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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musashi's Go Rin No Sho: for warriors only, 3 April 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Martial Artist's "Book of Five Rings": The Definitive Interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi's Classic Book of Strategy (Paperback)
Miyamoto Musashi was perhaps the greatest swordsman of all time. He was unequaled in the art of kendo (The Way of the Sword) during a time when kendo was a way of life in Japan. He was challenged to over 60 duels (many to the death), never to be defeated. At the age of 28 (in 1612), Musashi stopped ever using real swords in duels and defeated the samurai challengers with a wooden stick. He was invincible. To martial artists, he is known as "Kinsei" (The Sword Saint).
Instead of settling down and starting a school once his fame was replete, Musashi redoubled his study of "The Way" throughout the rest of his life. He continued to live his life learning from all things. He was a master artist, craftsman, teacher and as a captain on several battle fields. He scorned a life of comfort and possessions and spent the last two years of his life alone in a mountain cave in contemplation. It was here, right before he died at the age of 61, he wrote "Go Rin No Sho" (The Book of Five Rings).
Go Rin No Sho is a guide for the warrior to develop strategy. Musashi described the precepts of "the Way" in Kendo concepts. Kaufman is able to give the reader insight into times and culture that Musashi lived in and some understanding of kendo itself. But Go Rin No Sho is more than instruction of techniques, it is a guide to show a warrior how to master himself, his art and all things. Instead of being a philosophical treatise on war, Go Rin No Sho is (in Musashi's words) "is a spiritual guide for the man who wishes to learn the Way".
Musashi wrote "When you have attained the Way of strategy there will be not one thing that you cannot understand" and "You will see the Way in everything". The more one reads the book, the more one finds in its pages. It is Musashi's last will and testament, the key to the path he trod.
"What is big is easy to perceive: what is small is difficult to perceive." - Musashi
"Step by step walk the thousand-mile road." - Musashi
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