Miyamoto Musashi, a great and legendary ronin, is recognized as one of the most famous swordsmen in a history of Japan. His contemporaries have given him a nickname “The Holy Sword”. Musashi became famous due to his outstanding sword technique which he tried to improve in many fights from an early age, just using a wooden sword.
From the Biography of Miyamoto Musashi
This man is the most famous sword master of the early Tokugava period. His popularity can be explained by the role of samurais that changed rapidly at that time. Musashi has become a legendary person during his lifetime. And yet, what do we know about him?
Sinmen Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara no Genshin, known as Miyamoto Musashi, was born in the village of Miyamoto in the province of Miasaka in 1584. «Musashi» is the name of the area to the south-west of Tokyo, «no-Kami» means noble origin, «Fujiwara» is one of the most distinguished families in Japan, which is over a thousand years. Musashi’s ancestors were members of the Harima clan in Kyushu, the southern Japanese island.
He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū («the school of the strategy of two heavens as one”) – the samurai art of two-swords fighting and the school of “Heaven and Earth”. Miyamoto also wrote “Book of Five Rings”, which is about tactics, strategy and philosophy of military craft that is still well-known among many contemporaries.
Musashi had his first fight when he was 13 years old. But the most interesting fact is that a wooden sword was the main weapon of this samurai.
His opponent was Arima Kihei, a swordsman of martial arts school of the Shinto ryū. Miyamoto threw him on the ground and hit him on the head with a stick.
His second fight took place when he was 16 years old. He defeated a renowned fighter Akhiama Tadasite.
During his lifetime Miyamoto Musashi was a winner of many fights and participated in six wars, until finally at the age of fifty he understood the essence of the fighting strategy.
One of the Greatest Warriors
With years Miyamoto Musashi realized that it was not enough to have this level of character development. He was challenged repeatedly that is why he killed more than sixty opponents.
The great samurai devoted the rest of his life to achieving the level of heydzosin (state of mind, the ideal that inspires all followers of martial arts). It means “always steadfast spirit”. However, to understand this you should know the nuances of the Japanese language.
Miyamoto Musashi’s Strategy
Musashi criticized almost all fencing schools of that time. Their representatives were talking only about the technique, they forgot about the spirit of a swordsman. He proved to be wiser in choosing the tactics and moment of attack. Miyamoto had been continuously improving this inner feeling for twenty years. All main principles are represented in his “Book of Five Rings”. Here are just a few of them:
Strategy against only technique. From the early age Miyamoto devoted himself to training of his hands, hardening of his body and gaining spiritual perfection.
Striking a blow. If you can strike several targets simultaneously, it is called continuous striking a blow.
Strive to inflict a crushing blow. Whenever you crossed swords with an enemy, think about striking a blow and killing him. The way of this strategy lies in killing your enemy, and this way doesn’t require daintiness.
Follow your own rhythm; try to destroy the rhythm of the enemy. When using confrontation strategies follow your enemy. Attack when he is weak. Don’t scream while brandishing a long sword. Scream during the fight in order to understand the enemy’s rhythm.
Try to fathom the enemy’s plans. To “become an enemy” means to mentally put yourself in his place.
Be flexible. No matter how you hold the sword, the main thing is to be able to strike a blow in accordance with the situation, place and your relation to the enemy.
The way of the Void. When your spirit is not roily, when you are free from any shades of confusion, then the real Void is embodied. But it must have neither a beginning nor an end.
The life of this great warrior is too vast to be covered in any historical book. Miyamoto Musashi realized that the ultimate goal of improving the art of the sword lies in achieving such skills and spiritual development which can make afraid anyone who dares to challenge you.
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