THE BOOK OF FIVE RINGS
go rin no sho by Miyamoto Musashi
Transcribed to 1’s and 0’s by Slaegr the Anarch ..
TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction ......................................... 4 The Ground Book ................................. 5 The Water Book ................................. 15 The Fire Book ..................................... 29 The Wind Book.................................. 44 The Book of the Void.......................... 53
I have been many years training in the Way of strategy, called Ni Ten Ichi Ryu, and now I think I will explain it in writing for the first time. It is now during the first ten days of the tenth month in the twentieth year of Kanei (1645). I have climbed mountain Iwato of Higo in Kyushu topay homage to heaven, pray to Kwannon, [God(dess) of mercy in Buddhism. - Slaegr] and kneel before Buddha. I am a warrior of Harima province, Shinmen Musashi No Kami Fujiwara No Genshin, age sixty years. From youth my heart has been inclined toward the Way of strategy. My first duel was when I was thirteen, I struck down a strategist of the Shinto school, one Arima Kihei. When I was sixteen I struckdown an able strategist Tadashima Akiyama. When I was twenty-one I went up to the capital and met all manner of strategists, never once failing to win in many contests. After that I went from province to province duelling with strategist of various schools, and not once failed to win even though I had as many as sixty encounters. This was between the ages of thirteen and twenty-eight ortwenty-nine. When I reached thirty I looked back on my past. The previous victories were not due to my having mastered strategy. Perhaps it was natural ability, or the order of heaven, or that other schools’ strategy was inferior. After that I studied morning and evening searching for the principle, and came to realise the Way of strategy when I was fifty. Since then I have lived without following anyparticular Way. Thus with the virtue of strategy I practise many arts and abilities - all things with no teacher. To write this book I did not use the law of Buddha or the teachings of Confucius, neither old war chronicles nor books on martial tactics. I take up my brush to explain the true spirit of this Ichi school as it is mirrored in the Way of heaven and Kwannon. The time is the night of thetenth day of the tenth month, at the hour of the tiger (3-5 a.m.)
THE GROUND BOOK
THE GROUND BOOK
Strategy is the craft of the warrior. Commanders must enact the craft, and troopers should know this Way. There is no warrior in the world today who really understands the Way of strategy. There are various Ways. There is the Way of salvation by the law of Buddha, the Way of Confuciusgoverning the Way of learning, the Way of healing as a doctor, as a poet teaching the Way of Waka, [a type of poem. - Slaegr] tea, archery, and many arts and skills. Each man practises as he feels inclined. It is said the warrior’s is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to bothdivisions of the Way. Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. Although not only warriors but priests, women, peasants and lowlier folk have been known to die readily in the cause of duty or out of shame, this is a different thing. The warrior is different in that studying the Way of strategy is based on overcoming men. By victory gained in crossing swords withindividuals, or enjoining battle with large numbers, we can attain power and fame for ourselves or our lord. This is the virtue of strategy.
The Way of Strategy
In China and Japan practitioners of the Way have been known as “masters of strategy”. Warriors must learn this Way. Recently there have been people getting on in the world as strategists, but they are usually just sword-fencers....