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As Sato rowed across to the island Musashi fashioned a paper string to tie back the sleeves of his kimono, and cut a wooden sword from the spare oar. When he had done this he lay down to rest. The boat neared the place of combat and Kojiro and the waiting officials were astounded to see the strange figure of Musashi, with his unkempt hair tied up in a towel, leap from the boat brandishing the long wooden oar and rush through the waves up the beach towards his enemy.

Kojiro drew his long sword, a fine blade by Nagamitsu of Bizen, and threw away his scabbard. Kojiro was provoked into making the first cut and Musashi dashed upward at his blade, bringing the oar down on Kojiro's head. As Kojiro fell, his sword, which had cut the towel from Musashi's head, cut across the hem of his divided skirt.

Musashi noted Kojiro's condition and bowed to the astounded officials before running back to his boat. Some sources have it that after he killed Kojiro, Musashi threw down the oar and, nimbly leaping back several paces, drew both his swords and flourished them with a shout at his fallen enemy. It was about this time that Musashi stopped ever using real swords in duels.

He was invincible, and from now on he devoted himself to the search for perfect understanding by way of Kendo.

In and again in he took the opportunity of once more experiencing warfare and siege, leyasu laid siege to Osaka castle where the supporters of the Ashikaga family were gathered in insurrection. Musashi joined the Tokugawa forces in both winter and summer campaigns, now fighting against those he had fought for as a youth at Seki ga Hara. According to his own writing, he came to understand strategy when he was fifty or fifty-one in He and his adopted son lori, the waif whom he had met in Dewa province on his travels, settled in Ogura in this year.

Musashi was never again to leave Kyushu island. The Hosokawa house had been entrusted with the command of the hot seat of Higo province, Kumamoto castle, and the new lord of Bunzen was an Ogasawara. The lords of the southern provinces had always been antagonistic to the Tokugawas and were the instigators of intrigue with foreign powers and the Japanese Christians. Musashi was a member of the field staff at Shimawara where the Christians were massacred. After this, leyasu closed the ports of Japan to foreign intercourse, and they remained closed for over two hundred years.

After six years in Ogura, Musashi was invited to stay with Churl, the Hosokawa lord of Kumamoto castle, as a guest. He stayed a few years with lord Churi and spent his time teaching and painting.


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In , he retired to a life of seclusion in a cave called "Reigendo". Musashi is known to the Japanese as "Kensei", that is "Sword Saint". Go Rin No Sho heads every Kendo bibliography, being unique among books of martial art in that it deals with both the strategy of warfare and the methods of single combat in exactly the same way. The book is not a thesis on strategy, it is in Musashi's words "a guide for men who want to learn strategy" and, as a guide always leads, so the contents are always beyond the student's understanding.

The more one reads the book the more one finds in its pages. It is Musashi's last will, the key to the path he trod. When, at twenty-eight or twenty-nine, he had become such a strong fighter, he did not settle down and build a school, replete with success, but became doubly engrossed with his study.

In his last days even, he scorned the life of comfort with lord Hosokawa and lived two years alone in a mountain cave deep in contemplation. The behaviour of this cruel, headstrong man was evidently most humble and honest. Musashi wrote "When you have attained the Way of strategy there will be not one thing that you cannot understand" and "You will see the Way in everything". He did, in fact, become a master of arts and crafts. He produced masterpieces of ink painting, probably more highly valued by the Japanese than the ink paintings of any other.

His works include cormorants, herons. Hotel the Shinto God, dragons, birds with flowers, bird in a dead tree, Daruma Bodhidharma , and others. He was a fine calligrapher, evidenced by his piece "Senki" Warspirit. There is a small wood sculpture of the Buddhist deity Fudo Myoo in private hands.

A sculpture of Kwannon was lost recently.


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  • He made works in metal, and founded the school of sword guard makers who signed "Niten", after him see below. He is said to have written poems and songs, but none of these survive. It is said also that he was commissioned by the Shogun lemitsu to paint the sunrise over Edo castle.

    Page 7: SWORDSMANSHIP IS NOT JUST ABOUT WIELDING A SWORD IT’S EVERYTHING ELSE THAT GOES WITH IT.

    His paintings are sometimes impressed with his seal, "Musashi", or his nom de plume "Niten". Niten means "Two Heavens", said by some to allude to his fighting attitude with a sword in each hand held above his head. In some places he established schools known as "Niten ryu", and in other places called it "Enmei ryu" clear circle. He wrote "Study the Ways of all professions". It is evident that he did just that. He sought out not only great swordsmen but also priests, strategists, artists and craftsmen, eager to broaden his knowledge.

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    Musashi writes about the various aspects of Kendo in such a way that it is possible for the beginner to study at beginner's level, and for Kendo masters to study the same words on a higher level. This applies not just to military strategy, but to any situation where plans and tactics are used. Japanese businessmen have used Go Rin No Slio as a guide for business practice, making sales campaigns like military operations, using the same energetic methods. In the same way that Musashi seems to have been a horribly cruel man, yet was following logically an honest ideal, so successful business seems to most people to be without conscience.

    Musashi's life study is thus as relevant in the twentieth century as it was on the medieval battleground, and applies not just to the Japanese race but to all nations. I suppose you could sum up his inspiration as "humility and hard work". It is now during the first ten days of the tenth month in the twentieth year of Kanei From youth my heart has been inclined toward the Way of strategy.

    My first duel was when I was thirteen, I struck down a strategist of the Shinto school, one Arima Kihei. When I was twenty-one I went up to the capital and met all manner of strategists, never once failing to win in many contests. After that I went from province to province duelling with strategists of various schools, and not once failed to win even though I had as many as sixty encounters. This was between the ages of thirteen and twenty-eight or twenty-nine.

    When I reached thirty I looked back on my past. The previous victories were not due to my having mastered strategy. Perhaps it was natural ability, or the order of heaven, or that other schools' strategy was inferior. After that I studied morning and evening searching for the principle, and came to realise the Way of strategy when I was fifty.

    Since then I have lived without following any particular Way. Thus with the virtue of strategy I practise many arts and abilities— all things with no teacher. It is equivalent to the Chinese "Tao" and means the whole life of the warrior, his devotion to the sword, his place in the Confucius-coloured bureaucracy of the Tokugawa system. It is the road of the cosmos, not just a set of ethics for the artist or priest to live by, but the divine footprints of God pointing the Way. In Shinto there are many Holies, gods of steel and fermentation, place and industry, and so-on, and the first gods, ancestors to the Imperial line.

    See note Musashi studied various arts in various schools, but when after his enlightenment he pursued his studies he had become separate from traditional guidance. He writes his final words in the book of the Void: "Then you will come to think of things in a wide sense, and taking the Void as the Way, you will see the Way as Void. It could be put as feeling, manner.

    It has always been said "The sword is the soul of the samurai. TheGround Book Stategy is the craft of the warrior. Commanders must enact the craft, and troopers should know this Way. There is no warrior in the world today who really understands the Way of strategy. There are various Ways. Each man practices as he feels inclined. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way. Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.

    A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

    The word means "Song of Japan" or "Song in Harmony". It is basically a ritual, based on simple refined rules, between a few persons in a small room. Archery is practised as a ritual like tea and sword. Hachiman, the God of War, is often depicted as an archer, and the bow is frequently illustrated as part of the paraphernalia of the gods. Young men during the Tokugawa period were educated solely in writing the Chinese classics and exercising in swordplay. Pen and sword, in fact, filled the life of the Japanese nobility. Under the Tokugawas, the enforced logic of the Confucius-influenced system ensured stability among the samurai, but it also meant the passing of certain aspects of Bushido.

    Discipline for both samurai and commoners became lax. Yamamoto Tsunenori had been counsellor to Mitsushige, lord of Nabeshima Han, for many years, and upon his lord's death he wanted to commit suicide with his family in the traditional manner. This kind of suicide was strictly prohibited by the new legislation, and, full of remorse, Yamamoto retired in sadness to the boundary of Nabeshima Han.

    The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi: Summary & Notes - Nat Eliason

    Here he met others who had faced the same predicament, and together they wrote a lament of what they saw as the decadence of Bushido. Their criticism is a revealing comment on the changing face of Japan during Musashi's lifetime: "There is no way to describe what a warrior should do other than he should adhere to the Way of the warrior Bushido.

    I find that all men are negligent of this.