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Torakan Karate-Do

Karate Essence - Senshin

Senshin Strives to Protect and be in Harmony with all of Life

During the last several months we have explored a number of concepts, four of which are elements of the Full Mantle. Zanshin, Mushin, Shoshin, and Fudoshin make up four-fifths of the seamless, shining armour of the advanced Karateka or Budôka; Senshin is the fifth element.

Table of Contents

· Summary of the elements of the Mantle of the Spiritual Warrior.

· Senshin completes the five spirits of Budô; the teachings of Ueshiba Morihei.

· The Path to enlightenment.

· The enlightened mind.

Zanshin raises your total awareness, enabling you to see everything, not missing anything. Mushin releases you from anxiety; acting and reacting without emotion allows your training, skills and abilities to function at maximum proficiency. Shoshin frees you from the frustrations that often accompany learning, giving you the sight to see what you may have missed. Fudoshin provides the confidence to stand your ground in the face of overwhelming odds. Senshin, concerning the Karateka/Budôka, is ‘the state of the enlightened mind’. Senshin completes the full Mantle of the advanced Karateka/Budôka; the Spiritual Warrior.

Senshin Completes the Mantle

The fifth element, Senshin, has no exact, literal translation. However, in line with the teachings of Ueshiba Morihei, Founder of the Japanese art of Aikidô, Senshin takes on the Budô meaning of the ‘enlightened’ or ‘purified’ mind/heart or spirit. In Chinese Medicine, the heart is the location of the mind, which is probably why the most common translation for Shin is mind or heart. So, concerning the Karateka/Budôka, Senshin might be said to be ‘the state of the enlightened mind’. Senshin completes the five spirits of Budô, or the full Mantle, of the advanced Karateka/Budôka; the Spiritual Warrior.

Senshin transcends and harmonises the first four elements in a spirit of compassion to reconcile discord and hold all life sacred. Fully embracing Senshin is to become enlightened.

You can learn as many physical arts as you want, and I’ve studied a few, but unless you take on the Full Mantle you will only skate across the surface. The physicality of the arts will only be a sequence of moves; consequently, in combat, whomsoever is most inspired on the day will be the victor.

This Mantle I speak of doesn’t just find you when you train, study and learn the physicality of your art; you must actively seek it out.

Senshin (洗心): Purified spirit; Enlightened Attitude

‘Senshin: the enlightened mind of the advanced Karateka/Budôka. Holding all life sacred, you strive to protect and be in harmony with all life.’ Seeing the best in humanity, you endeavour to foster compassion even for those who would do you harm. With Senshin, recognising the universal connectedness of life, you understand how one simple act affects every aspect of life. You see the dilemma and the worth of life with your heart, mind and soul.’

Senshin is achievable; however, not only must the mind be enlightened but the spirit must also be cleansed too. Only the advanced Karateka/Budôka – with the enlightened attitude and purified intention – will achieve ‘the Full Mantle of the Spiritual Warrior.’

The Mantle does not guarantee invincibility it simply leaves you uncluttered by emotion; Mushin. Calm, alert, and aware; Zanshin. Focused completely, confidently, in the moment; Fudoshin. No, not invincible but, securely enveloped in the Mantle, you are fearless.


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