The Empty Mind documentary is a historical journey that begins where it should… the birthplace of the martial arts, Shaolin Temple and ends at the Budokan in Tokyo, Japan. Over two years in the making, this is an epic account of today’s top martial arts teachers and the mind connection that exists between them regardless of their very diverse styles.
Taking a giant leap from the traditional martial arts of Japan to Chinese kungfu may seem improbable but the connection is much closer than you may think, especially in the daily practice. As we weave our story between the two countries and the various martial arts you begin to realize that the teachers in our interviews often overlap and repeat each others words… though they may be generations apart and thousands of miles from each other, in spirit and philosophy they are the same. “We try to see the origin of ourselves, not just Chinese, American or Japanese but as a being that is part of the universe” says Warrior Monk ShiDeRu of the Shaolin Temple… “The emptiness of the mind is linked to the body’s energy that is colorless… it’s nothingness.” To illustrate the mind-body connection we take you into the daily practice of each martial art. You will step inside the Aikido Headquarters in Japan and the JKA and JKS Shotokan Karate Honbu Dojos to experience the daily training. Witness the power of bushido as you sit ringside at the Japan Kendo Championships or the zen concentration of the archer in the Japan Kyudo championships. Through interviews and intimate filming of their daily training, you will experience the philosophical and physical elements that unite all great masters of the martial arts. We show you why the mind-body connection plays such an important role in martial arts. “We describe it as being one with your space or universe” says Moriteru Uesheba, Aikido master… “It is called ‘mushin’ where movement is spontaneous within a state of nothingness.” This clear state of mind can only be achieved say all the great martial arts masters, through constant daily practice in order to reach the mental and physical conditioning needed. “In the spirit of zen or budo we call this mushin which is an empty mind” says legendary karate grandmaster Hirokazu Kanazawa, 10th Dan…”It is a state of total control and concentration to enable you to arrive at your objective in life, which is the mental attitude you need in your journey to find success.”
In this sense, The Empty Mind is not just for martial artists, but for anyone who wishes to improve themselves both spiritually and physically in order to find happiness in their every day life.
This is what Robert Young, editor of Black Belt Magazine wrote… “This (The Empty Mind) could be shown on the National Geographic Channel tonight and no one would suspect that it was not a multi-million dollar project helmed by Hollywood heavyweights. On a more personal note, this documentary rekindled my fire for the Asian ways of combat.”… [read more in reviews on the left].
5 out of 5 stars “The Empty Mind” is a first-rate, professional martial art documentary.
Antonio Bustillo. 13.06.2015
Great documentary along with great photography and interview. Gives a nice introductory view of a wide variety of very spiritually oriented martial arts. Would highly recommend.
White Crane. 05.08.2015
Every now and then you round a corner in life and get smacked in the face by a couple of ideas or products that share a common theme. In my case, it was a pair of DVD’s one of which is titled, The Empty Mind: The Spirit and Philosophy of Martial Arts. Some might say it was serendipity that brought them to my desk on the same day, but I prefer to think it was more mundane: The Martial Arts have come of age! Several weeks ago, a Kenpo black belt named James Bennett dropped off the DVD for me to watch. I asked him if it was another one of those amateur efforts. He insisted it wasn’t. So I gave it a look. I must say I was impressed. It certainly wasn’t a collection of home movies. It is a coherent production that was professionally filmed in Japan and China. Crafted by Jon Braeley, of Empty Mind Films, it profiles practitioners of Aikido, Karate, Kendo, Kyudo, Shaolin Kingfu, Tai Chi and Wushu as they plied their trade in the dojo and at tournaments. The styles were presented as artistic endeavors that steel the character and build the body no matter what age. The production was proof positive that filmmakers now view the martial arts as legitimate pursuits that are worthy of the finest documentary treatment. This could be shown on the National Geographic Channel tonight and no one would suspect that it was not a multi-million dollar project helmed by Hollywood heavyweights. On a more personal note, this documentary rekindled my fire for the Asian ways of combat. In this age of mixed martial arts, when all that matters is the destination, this film reinforces the notion that in life it’s the journey that really counts.
Robert W. Young, executive Editor, Black Belt Magazine. April 2010.
I saw The Empty Mind and I was very impressed. It was excellent.
Gene Ching, Ass. Publisher, Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine. 12.04.2008
The Empty Mind includes a great deal of unique footage that is worthy of watching. If you have any interest in the mindset of the martial artist, this is definitely the DVD for you. If you’re looking for a DVD that teaches, this is not for you. Quality is top notch. Scenery, footage, all filmed on the spot with no interference from the producers. No stage was set up (apparently) during the filming. Everything that you see in this DVD is exactly what you would see if you walked into a martial arts practice environment. Overall – Highly Recommended for anyone interested in the philosophical aspect of martial arts.
Phillip, USA. 03.31.2007.
Jon Brailey has yet again done a terrific job with The Empty Mind in bringing the philosophical and psycological side of the far east to us in this terrific film showcasing some of the top masters of the martial arts. Names like Ueshiba, Kanazawa, Okazaki and many more show the art the way it is meant to be practised. Hats off to yet another fabulous film I enjoyed from the beginning to the end.
Don Warrener, Hollywood, USA. 09.27.2007
This is a great film with insight and no insight. It’s The Empty Mind. Masters thoughts and views are priceless.
Jonathan Black “Dragon Chef”, Sonoma, USA. 05.12.2008