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The Book of Five Rings

The Book of Five Rings [Kindle Edition]

Miyamoto Musashi
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £5.99
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Amazon Review

To learn a Japanese martial art is to learn Zen, and although you can't do so simply by reading a book, it sure does help--especially if that book is the Book of Five Rings. One of Japan's great samurai sword masters put down in decisive, unfaltering terms the certain path to victory, and like Sun Tzu's Art of War, it is applicable not only on the battlefield but in all forms of competition. Always observant, creating confusion, striking at vulnerabilities--these are some of the basic principles. Going deeper, we find suki, the interval of vulnerability, of indecisiveness, of rest, the briefest but most vital moment to strike. In succinct detail, Miyamoto records ideal postures, blows and psychological tactics to put the enemy off guard and open the way for attack. Most important of all is Miyamoto's concept of rhythm, how all things are in harmony, and by working with the rhythm of a situation, we can turn it to our advantage with little effort. But like Zen, this requires one thing above all else, putting the book down and going out to practice. --Brian Bruya


"Musashi's teachings read like lessons from the latest business management gurus. Who couldn't succeed in business by applying Musahi's insights to conflicts and strategy." --Inc. Magazine

"On Wall Street, when Musashi talks, people listen" --Time Magazine

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Domo Arigato Harris San 5 Sep 2001
This was one of my first reads in martial arts and eastern philosophy. It blew me away then and continues to drive me forward. Occasionally the text seems overly simple. Yet it reverberates. I suspect it may be truer to the origional than more recent, and more prosaic, translations...
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I first borrowed this book from my Sensei about ten years ago and his copy was an old copy (hardback tenth printing 1970's) and it fascinated me. It is a philosophical book, written by Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most feared Samurai of his time. This undefeated warrior who killed his first man when he was just 12 years old shares his thoughts and feelings in great depth on the strategy of not only martial arts and kendo but on the strategy of life. The lessons in this book can be used not only in every day life but taken to a business perspecive. I would say of all the martial arts books I have came across this one has the most meaning for me. I would also recommend trying to get an older copy as there are slight variations in the newer texts and some paintings Musashi did are omited but start with a new one if its all you can get. This book is deep and not an easy read unless you have time and a real passion for the Martial arts but anyone who starts it will never forget it.

" If there is a way involving the spirit of not being defeated, to help oneself and gain honour, it is the way of strategy."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Rodya
The obvious appeal of Musashi's Go Rin No Sho (A book of five rings) is its teaching on the subject of martial Arts esp. Kendo. This book is easy to follow if you are a beginner, yet challanges the master in the way no other such texts can. Recommended for anyone seeking enlightenment into the ways of dominence over his/her peers in the field of martial arts or even business. A timeless peice, and general enough to cover the most appropriate issues while still leaving much room for your own thought. "You must research this deeply" being a running theme. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent depiction 15 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This book is perfect for martial artists and writers alike. The descriptions of the techniques although sometimes limited with the phrase you need to train to understand properly, are perfect for picturing and acting upon. Not really the business manual the office jockies may be looking for, but perfect for those seeking greater insight into the mind of such a successful warrior.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five Rings Interpretation 2 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this while going through a period of "what am I doing and where are am I going" it is an interesting book and gives some insights into strategy and working the long game, it will not be to everyones taste and a lot is down to your own interpretation of the writings but I found a lot of the reading interesting and it gave me a lot of thought for reflection.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a dreadful edition of this classic text. What a waste of money. Absolutely no effort or thought has gone into this. It is questionable if the publishers have actually read the text. None of the section heads within the chapters are distinguished from the text and it is terribly formatted. One of the greatest samurai of all time deserves a better treatment than this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Badly produced edition 21 Oct 2012
By Andy A
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This refers to the "Wilder publications LLC" paperback edition (2008). Pretty sad to see such a great book filled with distracting typos. There are annoying parentheses from someone called Slaegr (the translator? the editor?) where he briefly explains customs and meanings. But in the middle of the text? Footnotes would have been less disruptive. The layout is pretty basic in this version, looks like the font has been picked to fill up the book: if you are looking for a compact copy, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a nice edition to keep, look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Five Rings 7 April 2011
`A Book of Five Rings' (aka The Book of Five Rings) is Musashi's book of martial arts strategy and it has now become a classic for martial arts practitioners and also businessmen over the years.

This starts with an introduction by the translator with a brief biography of Musashi and some info to the put the book into context.

You then move onto the book itself which offers up plenty of advice and knowledge about Musashi's strategy of sword fighting (called Kendo here, but also known as Iaido and other terms). The entries can be interpreted on a number of levels, be it the simple ideas taken at face value or the deeper philosophy behind them. This book can be read many times and you can gain something new each time. This is broken up into five sections (hence the title) which are Ground, Water, Fire, Wind and Void and these cover topics as diverse as stance, mindset, competing schools of martial arts and more besides.

This also has numerous pages of calligraphy and Japanese woodblock prints which greatly add to the aesthetics and overall feel of the book. If you have an interest in martial arts, Samurai or Japan in general then is worth a read at some point and it would quite happily sit alongside other Japanese martial arts classics like `Hagakure' and `Bushido' on your bookshelf.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars ... ignoring them there is a whole lot that is good a out this book
A few dubious translations but ignoring them there is a whole lot that is good a out this book. The lessons within can be applied to all martial arts and not just sword fighting.
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars wow!
I read this book before and re reading it again is just as pleasurable. 5 star recommendation for anyone not just martial artists.
Published 4 months ago by Dark angel
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading
From his introduction this book written in 1645 is a step back to an acquaintance with the past. It feels like meeting some old person on a train and hearing them relate the events... Read more
Published 5 months ago by K. J. Stone
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a how to guide
I like how the book is set up in short chapters and bigger than standard line height.
The book contains a lot of spelling errors. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A Dekker
5.0 out of 5 stars Musashi
A classic that I have read and reread several times and always found something new to consider in each chapter
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Andrew P. Stange
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult, very deep in sections, no patch on Tsun Tsu
Enjoyed it but felt that it was hard work at times. Could have covering script due to the age and time the book has been about, as with Gibbons book on Rome. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tommy jones
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of its Time
What can one say about this masterpiece of Japanese literature? It's informative, accessible and gives a superb insight into a period of Japanese history which, although may have... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Shizen_aiko_ka
5.0 out of 5 stars Samurai (and not only) school
It all depends how you look at it.. it's not only about the sword fight training.. it's a philosophy of every day life situations. Read more
Published 12 months ago by R. S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book you will ever read
5 stars because it is the most truthful book I've read. This book is how to succeed in any of your goals. If you need a compass to your life this is the needle.
Published 13 months ago by Jacques Grotier
4.0 out of 5 stars Gift
My husband has an interest in the martial arts and requested this book, which came highly recommended. Recevied with thanks and reading with pleasure.
Published 15 months ago by Mrs W
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