Zan shin

By Yossi Sheriff

Zan·shin (残心) is a Japanese term used in Japanese martial arts, referring to a state of awareness - a state of relaxed alertness. The literal translation is remaining mind.

In Kyudo it means the remaining body posture after the shooting of an arrow as a result of working body forces as well as the remaining state of mind.

In Karate and even in life in general, it means staying alert and focused and does not necessarily involve the direction in which one is looking, or even the condition of having just "finished" a fight; it also means being aware of the possibility of being attacked at any time whatsoever.

In the context of Kendo, zanshin is the continued state of mental alertness and physical readiness to instantly attack or respond to an attack or counter attack by ones opponent.

Israeli Budo Ninjutsu uses the term on two levels:

  1. Denoting the state the body is in, preceding, executing and following a technique. Since it is through the posture, especially the hands, eyes and breath, that we can start to control our attention.
  2. The inner state of attention achieved by years of attending the body and the surrounding environment.