Fudōshin

“Even in the midst of the greatest chaos, there can be a stillness of soul that is imperturbable.” – TOSHITSUGU TAKAMATSU

By Pertti Ruha

When I practice rock climbing, I feel confidently safe. With wedges that enduringly fix me up against the rock, rope capable of holding several tons and a second man who secures with a rope grab, so I have both a waist belt and suspenders.
Most of the accidents associated with rock climbing is done on a march to the cliff or afterwards when getting down from the mountain, because there are not any safety devices in use at that time.

If I had to dedicate myself to free-climbing in the same rock, that climb up without any extra security, would my performance be changed?
With all the safety devices you dare to make movements and displacements, which is much more daring and airy, than if you do not the extra security (just like training in a dojo and be attacked for real of death).

Not to mention how the mental state would change.
When you engage in any of life threatening situations, everything changes. Everything you did before is irrelevant.
The first thing you have to master before even going up a cliff is your “mental state“. You must have a “coolness” and not allow your thoughts to wander away to anything that might happen if you make a mistake. Rock allows no mistakes, because you have to focus on everything that leads upward.
This mental coolness called in contravention is Fudōshin (The immovable Mind; 不動心).

In Togakure-ryu, there is a technique called iwa Aruki (Rock walking; 岩歩), which is to climb the rock walls and castle walls. The technique is easy to learn (though orally transmitted), but the prerequisite for the success of this is fudōshin.
Fudōshin is also something that has to be acquired before one can indulge in Shinken gata (real sword forms; 真剣型). With the help of fudōshin, we must learn to position ourselves in a way that is in symmetry with the attacker(s) (for example, with Sayu Kumogakure Gata, etc.).

In summary, fudōshin, sprung from the Ku Kamae (nine attitudes; 九構), are closely associated with Shoshin no Kata (beginning mind attitude; 初心の構), one can not exist without the other.

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