Miyamoto Musashi, who lived in Japan in the fifteenth century, was a renowned samurai warrior. He has become a martial arts icon, known not just as an undefeated dueler, but also as a master of battlefield strategy. Kenji Tokitsu turns a critical eye on Musashi's life and writings, separating fact from fiction, and giving a clear picture of the man behind the myth.

Musashi's best-known work, The Book of Five Rings, provides timeless insight ...

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Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings

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Miyamoto Musashi, who lived in Japan in the fifteenth century, was a renowned samurai warrior. He has become a martial arts icon, known not just as an undefeated dueler, but also as a master of battlefield strategy. Kenji Tokitsu turns a critical eye on Musashi's life and writings, separating fact from fiction, and giving a clear picture of the man behind the myth.

Musashi's best-known work, The Book of Five Rings, provides timeless insight into the nature of conflict. Tokitsu translates and provides extensive commentary on that popular work, as well as three other short texts on strategy that were written before it, and a longer, later work entitled "The Way to Be Followed Alone." Tokitsu is a thoughtful and informed guide, putting the historical and philosophical aspects of the text into context, and illuminating the etymological nuances of particular Japanese words and phrases. As a modern martial artist and a scholar, Tokitsu provides a view of Musashi's life and ideas that is accessible and relevant to today's readers and martial arts students.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), the most famous of all samurai, fought and won 60 duels during his lifetime and was a master military strategist and a skilled artist. In the latter part of his life, he formed a martial arts school and trained many disciples. Tokitsu, an expert in martial arts with a doctorate in sociology, here provides a new translation and commentary of Musashi's major work, The Book of Five Rings, which gives his teachings on sword technique, military strategy, martial arts training, and general philosophy. Tokitsu also offers a biography of Musashi, which helps give context for understanding his thought. Beyond this, the work includes chapters discussing key topics in Japanese martial arts, such as budo, as well as a substantial glossary. The recent Tom Cruise film The Last Samurai may have heightened interest in Japanese martial arts. This excellent book might well capture the interest of a significant audience. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.--John Jaeger, Dallas Baptist Univ. Lib. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834824881
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/23/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,160,385
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Kenji Tokitsu was born in Japan and began studying martial arts when he was a child. He has taught karate in Paris since 1971. In 1984 he founded the Shaolin-mon school, where he teaches a synthesis of the original combat arts of Japan and China. In 2001 he established the Tokitsuryu Academy to teach and promote his method. For more information, visit tokitsu.com. Tokitsu also holds doctorates in sociology and in Japanese language and civilization. He is the author of numerous books.

Sherab Chödzin Kohn is coeditor of the best-selling anthology The Buddha and His Teachings. He has been teaching Buddhism and meditation for more than thirty years, and he has edited a number of the books of his teacher, the Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa. He has also published numerous translations, including an acclaimed version of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix
A Legendary Figure ix
The Main Periods in the History of Japanese Schools of Swordsmanship xxiii
Chronology of Musashi's Life xxix
Part 1 The Life of Miyamoto Musashi
Introduction to the Life of Musashi 3
1. Childhood and Training 7
The Birth of Musashi 7
Musashi's Childhood and His First Duel 12
The Founding of the School of Two Swords 22
The Two Sources of Musashi's Art 26
The Schools of Two Swords 41
2. Musashi's Duels 46
Duels and Wars from Age Fifteen to Twenty 47
Studying the Arts of Other Schools through Duels 61
The Duel against Sasaki Kojiro 70
Musashi at the Battle of Osaka 89
3. Deepening the Way 92
Maturity 92
Musashi's Last Years 112
Composition of the Gorin no sho and Musashi's Death 128
Part 2 Musashi's Writings
4. "Writings on the Five Elements" (Gorin no sho) 137
The Scroll of Earth 137
The Scroll of Water 150
The Scroll of Fire 168
The Scroll of Wind 185
The Scroll of Heaven 195
5. The Texts Preceding the Gorin no sho 197
"The Mirror of the Way of Strategy" (Hyodokyo) 197
"Thirty-five Instructions on Strategy" (Hyoho sanju go kajo) 199
"Forty-two Instructions on Strategy" (Hyoho shiju ni kajo) 209
"The Way to Be Followed Alone" (Dokkodo) 216
6. Notes of Musashi's Disciples on the Practice of His School 227
Notes on Mind, Energy, and the Body in Strategy (Hyoho shin ki tai oboe gaki) 228
Attitude toward Training 231
The School of the Fighters of the Two Heavens (Senki niten ryu) 232
The State of Mind of Those Devoted to the School of Musashi (Musashi ryu shugyo kokoroe no koto) 233
Part 3 Miyamoto Musashi and the Martial Arts
7. The School of Musashi (Hyoho niten ichi ryu) 239
Branches of the School 239
The School of Musashi Today 242
8. The Transmission of Musashi's Art 245
The Role of Musashi's Writings in the Transmission of His Art 245
The Transmission of Musashi's Art through Practice 254
9. Musashi Today: The Practice of a Contemporary Adept 262
The Labyrinth Created by the Way of Holding the Sword 263
The Nen ryu and Its Lineage 274
10. Weapons and Ethics in Swordsmanship Training 280
The Status of Warriors 281
Technique and the Status of the Body 286
Integration of the Religious Element into the Art of the Sword 292
The Formation of Katas 296
11. Budo 302
The Meiji Turning Point and the Modern Notion of Budo 302
The Evolution of Budo in the Twentieth Century 309
12. The Relationship between Adversaries 315
The Complexity of Combat in Budo 317
The Significance of the Quest for Kizeme 323
Confrontation and Harmony 326
13. One Life, One Art 333
Appendix 1 The Translation of the Gorin no sho 337
Appendix 2 Sen--Taking the Initiative 348
Appendix 3 External Influences on the Japanese Art of the Sword 355
Notes 358
Glossary 442
Bibliography 460
Index 468
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2009

    Interesting insights on Musashi's life

    Like most Martial Artists I have read Musashi's Book of 5 Rings mutiple times. However, I was not aware that Musashi had written several other book or that others had written so much about him.

    This book traces his life via his writing and the writings of others, but more important the author adds valuable insights as to the "norm" during Musashi's life.

    I found the book and the author's insights to be very interesting in trying to understand this very gifted and unique warrior, who lived at a pivital time in Japan's history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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