“Make your fight stance your everyday stance; make your everyday stance your fight stance.”
“Study strategy over the years and achieve the spirit of the warrior. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.”
“If you wish to control others you must first control yourself”
“You can only fight the way you practice.”
“The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy’s cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him.”
“When you decide to attack, keep calm and dash in quickly, forestalling the enemy…attack with a feeling of constantly crushing the enemy, from first to last.”
The great sword saint of Japan was undefeated in 60 duels, all to the death, the first at age 13.
Author of The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin No Sho), a timeless book on strategy and philosophy.
The epitome of walking the walk.
There are many excellent stories of his life, including his own book (Five Rings), the classic novel, Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era, the three 1950s films starring Toshiro Mifune (Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto, Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple, and Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island), and several manga, including Vagabond.
The main thing I learned from Musashi (and the Hagakure) is the necessity of accepting death as a prerequisite to maintaining clarity in the midst of a life and death struggle. Can I do it in practice? This remains to be seen – but I think of it and work on it. I think of it as walking the razor’s edge, with destruction to the left and right and survival only forward on the slender thread of the blade.
In many ways, its the truth. While statistically, you will live to be 77, we live in a world ruled by hazard, with a thin veil between our normal world and chaos. I often think of the Germany of the early 1930s. They were completely modern (telephones, airplanes, etc) yet within a few years, they veered off into the abyss and if you were the wrong religion or sexual orientation or race, your whole world went veering off the tracks. People were butchered by the millions, shot in the streets, robbed of everything they had, raped ,experimented on.
One day it was civilization, and a few weeks later, they were in a completely different world with different rules.
And this sort of the thing happens in the world a lot more than you might think. We’ve been lucky in the US for the last forty years or so. You might say we haven’t had a war on our soil since the Civil War but regular guys got sent to WW II and Korea and Vietnam and for them, if they ended up on or behind the line. it was pretty much the same. Murder is OK. Raping and pillaging are going on. The rules are swept away.
I think of being a warrior as someone who can land on their feet (as much as its possible) in such a collapse of the ordinary structures of society (even if the lack is only local to that space or moment) and protect yourself and your loved ones.
Of course, one man cannot oppose a country (unless you’re in a movie) but you can do more and have a better chance if you (and your friends) are capable of violence and of the clear thinking under stress that training in violence produces.
But just playing in the shallow end isn’t going to do it; you’ve got to train seriously, with your very serious goals in mind.