Musashi Miyamoto    
Book of Five Rings
Main Principles
The Book of Five Rings

The Book of Five Rings is perhaps the most famous text on Japanese sword fighting and the Way of the Warrior. Written by Musashi Miyamoto at the end of his distinguished life, the book can be read on multiple levels, providing insight to both beginners and more experienced readers. Recording the learnings from Musashi's Ichi Ryu Ni Ten (One Way Two Swords) school of fighting, the book provides detailed descriptions of sword and martial art techniques while developing the theme of strategy on a deeper level.

The book is divided into five sections labeled according to the five basic elements in Zen Buddhism: Ground, Water, Fire, Wind, Void. The Ground section provides the foundations for understanding the Way of Strategy. The Water book focuses on the techniques. The Fire book has the principles that can be applied both to individual battles as well as large scale battles. The Wind book covers tradition and the other styles. Finally the book of the Void is the most enigmatic book and relates to the Zen concept of emptiness

The Book of Five Rings has long been popular with those interested in the art of Kendo, which involves duels with wooden swords and popular in Japan and around the world as a sport, similar to Judo and Karate. More recently, the book has been promoted as the secret to the Japanese style of business, especially in the eighties when the Japanese economy was booming and people were marvelling at its success.

For those who like Musashi's work and are also parents, you might also enjoy the book, The Way of the Baby, A Book of Five Grins. The book is a humorous and artistic allegory to The Book of Five Rings, but instead of a guide to sword techniques it is from the perspective of a samurai baby and provides a guide for the techniques that are used to master the parent.




  Samurai Baby Book of Five Rings