Guide A Book Of Five Rings

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Miyamoto Musashi: The Lone Samurai

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A Book of Five Rings

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The attitude of "Existing - Non Existing", mixes the Five Attitudes with the Attitude of "No Attitude", meaning that the user of the longsword uses the techniques and principles of both at whichever moment he or she finds most opportune. Although this is said to be difficult, Musashi notes that masters of this technique are usually masters of the five attitudes because they must be perceptive of weaknesses.

It is rumored that Musashi disgraced a former sword master by using such a technique with a Bokken , but there are no descriptions mentioning "In one" timing. Although the technique seems relatively simple, Musashi lists this as one of the hardest techniques to time correctly.

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Aside from this philosophical approach to the meaning, the technique is relatively simple to explain: if you are in a deadlock with the enemy, using the force from the cut, you push with your body and use the disciplines outlined in the Void Book to knock the enemy over. This is the most important method of hitting. It is often used. You must train hard to understand it. When attacking fast, Musashi notes that you will always be at stalemate, so like Stagnant water, you must cut as slowly as possible with your long sword.

At the beginning of this technique you and your opponent will be searching for an opening within each other's defense. When your opponent either tries to push off your sword, or to hasten back as to disengage it, you must first expand your whole body and your mind.

By moving your body first and then that of your sword, you will be able to strike powerfully and broadly with a movement that seems to reflect the natural flow of water.

Go Rin No Sho: A Book Of Five Rings (Outline Of The Five Books Of This Book Of Strategy) Lyrics

Ease and confidence will be attained when this technique is continuously practiced upon. In one motion, when your sword springs away from theirs, Musashi says to use a continuous motion to slash their head, body, and legs. Without raising your sword, you cut as strongly as possible.

This means cutting quickly with hands, body, and legs. The Fire Book refers to fighting methods unlike the specific fighting techniques listed in the Water Book.

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It goes into a broader scope in terms of hints as to assess a situation, as well as specific situational instructions. He notes obvious advantages of armor and preparedness before a duel or battle as it applies to one man or a whole group of men:. As one man can defeat ten men, so can one thousand men defeat ten thousand.

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However, you can become a master of strategy by training alone with a sword, 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. The dependence of location according to the Go Rin No Sho is crucial. You must be in a place where man-made objects such as buildings, towers, castles, and such do not obstruct your view, as well as facing or standing in a position where the sun or moon does not affect your vision.

This is purely so that your vision is focused on nothing but the enemy, and thus there is more concentration upon the enemy's stratagems. Musashi also seems to note the age old strategy of the High Ground :. Other kinds of tactics which of Musashi tells are way of ensuring that the enemy is at a disadvantage. Forcing yourself on the non-dominant side of a trooper is one way because the left side is difficult for a right-handed soldier. Other disadvantages, such as forcing enemies into footholds, swamps, ditches, and other difficult terrain, force the enemy to be uncertain of his situation.

These things cannot be clearly explained in words.

Book Review: The Book Of Five Rings

You must research what is written here. In these three ways of forestalling, you must judge the situation. This does not mean that you always attack first; but if the enemy attacks first you can lead him around. In strategy, you have effectively won when you forestall the enemy, so you must train well to attain this. Ken No Sen Attacking is the most obvious method of forestalling an enemy because a head-on collision forces both parties to a standstill. Although it is not mentioned, Musashi must have been well aware that this method would also be the most likely to have a higher death count than the others due to the sheer mass of enemies because more than one enemy could then attack a single soldier or trooper.

As the name suggests, Tai No Sen Waiting for the Initiative is invented for very opportunistic and decided battles between parties. The main idea being to feign weakness as to open a weak spot, or Achilles' heel , in the opposing force, and then regrouping to exploit such a hole by attacking deep within the enemy's party.

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Although it is not mentioned, this would most likely be to kill the officer of the highest rank as an attempt to remove the tactical centre of a group of soldiers. A method particularly useful for Musashi or others, if attacking a general directly would signal the end of the battle upon his defeat. Albeit very confusing, the idea of Tai Tai No Sen is circumventing an ambush or quick attack from the enemy by taking the initiative and attacking in full force.

Musashi admits himself that this is a difficult thing to explain. Although there are other methods, they are mostly situational methods relating to the crossing of rough terrain, and battling within such rough terrain. Although it spreads over two or more paragraphs, most information is common sense, relating to caution and avoidance of such situations. The idea of timing, as with singular battles, is known as the most important part of attacking next to the skill of participants.

However, the type of timing in this instance is somewhat different from the timing noted in The Ground Book since this variety of timing requires looking at the various physical factors which affect an enemy during battle, such as determining if strength is waning or rising within a group of troopers. The idea of treading down the sword is a very simple technique. Squashing an enemy's attack before it starts by using a form of charging and then attacking under the veil of gunpowder smoke, and arrow fire, the initial attacks used when starting battles can be highly effective.

Individually, it refers to attacking the enemy's sword, breaking it, removing it from play, and a technique of controlling it through direct blade on blade contact. Just as Musashi mentions in his philosophical style, there is a cause for a collapse. As there is collapse within an enemy, such as waning in his numbers, Musashi notes that one must observe such events and use them to advantage. He notes that an enemy's formation can fall if they lose rhythm.


It was known that in such battles, drummers drummed a tune for their other fellow soldiers to march to; and, if the rhythm was lost, it led to a "collapse when their rhythm becomes deranged". Whereas most of the information given in the previous books is useful in such a way that it could still be applicable today, this book is primarily concerned with the specific details about other strategies that existed at the time. The broader lesson from this book is that an important part of understanding your own way is to understand the way of your opponent as precisely as possible.

Musashi notes that although most schools have secret and ancient strategies, most forms are derivative of other martial arts.

Their similarities and differences evolved through situational factors, such as indoor or outdoor dueling, and the style adapted to the school.