The Book of Five Rings – Book Review

The book of five rings by Miyamoto Musashi 新免武蔵守藤原玄信 is a book I read about once a year. The excellent version I have on my lap is the one translated by William Scott Wilson. For those who don’t know the book, it is understood that it comes from Pamphlet by the same author.

The context was to apply for a position teaching for someone of high rank, and you had to construct a sort of CV detailing what and how you intended to teach. A lot of consideration was given to why you may teach something in a certain way, significantly if your concepts differed from the standard ideas. So, this book can be seen as a sort of manifesto, selling the authors skills.

What we got from Musashi is a fantastic insight into how a warrior thinks and may also live his life. Musashi stated that he had fought starting aged 13 and won 61 sword fights, then he retired. The lecture I attended a few years ago noted that he authored this book after his dualling days.

Most of us martial artists these days are unlikely to be involved in duals to the death, but we can still use the books’ information to understand how to approach training for that event. It’s an excellent way to cross-check yourself first as a martial artist and how you live your life and practice and develop other skills.

To quote Mr Wilson: The book gives timeless advice with regards to defeating an adversary, throwing an opponent off guard, creating confusion and other techniques for overpowering an assailant that will resonate with both martial artists and everyone else interested in dealing with conflict.

The book does that and much more and is a recommended re-read each year. I use the strategy in my daily work life (Asset Management), and it works. I am a global award winner for my work, and this book played its part in that.

Published by killick Off Road Arts

Martial Artist, Adventurer and Privateer. Writer and Peace Activist. Duen de casa.

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