Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi (1584–1645), also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, writer and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent and unique double-bladed swordsmanship and undefeated record in his 61 duels (next is 33 by Itō Ittōsai). He was the founder of the Niten-Ichi-Ryû-School or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and in his final years authored The Book of Five Rings (lang="ja">五輪の書 Go Rin No Sho), and Dokkōdō (The Path of Aloneness). Both documents were given to Terao Magonojō, the most important of Musashi's students, seven days before Musashi's death. Go Rin No Sho deals primarily with the character of his Niten-Ichi-Ryū-School in a concrete sense e.g. his own practical martial art and its generic significance; the Dokkōdō on the other hand, deals with the ideas that lie behind it, as well as his life's philosophy in a few short aphoristic sentences.

Born in Mimaska Province to a family of lesser nobility, Musashi taught himself the art of sword fighting at a very young age. He won his first duel at the age of thirteen, when he challenged some idiot samurai to a duel and then beat his brains in with a wooden sword Legend of Zelda style. Over his lifetime he won over sixty duels, some of them against multiple enemies, and fought successfully in three major military campaigns, including the defense of Osaka Castle.

Late in his life, after he had perfected his "Two Swords" fighting style, Musashi climbed up a mountain and wrote the definitive treatise on the Zen of Decapitation, which he titled A Book of Five Rings.


The Book of Five Rings: A Classic Text on the Japanese Way of the Sword
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The Book of Five Rings: A Classic Text on the...

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