The Book of Five Rings
Miyamoto Musashi, William Scott Wilson
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
When the undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi retreated to a cave in 1643 and wrote The Book of Five Rings, a manifesto on swordsmanship, strategy, and winning for his students and generations of samurai to come, he created one of the most perceptive and incisive texts on strategic thinking ever to come from Asia.
Musashi gives timeless advice on defeating an adversary, throwing an opponent off-guard, creating confusion, and other techniques for overpowering an assailant that will resonate with both martial artists and everyone else interested in skillfully dealing with conflict. For Musashi, the way of the martial arts was a mastery of the mind rather than simply technical prowess—and it is this path to mastery that is the core teaching in The Book of Five Rings.
William Scott Wilson’s translation is faithful to the original seventeenth-century Japanese text while being wonderfully clear and readable. His scholarship and insight into the deep meaning of this classic are evident in his introduction and notes to the text. This edition also includes a translation of one of Musashi’s earlier writings, “The Way of Walking Alone,” and calligraphy by Japanese artist Shiro Tsujimura.
and taking the initiative yourself. The intent to ferry across is essential in the martial arts whether your opponents are one or many. You should investigate this thoroughly. KNOWING CONDITIONS In the main current of the martial arts, Knowing Conditions means knowing where your opponents flourish or fall, knowing the number of their allies, taking in the lay of the land, clearly observing your opponents’ conditions, and—according to the maneuvering of your own allies and these principles
MANY TECHNIQUES WITH THE SWORD IN OTHER STYLES Teaching people many techniques with the sword makes the Way into a saleable item, and the knowledge of many sword techniques is for the sake of impressing the beginner. This is undesirable in the martial arts. The reason for this is that thinking of the various different ways of cutting someone down confuses the mind. In this world, there are no extraordinary ways of cutting someone down. For those who know, for those who don’t know, for women
him learn according to those skills that he may develop well; teach him principles that he will quickly understand first; see through the places where his mind may be suitable for matters not easily understood; and gradually, gradually, teach him the deeper principles later. Nevertheless, this is a matter of having him learn how to cross swords in battle, so there is no point called “the entrance to the interior.” In this world, then, when searching for the interior or depths of a mountain, if
the Hour of the Tiger [4:30 a.m.], on the night of the tenth day of the Tenth Month, I begin this book. What is called the “martial art” is the standard of the military clans. Commanders, in particular, should put it into practice, and common soldiers should know its Way as well. Yet there are no warriors who clearly understand the Way of the Martial Arts in the world today. First, as representatives of Ways, Buddhism is a Way of salvation for man, Confucianism venerates a Way of culture,
the painting and cutting through its near center, it is grace and strength in a single quick movement, standing out against nothingness; the observer might conclude that the painter must have been, in a sense, absolutely fearless. How else the decisiveness and total self-confidence of this one swordlike stroke? The painter’s name was Niten, or “Two Heavens.” More exactly, Niten was the artistic name of one Shinmen Musashi, or Miyamoto Musashi. With the publication of The Book of Five Rings,