The book of 5 rings

Discussion in 'Koryu Corner' started by kip42, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. kip42

    kip42 Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I decided to purchase the book of five rings. Whats the most current edition with the pictures? How did you guys like this book?
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,006
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Oh dear. The Gorin No Sho is a classic book on strategy from Musashi Miyamoto. Do not look for "the latest edition with the pictures", you're looking at entirely the wrong thing. The best idea is to look for the best translation, the best being Musashi: His Life and Writings by Kenji Tokitsu. It can be heady, so be prepared for that. And be prepared to not "get it" the first, oh, 50 times you read it. And honestly never, unless you are training in Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu.

    The book is fantastic, but from your posts I don't know how much you'll get out of it. Really, for at least the first year, probably two or three, just go to class, and follow what your instructor says. Enthusiasm is great, but you're really putting the horse before the cart still.
     
  3. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Messages:
    3,399
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Chris is spot on here. I have been traiing for 2 years and a bit now, and over the years I have had a number of eye opening moments about something as trivial as kamae. The thing is: I could tell you about it, and it would not make any sense to you because you have not practiced that kamae hundreds or throusands of times. And because of that, you would not have the context to put meaning to the words. Kamae is full of secrets that are visible to everyone. You just don't see them until you've done lots and lots of kihon.

    It is the same with the book of 5 rings. Pictures are definitely not the point. It is about the words, it's not a list of techniques. And much of the words only make sense in the context of HNIR.
     
  4. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    264
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Under an Oaktree
    I think you are refering to this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Illustrated-R...r_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291914584&sr=1-14#_

    Thomas Cleary is a great translator and it is a nice book. Very flashy.
    I am not to sure why you want one with pictures but I guess if you want one with pictures go with this one.

    I second Chris' comment on purchasing Kenji Tokitsu he really spent alot of time on it and provides more than just the five rings but Musashi's story and life as well.

    Doesn't mean Cleary's translation is bad just means Kenji's is a more detailed work.
    And as Chris pointed out it is not an easy work to digest.
     
  5. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,006
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Mr Cleary's is quite decent, but misses a lot of the nuance necessary to focus it as a martial document. Still, far better than the "businessmans edition" versions.....
     
  6. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    3,687
    Likes Received:
    83
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Queens, NY. Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Great book, every time I read it I find more I missed the last time. You can never really get the whole depth of the piece and pictures kinda seem a weird addition.
     
  7. Cirdan

    Cirdan Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    Messages:
    2,494
    Likes Received:
    437
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    My copy dosn`t have any pictures but can`t say I miss them...

    Indeed. Same with the Bubishi and the Art of War.
     
  8. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    264
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Under an Oaktree

    Better than Steve Kaufman :uhyeah:
     
  9. kegage

    kegage Green Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Hey guys,

    Glad to be back on martial talk.
    I have been training for over thirty years and Go Rin No Sho is the core of that training. Like the others there are new discoveries and realizations every time I read it, and put it into practice.
    I have a preference for two translations, the Victor Harris translation and the William Scott Wilson translation.
    The Victor Harris translation (Overland Press, 1974) seems to have been translated in a way to try and help the western mindset better understand what Musashi is trying to teach, and seems to fit better for those who are actually trying to learn combat. I will implore you to buy the book, but you can also find the complete text online at http://www.samurai.com/5rings/.
    The William Scott Wilson translation (Kodansha International Ltd. 2002) was translated from an actual copy of the original scroll that was given as a gift to a daimyo that was a friend of Musashi shortly after Musashi’s death. This is a literal translation. It is designed to be as close as possible to exactly what Musashi dictated to his student. Maybe it is because I have read, Go Rin No Sho so many times, but I find this translation the easiest to understand. Passages that I have had trouble understanding in the past immediately became clear to me.
    Also, if you want me to, I can send you an article I wrote, as a class handout, called “Understanding Musashi” for a martial training class I teach in a historical recreation organization I am in that does combat.
     
  10. kegage

    kegage Green Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Oh, and the only pictures I have seen in any Go Rin No So are the ones that exemplify Musashi as an consummate and wide ranging artisan.
     
  11. dbell

    dbell Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Ashland, KY
    First welcome back, and second, I'd love a copy, shihanbell@circularwindryu.com.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  12. kegage

    kegage Green Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Please click one of the Quick Reply icons in the posts above to activate Quick Reply.
     
  13. kegage

    kegage Green Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Well, that didn't work. Let's try that again.

    @dbell- I tried to send you the article, but I am not sure if it was actually sent. Please let me know.

    Thanks,

    Kevin
     
  14. kegage

    kegage Green Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Yay, I think it worked.

    Kevin
     
  15. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,006
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hi Kegage

    When you mention that the Gorin no Sho is the "core" of your training, are you a member, or have you had training in Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu?

    As for the handout, I would be interested in reading what you may say on Musashi as well. I'll PM you my email address. Thanks.
     
  16. dbell

    dbell Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Ashland, KY
    Hello Kevin,

    I received it and am about to open and read it. :) (Catch up here and other forums I have in queue first. ;) )

    THANKS!
     
  17. kegage

    kegage Green Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Chris,

    Unfortunately, no, I live in an area where there is no formal kenjutsu training. There is kendo, iaido, and several empty handed arts. Some will roll their eyes at this next statement, but I feel some background info is in order. I began my training in 1975 (I was 21 at the time) with the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), and I am still a proud member and participant. While the SCA’s main emphasis is medieval European they do not restrict anyone from any style they wish to fight and train as long as they adhere to the SCA’s safety regulations.
    One of the first things they told me to do as I started my training was to obtain a copy of Go Rin No Sho. I already had an affinity for the Japanese style, but no real knowledge about it. Reading and using Go Rin No Sho just pushed me over the edge. While, in the beginning, I did train in European styles, I also vigilantly pursued, researched, and trained, as well as I could, in the Japanese weapons styles of kenjutsu, naginata, and yari. Not an easy thing to do in the mid to late seventies. However, the resulting effect was that, in my own way, I became a purist. Go Rin No Sho became the bible for my fighting style. I completely stopped training in European styles, except on the occasions it was necessary to help a new fighter just getting started. I tried to garner legitimate information from wherever I could, books, interviews and training sessions with other kenjtsuka (yes, I consider myself one) in the SCA (some formally trained and some not), and other sources. Yes, I will admit to getting some information from some Kirosawa and other Japanese period films, but I never accepted anything at face value. I vetted all the information as well as I could. Mostly I would evaluate what I had learned using Go Rin No Sho as the benchmark and test. If it made sense there then I would give it further consideration.
    I did have occasional opportunities to train in kendo and aikido over the years, and have incorporated several techniques I learned there into my style, but I have not been able to continuously do so mainly due to financial and some physical considerations. As the internet grew I was increasingly able to access more and more information on the different styles I was practicing. While I did learn some new lessons, and I am not trying to sound conceded here, but more often than not I confirmed that I was on the right track and that my form, movement, cutting technique, and overall style were essentially correct. I continue to search out new information where I can, and I continue to train with, and teach, those who wish to train and learn.
    I know this probably much more of an answer than you needed, but I thought it was important for people to understand the perspective from which I am commenting, and how it is probably outside the norm from most who are posting on this forum.

    Thanks for reading it.

    Kevin
     
  18. Indagator

    Indagator Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18

    Do you have any footage of your kenjutsu that you would be wiling to share? Simply for others to observe as a comparative analysis..?
     
  19. kegage

    kegage Green Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    No there are no videos, but I am going to try and work on that. I believe I might need to do a bit of clarification. Chris, privately, and you, Indagator, have asked to see videos of “my style” of kenjutsu. I have been trying not to give the impression that the “kenjutsu” I am referring to is in any sense similar to the formal kenjutsu taught in Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu. It is learned and based almost totally on engaging in free form combat. I hate using a movie as a reference, but it is the best well known example I can think of. Think of the boken training scenes in The Last Samurai, except in armor, and that may give you an idea. There are non-combat drills and exercises designed to assist in learning, and developing, footwork, movement, cutting, and defense, but no katas in the traditionally accepted sense of the word. In our private correspondence, Chris correctly referred to my use of Gorin No Sho as more of a technical manual in guiding my training than its use as studying kenjutsu in the more traditional sense.
    Please do not get the idea that I, and the others that train with me, are picking up bokens and just willy nilly whacking at each other like I have seen in a bunch of videos. That is not at all the case. We are serious about our training. The weapons we use are made of rattan. We design and make them to emulate, as closely as possible, the length, weight, curve and balance of the actual weapons they are based on. We study, discuss, and practice our styles based on what we have learned from Gorin No Sho and other verified legitimate sources.
    Is our style of combat (kenjutsu, if you will) as pure and esthetically pleasing as many of the multiple person Katas I have seen done online? Not by a long-shot, but when you are dealing the unknowns of free form combat it’s not going to be.

    Kevin
    P.S. There are videos of SCAers fighting with katanas and no-dachis, but I wouldn’t be so insulting as to call it kenjutsu. More people than not want the look, but are not serious about the art. I’ll post the links if you want me to, but I am rather embarrassed by them from a kenjutsu point of view.
     
  20. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert 3rd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    310
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Truer words have likely never been spoken. When I "get it", I'll let y'all know. Um, don't hold your breath. :) You can't get HNIR from reading Go Rin No sho either. Remeber that you can't really understand the book without a knowledge of Buddhist Sutras.

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
best translation of the book of five rings
,

book of five rings best translation

,
book of five rings best version
,
discussion on the book of 5 rings
,

the book of five rings best translation

,
the book of five rings discussion
,
thorough and constant practice musashi
,

what is the best translation of the book of five rings