Budo’s “maai” and “zanshin” can make for smooth communication with others

Two Kendo players facing each other

I’m sure the Budo practitioners know how “maai”(gap, space) is important in Budo. There is an appropriate maai between you and your opponent during the fight. Being too close or too far apart is no good. “Maai” is the correct distance between you and your opponent.

Super Combo Deal

People who excel in their own areas place high important on “ma”(space). Even in manzai, “ma”is high valued. There is an expression “ma wo awaseru”(to meet the “ma”). You need to understand the other person’s “ma”. Sometimes you will catch the “ma”and other times you will meet it.

It is important to be able to do this naturally. This is the same for communication with other people.

For interpersonal relationships, the “distance”between the other person is important. When you cannot understand the distance, the relationship can become difficult and cause anxiety and distress.

This often arises from failure to grasp the “ma”. Too close, or too far, can cause people to hurt.

On the other hand, what is “zanshin”(残心remaining-heart)?

Thinking from the meaning of the word, zanshin is used in Japanese martial arts and other arts. It is often written 残身(remaining-body) or 残芯 (remaining core) instead. Taking it literally, it means that the heart does not break. It is to be conscious, especially when you have completed your move to not let down your guard and relax but to always stay mindful.

Simply, it is to be conscious to make sure your heart does not break.

In Kendo, if you neglect zanshin you cannot gain ippon. It is important to always be prepared against your opponent.

Aikido Sabaki

How may “zanshin”work in communication with other people?

It relates to being mindful of the other person, and make sure you listen to what he or she has to say. This applies in the workplace, and between spouses. It is important to listen to the other person attentively without interrupting.

If you show that your heart is not broken when facing the other person, that person will also be willing to listen to you.

Kenjutsu in the mornining

We are facing a day and age in which communication is becoming more difficult, but Budo has some keys that can helps us become better at communication.

If those who are kenshi take the “ma”and “zanshin”which you do in kendo practice and apply it to your personal relationships, you might see drastic improvement in your communication.

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