Focused Intention – ‘Shinken’
Shin-Ken ( Japanese term signifying a sharpened blade as opposed to a blunted practice blade).
The Katana (long sword) was much more than just a weapon to the Samurai Warrior. The sword was a venerated sacred object because it represented the heart and soul of Bushido literally ‘The Way of the Warrior” (the Samurai’s code of conduct). To a young Samurai learning ‘the art of the sword’ was a path to mastering the physical skills of swordsmanship, yes. But in a larger sense it was also a path to master one’s greed, folly and anger. To use a shin-ken properly one had to develop an attitude of Shinken. To a Samurai developing a proper attitude and mindset was just as important (if not more so) as the martial skills mastered.
Metaphorically an attitude of ‘Shinken‘ is one of total focus in everything you do, replacing complacency with a razor sharp awareness, determination, and dedication to excellence. Meaning what you say, and saying what you mean and accepting the consequences of your words and actions. (The Chinese term for this state of focused mindset is Gongfu (Kung Fu).
The journey of Personal Warriorship can (and does) take many forms but mindset and attitude are the key elements irregardless of whatever path you take. To become a Samurai in your own life-journey develop and maintain an attitude of ‘Shinken’ in everything you do.
To imbue one’s mind and spirit with Shinken requires daily practice. Over time (with diligent practice) your mind and spirit will become honed as sharp as a Samurai sword.
© Janos Neder 2015
* The Samurai were the aristocratic class of mediaeval Japan and it included both men and women. Only those of Samurai class were allowed to carry weapons. Samurai men ritually carried two swords whilst Samurai women were often trained in the use of a long sword tipped staff called a naginata.