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When a 60 year old man, after having lived an interesting life, shares his worldly wisdom, we should lap it up.

Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary samurai swordsman in 17th century Japan, who won many combats & battles, wrote this brief treatise on the strategy of swordsmanship & fighting, interspersed with general observations and wisdom. He was also well versed in poetry, calligraphy, sculpting and painting.



Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death

The essence of this book is that you must train day and night in order to make quick decisions. 

The Way of strategy is the Way of nature. When you appreciate the power of nature, knowing the rhythm of any situation, you will be able to hit the enemy naturally and strike naturally. 

The Way of the warrior does not include other Ways, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, certain traditions, artistic accomplishments and dancing. But even though these are not part of the Way, if you know the Way broadly you will see it in everything. Men must polish their particular Way. 

You should not have a favorite weapon. To become over-familiar with one weapon is as much a fault as not knowing it sufficiently well. You should not copy others, but use weapons, which you can handle properly. It is bad for commanders and troops to have likes and dislikes. These are things you must learn thoroughly. 

There is timing in everything. Timing in strategy cannot be mastered without a great deal of practice. 

This is the Way for men who want to learn my strategy: 

• Do not think dishonestly. 

• The Way is in training. 

• Become acquainted with every art. 

• Know the Ways of all professions. 

• Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters. 

• Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything. 

• Perceive those things, which cannot be seen. 

• Pay attention even to trifles. 

• Do nothing, which is of no use. 

Step by step walk the thousand-mile road. 

Study strategy over the years and achieve the spirit of the warrior. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men. Next, in order to beat more skillful men, train according to this book, not allowing your heart to be swayed along a sidetrack. 

Any man who wants to master the essence of my strategy must research diligently, training morning and evening. Thus can he polish his skill, become free from self, and realize extraordinary ability. He will come to poses miraculous power. 

The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy’s useful actions but allow his useless actions. 

Using the wisdom of strategy, think of the enemy as your own troops. When you think in this way you can move him at will and be able to chase him around. You become the general and the enemy becomes your troops. You must master this. 

In my doctrine, I dislike preconceived, narrow spirit. 

Without the correct principle the fight cannot be won. 

The spirit of my school is to win through the wisdom of strategy, paying no attention to trifles. Study this well. 


Book of Five Rings (translated by Victor Harris)

 Book of Five Rings (translated by William Scott Wilson)