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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Wisdom with New Lessons, 1 July 2007
This review is from: The Martial Artist's "Book of Five Rings": The Definitive Interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi's Classic Book of Strategy (Paperback)
True - there are many and varied translations of this famous account and in my humble opinion the best of them are by:- "Thomas Cleary, Victor Harris, Boye Lafayette De Mente & William Scott Wilson".

If you are really serious about learning, studying, absorbing and applying the all important lessons in life that this treatise can offer you, then you ought to just buy all of these different versions and compare them.

I believe this translation by Stephen Kaufman is up there with the best. It doesn't differ much from the other accounts but I think that this version is easier to read and therefore understand than the others making it more interesting.

May I point the negative reviewer below to the top of page 17 quote ".....consider the unarmed warrior as being even closer to the ideal because no weapon other than "empty hands" [karate] is used"

I believe Stephen is more than qualified to interpret the book the way he does with such passion because he not only translated it but has been practicing "the way" for over 40 years.

This translation has to be seriously considered as one of the best!!

It's not just for Swordsmen!!

The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin No Sho) is a GREAT book, if you take time to properly absorb and understand ALL of its teachings. It's not a very long book and so would be easy to read a few times over so that you get a proper flavour of the important message being presented.

A better and easier to digest version (IMHO) of this small book is "Samurai Strategies: 42 Martial Secrets" by by Boye De Lafayette Mente, who very cleverly summarises this book into 42 easy to digest and understand and apply chapters.

The ideas in this book are NOT dangerous to anyone in the least, IF you balance and apply ALL of the lessons within it - that's the idea that the great undefeated warrior Musashi was trying to put across. The life saving principles he expounds here are designed to help us all have a better, easier and more fulfilled life, Martial Artist or not. His strategies can be applied and used by anyone.

"A knife is dangerous for anyone - you just have to learn how to use is safely & intelligently"

We are all so lucky & truly blessed that, nearly 400 years ago, someone called Lord Hosokawa had the foresight to ask the ageing Musashi to write down his secrets of success. Musashi himself was not only extremely talented but must have been a very intelligent man for his time to write such a treatise.

The comment (else ware) about this book not being for beginners is misleading I think, it isn't that hard to understand and extrapolate the true meaning and intentions that Musashi was trying to put across.

Don't be put off by ANY of the negative criticisms (in other reviews), it's only because they've missed the point or just quickly scanned & glossed over the book.

Although we are not entirely certain of Musashi's religious bent, Musashi bases his book [loosely] on the Zen Buddhist philosophies of the Five Elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Wind & Emptiness. One of his close associates was Takuan Soho, author of "The Unfettered Mind".
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Location: Reading & Bracknell, UK

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