on 18 December 2012
Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings (1645) is a classic expression of the warrior's code. I picked it up because I was interested to learn something of the philosophy behind the fighters I'd seen in films like Shogun Assassin, Zatoichi and Yojimbo.
What I liked about this edition is the academic but accessible introduction which explains Musashi in the context of his times. It also considers how his teachings apply - and don't apply - to the modern world.
I took from this edition of The Book of Five Rings the lesson that I need more control of my mind and body; to be more disciplined; to question for whom I am fighting; and that I must study further.
The beautiful illustrations introducing each section are understated yet imaginative interpretations of the text. Much like the samurai himself, these pictures manage to be at once calm, still, yet possessing tightly controlled energy.
There is a postscript which debunks the way Sun Tzu's 'Art of War' has been dragged from the Eastern battlefield to the Western boardroom.
All in all, this is an elegantly presented and thought-provoking edition.
on 23 December 2012
I have been meaning to read this classic for many years and have finally got round to it. It offers a unique insight into a strict martial culture, with a strong code and a ruthless mindset. In most senses it is a world completely different to my own and what I have strived for in life. Yet within you see a snapshot of the sharp side of humanity, and yet a deep wisdom. I hope that wisdom that reaches the void, might bring with it peace. Clearly a carefully considered and presented book; a thought-provoking read.