Zen and Ki and the Martial Artist

  • zazenConquerHave you read accounts of Zen monks possessing remarkable levels of concentration, discipline and focus?
  • Have you wondered why the samurai, the world’s most feared and respected fighters, also practiced Zen?
  • Have you heard about ki, read about ki, wondered about ki and always felt you’d like to experience it firsthand?
  • Do you realize that the Zen concept of ki is quite different to what is traditionally taught in martial arts classes?

Of course, it would be hard to find a martial artist who isn’t at least a bit intrigued by both Zen and the Zen concept of ki. But as martial artists, practical as we are, we do have to ask ourselves  “Is it real and how will it benefit me?”

First, historically, because the samurai consistently practiced Zen, we must acknowledge that it was at least very, very relevant to them (a matter keeping their sanity and a matter of life and death?). But the ‘Last Samurai’ was the late 1800s, and we should now want to know “Is Zen training still relevant today?” And to answer that for yourself, check out this video …

So it seems the US Army feels there is a place for Zen training …

Relevant to the samurai, relevant to the GI, and what about the martial arts student?

I’ve studied both Zen and the martial arts for nearly 25 years. Here’s how Zen training can help you. It’s universal … What’s the biggest impediment to a martial artist? Thinking. When you’re thinking, planning, scheming – you are slow and late and clumsy. What’s the second biggest impediment to a martial artist? Looking. When you’re looking at someone’s hands you can’t see his feet, every fake is taken as real. And what’s the solution? You already know the answer … don’t think and don’t look. Simple (but near impossible to accomplish on your own) and at the heart of Zen training!

unfettered_mindHere at AZC, we are always looking for ways to introduce Zen principles to the martial arts community. Several of our members and countless martial artists across the world have added formal Zen training to their regular training. While we are not trying to have you add a formal Zen practice to your regular training, our goal is to produce some shorter length workshops that may be just as helpful.

And in order to get a better feel for what you, the martial artist, may be looking for in a workshop, we’re looking for your help. Below is a short survey that will help us put together these workshops. Would you help us out, take 5 minutes and complete this survey? And as a little incentive, for every 50 surveys we get, we will draw a name to receive the book “The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Mater to a Master Swordsman.” Thank you.


The Survey

And thank you again …