The book of five rings

I have a couple of translations. My personal favorite is: Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings, by Kenji Tokitsu. Tokitsu is that rare blend of genuine scholar and martial artist. In his presentation of the life of Musashi, he delves beneath the surface, placing the man in the context of his time. Tokitsu also challenges some long held, but poorly substantiated assumptions about Musashi, separating this fascinating historical figure from the myths that have grown around him. Definitely worth a look.

Not to mention that Tokitsu is also an accomplished swordsman and his commentary on Musashi's strategy is very well thought out. I must have read that book a dozen times, and every time I found something new.
 
Here's another book to add to your collection if you enjoy reading Miyamoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings


Hmm.... I have major reservations about that...
The author admits to having no Japanese ability, is working off two translations that, while some of the better ones out there, still have a number of interpretive issues with them, and is not schooled in any classical art or swordsmanship. The Gorin no Sho was written specifically as a transmission document within the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu itself, so pertains specifically to that... while you can come up with your own applications and interpretations of what is said, without the actual context of the school it's written about, you're not going to be accurate to the actual intended meaning of the tome. So, while there can be some potential value to some, I would caution against thinking it's the same as applying Musashi's actual teachings.
 
Hmm.... I have major reservations about that...
The author admits to having no Japanese ability, is working off two translations that, while some of the better ones out there, still have a number of interpretive issues with them, and is not schooled in any classical art or swordsmanship. The Gorin no Sho was written specifically as a transmission document within the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu itself, so pertains specifically to that... while you can come up with your own applications and interpretations of what is said, without the actual context of the school it's written about, you're not going to be accurate to the actual intended meaning of the tome. So, while there can be some potential value to some, I would caution against thinking it's the same as applying Musashi's actual teachings.
Do you think any translation is 100% accurate to the actual intended meaning of the tome?

The Book of Five Rings has been read by all kinds of martial artists and others who have never handled a sword in their life, let alone two. Sun Tzu's Art of War is another book which has been read by people from various professions and lifestyles. My library contains a number of editions of Musashi's book written and translated by all kinds of people. The fun in reading different interpretations comes from seeing how an individual takes Miyamoto Musashi's writings and applies them to their own lives.
 
Do you think any translation is 100% accurate to the actual intended meaning of the tome?

No. But we are working on it in-house...

The Book of Five Rings has been read by all kinds of martial artists and others who have never handled a sword in their life, let alone two. Sun Tzu's Art of War is another book which has been read by people from various professions and lifestyles. My library contains a number of editions of Musashi's book written and translated by all kinds of people. The fun in reading different interpretations comes from seeing how an individual takes the writings and applies them in their daily lives.

Yes, it has. But it remains an internal document of the school (it was only publicly released for the first time around 1909, for the record), and as such, offerings such as the linked above are limited at best, misleading in reality, and downright contributory to the lessening of genuine awareness and insight in the majority of cases.

As said, I don't doubt that some personal value can be found, but couching that in terms that imply it is a reflection of Musashi's actual teachings is... likely to be questionable, at best.
 
No. But we are working on it in-house...



Yes, it has. But it remains an internal document of the school (it was only publicly released for the first time around 1909, for the record), and as such, offerings such as the linked above are limited at best, misleading in reality, and downright contributory to the lessening of genuine awareness and insight in the majority of cases.

As said, I don't doubt that some personal value can be found, but couching that in terms that imply it is a reflection of Musashi's actual teachings is... likely to be questionable, at best.
When you say in-house, I'm guessing you're referring to some kind of ownership issue which validates a traditional approach. Miyamoto Musashi strikes me as more of an individual than a follower but perhaps I am incorrect in my understanding of the man.

Do you know why it was released in 1909?
 
As said, I don't doubt that some personal value can be found, but couching that in terms that imply it is a reflection of Musashi's actual teachings is... likely to be questionable, at best.
While several passages of the book are in allegorical terms based on specific sword/tactical concepts and teachings of his particular school (and thus largely undecipherable to us as we have no frame of reference), much of it illustrates broader ideas and principles (including some from Sun Tsu) that are understandable and useful to us in both small and large-scale applications. A carpenter being able to find a use for all kinds of wood being an example.

As one leaves the Fire book and goes into the Void, Musashi's longsword cuts in broader strokes, Five Rings going beyond the sword-specific tactical and into a more general view of life. I believe his intentions for this book went beyond combat. Although familiarity with TMA combat enhances ones understanding of these non-combat lessons.

I have seen some books that attempt to use Musashi, Sun Tsu and even Atilla the Hun as templates for success in everyday modern life, and these have been largely deserving of your criticism that I've quoted. The main reason IMO is that the authors had no real MA experience and understanding (and thus no base of reference) so many of their interpretations were invalid or given inappropriate spin, the works just being commercial pandering to the general public and as you say, lack "genuine awareness and insight" and not accurately representing Musashi's work. So, we agree on this main point.

My conclusion is that by sticking to the stuff an educated reader can understand and discern, Musashi's book has applications and lessons we can use in a variety of ways and still stay true to his intent - I think to a greater extent than your post suggests. In any event, Go Rin no Sho is a fascinating work worthy of respect.
 
When you say in-house, I'm guessing you're referring to some kind of ownership issue which validates a traditional approach.

No, I mean in-house. For the ryu. By the ryu.

Miyamoto Musashi strikes me as more of an individual than a follower but perhaps I am incorrect in my understanding of the man.

Most people are incorrect in their understanding of Musashi, yeah.

He was a teacher. He was an artist in a number of manners as well, but, in this context, the important thing is he was a teacher. And the document is a teaching document (a form of transmission specific to the school he founded).

Do you know why it was released in 1909?

That's the earliest publicly available publication in Japan... why then? No idea. It did help a resurgence of interest in Musashi, though, which led, in ways, to the Eiji Yoshikawa novel "Musashi", which also helped popularise him again, but is responsible for a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the person that Musashi was.

While several passages of the book are in allegorical terms based on specific sword/tactical concepts and teachings of his particular school (and thus largely undecipherable to us as we have no frame of reference), much of it illustrates broader ideas and principles (including some from Sun Tsu) that are understandable and useful to us in both small and large-scale applications. A carpenter being able to find a use for all kinds of wood being an example.

"Several"?

Look, again, people can find a range of different valuable lessons and ideas in the book, but, again, without the context of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, and an understanding of the mentality of the ryu itself, such things are just not accessible in what Musashi was getting at. To take your example of a carpenter "finding use for all kinds of wood", that's from the introduction in the Chi no Maki, and the point there is in comparing the roles of the general to that of the head carpenter, in assessing all manner of factors. This is, more than anything else, job advice for Terao Kyumanosuke for whom the Gorin no Sho was written. The specific things to be considered are culturally dependent on the contexts he's discussing... while this can transfer across, it's also a part of the mind-set and tactical through process (strategy - hyoho) of the school, and something that is aimed at informing a wider view than just what's in front of you in the moment.

As one leaves the Fire book and goes into the Void, Musashi's longsword cuts in broader strokes, Five Rings going beyond the sword-specific tactical and into a more general view of life.

In the Ku no Maki, he is discussing a manner in which to ensure that you are still correctly following the way of the warrior as he lays out in Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu and the rest of the book. It is not general, in fact, it speaks against generality in terms of views on life, realistically. So... that's a no on that one.

I believe his intentions for this book went beyond combat.

His intentions with the book were for it to act as a document of transmission to one of his top students (and successor) to Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, Terao Kyumanosuke. It was dedicated to him at the end of each section, and was given with the instruction that it be burned once read and understood. It is ENTIRELY concerned and dealing with his school of swordsmanship and hyoho.

Although familiarity with TMA combat enhances ones understanding of these non-combat lessons.

None of it is non-combat lessons, in the schools' view. "Let your everyday walk be the same as your combat walk. Your everyday mind the same as your mind in combat." "Practice martial arts (Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu specifically) in a way that it is useful in all things, and at all times". Everything is done with a combat-ready mind and body, with an awareness and psyche thinking and moving in hyoho at all times.

That's the point. Without Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, you're guessing. And, typically, guessing wrong.

I have seen some books that attempt to use Musashi, Sun Tsu and even Atilla the Hun as templates for success in everyday modern life, and these have been largely deserving of your criticism that I've quoted. The main reason IMO is that the authors had no real MA experience and understanding (and thus no base of reference) so many of their interpretations were invalid or given inappropriate spin, the works just being commercial pandering to the general public and as you say, lack "genuine awareness and insight" and not accurately representing Musashi's work. So, we agree on this main point.

The official stance of the school is that we are happy people find their own value, but are a bit bemused by people thinking they know what is meant. The only ones out there with any real insight into the school are the edition put out by Kim Taylor, which is not a mass-published copy, and the one by David K Groff, who has studied a different line of HNIR to the Seito (mainline). All others are lacking... and even those are not considered official.

My conclusion is that by sticking to the stuff an educated reader can understand and discern, Musashi's book has applications and lessons we can use in a variety of ways and still stay true to his intent - I think to a greater extent than your post suggests.

No.

Let's be very clear here... Kenji Tokitsu is an experienced kendoka. Alex Bennett is a kendoka, Iaidoka, jukendoka, and practitioner of Tendo Ryu naginata (Koryu). Their translations are very good... but also flawed and inaccurate in a number of ways... words and phrases added that aren't in the original Japanese that alter the meaning, sometimes inverting it, based on their perspective and frame of reference... which, not being Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, is limited, despite the similarities and supposed links.

In any event, Go Rin no Sho is a fascinating work worthy of respect.

True.
 
No, I mean in-house. For the ryu. By the ryu.



Most people are incorrect in their understanding of Musashi, yeah.

He was a teacher. He was an artist in a number of manners as well, but, in this context, the important thing is he was a teacher. And the document is a teaching document (a form of transmission specific to the school he founded).



That's the earliest publicly available publication in Japan... why then? No idea. It did help a resurgence of interest in Musashi, though, which led, in ways, to the Eiji Yoshikawa novel "Musashi", which also helped popularise him again, but is responsible for a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the person that Musashi was.



"Several"?

Look, again, people can find a range of different valuable lessons and ideas in the book, but, again, without the context of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, and an understanding of the mentality of the ryu itself, such things are just not accessible in what Musashi was getting at. To take your example of a carpenter "finding use for all kinds of wood", that's from the introduction in the Chi no Maki, and the point there is in comparing the roles of the general to that of the head carpenter, in assessing all manner of factors. This is, more than anything else, job advice for Terao Kyumanosuke for whom the Gorin no Sho was written. The specific things to be considered are culturally dependent on the contexts he's discussing... while this can transfer across, it's also a part of the mind-set and tactical through process (strategy - hyoho) of the school, and something that is aimed at informing a wider view than just what's in front of you in the moment.



In the Ku no Maki, he is discussing a manner in which to ensure that you are still correctly following the way of the warrior as he lays out in Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu and the rest of the book. It is not general, in fact, it speaks against generality in terms of views on life, realistically. So... that's a no on that one.



His intentions with the book were for it to act as a document of transmission to one of his top students (and successor) to Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, Terao Kyumanosuke. It was dedicated to him at the end of each section, and was given with the instruction that it be burned once read and understood. It is ENTIRELY concerned and dealing with his school of swordsmanship and hyoho.



None of it is non-combat lessons, in the schools' view. "Let your everyday walk be the same as your combat walk. Your everyday mind the same as your mind in combat." "Practice martial arts (Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu specifically) in a way that it is useful in all things, and at all times". Everything is done with a combat-ready mind and body, with an awareness and psyche thinking and moving in hyoho at all times.

That's the point. Without Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, you're guessing. And, typically, guessing wrong.



The official stance of the school is that we are happy people find their own value, but are a bit bemused by people thinking they know what is meant. The only ones out there with any real insight into the school are the edition put out by Kim Taylor, which is not a mass-published copy, and the one by David K Groff, who has studied a different line of HNIR to the Seito (mainline). All others are lacking... and even those are not considered official.



No.

Let's be very clear here... Kenji Tokitsu is an experienced kendoka. Alex Bennett is a kendoka, Iaidoka, jukendoka, and practitioner of Tendo Ryu naginata (Koryu). Their translations are very good... but also flawed and inaccurate in a number of ways... words and phrases added that aren't in the original Japanese that alter the meaning, sometimes inverting it, based on their perspective and frame of reference... which, not being Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, is limited, despite the similarities and supposed links.



True.
Thank you for sharing this perspective on the topic. It is clear you are very passionate about this school and the life and writings of Miyamoto Musashi. In a previous posting you mentioned we are working on this in-house, so I am assuming you are an active part of this project in some way, shape or form. It is obviously very important to you to take the writings literally and that is fine, but not everyone will have the same perspective as yourself and the ryu. You say the book was released for public consumption in 1909 which means all kinds of folk will read it and as a result there will be many interpretations. Each reader will draw their own conclusion based on their particular lifestyle and experiences, all of which are equally valid; this is just human nature.... personally, I have no interest in sword fighting or pretending to be a Japanese warrior of old and as a result I am 100% happy to continue reading and enjoying all the varied translations and interpretations of Musashi's book. Once again, many thanks for sharing your viewpoints on the book
 
"Several"?
:D
His intentions with the book were for it to act as a document of transmission to one of his top students....It is ENTIRELY concerned and dealing with his school of swordsmanship and hyoho.
There is no doubt of the main point of the work - It is focused on the subject as you stated. But the "ENTIRELY' is something I would uncapitalize or even put in parenthesis. The rest of this post deals with that. Consider the following excerpts you posted (I hope I provided enough context in quoting them).
the point there is in comparing the roles of the general to that of the head carpenter, in assessing all manner of factors

while this can transfer across, it's also a part of the mind-set and tactical through process (strategy - hyoho) of the school, and something that is aimed at informing a wider view than just what's in front of you in the moment.

"Let your everyday walk be the same as your combat walk. Your everyday mind the same as your mind in combat." "Practice martial arts (Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu specifically) in a way that it is useful in all things, and at all times".
While all the above are centered on combat, the wording and examples Musashi uses seem to indicate some relationship, or at least a comparable similarity, between combat and life in general; that hyoho can be "useful in all things..." Did he mean only combat things, or all things? Using strategy and combat attitude in combat is so obvious it doesn't even need to be pointed out, especially to a budding warrior. So, I think it likely "all" means all things.

If combat should be approached with the same attitude as everyday life, cannot everyday life be approached, or at least benefit, from combat principles? It is inescapable that combat principles can be effectively applied to things other than combat such as business, sports and social interaction.

Again, while not the focus or main intent of the book, such things can be extrapolated or at least seen as corollaries to the concepts he was writing about. The duality of such concepts that are the subject of our discussion I think did not escape him. It is fitting and non-contradictory that much of Go Rin no Sho can be used in a wider sense. I suspect Musashi would agree.
 
Thank you for sharing this perspective on the topic.

No problem.

It is clear you are very passionate about this school and the life and writings of Miyamoto Musashi.

Well... see my signature.

In a previous posting you mentioned we are working on this in-house, so I am assuming you are an active part of this project in some way, shape or form.

It is a project being done within the school. But it is not likely to be for the public.

It is obviously very important to you to take the writings literally and that is fine, but not everyone will have the same perspective as yourself and the ryu.

I take the writings for what they are, not what someone else imagines them to be. And, again, it is an internal transmission document of the ryu... all other perspectives are, frankly, meaningless.

You say the book was released for public consumption in 1909 which means all kinds of folk will read it and as a result there will be many interpretations. Each reader will draw their own conclusion based on their particular lifestyle and experiences, all of which are equally valid; this is just human nature....

It was first published to a mass audience in 1909, yes. But that does not make it "equally valid" for everyone to come up with their own interpretation and meanings for the text. It means that there are informed interpretations, and uninformed ones. They are not equal.

personally, I have no interest in sword fighting or pretending to be a Japanese warrior of old and as a result I am 100% happy to continue reading and enjoying all the varied translations and interpretations of Musashi's book. Once again, many thanks for sharing your viewpoints on the book

And, again, you can. But understand that you will never understand it without being a member of the school... you can come up with your own understanding, but it will be inaccurate and flawed. And this line of commentary is because you recommended another, just as uninformed and inaccurate, book to act as an accompaniment for people who have read the Gorin no Sho, and I was pointing out that it's basis for credibility was not great.

:D

There is no doubt of the main point of the work - It is focused on the subject as you stated. But the "ENTIRELY' is something I would uncapitalize or even put in parenthesis. The rest of this post deals with that. Consider the following excerpts you posted (I hope I provided enough context in quoting them).

No, it is entirely concerned with his school and teachings. There is nothing else in there. If anything, "entirely" should be capitalised, in bold, italics, and underlined. There really isn't an argument against this, by the way, anymore than there can be an argument against the Bible being a religious text entirely concerned with Christianity.

While all the above are centered on combat, the wording and examples Musashi uses seem to indicate some relationship, or at least a comparable similarity, between combat and life in general; that hyoho can be "useful in all things..." Did he mean only combat things, or all things? Using strategy and combat attitude in combat is so obvious it doesn't even need to be pointed out, especially to a budding warrior. So, I think it likely "all" means all things.

When Musashi speaks of "hyoho", he is speaking specifically of his expression and Way of studying and training in the martial methods and thought concepts of his Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu. This is why we have the word "Hyoho" at the beginning of our name today. He is saying to approach all things with the attitude and mind of the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu in such a way that the school informs how to act in all situations. The text is ENTIRELY concerned with that... examples are made, but only to get across certain ideas contained within the school and its teachings.

If combat should be approached with the same attitude as everyday life, cannot everyday life be approached, or at least benefit, from combat principles? It is inescapable that combat principles can be effectively applied to things other than combat such as business, sports and social interaction.

You have that backwards. Musashi is specifically saying that you should approach all aspects of your life in the manner of combative thinking as found within Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu. We are not talking about generic "combat principles"... we're talking specifically about the combative principles and teachings of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu. Not karate, not anything else.

To be clear on this, each different school will have a range of different ideal states of mental bearing, different tactical concepts and thoughts, different ideologies when it comes to engaging with an opposing force, and different outlooks on context and application. The methods and thinking of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu do not match or agree with those of Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu, nor with Muso Shinden Ryu, nor with Shindo Muso Ryu, nor with Kukishin Ryu, nor with Ono-ha Itto Ryu, nor with Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, nor with anything other than Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu. As a result, the book, being a transmission text of the school, is ENTIRELY concerned with Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, and nothing else.

Again, while not the focus or main intent of the book, such things can be extrapolated or at least seen as corollaries to the concepts he was writing about.

Only by moving away from what is actually said and written. Which is my point.

The duality of such concepts that are the subject of our discussion I think did not escape him. It is fitting and non-contradictory that much of Go Rin no Sho can be used in a wider sense. I suspect Musashi would agree.

Based on reading inaccurate translations where people have made the same mistaken assumption. In other words, no, he wouldn't. He would say such a thing is "not the True Way", is "moving from the True Path", and so on. He spends quite a fair bit railing against the ideas espoused by other schools, talking about his criticisms of their approaches, and how the true way of hyoho had been lost and watered down, how people were not training or understanding properly anymore. Anything outside of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu was not considered the correct Way... so taking things outside of that to apply the text without that context is to already start outside of the book.
 
It is a project being done within the school. But it is not likely to be for the public.
Too bad. An accurate translation by one intimately familiar with the language, swordsmanship and Niten Ichi Ryu in particular would be a valuable addition to the field. Will the students read it then have to burn it? Good luck with the project!
all other perspectives are, frankly, meaningless.
I understand your interpretation and perspective being wholly within the very strict confines of Niten Ichi Ryu. This, in itself, from a pure academic standpoint, cannot be criticized. However, not being a student of this ryu, is the book meaningless for me other than learning a tiny bit about that style? Are there no direct lessons or concepts of that style I can use or appreciate even though it was not written for me? It may be that Musashi would have found my reading his book an intrusion and my finding some principles he espoused useful to me delusional. I learned that "chopping " is not the same as "cutting." This and other concepts and strategies helped in my iaido as well as other areas. These facts may be meaningless to Musashi as he didn't give a crap about me, but his book had meaning for me.
No, it is entirely concerned with his school and teachings. There is nothing else in there. If anything, "entirely" should be capitalised, in bold, italics, and underlined. There really isn't an argument against this,
and...
The text is ENTIRELY concerned with that..
and...
we're talking specifically about the combative principles and teachings of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu. Not karate, not anything else.
and...
being a transmission text of the school, is ENTIRELY concerned with Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, and nothing else.
If I understand you correctly, the book is ENTIRELY concerned with his school of swordsmanship, right?
He would say such a thing is "not the True Way", is "moving from the True Path", and so on. He spends quite a fair bit railing against the ideas espoused by other schools
and...
Anything outside of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu was not considered the correct Way.
Rather chauvinistic in his views of other styles. He probably would not be well received on this forum. Then again, I've never read anything about him being a gentle and humble man. But he walked the walk.
 
Too bad. An accurate translation by one intimately familiar with the language, swordsmanship and Niten Ichi Ryu in particular would be a valuable addition to the field.

It is an INTERNAL DOCUMENT OF THE RYU. So... yeah, kept in house. If you want to understand it, seek us out and start studying the school. That, simply, is the only way.

Will the students read it then have to burn it? Good luck with the project!

The dissemination is not yet decided (perhaps only shibu-cho and dojo-cho will have access... maybe more), so likely no, ha... and thank you.

I understand your interpretation and perspective being wholly within the very strict confines of Niten Ichi Ryu. This, in itself, from a pure academic standpoint, cannot be criticized.

Thing is, it's not a "purely academic" or not standpoint... it's a simple statement of fact. Nor is it an "interpretation" or "perspective". It's a statement of fact. This is not a matter of having an opinion as to what the book is concerned with, it's a matter of knowing what the book is concerned with.

However, not being a student of this ryu, is the book meaningless for me other than learning a tiny bit about that style?

From the perspective of the ryu, the book is meaningless to anyone outside of the ryu. You will learn pretty much nothing "about" the school and system, as the book si more about elucidating aspects that should be already present in your training and study, not so much teaching about the school. Again, this is a transmission document to his top student and successor, explaining and highlighting a number of the most important aspects and principles regarding martial study within the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu to a person who had been training directly under Musashi for years. It's not a beginners guide.

Are there no direct lessons or concepts of that style I can use or appreciate even though it was not written for me?

Not in their intended meaning, no. You simply don't know the context, which is a specific school of combative ideology. Other schools have differing views, so are not transferable (although some can have some cross-over, the application of such is not guaranteed, and can be haphazard at best.

It may be that Musashi would have found my reading his book an intrusion and my finding some principles he espoused useful to me delusional.

It may be that he would be somewhat irate at you holding a transmission document you haven't earned... that could result in any kind of reaction from complete dismissal to a much more overt action...

I learned that "chopping " is not the same as "cutting."

Did you? Where did you get that from? How did you understand that distinction?

Reason I ask is that I can't remember anything there that I would have recognised as that distinction... it's a more beginner concept for someone who hasn't used a sword before (hacking being arm-driven and impact-based, cutting being, in the case of a Japanese sword, a slicing action, and this idea of basic mechanics is not covered in the Gorin no Sho, but would be one of the first things to try to get across to a new swordsman... not that such a person was typical of the students of the day). Instead, he does discuss what most translators describe as "hitting" and "striking" as distinct from each other... which has nothing at all to do with "hacking versus cutting"...

This and other concepts and strategies helped in my iaido as well as other areas.

Okay, great... but it's based on a misunderstanding of the text... so you know.

These facts may be meaningless to Musashi as he didn't give a crap about me, but his book had meaning for me.

Well, it's more that it would be meaningless as you haven't actually gotten his lesson.

and...

and...

and...

If I understand you correctly, the book is ENTIRELY concerned with his school of swordsmanship, right?

Yes, it is.

and...

Rather chauvinistic in his views of other styles. He probably would not be well received on this forum. Then again, I've never read anything about him being a gentle and humble man. But he walked the walk.

I gotta ask... have you... actually read the book? I mean... he dedicates an entire book (The Wind Book) to criticising and commenting on what he thinks other schools are doing incorrectly... much of the Earth book is him criticising the marketing and commercialisation of martial arts... criticising that many who claim to be studying the way of the warrior really aren't... that they don't have any kind of real appreciation for what it actually means... he would fit in here as well as I do. Statements would be made in absolutes, as he would be confident of his understanding and awareness. And wouldn't suffer ignorance where it can be solved by people listening.
 
I would go with the Tokitsu translation, since he is also highly ranked in kendo, and a native Japanese speaker, I would think that would give him the best perspective.

but to me neither statement makes a whole lot of sense LOL, so much of the 5 rings is so symbolic and esoteric...
News to me. I though he did karate and Chinese arts. He did ask to interview and visit my Soke before he wrote the book. His main history mentor worked in Saga Prefectural hospital not 30 meters away from my office. I taught two of his student who turned up for a Paris seminar. Both built like "brick shithouse". One was so heavy handed he snapped the bokuto! The publisher did send me Tokitsu's book to review. I have read nearly all the translations since Victor Harris (British Museum) gave me his back in 1974. I like the Tokitsu book. But I would have to go with the copy of someone that has actually practiced the ryu for 34 years. After all it is basically a manual for us. That would be Kim Taylor Sensei's book. Maybe lesser known as it's in PDF form.
 
I have read nearly all the translations since Victor Harris (British Museum) gave me his back in 1974.
43A98D0D-6367-462D-AE64-9C18BF127C8D.jpeg

Victor was my Kendo dojos president and we had many a deep conversation over a beer or two!
 
View attachment 30962
Victor was my Kendo dojos president and we had many a deep conversation over a beer or two!

View attachment 30962
Victor was my Kendo dojos president and we had many a deep conversation over a beer or two!
He wrote in mine. "Reading Musashi is like kiri keashi. A hundred thousand times is not enough". It's a wonder we have never met. I made up the Nenriki team few times at the Mumeishi's I remember Erroll Baboolal. Last time I went taking a Japanese high schooler Geoff Clarke was there.
 
He wrote in mine. "Reading Musashi is like kiri keashi. A hundred thousand times is not enough". It's a wonder we have never met. I made up the Nenriki team few times at the Mumeishi's I remember Erroll Baboolal. Last time I went taking a Japanese high schooler Geoff Clarke was there.
Perhaps we have met! There werent many South Asian (Indian) people in Kendo in the mid 80s. Errol (Blake now) is still around.
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Thats me hanging on Victors every word and Wilf Swindells, my Kendo teacher. That must be 86-87. We drank so much and I was a very young man, so I spewed a lot that night 丐亢
 
...they don't have any kind of real appreciation for what it actually means... he would fit in here as well as I do. Statements would be made in absolutes, as he would be confident of his understanding and awareness. And wouldn't suffer ignorance where it can be solved by people listening.
Hmmmm. I'm listening...

I also understand that sometimes there is more to be found in great texts than may have originally been intended by their authors. I know that is paradoxical and may sound absurd to absolutists. Understanding something deeply doesn't mean that others will accept your perspective. Imagine how rabbinical scholars view how evangelical Christians read Torah! Or what 18th Century "Founding Fathers" who authored the US Constitution would think of the arguments we have today. Contexts change and old writings are seen through different times, with different perspectives.

Allow me to use a much simpler example drawn from Wing Chun, the Chinese art I have spent a fair amount of time in. There is a well known kuen kuit or martial saying: Kuen yau sum fat or The punch comes from the heart. Within the context of my lineage and branch this has very specific meanings. But when read by non-practitioners it takes on a much broader meaning which can be extended well beyond the scope of the fighting arts. Some might deride this kind of over-generalization of interpretation as uniformed and ignorant.

Personally, I kind of feel the other way around. I find looking at things from multiple perspectives interesting, and if not "enlightening" then maybe a little "less darkening". ;)
 
Hmmmm. I'm listening...

I also understand that sometimes there is more to be found in great texts than may have originally been intended by their authors. I know that is paradoxical and may sound absurd to absolutists. Understanding something deeply doesn't mean that others will accept your perspective. Imagine how rabbinical scholars view how evangelical Christians read Torah! Or what 18th Century "Founding Fathers" who authored the US Constitution would think of the arguments we have today. Contexts change and old writings are seen through different times, with different perspectives.

Allow me to use a much simpler example drawn from Wing Chun, the Chinese art I have spent a fair amount of time in. There is a well known kuen kuit or martial saying: Kuen yau sum fat or The punch comes from the heart. Within the context of my lineage and branch this has very specific meanings. But when read by non-practitioners it takes on a much broader meaning which can be extended well beyond the scope of the fighting arts. Some might deride this kind of over-generalization of interpretation as uniformed and ignorant.

Personally, I kind of feel the other way around. I find looking at things from multiple perspectives interesting, and if not "enlightening" then maybe a little "less darkening". ;)
I understand your point, but I understand his side of the argument as well. From the viewpoint of a scholar, you will notice when a group takes a false meaning from a text. This is usually due to the group not understanding the culture of the original author. My point is that from the viewpoint of a scholar, there can only be one truth. Everything other interpretation other than that of the original author is therefore not true. Im not taking a position on this particular subject, since I am not well versed. I am just trying to offer the other side of the argument.
 
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