Darts: a game where participants compete with one another by throwing small arrow like devices at a target that is round and has numbers and sections and an inner bull with an outer bull and so on. Darts now refer to the standard game with a specific bristle board design and a set of rules. Rules that are general to the game and rules that govern games like, “501,” “301,” and “Cricket.”

Darts is a traditional pub game that was and is commonly played in the United Kingdom as well as other places in Europe and across the pond here in the America’s.

Wikipedia tells hits history in a terse form, i.e., “The dartboard may have its origins in the cross-section of a tree. An old name for a dartboard is "butt"; the word comes from the French word but, meaning "target". In particular, the Yorkshire and Manchester Log End boards differ from the standard board in that they have no treble, only double and bullseye, the Manchester board being of a smaller diameter, with a playing area of only 25 cm across with double and bull areas measuring just 4 mm. The London Fives board is another variation. This has only 12 equal segments numbered 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10 with the doubles and triples being a quarter of an inch wide.”

There have been a variety of darts created over the years but the most common today is the tungsten dart. There are electronic darts but for this blog and for my efforts in tossing darts I remain a steel dart fan and enthusiast. I am recommending a book for novice darters but only because it appealed to me and my studies and rest assured most of the dart books out there are outstanding. In short, find one if this one does not fit your needs and get it. I can tell you when I started to play over twenty years ago, before I laid down my darts in 96, I tossed darts for several years without knowing some very important and critical mechanics, etc., of the dart game. As I take up once again my steel darts I have found a fountain of information to help make the game both enjoyable and competitive. Enjoy, diddle for the middle and let the darts fly!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Datsu [ダーツ] Mushin [無心]

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

The terms combined are meant to convey a mind-set and mind-state of the darter, the player of the dart game. It is about freeing the mind from obstructive thoughts, to remain in the moment with a total focus on the art and act of tossing a dart to a target on a dart board. Mushin is relevant to this dart discipline and is best explained as a Zen Buddhist concept as follows:

All this is a matter of Mushin, the mind moves from one thing to another freely, like flowing water. You can adapt to any situation in any given moment because your mind is not affected, not attached and not reactive to anything. This mushin triggers the primal conditioned response of our procedural intuitive zombie mind of sub-routine and functions encoded by training, practice and experience not hindered or distracted by our conscious mind. When you can let the mind go free it will become mushin (no-mind) and you can hear, see, taste and feel what is necessary without delays or loss of rhythms and tempo. 

A Gourd of Water: Hit at a gourd floating in water and press it down, it turns. Hit at a gourd on the water, push it, it will move aside. Push it again, it will retreat. It will never stay in one place. The mind in the ultimate state of mushin is like pushing a gourd on the water. 

Training: After long training you will reach freedom of mind and you can let the mind be anywhere, and utilize it as you like. this is our aim and our ultimate goal.

Mushin: Forget your hands, just strike your adversary; forget your feet, just kick your adversary; Do not put your mind on him, his mind or his body, he is void and so are you; your hands and feet, all are void. Void, void and shed even the thought of void so that the mind is not taken by the void - the essence of mushin. 

Beginners focus and attach the mind, this is what one should tell beginners and is their direction of training. During the training period is is important to follow Mencius’s saying, but at the advanced stage one has to follow the saying of Chao K’ang-chieh, “It is essential to let go of the ind.” 

Beginners focus and attach the mind and techniques are performed all stiff; masters achieve mushin and techniques are performed fluidly and freely and without attachment to the mind. 

A Ball on Raid Current: If you throw a ball on a rapidly moving current of water, it rides the waves and never stays still. The ball bounces on top of the waves or is swallowed up by them and never stops, even for a moment - this is mushin.

The mind shall achieve in the moment present moment mind moving like a ball on the rapid current of water.

When a person tosses a dart certain myriad of things must coalesce into one wholehearted action, the toss of the perfect dart and a perfect dart toss is the ultimate goal of all darters. In this, as in martial arts, one must first achieve what is called the immovable mind, mushin, to bring the mind into the body and to make the toss using physiokinetics supported by technique and philosophy that instills a mind immovable to all other things except for the perfect throw. 

The dart kamae; the structure of the body; the alignment of the body and mind; the mechanics of structure, alignment and movement of the arm that tosses the darts along with other of the myriad things achieves mastery of the darts and the dart board. The goal is a mind-state and mind-set of datsu-mushin where the only thought is of the dart and the dartboard, the contest is between the mind, body, dart and dartboard - nothing else exist creating the proverbial “Void” of datsu-mushin, the Zen of Datsu!

It can be said, “When ISSHIN (the one-mind) works rightly you can manage to use all of your thousand arms at the same time. The work of ISSHIN becomes free and you can subjugate several thousand enemies with a single stroke/blow. When any ichinen (single thought) arises there are always two motives, one is good, the other is bad. Consider whether the wish is based on the good motive or a bad one and if you follow a good motive  your mind itself obediently enjoys virtue.” 

It is the mind itself
which leads the mind astray
guard against the mind.

Your greatest adversary is not the dart, not the dartboard or not even a competitor but the darters mind, you, the very self within each of us, our very minds are the adversary and when we guard against our minds we can achieve great things, even in darts.


Chaplin, Patrick, PhD. “The Official Bar Guide to Darts.” Sterling Publishing. New York. 2010.

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