"No Mind"

“Too many mind.  Mind the crowd, mind the sword, mind the other man…too many minds.  Have no mind.”

The above quote is badly butchered from The Last Samurai, where one of the characters tries to explain a zen concept to Tom Cruise’s character.  The idea behind the quote is that with much practice and repetition, you should not consciously “think” when you’re performing your action.  The action should simply happen, because it’s what your body knows to do in that situation.  “No mind” shooting is the ultimate form of competitive shooting – the gun comes out of the holster, goes to the target, and you simply shoot without thinking about it.

Of course, achieving this state of zen is a lot more difficult than it seems – it does take constant practice and training to be able to achieve this.  I’ve only done it a couple of times that I can recall, and each time it was some of the best shooting I’d ever done.

To paraphrase the no mind concept in the words of Mrs. Ahab: “Relax, and shoot ’em in the middle.” It is both that simple and not that simple at the same time.


  1. I have had that state of no-thing, as Musashi puts it in the Book of Five Rings, with driving a stick. I could shift up or down, clutch, adjust the gas, whatever was needed, mostly without any direct conscious choice. It’s a bit rusty now though. I don’t get to drive a manual every day right now.

    I gotta get another stick for a daily driver.

    (There’s a translation of the 5 Rings at http://www.samurai.com/5rings/.)

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