Though I have finished “the Book of Five Rings”, I am now reading other documents that Musashi wrote concerning martial strategy. For those few who received transmission of Musashi’s art, they also received some written explanations from Musashi, which seem to be the pre-workings of “the Book of Five Rings.” However, there are a few interesting gems not included in “the Book of Five Rings,” so I will share a few here I found particularly provocative.
“To practice strategy is necessary to integrate the whole of one’s body, without having any imbalances. Nobody is strong and nobody is weak if he conceives of the body, from the head to the sole of the foot, as a unity in which a living mind circulates everywhere equally.”
Whole body movement, thinking, experience. Sounds good to me.
“Holding and Letting Go of One’s Mind:
“Depending on the situation and the moment, you must either hold your mind or let go of it. In general, when wielding a sword, you must launch your will but hold on to the depth of your mind. When you strike your opponent with certainty, you must let go of your mind deep down and hold your will. These two states of mind, holding and letting go, can take on different forms, depending on the situation. This must be worked out well.”
I like this, but I’m definitely going to have to work it out some more.
“The Body of a Rock:
“The body of a rock is the state of an unmoving mind, powerful and large. Something inexhaustible that comes from the universal principle exists in the body. It is through this that the power of the mind resides in every living being. The grass and trees, which do not have a consciousness, are powerfully rooted in the earth. This mind is also found in the rain and the wind. You must examine this well, what is meant by ‘the body of a rock.'”
My favorite part is: “Something inexhaustible that comes from the universal principle exists in the body.”
“All reasons and principles come from emptiness. The meaning of this sentence is impossible to explain – be so good as to reflect on it yourself.”