7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Investigate Before Buying,
This review is from: The Book of Five Rings (Hardcover)
This book is interesting and insightful, even enlightening perhaps.
But it is important to know what you are getting before paying for it.
It is not really a book for beginners (I consider myself a beginner in the Martial arts). It contains no pictures besides Musashi's beautiful rendition of a bird on a bamboo cane (he was a superb artist as well as Samurai). The instructions in here will, I believe, take years of interpreting. I think they're cheifly useful after you have learnt a Martial Art (in my case a Kung Fu pattern) and wish to deviate from/develop your fighting skills.
Musashi's two sword style is appropriate not just for Sword work, but also hand-to-hand combat, simply because (exceptions aside) we all have two arms/hands. This is easy to forget.
Musashi's philospohy is worth studying. He advises his students to become aquainted with all the arts. Yet at the same time to simplify their lives.
Bare in mind that Musashi was an undefeated Samurai. He challenged many martial artists to fights. You might wish to consider how such a combative person's philosphy might influence you. If you have violent/competetive tendencies, then don't buy this book (although it will probably be right up your street).
If combat is your thing, check out The Art of War too.
Overall, a valuable insight into the mind of a Samurai. To be respected, and not abused.