About Mu-shin Self-defence

The things we are most skilful and proficient at, we do without thinking.

Mu-shin – The meaning

The things we are most skilful and proficient at, we do without thinking. Walking, driving, and cycling are second nature activities, absorbed into our muscle memory (subconscious). You can call upon them without the delay of thinking.

The Japanese samurai called this concept ‘mushin,’ roughly translated as ‘no mind.’ The samurai could react without thinking, eliminating hesitation and executing techniques at speed, under the extreme pressures of battle, seamlessly and to powerful effect.

The Journey – (Stuart Kirby, founder of Mu-shin Self-defence)

The school bully had no idea what was about to rain down on him. He had me pinned to the wall with his fist raised. You may have seen the legendary Shaolin Five Rings style in kung fu movies; well, I had the ‘Five Claires’ style at my disposal!

Growing up in the ’80s, ‘Claire’ was a popular girl’s name. I had five Claires in my class, and they all ran to my aid that day. ‘Don’t hit him; he’s only little!’ I heard one of them say, while another held back his fist to prevent it from striking my face.

I avoided a beating that day, but in all honesty, I was completely overpowered. I was only eight, but the experience changed my life! Unable to recruit the Claires as my lifelong bodyguards, I decided then and there that if anyone ever tried to physically dominate me again, I would be ready. Thus began my journey in martial

Mu-shin the meaning

Four decades later, this journey continues. Having travelled the world and been fortunate enough to train with some of the top senseis (teachers) globally, I’ve witnessed extreme levels of skill—especially among senseis who have been training daily for over 60 years of their lives.

During my seven years in Japan studying karate and aikido, I learned that size truly doesn’t matter. Ingenious drills are the key to perfecting technique. Speed, power, and instinctive reaction follow.

Armed with multiple black belts and diverse experience in karate, aikido, jiu-jitsu, judo, kickboxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I selected techniques for a new and innovative self-defence program. These techniques are not only simple to execute, but highly effective. Moreover, they can be quickly embedded into muscle memory to ensure seamless, instinctive execution -capturing the essence of mushin.

However, this extensive training did not stop me being humiliated recently when I fell victim to an investment scam, and I realised threats to our wellbeing can come in many different forms. 

Like all experiences in life, there was a lesson to be learned and I used the frustration to study why these criminals had been successful in duping me. I learnt how they use things like urgency and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) tactics to achieve their goals. It motivated me to create courses that equip people with an effective and instinctive response to all threats, not just physical. 

Self-defence mission

“Empower self-belief and cultivate instinctive physical, tactical, and mindset skills that fuel confidence and fearlessness for life’s challenges”

The meaning behind the mission statement

We need only a core set of techniques to truly conquer danger and violence. Too many techniques can overload our primary motor cortex—the part of the brain responsible for managing our motor skills.

Our reactions become instinctive through repetition; therefore, our programs offer realistic methods to achieve this. Having the right mindset is crucial for overcoming extreme forms of violence and living confidently and fearlessly.

To date, Mu-shin Self-Defence offers four unique programs designed to help everyone achieve these goals:

Story behind the mu-shin logo

The Team at Mu-shin Self-defence

Stuart Kirby

Stuart Kirby

(Founder & Chief Instructor)

Read ‘The Journey’ above to learn about my failure to recruit five bodyguards!

Personal quote

“You don’t need a thousand techniques when a few will do the job. Self-defence should become as natural as catching a ball”


40 years in martial arts and self-defence, including karate, aikido, judo, ju-jitsu, kickboxing and Brazilian ju-jitsu.

Helen Morris

Helen Morris

(Warrior mum, Instructor, Head of Marketing)

 Personal quote

“Small tweaks develop great technique; the only way a smaller person will win against a much larger aggressor”


12 years in kickboxing, boxercise and fitness.

Reece Rainger

Reece Rainger

(Trainee Instructor)

 Personal quote

“The physical stuff is the bonus, the knowing is the best part. Knowing I have something in my locker if anyone attacks”


4 years in kickboxing and self-defence.

self-defence workshop to organisations



Are you a group or organisation seeking transformative mental and physical training?

From concise personal safety presentations and tactical advice to comprehensive group workshops and individual personal safety sessions, we have you covered. Fill out the form below and embark on the journey of unlocking your inner warrior.

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Inspire them to embark on a journey of empowerment in 2024, with under 15 minutes a day, easy-to-follow micro lessons. Our programme meticulously blends physical, tactical and mindset training to forge an instinctive response to danger and threats.

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