No Mind in the Gym

No Mind in the Gym

By John Carra

So, I watched the LAST SAMURAI recently, a Tom Cruise Movie from 2003, and there was a scene where Tom Cruise’s character, Nathan Algren, is sparring with Ujio a Samurai Sword-master and is having difficulties. Then Nobutada, the son of Katsumoto the Leader of the Samurai, approaches Nathan and the following conversation ensues.

Please forgive, too many mind.

Nathan Algren:
Too many mind?

Hai. Mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind the enemy, too many mind… [pause] No mind.

What Nobutada is referring to is the mushin no shin, a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind or “no-mindness”. It is the act of a person freeing their thoughts of anger, fear, or ego during combat allowing them to act without disturbance or distraction.

This got me thinking about my everyday life, working 8-10 hours a day, teaching classes and training people another 8 – 10 hours week, Family, Household, Bills, Eating, Pets, etc. All the time thinking about everything that is required just to live. On top of that all the people you meet and interact with from day to day. I then realized, outside of sleeping the only time I can find that moment of “NO MIND” is when I am at the gym, interacting with the IRON (or rubber if you enjoy those types of plates….).

All those thoughts about relationships, work, bills, politics, and so – on … as Duke says to Rocky…” LET IT GO” when you are at the gym.. do not allow yourself to have TOO MANY MIND as Nobutada mentions.

So next time you are in the gym, either powerlifting, bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, strongman, CrossFit, cardio, … whatever it is you love to do. Stay in that moment, crush that workout, enjoy the suck and allow yourself NO MIND!


John showing off his

John, among many things, is a lifelong fitness “athlete” and loves every aspect of human performance. He has a passion to help bring people joy and success in whatever task they set before them. You can experience John’s brilliant coaching every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 9am and Sunday at 8am at Krav Maga Detroit.

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