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Friday, September 30, 2011

Two Easy Steps to Achieve a Mushin State of Mind

Mushin is the famed mindset that the samurai, warriors of Japan, would try to achieve to ready them for battle against an adversary. Mushin literally means no mind and symbolized for them, performing intuitively at their best without fear. It’s a non-thinking outlook of observing without judgment to gain a greater awareness level.

Now, different traditions have similar concepts with a different name. You may have heard the terms of enlightenment, nirvana. Athletes call it “Being in the Zone”. In Christian tradition, they would call it being filled with the Holy Spirit.

So I am going to teach you the two steps, it takes to get to the Mushin frame of mind.

Step #1, Mind Like the Moon - Tsuki No Kokoro
During a full moon, the moonbeams cast an even light over everything. They illuminate everything equally without judgment. When you apply this to your mind, it refers to our vision and the way we view the world.

In layman terms…
It’s called wide angle vision.

What is wide angle vision?
It’s goes by many different names, for example in survival classes - spatter vision and Native Americans refer to it as Owl Eyes. To discover more about developing this type of vision, you can google Owl Eyes or wide angle vision or search YouTube for more information for exercises to hone this skill.

Here’s a video about wide angle vision

Basically, wide angle vision is when we see the whole scene instead of focusing on a single point. It’s a panoramic view of everything around you like setting your camera for landscape view instead of portrait. Tsuki no kokoro is the switch from binocular vision to expanded vision.

The difficulty with this vision is that we are taught from an early age to have a focused vision of the world. Our modern lifestyle drives us toward having a focused view all the time through reading, working on a computer, watching TV, or even performing work at our job. This focused view causes many vision problems requiring the need to wear glasses.

To teach yourself and experience wide angle of vision stretch your arms out to your sides just at the limits of your peripheral vision and wiggle your fingers. Then, while looking straight ahead attempt to see your wiggling fingers with your peripheral vision. This exercise should open your vision up to wide angle vision.

Hunters and gatherers utilized spatter to see a small movements and patterns in the wilderness to locate their prey.

With wide angle vision, you will perform better in almost any sport. In karate, it enhances your sparring abilities by quickening your reactions to see and anticipate our opponent’s movements more effectively. When you correctly achieve wide angle of vision, your opponents will say that it looks like you are looking right through them and most opponents find it very intimidating. It causes a fear response in most people because this vision is a predator mindset. Think again about the hunter and gather. They would be in a predator state of mind when using this vision to do their hunting.

Step #2, Mind like the Water – Mizu no Kokoro
When a lake’s surface is still with no ripples, you can see your reflection on the water surface clearly without distortions. But when you disturb the water, the ripples will distort your image on the surface of the lake.

Mind like the Water is the state of mind of being calm, cool, and assertive. This is the same state of mind that an artist employs to draw an accurate picture of scenery. We are filled with preconceived notion of the world around us that interfere with really seeing what is actually there. This is the reason many karate masters practiced calligraphy and painting because it forces your mind into sensory awareness.

In the famous book, The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, the author takes you through a process of give up these preconceived notions and just drawing what is literally there instead of what we think is there. Check out my experiences with this book here. In the book, they take you through a series of drills to break through these preconceived notions that we develop through our left/ logical brain so that you can draw accurately what we actually see, instead of simplified ideas of what we think we see.

In this state of mind, you cast away any thought or judgments and merely observe. For example, in sparring, you do not try to anticipate your opponent’s movements you just see and react to them.

The best drill to practice this skill is to go into wide angle vision and while looking straight ahead then attempt to observe different objects within the scenery without looking around.

Once you achieve these two steps, you’ll enter the zone or the Mushin mindset. The essence of the Mushin mindset is seeing without thinking – without judgments about what you see, just taking it all in. It’s a right brain/ creative type of thinking. This type of thinking is underrated and much more powerful then left brain/ logical thinking. Our right brain is faster, reacts quicker, more resilient, and limitless. It’s able to react appropriately to a situation with no thought or effort because you’re more open and connected to your surroundings.

The best way I've found to practice Mushin before using it under the pressure of combat is from the old movie, Kung Fu. Do you remember the scene Snatch the pebble from my hand?

Try that with a partner. Instead of searching for pebbles, do it with a penny. You can practice your Mushin with either role.

Using Mushin, You can snatch the penny about 6 to 8 times out of 10. When you're not, I may get it 2.

Holding the pebble/ penny is even harder. If you are in Mushin, you will easily close your hand. Your partner's hand will look like they are grabbing in slow motion. Oh by the way, in Mushin, you will be able to tell the difference between a real grab and a fake.

Try it at home. If you have kids, they are great willing training partners. You get to practice and your kid will have fun.

These concepts are very hard to explain because they must be experienced to understand. These concepts have their root in right brain/ creative thinking and most of us are taught to think logically and ignore creative thinking. Asian culture's have an easier time understanding these concepts because of their roots in Zen Buddhism which emphasis creative thinking.

Our left brain/ logical brain is like that critic that criticizes everything and can do anything themselves well. Do you know people like that? The right brain is creative, non-verbal, and great at performance. When performing, most people listen and use the left brain/ logical instead of the right intuitive side. We basically use the wrong side for the task at hand.

I came across this at the beginning of the year, because I wondered why people like Musashi were accomplished artists too so I decided to learn to draw for 2010. Well, I found it took only 7 days if I drew with the right side of the brain.

The difference between my before and after drawing was astounding. When we sparring and perform kata with the left brain, it's like my before picture compared to the left brain which is my after picture.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blitzing for Ippon Kumite / Sparring - Triple Threat Reverse Punch

Our third blitzing technique is a triple threat reverse punch.

I trained with a friend who was excellent at this move. When he would do this move it was like a bull rush coming at you.

The feeling you need for this technique is like a kamikaze going in to score the point.

To make this extremely effective, mix up the levels of the punch, for example High, High, Low or High, Low, High. This will greatly increase your scoring percentage.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blitzing for Ippon Kumite / Sparring - Backfist, Trap, Punch, and Roll

Here's our second blitz technique.

Remember in the last video, we taught that the blitz is a technique that you rush your opponent and overwhelm them with a fury of attacks. This technique starts with a backfist on the opposite side and you punch as you roll to the side.

One of the cool things about teaching karate is that many of the techniques we teach have a historic or nostalgic value to them. This blitz is no different. I used this blitz to score a point during my 4th degree Black Belt test securing a passing grade at the test.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blitzing for Ippon Kumite / Sparring - Tap, Trap, Punch, and Roll

I have a great drill for you today. I had a request online for more Kumite / sparring drills.

While I warm-up my class with some pad work, I want to explain the concept of a blitz. The blitz is basically a technique that you rush in to score a point by overwhelming your opponent with a fury of attacks.

This one is the Tap, Trap, Punch, and Roll. I love this particular combo because I scored a point with it at the 1998 JKA World Championship in Bern, Switzerland when I was on the US team.

The cool thing about teaching karate is many of the techniques that I teach have some history to them.

If you want to take your sparring game to the next level, work toward mastering this battle-tested technique.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel

Paleo All-Round Good Rub

This is an all round fantastic rub that works on all types of meat, poultry, and fish.

1 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 Teaspoon Granulated Onion
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle and press rub mixture into meat or fish and refrigerate for 1 hour before grilling to intensify the favors. If you wish to add salt, season with sea salt just prior to grilling.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel

Monday, September 19, 2011

Inside Leg Catch Takedown against a Round Kick for Ippon Kumite

Today's video is on an inside leg catch takedown against a round kick for ippon kumite. This drill I pulled out of the archives because I haven't taught it in a few years. So, we're kind of knocking the rust off of the drill.

During your Ippon Kumite practice, jamming a round kick is an important strategy to learn. Most people try to move back on a round kick putting them into the danger zone at the end of the kick.

On this drill, we step into the round kick and continue to spin using the power of the kick for the takedown.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel

Friday, September 16, 2011

Grilled Rosemary-Sage Turkey Breast

This is a quick and easy wet rub for a turkey breast and perfect for my Paleo Diet. If you don't want to grill the turkey breast, you can roast it in the oven at 325 degrees in a roasting pan in a rack.

1 Bone-in Skin-on Turkey Breast, 4-6lbs
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Rosemary, Chopped
2 tbsp. Sage, Chopped
2 cloves Garlic, Minced

Preheat Grill to 325 degrees over indirect heat.

Rinse and pat dry turkey breast. Mix olive oil with sage, rosemary, and garlic. Brush mixture on outside and under the skin of the turkey breast. Place the turkey breast on a rack and place on the grill over the burner that is off. Cook for about one hour until the internal temperature 170 degrees.

Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes before carving.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tangy BBQ Chicken Breast and My New Paleo Diet

I am here in my kitchen and I am going to grill for you a Tangy BBQ Chicken. I wanted to let you know that I am trying out a new nutritional plan called the Paleo Diet for about a month.

Here's a link to the book...
The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat

It is a great diet. I think it's one of the best ones that I've tried. The interesting part about the diet is they claim that it will put you at the weight that nature intended you to be.

The other thing that I like about this nutritional plan is that it works well with my workout level. I typically do 3 to 4 kickboxing classes per week, weight train 2x per week, walk my dogs, and ride my bike to the dojo daily. I require a nutritional plan that helps me recover quickly from a workout.

Also, the Paleo Diet provides a great energy level throughout the day. I don't get the afternoon slump. I experience a positive, relaxed, calm sort of energy all day. It really puts my In the Zone and alert.

Because of all the fruits and veggies with lean meat, I am not hungry at all. In fact, it would be difficult to overeat on this diet. You would need to eat over 5 lbs. of fruit in a day to get the same number of carbs on the typical American grain based diet.

2 lbs Chicken Breast
1/2 Grapefruit, Juice from
1 Lemon, Juice from
2 Green Onions, Chopped
1 tsp Dry Tarragon
1 tsp Fresh Thyme
1 tsp Fresh Sage
1 tsp Fennel, toasted and crushed

Mix all the ingredients with the chicken in a Ziploc bag or bowl. Marinated for at least 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat Grill to about 400 degrees. Cook Chicken on both sides for about 10 minutes per side. Brush reserve marinated on chicken occasionally.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel

Friday, September 9, 2011

Iced Blended Mocha Latte with Whey Protein

This is a video response to Sarah Dussault's video on What Protein Powder Should I Buy at The Sarah Fit Show. She produces wonderful fitness and health videos at

Sarah's video talked about Protein powder recipes in the morning. This is my favorite morning recipe ... Iced Blended Mocha Latte with Whey Protein.

This recipe is a double shot of coffee and whey protein rolled into one delicious drink.

Put one cup of milk and 6 to 8 coffee ice cubes into the blender. Fill with room temperature coffee to the 2 cup line on the blender. Then, add one scoop of your favorite whey protein. Blend until the ice cubes are chopped up.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Leg Catch Defense Against a Front Kick for Ippon Kumite / One Step Sparr...

Today's lesson is a leg catch against a kick defense that we're going to use for ippon kumite.

This is another technique from the Bubishi - Figure #22.

Click the following link to get a your copy of the Bubishi.

Bubishi: The Classic Manual of Combat

When we perform, Ippon Kumite/ One Step Sparring, our students, many times, get stuck on what to do against the kicks. This technique works against a mae geri / front kick or Yoko Geri / Side Kick.

This leg catching technique is the first in a series of leg catches to help you with Ippon Kumite.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tomatillo Salsa

My sister gave me some tomatillo. I never tried them before. Apparently, tomatillo salsa is common Mexican fair. I made it as a salsa for chicken fajitas and is great on most meats. It's also a great salsa for chips.

1 pound fresh tomatillos, quartered
1 large Spanish onion cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
1 lime, juiced

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash the stickiness off under cool water. Cut them into quarters and add them into the food processor with the onions and garlic. Process until smooth. Add the cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice and process until the jalapeno is finely chopped.

Pour mixture into a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of relish, about 20 minutes. Cool before serving.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
Click here to visit our YouTube Channel