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The Book of Five Rings (Cool Classics)

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<h2>The classic strategy book rivaled only by Sun Tzu's The Art of War.</h2> A warrior of sixty battles Musashi Miyamoto was a Samurai legend. His success was due to his Way of Strategy - The Book of Five Rings - which reveals what really works in the boardroom, the bar room, and the battlefield. <i>"You should only be concerned with killing the enemy," says Miyamoto, "If yo <h2>The classic strategy book rivaled only by Sun Tzu's The Art of War.</h2> A warrior of sixty battles Musashi Miyamoto was a Samurai legend. His success was due to his Way of Strategy - The Book of Five Rings - which reveals what really works in the boardroom, the bar room, and the battlefield. <i>"You should only be concerned with killing the enemy," says Miyamoto, "If you rely on strength, when you hit the enemy's sword you will inevitably hit too hard."</i> <b>It's a must-have for any business leader, martial artist or born-again Samurai. </b> <i>"The name of Musashi is as familiar in Japan as those of Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid are in the United States. A swordsman, military strategist and painter born in the 1580s, he lives on eternally in the Japanese imagination as a superhero of folklore, literature, action movies and video games."</i> New York Times This <i>Cool Classics</i> edition is formatted, designed and proofed specifically for a more enjoyable Kindle reading experience. It also includes the Dokkodo, Miyamoto's 21 precepts for living, known as 'The Way I go by Myself'. It was composed as Musashi gave away his possessions in preparation for death, and was dedicated to his favorite disciple, Terao Magonojo, who took them to heart. It expresses a stringent, ascetic, and honest view of life.


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<h2>The classic strategy book rivaled only by Sun Tzu's The Art of War.</h2> A warrior of sixty battles Musashi Miyamoto was a Samurai legend. His success was due to his Way of Strategy - The Book of Five Rings - which reveals what really works in the boardroom, the bar room, and the battlefield. <i>"You should only be concerned with killing the enemy," says Miyamoto, "If yo <h2>The classic strategy book rivaled only by Sun Tzu's The Art of War.</h2> A warrior of sixty battles Musashi Miyamoto was a Samurai legend. His success was due to his Way of Strategy - The Book of Five Rings - which reveals what really works in the boardroom, the bar room, and the battlefield. <i>"You should only be concerned with killing the enemy," says Miyamoto, "If you rely on strength, when you hit the enemy's sword you will inevitably hit too hard."</i> <b>It's a must-have for any business leader, martial artist or born-again Samurai. </b> <i>"The name of Musashi is as familiar in Japan as those of Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid are in the United States. A swordsman, military strategist and painter born in the 1580s, he lives on eternally in the Japanese imagination as a superhero of folklore, literature, action movies and video games."</i> New York Times This <i>Cool Classics</i> edition is formatted, designed and proofed specifically for a more enjoyable Kindle reading experience. It also includes the Dokkodo, Miyamoto's 21 precepts for living, known as 'The Way I go by Myself'. It was composed as Musashi gave away his possessions in preparation for death, and was dedicated to his favorite disciple, Terao Magonojo, who took them to heart. It expresses a stringent, ascetic, and honest view of life.

30 review for The Book of Five Rings (Cool Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    五輪書 = Choyaku Gorin no Dho = A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy, Miyamoto Musashi The Book of Five Rings is a text on Kenjutsu and the martial arts in general, written by the Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi around 1645. Refer to the idea that there are different elements of battle, just as there are different physical elements in life, as described by Buddhism, Shinto, and other Eastern religions. The five books below are Musashi's descriptions of the exact methods or techniq 五輪書 = Choyaku Gorin no Dho = A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy, Miyamoto Musashi The Book of Five Rings is a text on Kenjutsu and the martial arts in general, written by the Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi around 1645. Refer to the idea that there are different elements of battle, just as there are different physical elements in life, as described by Buddhism, Shinto, and other Eastern religions. The five books below are Musashi's descriptions of the exact methods or techniques which are described by such elements. The Book of Earth chapter serves as an introduction, and metaphorically discusses martial arts, leadership, and training as building a house. The Book of Water chapter describes Musashi's style, Ni-ten ichi-ryu, or "Two Heavens, One Style". It describes some basic technique and fundamental principles. The Book of Fire chapter refers to the heat of battle, and discusses matters such as different types of timing. The Book of Wind chapter is something of a pun, since the Japanese character can mean both "wind" and "style" (e.g., of martial arts). It discusses what Musashi considers to be the failings of various contemporary schools of sword fighting. The Book of the Void chapter is a short epilogue, describing, in more esoteric terms, Musashi's probably Zen-influenced thoughts on consciousness and the correct mindset. عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «ک‍ت‍اب‌ پ‍ن‍ج‌ ح‍ل‍ق‍ه‌ ق‍درت‌: ه‍ن‍ر واق‍ع‍ی‌ م‍دی‍ری‍ت‌ ژاپ‍ن‍ی‌»؛ «م‍دی‍ری‍ت‌ ژاپ‍ن‍ی‌: ک‍ت‍اب‌ پ‍ن‍ج‌ ح‍ل‍ق‍ه‌ ق‍درت‌»؛ «کتاب پنج حلقه: کتابی کهن برای مدیریت بر خود و دیگران»؛ «کتاب پنج حلقه»؛ «کتاب پنج حلقه: طریقت جنگاوری سامورایی‌ها»؛ نویسنده: م‍ی‍ام‍وت‍و م‍وس‍اش‍ی‌؛ تاریخ خوانش روز هشتم ماه آوریل سال2007میلادی عنوان: ک‍ت‍اب‌ پ‍ن‍ج‌ ح‍ل‍ق‍ه‌ ق‍درت‌: ه‍ن‍ر واق‍ع‍ی‌ م‍دی‍ری‍ت‌ ژاپ‍ن‍ی‌؛ نویسنده: م‍ی‍ام‍وت‍و م‍وس‍اش‍ی‌؛ ت‍رج‍م‍ه‌ ک‍ام‍ران‌ پ‍روان‍ه‌؛ رش‍ت‌: ت‍ال‍ش‌، سال1375؛ در160ص؛ شابک9649146814؛ ع‍ن‍وان‌ روی‌ ج‍ل‍د: ه‍ن‍ر واق‍ع‍ی‌ م‍دی‍ری‍ت‌ ژاپ‍ن‍ی‌ ک‍ت‍اب‌ پ‍ن‍ج‌ ح‍ل‍ق‍ه‌ ق‍درت‌؛ موضوع: فنون قدیمی جنگ و شمشیربازی از نویسندگان ژاپنی؛ سده17م عنوان: م‍دی‍ری‍ت‌ ژاپ‍ن‍ی‌: ک‍ت‍اب‌ پ‍ن‍ج‌ ح‍ل‍ق‍ه‌ ق‍درت‌؛ ن‍وی‍س‍ن‍ده‌ م‍ی‍ام‍وت‍و م‍وس‍اش‍ی‌؛ م‍ت‍رج‍م‌: ک‍ام‍ران‌ پ‍روان‍ه‌؛ ت‍ه‍ران‌: اردی‍ب‍ه‍ش‍ت‌‏‫، سال1385؛ در160ص؛ شابک9641127658؛ چاپ دیگر سال1397؛ شابک9789641713609؛ عنوان: کتاب پنج حلقه: کتابی کهن برای مدیریت بر خود و دیگران؛ نویسنده: میاموتو موساشی؛ ترجمه از ژاپنی قدرت‌ الله ذاکری؛ ‏‫‏تهران‬‏‫‏: مثلث‬‏‫‏، سال1387؛ در116ص؛ شابک9789648496475؛ عنوان: کتاب پنج حلقه؛ نوشته: موساشی میاموتو؛ ترجمه انگلیسی ویکتور هاریس؛ برگردان و تالیف به فارسی مسعود حایری؛ تهران؛ شب‌قره‏‫ سال 1393؛ در100ص؛ مصور؛ شابک9786006670690؛ عنوان: کتاب پنج حلقه: طریقت جنگاوری سامورایی‌ها؛ نویسنده: میاموتو موساشی؛ ترجمه به انگلیسی: ویکتور هریس؛ ترجمه فارسی: حسین میرشکرایی؛ تهران، نشر ورا‏‫، سال1396؛ در152ص؛ شابک9786009823154؛ میاموتو موساشی (زادهٔ سال1584میلادی - درگذشتهٔ روز سیزدهم ماه ژوئن سال1645میلادی) که با نام‌های «شینمِن تاکِزو»، «میاموتو بنوسوکه» و «نیتن دوراکو (نام بودایی‌ ایشان)» نیز شناخته می‌شوند، رونین و سامورایی افسانه‌ ای «ژاپنی» بودند؛ ایشان برای مهارتش در شمشیرزنی و نیز پیروزی‌های چشمگیرش در نبردهای دونفره با شمشیر، شناخته شده‌ هستند؛ ایشان نخستین مبارزه‌ ی خویش را در سن سیزده سالگی انجام دادند، و پیروز شدند؛ «موساشی» بنیان‌گذار سبک شمشیرزنی «نیتن‌ریو (هیوهو نیتن ایچی‌ریو)» و نیز ...؛ میاموتو موساشی رهبری نظامی و موثر، با استراتژیهای بزرگ بودند؛ هنرهای ایشان از جمله «نقاشی»، «مجسمه سازی»، و «خطاطی»، در تاریخ «ژاپن» بیهمانند هستند؛ به دلیل مهارتی که در شمشیرزنی داشتند، در «ژاپن» از ایشان، به عنوان «قدیس شمشیر» یاد میکنند؛ کتاب «پنج حلقه»ی ایشان، که در باب راه و رسم جنگ آوری «سامورایی»ها است، هنوز هم در کشورهای گوناگون تدریس میشود؛ «موساشی» به طبقه ی «سامورایی» وابستگی داشت؛ خوانشگر میتواند، ریشه ها و مبادی طبقه ی «سامورایی» را، در «کوندی (پهلوانان برومند)» بیابد، که عمدتا در بردارنده ی پیاده نظام نیزده دار، بوده است؛ و به واسطه ی شکلگیری سلسله مراتب نظامی، با گردآوردن افسران تمام وقت؛ که از میان پسران جوان خانواده های بالادست، برگزیده میشدند، پدیدار گردید؛ این افسران بر اسب مینشستند، زره بر تن داشتند، و با کمان و شمشیر میجنگیدند؛ در سال782پس از میلاد؛ امپراتور «کامو» به ساختن «کیوتو» برخاستند، و در آن شهر، تالاری برای تمرین نظامی، با نام «بوتوکودن» بنیاد نهادند، که تا به امروز پایدار است؛ «بوتوکودن» به معنای «تالار فضیلتهای نبرد» است؛ سالیانی اندک، پس از آنکه امپراتور در کالبد نیروی نظامی خویش، جان بردمید، مردمان تندخوی «آنو»، که ساکنان بومی «ژاپن»، و در حفظ سکونتگاه بکر خویش، کامیاب بودند، تا جزایر شمالی «هوکایدو»، باز پس رانده شدند؛ و...؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/03/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 25/01/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adil

    I read a translation by Ashikaga Yoshiharu and Rosemary Brant. This book puzzled me in that at first glance I seem to have learned nothing else from it than how to hold a sword and attack and enemy, and obvious things like never let your enemy have a chance to recover. I'm definitely missing something, either due to the translation or my inability to read between the lines. I guess I'm supposed to reflect on it and come back to it until I "get it" if there's any wisdom in here. The book is full I read a translation by Ashikaga Yoshiharu and Rosemary Brant. This book puzzled me in that at first glance I seem to have learned nothing else from it than how to hold a sword and attack and enemy, and obvious things like never let your enemy have a chance to recover. I'm definitely missing something, either due to the translation or my inability to read between the lines. I guess I'm supposed to reflect on it and come back to it until I "get it" if there's any wisdom in here. The book is full of lines such as "research this well," "study this thoroughly," "I cannot elaborate on this in writing" and I'm not sure how these are supposed to evoke any insight in me into anything. Furthermore, the topics are elaborated on very little in this book. I have a suspicion that all those people who rated this book highly have filled in the gap with their imagination. The edition I read presents the book as "the cornerstone of Japanese Culture" and I have absolutely no idea how this book played any significant role in Japanese culture; it baffles me. But I guess, as the book says, "these things are not explainable in detail." I can say one positive thing about my experience reading the book: It left me using sword battle as an analogy for human relations and that might be useful somehow.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    This is one of those books I've been "meaning to read" for years. There's a lot that could be said here, more than can be included in a "review". How can one review a book that has stood the test of 5+ centuries? I think there is much of value here, I think there is much that can be learned and then misapplied by those not wise enough to understand application as well as process. The book assumes that the one reading will have already spent much time in learning and study and plans to move on wit This is one of those books I've been "meaning to read" for years. There's a lot that could be said here, more than can be included in a "review". How can one review a book that has stood the test of 5+ centuries? I think there is much of value here, I think there is much that can be learned and then misapplied by those not wise enough to understand application as well as process. The book assumes that the one reading will have already spent much time in learning and study and plans to move on with the learning. The book's 5 rings can in many ways be looked at as "headings" or "reminders". These are in many ways outlines of much larger subjects. (1000 days of practice equals 10,000 days or instruction.) There are subjects and views that on the surface seem to to be contradictory. Musashi speaks of "venerating" the gods and the Buddhas he then speaks of total self reliance especially not appealing to or depending on the "gods or Buddhas". The most commonly used phrase (in translation) is "this should be investigated thoroughly". An interesting book that does not claim to supply truth but to help in your finding what is the truth (Musashi would probably add) "for you". A book to think about and approach with consideration and hopefully wisdom.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I first read Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings many years ago, while I was a Ph.D. candidate in California. I was intrigued by how his nine principles seemd to apply to life in general and leaders in particular, in addition to his intended audience of swordsmen. While it is not as in depth as Sun Tzu's The Art of War, he certainly added to my understanding. His nine principles, from the translation I prefer, are as follows: 1. Do not think dishonestly 2. The Way is in training 3. Become acq I first read Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings many years ago, while I was a Ph.D. candidate in California. I was intrigued by how his nine principles seemd to apply to life in general and leaders in particular, in addition to his intended audience of swordsmen. While it is not as in depth as Sun Tzu's The Art of War, he certainly added to my understanding. His nine principles, from the translation I prefer, are as follows: 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 judgment and understanding of everything 7. Perceive those things which cannot be seen 8. Pay attention even to trifles 9. Do nothing which is of no use As a set of core principles, these are not a bad way to lead one's life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Study, consider, train, examine, observe. The list goes on. This book is a practical guide to life, whether you are in the military or a business person or just an average joe looking to get a handle on life. Musashi lays out in plain language an idea he calls 'The Way.' The purpose of this 'Way' is simple, to ignore all pomp, circumstance, distractions, grandiose displays of prowess and close with the enemy and kill them. Swiftly, without rancor, without a second thought. "Do nothing which is o Study, consider, train, examine, observe. The list goes on. This book is a practical guide to life, whether you are in the military or a business person or just an average joe looking to get a handle on life. Musashi lays out in plain language an idea he calls 'The Way.' The purpose of this 'Way' is simple, to ignore all pomp, circumstance, distractions, grandiose displays of prowess and close with the enemy and kill them. Swiftly, without rancor, without a second thought. "Do nothing which is of no use." Whether this enemy is a real live one, a competitor, or an obstacle/struggle within your own life, the point is to take control through practice, hard work, perseverance, study, and master that which opposes you through any means necessary. Those looking for free handouts need not apply; those looking for the Western romanticized (Therefore erroneous) view of Bushido need not apply. Musashi explicitly states that in a fight, there is no honor beyond victory. You do whatever you can to throw your opponent off balance, onto their weak hand, blind them, use every advantage you know to utterly remove them from the equation. If you can accept this, you'll never fear a thousand fights.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Florencia

    I do not know how I got here. I did not even know I had this book. But I am glad I read it. This book was written by Miyamoto Musashi, a Japanese swordsman that had his first duel when he was 13 years old. It is divided into five “rings” (earth, water, fire, wind, void) that describe strategies and principles of martial arts, with a touch of philosophy that kept me interested. Among all the tactics that can be used, he shared his insightful thoughts on several matters. Martial arts are not just a I do not know how I got here. I did not even know I had this book. But I am glad I read it. This book was written by Miyamoto Musashi, a Japanese swordsman that had his first duel when he was 13 years old. It is divided into five “rings” (earth, water, fire, wind, void) that describe strategies and principles of martial arts, with a touch of philosophy that kept me interested. Among all the tactics that can be used, he shared his insightful thoughts on several matters. Martial arts are not just about technique. There are some principles to follow; there is a clarity of mind to be reached. You have to be able to find a balance between a world of war and a world of peace. The last "ring", the Book of Void... what a way to finish a book. Outstanding. Nov 17, 13 * Also on my blog.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I can't believe I never read this before now, but damn, HAVING read it now, I also appreciate it more. Huh? Am I learning the way of the blade, wanting to defeat my foes from first principles and needing someone from many hundreds of years ago to tell me to EXPLORE THE PRACTICE DEEPLY? Yes? Practice it a LOT? No. I'm not picking up a blade, and I'm not reading this from the PoV of some modern businessman wanting to get one-up on my competition, but I sure as hell got a LOT out of this. You can say I can't believe I never read this before now, but damn, HAVING read it now, I also appreciate it more. Huh? Am I learning the way of the blade, wanting to defeat my foes from first principles and needing someone from many hundreds of years ago to tell me to EXPLORE THE PRACTICE DEEPLY? Yes? Practice it a LOT? No. I'm not picking up a blade, and I'm not reading this from the PoV of some modern businessman wanting to get one-up on my competition, but I sure as hell got a LOT out of this. You can say that it can be distilled down into a version of Buddhism, or you can say the essence is Fire, Wind, Water, and Stone, plus The Emptiness. But saying so doesn't explain a damn thing, nor does it teach anyone what is really beneath the words in this very clear text. It does, however, lend itself WONDERFULLY to metaphor. Analogy. I mean, of COURSE you're supposed to aim for the face. It always makes them flinch. Of course you're supposed to dominate the battlefield with your own timing, never losing momentum, and always face your opponents with courage. Pay attention to everything. Use everything. But above all, heed the path of the Emptiness. Stop assuming shit! Learn your lessons well, always be honest with yourself, and never stop facing -- absolutely everything. I think I'm going to buy this in a very nice edition and place it within my reach everywhere I go. It's that good. After all, minds ARE blades.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Scott

    The Original Bad Ass MoFo ... in a Zen kinda way. Strategy Tactics Bad Assedness Violence YES!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jokoloyo

    I have different expectation when l looked at the cover book. There was a modern-day white collar person mimicking ancient Japanese samurai pose. So, I have expectation there was some modern interpretation in business management based on Miyamoto Musashi's teachings. Then I found the book's content was basically translations of ancient text, without much interpretations into modern management style. That's why I rated it only 3 star. The philosophy value itself beyond my own judgment. I have different expectation when l looked at the cover book. There was a modern-day white collar person mimicking ancient Japanese samurai pose. So, I have expectation there was some modern interpretation in business management based on Miyamoto Musashi's teachings. Then I found the book's content was basically translations of ancient text, without much interpretations into modern management style. That's why I rated it only 3 star. The philosophy value itself beyond my own judgment.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    The classic book on strategy that transcends martial-arts. Highest recommendation.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    Despite Musashi's many admonitions to "investigate this thoroughly," I fear that I have not done so enough to truly understand or appreciate the profundity of The Book of Five Rings; however, it was interesting to read this work about swordsmanship and strategy and to think about the ways that it has been applied to business and perhaps other aspects of Japanese life. I'm not going to deny the fact that it was hard to see beyond the direct references to sword fighting and martial arts at times-- Despite Musashi's many admonitions to "investigate this thoroughly," I fear that I have not done so enough to truly understand or appreciate the profundity of The Book of Five Rings; however, it was interesting to read this work about swordsmanship and strategy and to think about the ways that it has been applied to business and perhaps other aspects of Japanese life. I'm not going to deny the fact that it was hard to see beyond the direct references to sword fighting and martial arts at times--fundamentally, that's what this book is about, although defeating one's opponent is a profoundly psychological and spiritual task as well for Musashi. But particularly in The Fire Chapter where he begins to delve into the art of defeating many foes, the application to the market was much easier to divine. The emphasis on initiative and rhythm and true observation are all very pertinent to many aspects of competition and negotiation. Still, I have a feeling I would need to read this book carefully a few more times in order to really grasp it. In that sense, it's different from Bushido The Soul of Japan, which is much easier to see as a guide to one's way of life. (Bushido The Soul of Japan was also written in English, which may aid its portability.) It was harder for me to jump from the literal battle strategy elements of The Book of Five Rings to larger themes. I'd recommend this to people interested in martial arts, the Japanese "way," Japanese history, "traditional" ideas of Japanese culture, and maybe business strategy. But those interested in the latter are going to have to wade through a lot of tall about stances and swords before you get your kernels of wisdom. This book was read for a session of the Nitobe Kokusai Juku.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ali Reda

    Swordsman Miyamoto Mausashi had written The Book of the Five Rings with a practical approach to swordsmanship, on how to use the sword, where to stand and use the sun or shadows. For him, the point of battle was not showmanship it was winning, That's why he never lost a duel. THE GROUND BOOK It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of the pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. The Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. In short, the Way of my school is the spirit Swordsman Miyamoto Mausashi had written The Book of the Five Rings with a practical approach to swordsmanship, on how to use the sword, where to stand and use the sun or shadows. For him, the point of battle was not showmanship it was winning, That's why he never lost a duel. THE GROUND BOOK It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of the pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. The Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. In short, the Way of my school is the spirit of winning, whatever the weapon and whatever its size. This is the practical result of strategy. This is the Way for men who want 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 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. THE WATER BOOK With water as the basis, the spirit becomes like water. Water adopts the shape of its receptacle, it is sometimes a trickle and sometimes a wild sea. Water has a clear blue color. Be neither insufficiently spirited nor over spirited. An elevated spirit is weak and a low spirit is weak. Do not let the enemy see your spirit. You should not have a favorite weapon. To become over-familiar with one weapon is as much a fault as not knowing it sufficiently well. You should not copy others, but use weapons which you can handily properly. Look at things from a high point of view. The commander must know natural rules, and the rules of the country, and the rules of houses. He should take into account the abilities and limitations of his men, circulating among them and asking nothing unreasonable. He should know their morale and spirit, and encourage them when necessary. You must cultivate your wisdom and spirit. Polish your wisdom: learn public justice, distinguish between good and evil, study the Ways of different arts one by one, so that you can understand the enemy's stratagems, his strength and resources, and come to appreciate how to apply strategy to beat ten thousand enemies. When you cannot be deceived by men you will have realized the wisdom of strategy. It is difficult to know yourself if you do not know others. THE FIRE BOOK If you are thoroughly conversant with strategy, you will recognize the enemy's intentions and thus have many opportunities to win. See through the enemy's spirit so that you grasp his strategy and perceive his quality and his strong and weak points to defeat him. This is because, if you attack quickly and thoughtlessly without knowing the enemy's spirit, your rhythm will become deranged and you will not be able to win. If you advance too slowly, you will not be able to take advantage of the enemy's disorder, the opportunity to win will escape, and you will not be able to finish the fight quickly. The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy's useful actions but allow his useless actions. It is bad to be led about by the enemy. You must always be able to lead the enemy about and make him obey your spirit. Attack in an unsuspecting manner, knowing his meter and modulation and the appropriate timing. Knowing the times means seeing right into things. You must force the enemy into inconvenient situations. Attack where his spirit is lax, throw him into confusion, irritate and terrify him. THE WIND BOOK Perception and sight are the two methods of seeing. Perception consists of concentrating strongly on the enemy's spirit, observing the condition of the battlefield, fixing the gaze strongly, seeing the progress of the fight and the changes of advantages. This is the sure way to win. THE EMPTINESS BOOK By Emptiness I mean that which has no beginning and no end. Attaining this principle means not attaining the principle. The Way of strategy is the Way of nature. When you appreciate the power of nature, knowing the rhythm of any situation, you will be able to hit the enemy naturally and strike naturally. All this is the Way of the Emptiness. There is no timing in the Emptiness. There is timing in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. You win battles with the timing in the Emptiness born of the timing of cunning by knowing the enemies' timing, and thus using a timing which the enemy does not expect. We shout during the fight to get into rhythm. When the enemy attacks and you also decide to attack, hit with your body, and hit with your spirit, and hit from the Emptiness with your hands, accelerating strongly. This is the No Design, No Conception cut. This is the most important method of hitting. In the Way of strategy as a warrior you must study fully other martial arts and not deviate even a little from the Way of the warrior. With your spirit settled, accumulate practice day by day, hour by hour. Polish the twofold spirit heart and mind, and sharpen the twofold gaze perception and sight. When your spirit is not in the least clouded and your self is free, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true Emptiness.

  13. 4 out of 5

    P.E.

    Here is an edition littered with relevant subtext on the times Miyamoto Musashi has been living, and on his legacy. This makes for an entertaining and highly rewarding read. This is leisure at its best. Complementary reading : 36 Stratagems: Secret Art of War Matching Soundtrack : Water Buddha - Zen Bamboo Relaxation Music ------------------ Une édition truffée de commentaires précieux sur le contexte du contemporain de Miyamoto Musashi et sur sa postérité. Une lecture tout à la fois renseignée et ex Here is an edition littered with relevant subtext on the times Miyamoto Musashi has been living, and on his legacy. This makes for an entertaining and highly rewarding read. This is leisure at its best. Complementary reading : 36 Stratagems: Secret Art of War Matching Soundtrack : Water Buddha - Zen Bamboo Relaxation Music ------------------ Une édition truffée de commentaires précieux sur le contexte du contemporain de Miyamoto Musashi et sur sa postérité. Une lecture tout à la fois renseignée et extrêmement divertissante. Le loisir dans ce qu'il offre de mieux ! Lecture complémentaire : Les 36 Stratagèmes : Manuel secret de l'art de la guerre Musique dans le ton : Water Buddha - Zen Bamboo Relaxation Music

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This book, written by a famous Japanese duelist, tells one of his relatives how to win with the sword. It is divided into five "Rings" based on five "Elements". He concentrates on Strategy and does not talk about the best guard to take or other technicalities. Many people find this book to be immoral as it espouses winning at all costs in a deadly pursuit. I regard it more as a-moral. Musashi simply never considers the question. He is simply putting down his concept of Strategy. Perhaps the mora This book, written by a famous Japanese duelist, tells one of his relatives how to win with the sword. It is divided into five "Rings" based on five "Elements". He concentrates on Strategy and does not talk about the best guard to take or other technicalities. Many people find this book to be immoral as it espouses winning at all costs in a deadly pursuit. I regard it more as a-moral. Musashi simply never considers the question. He is simply putting down his concept of Strategy. Perhaps the moral onus is on the reader of the book? Students of Zen would do well to read the book, particularly the final Ring - entitled The Void. Afterward the perceptive student would take up an individual sport - not necessarily fencing, tennis would do just as well - and give up trying to solve koans. After all, even the Masters say that the more you study Zen the further from enlightenment you get and there can be little doubt that Musashi was a master. This translation from the original Japanese also contains an insightful introduction.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vaishali

    Called the Go Rin No Sho, this treatise is eye-opening, though at times gruesome. One of the great joys of experiencing older texts is the sheer regality of the narration, so it's overall enjoyable. There are sections which are decidedly male and archaic ... like Musashi's insistence on overwhelming an enemy rather than befriending him. (Quite different from Funakoshi's precept of nonviolence in shotokan karate.) I've included here some striking quotes, and some lists of Musashi's principles. Quot Called the Go Rin No Sho, this treatise is eye-opening, though at times gruesome. One of the great joys of experiencing older texts is the sheer regality of the narration, so it's overall enjoyable. There are sections which are decidedly male and archaic ... like Musashi's insistence on overwhelming an enemy rather than befriending him. (Quite different from Funakoshi's precept of nonviolence in shotokan karate.) I've included here some striking quotes, and some lists of Musashi's principles. Quotes: -------------------------------------- “The way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.” “Studying the way of strategy is based on overcoming men.” “Immature strategy is the cause of grief.” “The teacher is as needle, the disciple is as thread.” “It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first.” “You must study hard.” “You should not have a favorite weapon. To be overfamiliar with one weapon is as much a fault as not knowing it sufficiently well.” “You should not copy others, but use weapons which you can handle properly. It is bad for commanders and troopers to have likes and dislikes. These are things you must learn thoroughly.” "There is timing in everything. All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this." "Develop a steady spirit." "The gaze should be large and broad. This is the two-fold gaze, perception and sight. Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things." "Generally, I dislike fixedness in both long swords and hands. Fixedness means a dead hand. Pliability is a living hand. You must bear this in mind." "Alternatively, advance with as strong a spirit as possible, and when you reach the enemy move with your feet a little quicker than normal, unsettling him and overwhelming him sharply." “Before you embark upon something - before you start - fix your intention on the 4 Oaths, and put selfishness behind you, and you cannot fail.” The 4 Oaths: 1. Never be late with respect to the way of the warrior. 2. Be useful to the lord. 3. Be respectful to your parents. 4. Get beyond love and grief; exist for the good of man. There are 4 ways in which men pass through life: 1. Gentlemen, who master various strategies 2. Farmers, who produce items from the change of the seasons 3. Artisans, who become proficient in tool use 4. Merchants, who live by taking profit Godai - 5 elements of universe 1. water 2. fire 3. wind 4. ground 5. void Godin - 5 wings of human body 1. head 2. left elbow 3. right elbow 4. left knee 5. right knee “The 9 Principles of The Way” ("It is important to start by setting these broad principles in your heart, and train in the Way of Strategy. If you do not look at things on a large scale it will be difficult for you to master strategy.") 1. Do not think dishonestly. 2. The Way is in training. 3. Become acquainted with every art. 4. Know the Ways of 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. "In strategy your spiritual bearing must not be any different from normal. Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. Even when your spirit is calm do not let your body relax, and when your body is relaxed do not let your spirit slacken. Do not let your spirit be influenced by your body, or your body be influenced by your spirit. Be neither insufficiently spirited nor over spirited. An elevated spirit is weak and a low spirit is weak. Do not let the enemy see your spirit." "Small people must be completely familiar with the spirit of large people, and large people must be familiar with the spirit of small people. Whatever your size, do not be misled by the reactions of your own body. With your spirit open and unconstricted, look at things from a high point of view. You must cultivate your wisdom and spirit. Polish your wisdom: learn public justice, distinguish between good and evil, study the Ways of different arts one by one. When you cannot be deceived by men you will have realized the wisdom of strategy."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vik

    This book actually has two translations by Thomas Cleary of two books from Japanese martial artists. My thoughts on both and a short comparison are below. The Book of Five Rings is a pretty good insight into a disciplined mind and professional samurai from 17th century Japan. A lot of it is practical advice and there is some spiritual Zen leaning in there too but I would not go as far to say it is required leadership reading material in the same way as The Art of War by Sun Tzu but no martial art This book actually has two translations by Thomas Cleary of two books from Japanese martial artists. My thoughts on both and a short comparison are below. The Book of Five Rings is a pretty good insight into a disciplined mind and professional samurai from 17th century Japan. A lot of it is practical advice and there is some spiritual Zen leaning in there too but I would not go as far to say it is required leadership reading material in the same way as The Art of War by Sun Tzu but no martial artist should be without this book. The second translation in the book is The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War by Yahyu Munenori is far more flowery and makes more sense if you have an understanding of buddhism otherwise the section on existance and non-existance may (or may not be ;-)) be tricky to grasp. In comparision the first book is plainly superior to the second in the manner in which it is written and executed. It's plain talkng and easy to grasp with none of the flowery language prevalent in the second.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I take online instructions in Wing Chun Kung Fu (https://wingchun.online) and participate in a group on Facebook. I had posted a quote I found from Miyamoto Musashi from a different Wing Chun site. Someone recommended this, The Book of Five Rings, by the author. I responded, “I’ve read The LORD of the Rings; does that count,” to which I found no response, most likely because a humorous response contrasts with the spirit of the work (I guess). The book, written in 1643, by the undefeated samurai I take online instructions in Wing Chun Kung Fu (https://wingchun.online) and participate in a group on Facebook. I had posted a quote I found from Miyamoto Musashi from a different Wing Chun site. Someone recommended this, The Book of Five Rings, by the author. I responded, “I’ve read The LORD of the Rings; does that count,” to which I found no response, most likely because a humorous response contrasts with the spirit of the work (I guess). The book, written in 1643, by the undefeated samurai, divides into five scrolls: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Emptiness. He goes into details about sword fighting, which I don’t study yet, but found his teachings inspirational in my studies, with practical advice and wisdom. I took away a few things from the reading. When you study a martial art, or anything for that matter (like writing), you should focus your mind into it so much that your mind in daily life becomes the way you do martial arts, and martial arts the way you go about daily life. I became more serious in my daily practice after this. I realized that the purpose could save my life, that the art becomes a mode of self-defense, for harming someone who intends to harm you, perhaps even to death. I now practice my “moves” and techniques imagining real people there. That’s not as good as being with a real person or a Wing Chun Dummy (Mook Jong, an advanced practice, with a form), but better than “playing” while watching the Matrix Trilogy again and again, and not getting my mind into the flow of the art. The author advises to focus on the peripheral, to see everything, and not to be distracted by one focus-point. When I’ve been out in questionable areas, I’ve remembered this, and have kept the panorama of my vision before me, to watch and be mindful of potential threats. He writes that when an enemy has a moment of shock or weakness, or stumbling, take them down, wail on them, don’t let up. This challenged me, provoking mercy in me, and helping me prepare in my heart for the real thing. If you fight, fight- finish it. Don’t hesitate because you may have a break of compassion in the heart. The feeling could cost your life. I learned that martial arts schools will add fancy spins and things that look great, but they do this to make the art marketable, and it has no practical use for the real thing. The “real thing” should be the aim. I’ve thought of that in my practice. When I “freestyle,” a form of “shadowboxing” but with kicks and random attacks against imagined enemy scenarios, I have a habit of dancing, and doing random fancy stuff that makes me feel inflated, like I know something “special.” I’m not blaming my Tae Kwon Do training by any means. I took that art in high school and didn’t take it seriously as I should have. To us (took it with my best friend), we wanted to look like the guys on the movies, even mimicking them, pulling our pants up like them, making our faces like they do at certain times, hopping like they did. The “real thing” narrows down to simplicity. Get the job done quickly. Survive. Be practical. Resist the urge to feel fancy or to inflate the ego. Get real. Musashi would say the martial arts come down to killing. That must be the focus – a serious matter.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Canon

    You Too Can Be a 17th Century Sword Master Earth | Water | Fire | Air | Heaven | Me Reading This: No, in reality, I appreciated the translator's frank comment in the introduction: "Because of its concision, the Gorin no sho [Book of Five Rings] is a hard text for contemporary Japanese people to understand. The misunderstandings can only be greater for Westerners, who might draw the impression from the apparent clarity of the text that they are understanding it when in fact the author's essential i You Too Can Be a 17th Century Sword Master Earth | Water | Fire | Air | Heaven | Me Reading This: No, in reality, I appreciated the translator's frank comment in the introduction: "Because of its concision, the Gorin no sho [Book of Five Rings] is a hard text for contemporary Japanese people to understand. The misunderstandings can only be greater for Westerners, who might draw the impression from the apparent clarity of the text that they are understanding it when in fact the author's essential ideas are eluding them." As I ranted in my review of the Analects, I hate when translators of abstruse or ancient texts leave contemporary readers to their own interpretive devices to understand or draw something valuable from the text. Thus relying on my ignorance, I learn nothing new or valuable. And so in my estimation, this is a very good edition because the translator does give a lot of helpful yet non-obtrusive commentary throughout. I've no idea about the quality of the translation itself, but I've read it's a good one. I found it very enjoyable to read. I have zero background in martial arts, nor do I anticipate overcoming my laziness to master the art of the sword. I'll sure as hell sit on my couch and watch Inagaki's Samurai trilogy, though. But perhaps I can use Musashi's strategies in my shit millennial life to destroy real world opponents, such as baristas who don't fill my black coffee to the top but instead leave two-thirds of it empty for cream I won't use, or people who doltishly meander in my way whenever I take my ass for a run.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aditi Jaiswal

    "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” - Bruce Lee. Mastery is far better than curiosity. But what and how to practice? For that you need a mentor, and reading this book will definitely not help you in any way! Unless you know how to read between the lines and you can find the right place to research more on the basic strategic insights! But either way you won't need this book! I couldn't appreciate it because I have "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” - Bruce Lee. Mastery is far better than curiosity. But what and how to practice? For that you need a mentor, and reading this book will definitely not help you in any way! Unless you know how to read between the lines and you can find the right place to research more on the basic strategic insights! But either way you won't need this book! I couldn't appreciate it because I have already watched too many movies on martial arts, where I learned a lot about the basic strategies to defeat an opponent that the wisdom of this book seemed obvious to me, considering that the author wanted us to research more on these universal strategies! I read it because Phil Knight ( the author of the Shoe dog) mentioned its name in his book since it helped him to survive the tough phase of his life. But to my surprise, I wasn't able to comprehend the depth and wisdom of *His Way*. So, like the author said, if you want to win a sword fight or defeat an opponent in any field. You have to fight with the spirit of "one cut". Though, it is difficult to attain if you do not learn the strategy well. But if you train well in the ways of this book, strategy will come from your heart and you will be able to win at will. But you must research on your own with the few principles mentioned in this book and then train yourself diligently. P.S. - *Perceiving the ability of my pupils, I teach the direct Way, remove the bad influence of other schools, and gradually introduce them to the true Way of the warrior.* This line reminds me of my experience with Indian Coaching system

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    A classic, which is about individual and tactical combat as well as spirit. It should be read in conjunction with The Art Of War. This book describes bushido, which is reflected in much manga/anime. A classic, which is about individual and tactical combat as well as spirit. It should be read in conjunction with The Art Of War. This book describes bushido, which is reflected in much manga/anime.

  21. 5 out of 5

    T.R. Preston

    Another Middle-school favourite of mine. Musashi was one of my many historic heroes. I've never read the manga 'Vagabond', though I hear it is about him (and amazing). I have to get around to that one day. Musashi was one of the world's greatest badasses. Who knows if some of his stories were simply embellished at the time; but where is the fun in questioning them? Besides, he wouldn't be able to write of his own detailed accounts if he wasn't a real master of swordsmanship. I buy it, if only be Another Middle-school favourite of mine. Musashi was one of my many historic heroes. I've never read the manga 'Vagabond', though I hear it is about him (and amazing). I have to get around to that one day. Musashi was one of the world's greatest badasses. Who knows if some of his stories were simply embellished at the time; but where is the fun in questioning them? Besides, he wouldn't be able to write of his own detailed accounts if he wasn't a real master of swordsmanship. I buy it, if only because I love a good icon story. Japanese history in general fascinates me to no end. They have such a truly deep and rich culture. japan might be the most interesting nation in the world. I think I could make that argument easily. I will never not be inspired by the Samurai way of life and the strict code they lived by. There is so much to admire about Japan's greatest heroes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kinga

    “Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.” I expected this novel to be similar to The Art of War by Sun Tzu (which I absolutely loved and I need to reread it again soon), but instead I found other truths. I quite liked how the Way was portrayed in five elements; somehow being the same and yet still differing in each of them. “It is difficult to know yourself if you do not know others.” I know that only as examples these attitudes and stances were des “Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.” I expected this novel to be similar to The Art of War by Sun Tzu (which I absolutely loved and I need to reread it again soon), but instead I found other truths. I quite liked how the Way was portrayed in five elements; somehow being the same and yet still differing in each of them. “It is difficult to know yourself if you do not know others.” I know that only as examples these attitudes and stances were described as man to man combats, but I would have appreciated a bit more description of large scale fights and strategies. However, I’m not going to argue with a samurai who lived about four hundred years ago. “This is the truth: when you sacrifice your life, you must make fullest use of your weaponry. It is false not to do so, and to die with a weapon yet undrawn.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Helena Hubert

    Ok so "It was amazing" is not exactly the correct reaction but it was entrancing. I read this because I was told Sister Sable is either based or borrows heavily from it. It is clear after reading that the author of Sister Sable has read A Book of Five Rings more than once and probably five stars thinks it's a-amen-mazing. But a lot of this you have to intuit because Miyamooto Mushashi was no poet and seemed to have more intuition for the sword than lucid understanding of it. But well worth readi Ok so "It was amazing" is not exactly the correct reaction but it was entrancing. I read this because I was told Sister Sable is either based or borrows heavily from it. It is clear after reading that the author of Sister Sable has read A Book of Five Rings more than once and probably five stars thinks it's a-amen-mazing. But a lot of this you have to intuit because Miyamooto Mushashi was no poet and seemed to have more intuition for the sword than lucid understanding of it. But well worth reading. A life lesson from Musashi: "The purpose of picking up a blade is to cut the enemy." And as Sister Sable adds, "Scaring them is discretionary."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cav

    "My name is Miyamoto Musashi. I have killed over sixty men in fights and duels. When I was sixty years of age I looked back upon my life and in a flash of wisdom, realized that all my victories were based on either great luck, an innate ability, or perhaps the fact that the methods of other schools were inadequate." It was hard for me to properly rate The Book of Five Rings. Sadly, there were a few sizeable impediments to my full enjoyment of this ancient text... Miyamoto Musashi, also known as Sh "My name is Miyamoto Musashi. I have killed over sixty men in fights and duels. When I was sixty years of age I looked back upon my life and in a flash of wisdom, realized that all my victories were based on either great luck, an innate ability, or perhaps the fact that the methods of other schools were inadequate." It was hard for me to properly rate The Book of Five Rings. Sadly, there were a few sizeable impediments to my full enjoyment of this ancient text... Miyamoto Musashi, also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer and rōnin. Miyamoto Musashi in his prime, wielding two bokken: This one is on the recommended reading list of Dr. Michael Gervais's Compete To Create "Finding Your Best" course, which I just finished. [As a side note; I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and would recommend it to anyone reading this review.] "If you wish to control others you must first control yourself." As I found when I was trying to decide between an audiobook and PDF version of this one - there are many, many different versions of this book. It was originally published in Japan, circa 1645, and titled 五輪書, (or Go Rin no Sho). Wikipedia notes: "There have been various translations made over the years, and it enjoys an audience considerably broader than only that of martial artists and people across East Asia." I found many of the concepts presented interesting, but sadly, I think quite a lot of the import and message of the original may have been lost in translation... The writing in the original text is broken into 5 chapters: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, & Void. Here is a brief summary, taken from a Quora page: 1) Earth: Your base ground in everything. Knowledge of art, how martial-arts is not just about fighting. But, an art of everything in life. That requires creativity. Linked to a carpenter master and his tools in perfect order. Daily cleaning and essence check 2) Water: Mind and body must become one through rigorous practice and both should be a little step higher than yesterday, today. Tomorrow a step higher than today. Be like a gourd in the stream, contouring both(mind and body) like it would down a chaotic current. 3)Fire: Through daily practice in meditation and duels. Develop a mindset of fire. By wielding two-swords and using a no-mind technique. Can one come to conclude this chapter. In a match, to the death, with one or many opponents. The outcome is determined by the amiable and fixed deviant person can bring survivability to oneself. Like a fire in a timber yard. Cut down all in a position of high-ground and or manipulation of their offense by the actions mimicking theirs. Set fire to your soul and to all through precise yet chaotic attacks. 4) Wind: Wind has no form and can't be held by anything. Like a wind from heaven, smite and contort around enemies like a thunder from the sky. Even God's must fear your means. By breathing from ones stomach can one achieve most power. Become the rhythm of the surroundings and slice like a leaf bound for its final destination. 5) Void: Knowing and mastering everything. One must let go of everything to truly become a master. Let's say you really like a video game coming out in a few weeks. You read strategy guides, visit forums, chat with other players, etc.. Having found out all the means before launch. When the game arrives, the excitement makes you lose sense of time and place and with the knowledge tou have, you spend countless hours until achievements. That is the way of the this chapter. By understanding situation,time, and place. Musashi met many(if not all) the masters of their arts of that time in the area. Most preferred honor over anything. Musashi had placed an emphasis on wining at all costs with honor attached. In void sense, you master everything and let go of everything in a confrontation. Thusly, rewarding in a win-win situation. I'm also going to include the book's description here, which I've taken from its Wikipedia page; mainly for my own future reference. I'll cover it with a spoiler, as it's fairly lengthy: (view spoiler)[The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin no Sho) is a text on kenjutsu and the martial arts in general, written by the Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi around 1645. There have been various translations made over the years, and it enjoys an audience considerably broader than only that of martial artists and people across East Asia: for instance, some foreign business leaders find its discussion of conflict and taking the advantage to be relevant to their work in a business context. The modern-day Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū employs it as a manual of technique and philosophy. Musashi establishes a "no-nonsense" theme throughout the text. For instance, he repeatedly remarks that technical flourishes are excessive, and contrasts worrying about such things with the principle that all technique is simply a method of cutting down one's opponent. He also continually makes the point that the understandings expressed in the book are important for combat on any scale, whether a one-on-one duel or a massive battle. Descriptions of principles are often followed by admonitions to "investigate this thoroughly" through practice rather than trying to learn them by merely reading. Musashi describes and advocates a two-sword fencing style (nitōjutsu): that is, wielding both katana and wakizashi, contrary to the more traditional method of wielding the katana two-handed. However, he only explicitly describes wielding two swords in a section on fighting against many adversaries. The stories of his many duels rarely refer to Musashi himself wielding two swords, although, since they are mostly oral traditions, their details may be inaccurate. Musashi states within the volume that one should train with a long sword in each hand, thereby training the body and improving one's ability to use two blades simultaneously. Although it is difficult to grasp it from the book, Go Rin No Sho, these books are actually the teachings which Musashi preached to his students in his own dōjō. Though ideas are taken from other sources, the text is predominantly seminal. The five "books" refer to the idea that there are different elements of battle, just as there are different physical elements in life, as described by Buddhism, Shinto, and other Eastern religions. The five books below are Musashi's descriptions of the exact methods or techniques which are described by such elements. The term "Ichi School" is referred to in the book, Go Rin No Sho. When referring to such books, it refers to "Niten No Ichi Ryu" or "Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu", which literally translates to, "Two Heavens, One School". Alternative translations include: "Two Swords, One Spirit", and "Two Swords, One Entity". The translation, "Two Swords, One Dragon" was thought to be a misinterpretation of the Kanji word Ryu.[citation needed] • The Book of Earth chapter serves as an introduction, and metaphorically discusses martial arts, leadership, and training as building a house. • The Book of Water chapter describes Musashi's style, Ni-ten ichi-ryu, or "Two Heavens, One Style". It describes some basic technique and fundamental principles. • The Book of Fire chapter refers to the heat of battle, and discusses matters such as different types of timing. • The Book of Wind chapter is something of a pun, since the Japanese character for "wind" and can also mean "style" (e.g., of martial arts). It discusses what Musashi considers to be the failings of various contemporary schools of sword fighting. • The Book of the Void chapter is a short epilogue, describing, in more esoteric terms, Musashi's (probably) Zen-influenced thoughts on consciousness and the correct mindset. (hide spoiler)] ************************ The Book of Five Rings is a book that pops up over and over again in many other titles I've read. It was only a matter of time before I got to it myself. I wish I could say that I enjoyed it more... Unfortunately, there have been a few hundred years, and a vastly fundamental language barrier between the original text, and that enjoyment. 3 stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emelia

    Written by the legendary swordsman Musashi Miyamoto, The Five Rings (c.1645) is more than just a manual on sword-fighting techniques: its Zen philosophy offers tactics and strategies as relevant to personal success today as they were to 17th-century samurai. The Five Rings speaks to every age about the essential roles of harmony and self-mastery in our lives. Miyamoto Musashi is known in Japan as a kensi, or a "sword saint". One who has perfected the art of the sword so completely that they also Written by the legendary swordsman Musashi Miyamoto, The Five Rings (c.1645) is more than just a manual on sword-fighting techniques: its Zen philosophy offers tactics and strategies as relevant to personal success today as they were to 17th-century samurai. The Five Rings speaks to every age about the essential roles of harmony and self-mastery in our lives. Miyamoto Musashi is known in Japan as a kensi, or a "sword saint". One who has perfected the art of the sword so completely that they also achieve spiritual enlightenment through it. Spiritual peace. A peace that comes with the way of Samurai - "one who serves". Miyamoto's teachings tell us of how we must not only serve the sword, but others, as well as the world around us. How we must serve Nature and become at peace with it, how we must fight for the preservation of Nature and not against it. The Five Rings is also filled with breathtaking illustrations which, by themselves, offer the reader not only a spiritual peace but a visual one as well. A visual journey that I found extraordinary. In addition to The Five Rings, this beautiful volume includes two additional short texts by Miyamoto: Thirty-Five Articles on Strategy and The Path Walked Alone and is a must read for anyone who is not only interested in martial arts, strategy, and swordsmanship, but those who seek inner peace and enlightenment.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Oh man this book is so cool dude I could totally be a samurai now I could totalltly chop your head off with a katana I definitely coul d bro don't push me hiiiiiiiya! Oh man this book is so cool dude I could totally be a samurai now I could totalltly chop your head off with a katana I definitely coul d bro don't push me hiiiiiiiya!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Yanique Gillana

    I am now a badass and I’m dropping everything to follow the way of the sword starting tomorrow!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I've always meant to go back and read another translation of Musashi's book. This one is, as you can tell by the title, geared towards martial artists, and this ties into the whole presentation. Perhaps I should give a little background: Musashi was a Japanese swordsman in the seventeenth century who fought in some ridiculous number of duels and won them all. He wrote a book of strategy called "The Book of the Five Rings" that is considered by many martial artists to be of a comparable worth wit I've always meant to go back and read another translation of Musashi's book. This one is, as you can tell by the title, geared towards martial artists, and this ties into the whole presentation. Perhaps I should give a little background: Musashi was a Japanese swordsman in the seventeenth century who fought in some ridiculous number of duels and won them all. He wrote a book of strategy called "The Book of the Five Rings" that is considered by many martial artists to be of a comparable worth with "The Art of War." So, Musashi was a martial fighter, but fought in a very different context than the modern martial arts: he fought in duels to the death, and fought with a sword. I've heard from multiple sources that the chance of surviving a single samurai duel was roughly 1 out of three. This is because a high number of duels resulted in both samurai killing each other. So, surviving a bunjillion duels and then dying from a disease in his 60's is quite a feat. What I liked about this was the practicality of the fighting philosophy. However, much of this knowledge is now intuitive to those who know anything about military tactics or martial arts: find high ground, be prepared for different types of terrains, etc. But, it gives one piece of advice that has helped me win (or sometimes just survive) in lots of sparring matches: always be on the offensive. It might sound counter-intuitive to someone who hasn't tried applying the philosophy; what if someone with a greater level of expertise is coming at you fast? But, this is actually the situation where this technique has served me the best. For a while, we sparred every friday night at a youth center in a little dojo ran by a second degree blackbelt, and most of the time he would join in the sparring rotation. He was a battering ram. He didn't know how to NOT move forward while fighting. I could never beat him, but I was the only person who could score points on him because he wasn't used to people moving forward to meet him. But, in martial arts philosophies like Aikido, the idea is to use your opponent's energy against them: redirect their force and use it to toss them away, or slam them down on the ground. Actual attacks are usually part of this kind of redirection. I think that the idea of being on the offense has more to do with space though, and doesn't necessarily mean you aren't parrying attacks. Even Aikido fighters can catch opponents by surprise more effectively when quickly moving toward them. And, in a case like my example above (where you really aren't as good as your opponent), surprising your opponent might be your only chance to win. Could also get you killed, though. But this advice has served me well. Most of the other strategies are good, but few are surprising. And, because it is modified to apply specifically to the martial arts, it can't be adapted all that well into non-combat aspects of life. For those interested in the martial arts, it is a very good read. For the rest of you, I'd give it a pass.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe Kraus

    I just read a 900-page epic on the life of Musashi, one highly colored by imagination and fantasy, so it seemed an interesting counterpoint to read something the man wrote himself. In the years after the stories that the epic considers, Musashi retired to contemplation and teaching, and this is the product of that. If I found Musashi the epic interestingly parallel to The Lord of the Rings, it’s a funny coincidence that this is also a book about rings. Here, of course, it’s a metaphor. Musashi ha I just read a 900-page epic on the life of Musashi, one highly colored by imagination and fantasy, so it seemed an interesting counterpoint to read something the man wrote himself. In the years after the stories that the epic considers, Musashi retired to contemplation and teaching, and this is the product of that. If I found Musashi the epic interestingly parallel to The Lord of the Rings, it’s a funny coincidence that this is also a book about rings. Here, of course, it’s a metaphor. Musashi has much to say about swordsmanship and battle strategy, and he breaks it down into a series of reflections on fighting as it connects to ground, water, fire, wind, and void. As a bottom line, though, it’s hard to make much sense of what he says. He talks most often in abstractions. For every concrete tidbit – force a man to circle to his left – there are a dozen vague ones that deal with catching him off balance or waiting for him to strike before you do. (And I am simplifying those; he says more and breaks down each tactic into several dimensions.) It can be frustrating that he regularly concludes one of his brief lessons with a directive: you must study this. The upshot of that is that he does not expect you to master anything through his book. Rather, he hopes that he can offer you guidance as you pursue the way of the sword yourself. In that, I find myself comparing it to Ignatius of Loyola’s Guide to the Spiritual Exercises, a book from about a century earlier but that seems to me to be dealing with some of the same challenges of the early Modern moment. Each man wants to encourage contemplation – “Discernment” in Loyola’s terminology – but he wants also to see it applied. Each offers a way through the seeming oxymoron that you can best confront the world if you look inside yourself for a kind of truth. (Loyola insists that truth has been placed their by divine will; Musashi seems to think it’s more of a zen truth, that nature has deep rhythms that you eventually intuit.) There’s not a whole lot you can get from either book simply by reading it. Instead, I think it’s better to think of each as a manual. You have to study from the books, not in them. I’m not prepared right now to drop everything and pursue the way of the sword, but I am glad to get a sense of the voice of this man who – despite his stature in the epic – was a real man with real questions and ambitions. (As a bonus, the edition I read features some of Musashi’s drawings and sword designs.) As much as he is a figure of legend, he did exist, and it’s striking to meet him in his own words.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patrick McCoy

    I have been won over by the convenience of ebooks, however, I expect that there will always be reasons to buy a book as an artifact. Case in point, is the beautiful Watkins Publishing version of Miyamoto Musashi's The Five Rings (2012) translated by David K. Groff. This wonderfully designed book is made from high quality materials and is adorned throughout by paintings, photographs, maps, scrolls, elaborate print designs including kanji, and includes intricate border designs on the pages through I have been won over by the convenience of ebooks, however, I expect that there will always be reasons to buy a book as an artifact. Case in point, is the beautiful Watkins Publishing version of Miyamoto Musashi's The Five Rings (2012) translated by David K. Groff. This wonderfully designed book is made from high quality materials and is adorned throughout by paintings, photographs, maps, scrolls, elaborate print designs including kanji, and includes intricate border designs on the pages throughout. Groff's informative introduction give important background knowledge in which to consider Musashi's philosophical task at hand and understand it in context of the times he lived through. I have not had a particular interest in martial arts or ancient Japanese history before. However, I must admit that I come to find interest in it through viewings of samurai films from the likes of Kurosawa, Kobayashi, Shinoda, and others. This volume will serve as a gateway into further study of samurai and Japanese history.

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