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The Complete Book of Five Rings

The Complete Book of Five Rings [Kindle Edition]

Miyamoto Musashi , Kenji Tokitsu
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The Complete Book of Five Rings is an authoritative version of Musashi’s classic The Book of Five Rings, translated and annotated by a modern martial arts master, Kenji Tokitsu. Tokitsu has spent most of his life researching the legendary samurai swordsman and his works, and in this book he illuminates this seminal text, along with several other works by Musashi. These include “The Mirror of the Way of Strategy,” which Musashi wrote when he was in his twenties; “Thirty-five Instructions on Strategy,” and “Forty-two Instructions on Strategy,” which were precursors to The Book of Five Rings; and “The Way to Be Followed Alone,” which Musashi wrote just days before his death. Read together, these five texts give readers an unusually detailed, nuanced view of Musashi’s ideas on swordsmanship, strategy, and self-cultivation.

Tokitsu puts all these writings into historical and philosophical context and makes them accessible and relevant to today’s readers and martial arts students. Tokitsu understands Musashi’s writings—and Musashi as a martial artist—unusually well and is able to provide a rare insight into the man and his historical contribution.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 459 KB
  • Print Length: 233 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590307976
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications (14 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #155,391 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 14 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A real life samurai philosopher that had at least 63 sword duels (to the death), he won one of those duels with a stick and he even fought a tiger... When he retired he wrote down his philosophies and his sword techniques and so on. This work has all of that in one book. What the hell are you waiting for?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best translation with comments section 25 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As Kenji Tokitsu translated this master piece of the east he was careful enough to signalize and analyze the most important passages and meanings. His expertise in martial arts is key in this process.

The Book of the five rings is in it self aproximatly 54 pages, but this book is some 200. Don't be deterred by this fact. All this extra material is what many would strugle to find. A deep interpretation and analisys of all the context that surrounds Gorin no sho (Book of five ring).

Together it brings as well the rare texts that preceded the Book of five rings, like "Thirty-five instructions on strategy" and "The way to be followed alone".

Truly an eye opener.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top shelf version of one of my favorite books 28 Nov 2011
By Dan Bergevin - Published on
I love this book - I read everything in it, including the introduction, notes, and bibliography. I found every sentence on every page to be both interesting and profoundly insightful. Anyone looking for a book on Miyamoto Musashi, a great translation of Gorin no sho, or a endlessly useful guide on martial arts strategies and mindsets should buy this immediately and plan to spend a lot of time with it. It will pay for itself, plus create profit in ways you cannot presently imagine.

My only gripe? It should be hardcover.

I also recommend Thomas Cleary's version because it includes writings from Yagyu Munenori, which are just as interesting and profoundly useful. Although I like Tokitsu's version of Gorin no sho better than Cleary's, it is for this reason that I give both versions my highest possible recommendation.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must not only for martial arts, perhaps a manual for life 21 Mar 2012
By Joanna Daneman - Published on
The Book of Five Rings is a major classic and though it ought to be read by anyone interested in martial arts, Japan, warfare or oriental philosophy, it is NOT an easy book for learning strategy. The wisdom of the warrior-saint of Japan, a real person who has taken on the mantle of a myth or a demi-god is real, and it is writing of the highest order. But it is not easy to understand.

Mushashi Miyamoto, the sword-saint of Japan, was so advanced in his development as a warrior-philosopher that he had stopped fighting with anything but wooden swords and finally retreated to a mountain cave to record his deepest thoughts about life.

Unless you yourself have followed a life devoted to the principles of Bushido and its discipline, Musashi's writing is interesting but can you achieve a level of comprehension if you have not yourself studied martial arts?

Even if you can't get deep into the psyche of Japanese bushido philosopy and Mushashi's own wisdom, there is much to glean. For example, the chapter "The Void" is worth reading and reading again. Buddhism has some bearing on Musashi's writing since he was educated by his uncle Tatsumi in this religion and philosophy. One important tenet is that all desire leads to unhappiness, and the "void" is the place where you know nothing, that is, you place none of your own coloring on your interpretation of that which exists, and the Void thus contains only that which truly exists; you add "nothing" to it, thus you are in a place of nothingness (not that nothing exists, but you add nothing to that which exists--it is in its essential state.) To become truly enlightened, then one must be seeing things as they are and not as we desire. And so, as a warrior, when fighting a battle, you do not allow your wishes, hopes, dreams, fears, or pre-conceived notions to color what IS and what you must battle with. How many battles have been lost because the leaders do not wish to know the TRUTH of the situation? This is truly wisdom, yet hard to achieve, as we filter everything through our prejudices.

In any case, this book is timeless and deserves to be read and read again and again.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for the martial artist 15 Aug 2010
By J. A Magill - Published on
//The Book of Five Rings//, samurai Miyamoto Musashi's treatise never goes entirely out of fashion, each new edition meant for a different time or audience. Martial artist Kenji Tokitsu's new annotated translation appears geared particularly for other martial arts practitioners, with its careful attention to possible meanings of key technical terms and copious footnotes. In certain ways, this proves refreshing, since Tokitsu pares away much of the myth from about this text and returns its original purpose: success in combat.

Tokitsu's decision to include translations of previous works by Musashi proves particularly insightful. If this translation suffers any flaw, it is the editor's over focus on the author as warrior to the exclusion of the many others areas of expertise that encompassed samurai culture, failing to consider his success as a swordsmith (some fine examples of which survive to this day) or his poetry. Likewise, I found myself missing some of what is included in the more ethereal Victor Harris translation of this text, which recounts many of those likely apocryphal stories and paintings depicting Musashi through time.

Musashi's text stands on its own and Tokitsu's new translation offers it in an impressive form. Many martial artists will revel in this translation for years to come, attempting to absorb Musashi's deep and often elusive teachings. Some, however, will no doubt follow this up by wishing to familiarize themselves with who Musashi became in the Japanese consciousness.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who want to floow the way of strategy!! 28 Nov 2011
By FoxFire01 - Published on
This book although mainly themed in dealing with swordplay offers multi-dimensional thinking of strategy to be used in other realms. The limitations of Miyamoto Musashi's of aplication into one's daily life can be only defined by the limits of the user.This knowledge transcends time through the centuries to be used in this modern world. If you find yourself understanding "The Way" or simply desire to understand more about "The Way".. then this book offers invaluable insight into the "Mind of a Strategist" who not only practiced it but lived it too..
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Translation of this Classic 13 Dec 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I believe this is the 5th or 6th translation that I have read. Tokitsu's translation and commentaries are the BEST. It actually improved my sparring. More useful to the individual than Sun Tzu. If you are a fan of the Sword Saint, this is a must.
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