The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: Miyamoto Musashi
- Language: English
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2 MB
- Price: Free
A LEGENDARY FIGURE
In popular Japanese culture, Miyamoto Musashi is a legendary figure.
This warrior of the seventeenth century, a master of the sword but also
a painter, sculptor, and calligrapher, left us a body of written work that
has an important place in the history of the Japanese sword. His dense
and brief Gorin no sho, or “Writings on the Five Elements,” popularly
known as The Book of Five Rings, is a summary of the art of the sword
and a treatise on strategy.
Although the painting, sculpture, and calligraphy of Musashi are less
well known, they are considered by connoisseurs to be of the first
Because of the extension of his art into so many domains and the way
in which he explored the limits of the knowledge of his time,
Miyamoto Musashi reminds us of Leonardo da Vinci. His personality
and his adventurous life have been popularized by a famous novel and
Here I present a completely new and annotated translation of the
principal work of Miyamoto Musashi. Because of its concision, the
Gorin no sho is a hard text for contemporary Japanese people to
The misunderstandings can only be greater for
Westerners, who might draw the impression from the apparent clarity
of the text that they are understanding it when in fact the author’s
essential ideas are eluding them. For this reason I have accompanied
the text with clarifications, some of which are historic,
others linguistic, and still others related to the nature of martial arts
practice. I undertook this project even though several translations of
the Gorin no sho already exist. Through carefully rereading the
Japanese text, I discovered that these translations contained many
errors or misunderstandings.
Translation of this work is a difficult undertaking because of the
considerable evolution the Japanese language has undergone since
Musashi’s time, but even more so because of the major problem
connected with the role—at once limited and important—played by
verbal explanation in the traditional martial arts.
That which is
expressed in words is a little like the knot in an obi: only the knot is
manifest, visible, but without the continuity of the belt, the whole
thing would not hold together. What takes on meaning in the nodal
point of the word is the entirety of a shared experience.
The principal mode of transmission of the martial arts was direct
teaching. Words played a small role, and writing was confined for the
most part to a simple enumeration of technical terms. This approach
did not stem from respect for tradition; rather, it was connected with
the very considerable difficulty of communicating techniques of the
body and mind in writing.
In the Scroll of Water, the second section of
the Gorin no sho, for example, when Musashi explains techniques in
words, it is difficult to understand, since the execution of each
technique takes only a few seconds. The description in writing of a
movement of the body that lasts only a few seconds is very complex—I
continually have this experience in my own work.
For More Read Download This Book