Miyamoto Musashi quotes

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Miyamoto Musashi

Birthdate: 1584
Date of death: 19. May 1645

Miyamoto Musashi , also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his unique double-bladed swordsmanship and undefeated record in his 61 duels . He is considered the Kensei, sword-saint of Japan. He was the founder of the Niten Ichi-ryū school or Nito Ichi-ryū style of swordsmanship, and in his final years authored The Book of Five Rings , and Dokkōdō . Both documents were given to Terao Magonojō, the most important of Musashi's students, seven days before Musashi's death. The Book of Five Rings 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 Path of Aloneness 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. The Musashi Budokan training center - in a remarkable architecture - located in Mimasaka, Okayama prefecture, Japan was erected to honor his name and legend.

Works

Dokkōdō
Miyamoto Musashi

Quotes Miyamoto Musashi

„Speed is not part of the true Way of strategy.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Wind Book
Context: Speed is not part of the true Way of strategy. Speed implies that things seem fast or slow, according to whether or not they are in rhythm. Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast.

„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.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Wind Book
Context: If you rely on strength, when you hit the enemy's sword you will inevitably hit too hard. If you do this, your own sword will be carried along as a result. Thus the saying, "The strongest hand wins", has no meaning.
In large-scale strategy, if you have a strong army and are relying on strength to win, but the enemy also has a strong army, the battle will be fierce. This is the same for both sides.
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.

„There is a time and a place for use of weapons.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Ground Book
Context: There is a time and a place for use of weapons.
The best use of the companion sword is in a confined space, or when you are engaged closely with an opponent. The long sword can be used effectively in all situations.
The halberd is inferior to the spear on the battlefield. With the spear you can take the initiative; the halberd is defensive. In the hands of one of two men of equal ability, the spear gives a little extra strength. Spear and halberd both have their uses, but neither is very beneficial in confined spaces.

„It is difficult to realise the true Way just through sword-fencing. Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest things and the deepest things.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645)
Context: The Way is shown in five books concerning different aspects. These are Ground, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void.
The body of the Way of strategy from the viewpoint of my Ichi school is explained in the Ground book. It is difficult to realise the true Way just through sword-fencing. Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest things and the deepest things. As if it were a straight road mapped out on the ground, the first book is called the Ground book.

„The gaze should be large and broad.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Water Book
Context: The gaze should be large and broad. This is the twofold gaze "Perception and Sight". Perception is strong and sight weak.
In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things. It is important in strategy to know the enemy's sword and not to be distracted by insignificant movements of his sword. You must study this. The gaze is the same for single combat and for large-scale combat.

„By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Book No-Thing-ness
Context: What is called the spirit of the void is where there is nothing. It is not included in man's knowledge. Of course the void is nothingness. By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.

„In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Water Book
Context: The gaze should be large and broad. This is the twofold gaze "Perception and Sight". Perception is strong and sight weak.
In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things. It is important in strategy to know the enemy's sword and not to be distracted by insignificant movements of his sword. You must study this. The gaze is the same for single combat and for large-scale combat.

„These things cannot be explained in detail. From one thing, know ten thousand things.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Ground Book
Context: These things cannot be explained in detail. From one thing, know ten thousand things. When you attain the Way of strategy there will not be one thing you cannot see. You must study hard.

„In my doctrine, I dislike preconceived, narrow spirit. You must study this well.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Wind Book
Context: Your strategy is of no account if when called on to fight in a confined space your heart is inclined to the long sword, or if you are in a house armed only with your companion sword. Besides, some men have not the strength of others.
In my doctrine, I dislike preconceived, narrow spirit. You must study this well.

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„Strategy is the craft of the warrior.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Ground Book
Context: Strategy is the craft of the warrior. Commanders must enact the craft, and troopers should know this Way. There is no warrior in the world today who really understands the Way of strategy.
There are various Ways. There is the Way of salvation by the law of Buddha, the Way of Confucius governing the Way of learning, the Way of healing as a doctor, as a poet teaching the Way of Waka, tea, archery, and many arts and skills. Each man practices as he feels inclined.

„What is called the spirit of the void is where there is nothing. It is not included in man's knowledge.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Book No-Thing-ness
Context: What is called the spirit of the void is where there is nothing. It is not included in man's knowledge. Of course the void is nothingness. By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.

„You can win with certainty with the spirit of "one cut".“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Water Book
Context: You can win with certainty with the spirit of "one cut". It is difficult to attain this if you do not learn strategy well. If you train well in this Way, strategy will come from your heart and you will be able to win at will. You must train diligently.

„If you do not look at things on a large scale it will be difficult for you to master strategy.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Ground Book
Context: If you do not look at things on a large scale it will be difficult for you to master strategy. If you learn and attain this strategy you will never lose even to twenty or thirty enemies. More than anything to start with you must set your heart on strategy and earnestly stick to the Way. You will come to be able to actually beat men in fights, and to be able to win with your eye. Also by training you will be able to freely control your own body, conquer men with your body, and with sufficient training you will be able to beat ten men with your spirit.

„This is an important fighting method for one man against many.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Fire Book
Context: In battles, when the armies are in confrontation, attack the enemy's strong points and, when you see that they are beaten back, quickly separate and attack yet another strong point on the periphery of his force. The spirit of this is like a winding mountain path.
This is an important fighting method for one man against many. Strike down the enemies in one quarter, or drive them back, then grasp the timing and attack further strong points to right and left, as if on a winding mountain path, weighing up the enemies' disposition. When you know the enemies' level, attack strongly with no trace of retreating spirit.

„Whenever you cross swords with an enemy you must not think of cutting him either strongly or weakly; just think of cutting and killing him.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Wind Book
Context: Whenever you cross swords with an enemy you must not think of cutting him either strongly or weakly; just think of cutting and killing him. Be intent solely on killing the enemy. Do not try to cut strongly and, of course, do not think of cutting weakly. You should only be concerned with killing the enemy.

„When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Book No-Thing-ness
Context: To attain the Way of strategy as a warrior you must study fully other martial arts and not deviate even a little from the Way of the warrior. With your spirit settled, accumulate practice day by day, and hour by hour. Polish the twofold spirit heart and mind, and sharpen the twofold gaze perception and sight. When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void.

„Until you realise the true Way, whether in Buddhism or in common sense, you may think that things are correct and in order. However, if we look at things objectively, from the viewpoint of laws of the world, we see various doctrines departing from the true Way.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Book No-Thing-ness
Context: Until you realise the true Way, whether in Buddhism or in common sense, you may think that things are correct and in order. However, if we look at things objectively, from the viewpoint of laws of the world, we see various doctrines departing from the true Way. Know well this spirit, and with forthrightness as the foundation and the true spirit as the Way. Enact strategy broadly, correctly and openly.
Then you will come to think of things in a wide sense and, taking the void as the Way, you will see the Way as void.
In the void is virtue, and no evil. Wisdom has existence, principle has existence, the Way has existence, spirit is nothingness.

„There is timing in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is timing in the Way of the merchant, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this.“

—  Miyamoto Musashi

Go Rin No Sho (1645), The Ground Book
Context: There is timing in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is timing in the Way of the merchant, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this. In strategy there are various timing considerations. From the outset you must know the applicable timing and the inapplicable timing, and from among the large and small things and the fast and slow timings find the relevant timing, first seeing the distance timing and the background timing. This is the main thing in strategy. It is especially important to know the background timing, otherwise your strategy will become uncertain.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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