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Page 29

The Book of Five Rings

a Reigandou cave as a hermit to write The Book of Five Rings. He finished it couple of weeks before his death around May 19, 1654.

After his death, various legends began to appear. Most talk about his feats in kenjutsu and other martial arts. Others tell that he killed giant lizards in Echizen. He gained the stature of Kensai, a "sword saint" and various tales connect him with other contemporary martial artists.

Musashi perfected the two-sword kenjutsu technique he called niten'ichi ("two heavens as one") or nitouichi ("two swords as one"). In this technique, the swordsman uses both katana and wakizashi at the same time. Reputedly, the two-handed movements of temple drummers inspired him. He was probably able to do this due to his unusually large size – most of his contemporaries held their katana with both hands.

Musashi was also rare in that he was a loner. He had no formal training in any of the formal kenjutsu schools – aside from dueling with their representatives. He also had a rather no-nonsense approach to fighting with no additional frills or aesthetic considerations. This was probably due to his real-life combat experience.

Especially in his later life Musashi also followed the more artistic side of bushido. He made various Zen brush paintings and calligraphy and sculpted wood and metal. Even in the Book of Five Rings he emphasizes that samurai should understand other professions as well.



Excerpt from The Book of Five Rings

This is the way for men who wish to learn my strategy:

1.Do not think dishonestly.

2.The Way is in training.

3.Become acquainted with every art.

4.Know the Ways of all professions.

5.Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters.

6.Develop intuitive judgement and understanding for everything.

7.Perceive those things which cannot be seen.

8.Pay attention even to trifles.

9.Do nothing which is of no use.

Writings of Miyamoto Musashi

·Gorin No Sho The Book of Five Rings, (in reference to the Five Rings of Zen Buddhism)

·The 19 Articles of Self-Discipline

·The 35 Articles of Swordsmanship



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