Miyamoto Musashi: A Inspiring Samurai with a pen

Miyamoto Musashi: A Inspiring Samurai with a pen

Miyamoto Musashi, also known by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer, and rōnin (masterless Samurai). Commonly known as Musashi was a master of various arts but one that stood above all was his swordsman skill.

Musashi was born in 1584 in the Yoshino district of Mimasaka or Harima Province, Japan. And died on 13 June 1645 in Higo Province at the age of 61.

Miyamoto’s Early Life

Musashi from an early age developed an inclination towards Kenjutsu (Schools of Japanese Swordsmanship)and Juttejutsu(Japanese martial art of using Japanese Weapon) as his father, Shinmen Munisai was a samurai skilled in those combat arts. After the demise of his mother, Musashi went to the Shoreian temple to his uncle Dorin who was a monk there. During the stay there he learned about Zen Buddhism and also got his primary education. Although he wasn’t much of a religious person, Musashi practiced Zen and thought that success in combat was based on a person’s character and mental preparation.

Miyamoto’s Sword Style: Best Among The Beasts

Often remembered as the sword-saint of Japan, Musashi had been undefeated in his record 61 duels. In 1612, he fought against his arch-rival Sasaki Kojirō, a swordsman whose skills were reported to be equal to his own with a wooden sword, and finished the duel in one single bow. 

Miyamoto Musashi was a gifted swordsman with a fighting spirit of a bull and the untouched calmness of a cheetah. He used to get inside the psyche of his opponent and beat him inside his head even before the first sword was drawn. It is said during his travels with monks he also mastered the art of meditation which helped him during his battle and life altogether.

Miyamoto Musashi's Niten'ichi - two sword style

In the course of history, there have been many accomplished Samurais but Miyamoto Musashi was in his own league. Once when he was fighting against dozens of his enemies, to escape and fight off his opponents he drew his second sword and defended himself with a sword in each hand which initially was the beginning of his Niten’ichi sword style.

Miyamoto Mushashi Journey From Battle To Books

Musashi was not only a great samurai but was also the founder of the Niten Ichi-ryū School. Towards his final years, he wrote “The Book of Five Rings” and Dokkōdō (The Path of Aloneness). 

His books even after centuries are seen as the great’s to be authored. While “The Book of Five Rings” is a text on Kenjutsu and the martial arts in general; Dokkōdō on the other hand, deals with the ideas that lie behind it, as well as his life’s philosophy. 

Writing books on Kenjutsu and life’s philosophy

It is said during his travels with monks he also mastered the art of meditation which helped him during his battle and life altogether.

From the first kill, the chaos of battles, years of intense training in the wilderness, the psychology of the Yoshioka duels,  hunting down and challenging masters of any weapon Musashi witnessed everything. One thing that was waiting for him was peace of mind. And he found it in a cave at a Buddhist retreat, halfway up a mountain where he would write The Book of Five Rings – a creation that would seal his place in history. 

While his other book “Dokkodo” was largely composed on the occasion of Musashi giving away his possessions in preparation for death, and was dedicated to his favorite disciple, Terao Magonojō.  “Dokkodo” (“The Path of Aloneness”, “The Way to Go Forth Alone”, or “The Way of Walking Alone”) is a short work written by Miyamoto Musashi weeks before his demise in 1645. It consists of 21 precepts. 

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Philosophy Of Miyamoto Musashi 

Miyamoto Musashi’s way of life and his philosophy seem to be very much relevant even in today’s world which is why his books are translated into many languages and have been best sellers. His books on military strategy and swordsmanship are quite famous among businessmen in Japan. He believed distinction on anything easy or hard could be attained through sheer dedication and immense practice.

During his 61 years of physical lifetime, Miyamoto not only excelled in sword fights but also excelled in painting, writing books, devising military strategies, and sculpturing. Miyamoto Musashi’s excellence was evident in a masterful painting as it was in a sword fight.

One of the key mottos of his life was “Do nothing which is of no use“.  Musashi always kept religion and his works in a separate way and never let them have an adverse effect on each other. 

20 Inspirational Miyamoto Mushashi Quotes

And to honor this legendary Samurai we have listed a few precepts and lines from his books:

  • Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
  • Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
  • Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
  • You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain.
  • Never be jealous.
  • The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them.
  • Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
  • Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
  • You can only fight the way you practice.
  • Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.
  • Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man.
  • To know ten thousand things, know one well.
  • To become the enemy, see yourself as the enemy of the enemy.
  • Do not fear death.
  • You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor.
  • Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
  • No man is invincible, and therefore no man can fully understand that which would make him invincible.
  • Step by step walk the thousand-mile road.
  • It is said the warrior’s is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.
  • There is even rhythm in being empty.

Some of Musashi’s advice has eternal value. As Musashi wrote:

“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”

Representation Of Miyamoto Musashi Life In Anime And Movies

Musashi’s life was glorified and romanticized and featured as the subject of numerous theatrical dramas, movies, anime, and novels. His life has been glorified and romanticized and featured as the subject of numerous theatrical dramas and novels.

There are also a lot of documentaries made on the life of Miyamoto.  “The Samurai Trilogy”, “Miyamoto Musashi IV: Duel at Ichijyo-Ji Temple” (1971 ), “Samurai (2010) documentary, and “Musashi” (2010), a play written by Hisashi Inoue are a few of the depicts of Miyamoto in visual form. 

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