Miyamoto Musashi quote

Discussion in 'Koryu Corner' started by Nobufusa, Nov 3, 2020.

  1. Nobufusa

    Nobufusa Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2020
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    So, Miyamoto Musashi is often quoted as saying the following:

    "The truth isn't what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power, or live a lie"

    the only problem is, I can't find this statement anywhere in his book. Does anyone know the source for this commonly attributed quote to Musashi?
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,104
    Likes Received:
    980
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yeah.... the reason you can't find it in Musashi's works is that it's not in Musashi's works.

    There are any number of "Musashi quotes" that aren't... they are taken from various editions of translations (well.... mostly) of Musashi's works, such as initial commentaries by persons such as Kenji Tokitsu, author of "Musashi: His Life and Writings". In this case, we're talking about a quote taken from Stephen Kaufman's "version" of The Book of Five Rings (Gorin no Sho). Kaufman describes this as the "definitive" version, and constantly claims that it's the most lauded version around... except, of course, it's not. It's utter garbage.

    Look, the forum here has a strict no-fraud-busting policy, so I'm going to try to tread around using that particular word... but....

    Stephen Kaufman was a fairly untalented, unskilled, relatively low-grade karate practitioner in the 60's who invented his own system of karate, promoted himself to 10th Dan, named himself "Hanshi" (a shogo title that was originated by the Dai Nippon Butokukai, an organisation that helped promote and regulate modern Japanese martial arts that ended in 1946, and is now used by groups associated with the Nippon Budokan, such as the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei), and promoted himself as being "the only 10th Dan in America!"... which, of course, he was... because he gave the grade to himself. Hmm.

    His lack of skill didn't worry his ego, and has continued to teach, naming his school "Dojo no Hebi", meaning "School of the Snake".... except, because of his lack of any clue of Japanese, it doesn't. It's more along the lines of "snake of the dojo"... which is amusingly appropriate. He has taught his karate, iaido (which would be hysterical if it wasn't so dangerous and badly performed, and that people actually pay him to teach him that stuff). He has also written a number of books, including the above-mentioned version of the Gorin no Sho... which is touted as being "the only version geared towards martial artists", as well as being the "best translation" of the text. Except, of course... it's not.

    As we've established, Kaufman's grasp on Japanese is basically non-existent. His version of Gorin no Sho isn't a translation. It's a re-write of the book based on his complete failure to understand the text, lack of awareness of the context, inability to express the meanings, and overt delusions based in his woefully inadequate martial training. His writing of the text is his own fantasy, and has little bearing on the original text, which makes the above quote so ironic... it's is Kaufman living the lie as he refuses to accept reality or truth.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

    Joined:
    May 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,877
    Likes Received:
    1,338
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Well,,
    All that being said, I am curious
    Is there a decent translation in english
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,104
    Likes Received:
    980
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Of Gorin no Sho? Yeah....... although I don't think any of them are without problems entirely. Presently, I'm using the William Scott Wilson and Alexander Bennett translations more than a few others... Kenji Tokitsu is also quite a good take on it. I've heard good things about David Goff's translation (he trains a form of Niten Ichi Ryu), and the one offered by Kim Taylor (translated by a student of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu with Taylor-sensei adding commentary) is one of the best for practitioners of the school.

    The thing to remember is that it was never intended for mass audiences... the book was written for Terao Kyumanosuke, one of the three top students of Musashi near the end of his life, and was intended for Terao to read, then burn. Which he did, dutifully. He did, however, loan it out first, which led to a copy being made (the so-called Hosokawa copy), which forms the basis of most of the translations around now. But most importantly, it's a text that is written specifically for a student of Musashi's art, as a way to explain a number of tactical and philosophical aspects of the school and it's teachings... it's not a "general" approach to anything at all... in fact, it's quite specific. And if you're not training in the school, it's value is somewhat muted, as all you can do is imagine what you think it means, or try to interpret it based on incomplete knowledge of what's actually being discussed.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Nobufusa

    Nobufusa Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2020
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Thank you Chris for your informative response.123
     

Share This Page