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Shin Gi Tai, unity of mind, technique and body.


Shin Gi Tai is the unity of mind, technique and body.

I would like to talk to you about a fundamental notion in Karate, the Shin Gi Taiwhich could be translated by the unity of thought, technique and physics. Indeed, when we talk about learning Karate, we do not speak only of the technique, but of a whole which includes the technique, the body and the spirit of an inseparable way.

To really progress, Karateka will work with regularity, day after day, at the same time the technique, its body and its spirit. This does not mean that you have to do some purely technical exercises on one side, then separately do body maintenance exercises and still separately work your mental, but rather work the whole thing together.

One can, and it is even recommended, to do very specific exercises for the body or mind, but the notion of Shin Gi Tai is quite different and makes the permanent link between technique, body and spirit. It means rather that the mind (Shin) expresses itself through the body (Tai) by the technique (Gi). It is therefore by working tirelessly that Karateka will educate both his body and his mind.

Shin Gi Tai is the unity between mind, technique and body. We speak of unity because one can not exist without the other two.


Shin represents the spirit in the sense of the thought that drives us. Shin is our heart, our desire, our "why". Why we want to achieve our goals Shin represents our intention. It is he who gives meaning to our practice and allows us to follow a guideline. It is this strength that drives us to move forward in life, which gives us the will to give the best of ourselves.

Shin is not unique to Karate, but it is present in our everyday life. Whether we realize it or not, it is faith that stimulates us and motivates us constantly. The Shin is continually present in us. He is present in every action of our day, our daily life, in sport and at work. In short, any action will be directly related to the Shin, without it we will be nothing, since it constitutes our inner motivation, our fidelity to a cause, our confidence in ourselves, in our capacity etc.

Defining the Shin is not easy because it is a vague term that can mean many things. The Shin can manifest in various aspects such as enthusiasm, diligence, perseverance ...

He can also express himself at different levels, from the simple desire to have a good time to the desire to like his life in general for example. In fact, each person can give his own definition because we are not receptive to the same things and in the same way, we are not receptive to the same sources of satisfaction, we do not have the same passions and we do not have all the same feelings against the "motivation impulses".

Shin, that's it. It's the energy that makes us vibrate. It is the flame that burns in each of us.

To give you an image, the Shin is like the battery of a car. If the battery is flat, you can not create the spark to start, even if the fuel tank is full. We are all the same, everything seems bland, gray and without relief when our batteries are empty. We have no taste for anything, we can not start even though we have enough physical reserves. We miss the spark that makes us take the first step, then the second, then the next as does the ignition coil of our car.

The Shin is the spark that makes you take the first step. Even if you want to (and can) climb mountains, whatever your goal, you have to take that first step! And it's your Shin that will help you achieve it. The will is not enough, you need desire and the heart.

In Karate, we will develop and maintain our Shin by practicing because the Shin expresses itself through the body (Tai) by the technique (Gi).


Gi represents the technique, but in the sense of "way". It's not about the technical knowledge that you have, but rather about how to execute these techniques. It is the unification of theory with practice.

Gi is the fulfillment of your intention (Shin).

Whatever technique you learn, your mind can quickly learn the theory, but putting it into practice is more complicated. Once the mind has understood the theory it will make it a goal, an intention (Shin) that will execute the technique the right way. To achieve the right technique, to its perfect execution, it will be necessary to train again and again until the done gesture becomes identical to our intention. Gi represents the mastery of the technique.

If the Shin is the spark that powers our battery, the Gi is the way we drive our body (Tai).

If you show perseverance in your training, the Gi allows the intention (Shin) to unify with the technique performed.


Tai represents the bodyit is the vehicle without which nothing can express itself, neither the Shin nor the Gi. He is the driving force of the gesture, but so is the whole structure. It's the whole vehicle.
You must study your body in depth in every gesture, biomechanics, placement in space, your feelings, ...

The study of the body is often neglected whereas without it, the intention and the way are useless. You may have full batteries with all the goodwill of the world and be an excellent driver, if you drive a poorly maintained 2CV, you will not win a grand prize for 1 formula.

The body is at the center of the technical gesture, it is your vehicle, do not neglect it.

An 1 formula driver is listening to his car. The slightest jolt, the slightest drop in the diet, the slightest mechanical clatter, ... You must be the same with your body to harmonize your movements, to feel the connection of your joints, to work on your posture, your balance, to become aware of your support, of your displacements, of the space in which you evolve.

Practicing to practice is not enough, you have to be fully present and listen to your body so that the intention and the way can fully express themselves. And NDo not think that the intention or the way is more important than the body, they are all three units. Each one fully dependent on the other. Listening to your body is essential to better understand it. Thus, the control of your body through training will allow you to fully express your intention in the technical gesture.

Shin Gi Tai: An inseparable whole

With Shin Gi Tai, the loop is complete and forms a whole that turns constantly on itself. The mind expresses itself through the body through the technique, the body allows the technique to unite with the intention and the way allows the body to be the visible representation of the thought.

If you neglect your body (Tai), your technique will be degraded and your motivation will decrease. If you do not work your technique (Gi) regularly, your body and your intention will not be enough to make a perfect gesture. If you neglect your spirit (Shin) and do not maintain the flame that animates you, you will be demotivated and end up not worrying about your technique or your body.

As you see it Shin Gi Tai forms a whole that must be maintained with perseverance.

I have prepared a video in which I tell you about the importance of Shin Gi Tai.

Here, I hope that this article, you have more and that it will allow you to have a deep reflection on your training and will make you progress.

See you soon,

Your opinion interests me, leave me a comment, answering for example these questions:

  • What does Shin Gi Tai represent for you?
  • Do you think Karate practice changes both body and mind?

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  1. An explanation of Shin Gi Tai and Japanese words that comes from judo and older jujitsu probably:

    Or a Japanese author explains that:
    - shin: what is at the center of emotion, of intention.
    - gi: the character "gi" also reads "waza" (example keri waza technique of legs),
    - tai: before 1946 means "correctly aligned bones"

    I would add that okinawa karate and jujitsu have a very particular / learned use of bone biomechanics.

    In my opinion, it is better to conceptualize with French words because if we use translated words we can reduce their plurality of meanings to our personal / cultural points of view and close a door to signifiers that are foreign to us.

    For example, the word "uke" which is translated as "blocking" (ex "age uke") or "that is attacked" ("uke" and his friend "tori"). I do not know Japanese but for me "uke" means "to receive". The notion of blocking makes one think of stopping in force. Receive is more neutral and can mean "absorb", "deviate", etc ... This is how I see a video or a master Okinawa "shouted" a Westerner saying "your uke is bad" ... Obviously he means something other than stopping. Then he tells her you're not doing a competition, you're losing because you're trying to score points "... Another" Japanese "says something like" there's no attack "..." we're trying not to to lose "... which enlighten a few words of Me Funakoshi but seems to us conceptually foreign in a sports setting where the coatch will encourage to score points.

    This example around the word "uke" makes me think that the old karate is violent self-defense, respecting the principle of self-defense that the response is immediate and not 5 mn later (which the calls revenge).

    Maybe it was to create automatics, arcs reflexes, to rush into the flaws of likely attacks. Training then becomes a form of training the mind and body to become like a wolf trap that falls on the approaching paw.

    In my opinion: there are the techniques and the body that has to be transformed (for example the muscles to make yokogeri), when in the mind I do not know. Some will speak of Zen and Myamotomusashi, but most often he responds to what he is accustomed to receiving and too many techniques and the response becomes blurred. It's an experience to do when doing karate: practice two months of French boxing. The allowed shots are no longer the same.

    The last point on the mind is that no one is considering the fact that the exercises are done with specific visualizations. Visualizations have a real effect on the brain and the mind controls the matter (think of a beautiful girl bronze in thong) I remember a young Okinawan who was doing a kata at a party. What surprised me is the energy released but eyes: he looked hallucinated, amok.

  2. Sensei and, allow me, AMI Bruno, I live in Montreal (Belle Province!), I am 73 years old, martial arts are part of my spiritual life, and I admire your pedagogical vocation in this field. I plan to go to France soon and visit you in Langres. I have practice there 30 years the Shotokan style with Sensei Philippe Lecomte de Fleuris, in Besancon, do you have news? Kind regards: GERMAN DA COSTA MORALES, 3535 AV. PAPINEAU app.601 Montreal, QC, H2K 4J9, Canada

    • Hello German,

      Thank you for your admiration, it touches me. I have no news of Philippe in Besançon because I do not know.

      If you come by us, it would be with pleasure that I welcome you to our beautiful city of Langres. Let me know soon enough and I will show you the city and we will talk Karate


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