the new student felt valued and encouraged, even though they were just starting.

This experience taught me the value of approaching every situation with a beginner's mind, no matter how experienced we may be. We can continue to learn and grow personally and professionally by staying open and curious.

4. Fudoshin


The Japanese concept of "Fudoshin" refers to a mindset of unwavering determination and focus. It is a state of mind where one remains centred, even in adversity or challenge.

Sensei Yashpal, recently mentioned that he was pleasantly surprised at how I progressed. Initially, he thought I would give up. I nodded and remembered that I was physically the weakest in the batch when I started training.
I could hardly do pushups. Pull-ups, and other such things were simply out of the question. However, I was determined to complete each session, each month and each belt level. The stronger ones kept wavering in focus. Some dropped out, and some found it too hard. I was focused, never missed a single workshop or camp, and always practised with the most formidable partners.
The frustration and doubt slowly disappeared, and consistency proved better than the initial strength. In the process, I learned the value of cultivating an immovable mind in all aspects of life.

This experience taught me the importance of staying centred and focused, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. By cultivating a sense of inner strength and determination, we can overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

5. Zanshin


Zanshin is a Japanese concept that refers to being aware or having focused attention. In martial arts, it is the ability to maintain heightened awareness even after an attack has ended.

I was recently training with Sensei Dennis Fritchie, a top sheriff in the US and a 9th Dan Karate master. He narrated a story about when his team controlled a criminal. While leading the group, he noticed his teammate arresting a criminal. The policeman was so engrossed in that victorious moment that he forgot the direction in which the criminal was standing. The criminal was about to grab the policeman's gun. Sensei Dennis moved into action and thwarted an unwanted accident.

The sheriff learned from this incident and practised to cultivate this heightened awareness through their training and practice, ensuring readiness for any situation.

The concept of Zanshin teaches us the importance of being fully present and aware in every moment of our lives. By cultivating a sense of focus and attention, we get better at navigating life's challenges and obstacles.

What are your learnings so far from this journey? Can you relate to any of these powerful mindsets? Do share.

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