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The Book of Five Rings by Musashi Miyamoto

The Book of Five Rings (1643)

by Miyamoto Musashi (Author), 宮本 武蔵 (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (23)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Gift from Andi
  trexm5qp7 | Apr 17, 2014 |
One of the classic books on military thought from East or West and a must read for anyone interested in tactics or strategy. It is very good for understanding the samurai mindset. There is much on personal combat in the book but it is a bit tough to use as a training manual as there is much that is implied but not really stated (to be fair, Musashi says he wrote it that way intentionally). On the other hand, I found Musashi's method of applying the same ideas of strategy and tactics to both personal combat and "large scale military science" to be somewhat of a stretch as these are not always, as he claims, equally applicable (he is essentially equating the methods of the tactical and operational levels of war which is too broad of a claim). When approaching this book it is necessary to remember that Musashi was a duelist and a soldier, not really a general or field commander. ( )
  SPQR2755 | Oct 13, 2013 |
Bonk-Bonk on the head ! ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
Despite the earnest efforts of the translator to place the work in its contemporary context, this translation leaves many questions unanswered. Students of Japanese literature (particularly contemporary strategy literature) may get much more out of it than other readers. Ambiguous statements and overuse of abstract words gave me the feeling that a better translation is possible.

The form is letters to a promising young warrior - the writing is didactic and dogmatic assuming a high degree of you-know-what-I-mean knowledge on the part of the reader. As general pedagogy it would be more effective with diagrams to show explicitly what the vague statements mean. Just *what* is a "corner" of the body? Is the head? What about the genitalia?
Today, the philosophy of utilitarianism and "enlightened" self-interest are well known leading to a feeling that there is nothing new to modern readers about the principles presented.

I won a giveaway of the Victor Harris translation which had a mix of British and American English spellings. ( )
  NRTurner | Sep 5, 2013 |
The Kindle edition includes "The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War" by Yagyu Munenori. ( )
  jayacarl | Sep 4, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Knjiga koja na engleskom nosi ispravan naziv „Knjiga pet sfera“, delo Mijamota Musašija posvećeno umeću ratovanja, predstavlja čisto pragmatični poduhvat. Musaši ismeva spoljašnji sjaj i komercijalizaciju borilačkih veština, usmeravajući pažnju na psihološki i fizički aspekt smrtonosnog napada i odlučne pobede kao suštine ratovanja.

Njegov naučno agresivan, u potpunosti nemilosrdan pristup vojnoj nauci, iako nije bio široko zastupljen među japanskim majstorima borilačkih veština, predstavlja jednu visoko koncentrovanu karakterizaciju određenog tipa ratnika samuraja. Iako se u vezi njegovih dramatičnih podviga razvio čitav korpus legendi, malo se toga pouzdano zna o životu Mijamota Musašija. Ono što je on izneo o sebi u svojoj „Knjizi pet prstenova“ je primarni izvor istorijskih činjenica. Prvi put je u borbi ubio čoveka sa trinaest godina, a poslednji put sa dvadeset i devet godina. U jednom trenutku svog života on je navodno prestao da koristi pravi mač, ali je nastavio da zadaje smrtonosne udarce protivnicima sve do kraja karijere mačevaoca. Poslednje tri decenije života Musaši je proveo usavršavajući i podučavajući svoju ratničku nauku. Priča se da se nikada nije češljao, da se nikada nije kupao, da se nije ženio, da nije stvorio dom i da nije podizao decu. Iako je poznavao društvene veštine svog vremena i uistinu ih je preporučivao svakome, Mijamoto Musaši je u suštini išao asketskim putem ratnika do kraja svog života.

Ovo izdanje sadrži u sebi još jednu proslavljenu knjigu, Knjigu porodičnih predanja o umeću ratovanja, Jagju Munenorija, čuvenog samuraja koji se u poznim godinama posvetio zen budizmu. Otuda ova knjiga predstavlja spoj zena i borilačkih veština.

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Musashi, MiyamotoAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
武蔵, 宮本Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cleary, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munenori, YagyuContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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(Translator's Introduction by Thomas Cleary): The Book of Five Rings and The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War are two of the most important texts on conflict and strategy emerging from the Japanese warrior culture.
(Preface): The science of martial arts called the Individual School of Two Skies is something that I have spent many years refining.
Martial arts are the warrior's way of life.
(Translator's Introduction by Victor Harris): Miyamoto Musashi was born in 1584, in a Japan struggling to recover from more than four centuries of internal strife.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0517415283, Hardcover)

To learn a Japanese martial art is to learn Zen, and although you can't do so simply by reading a book, it sure does help--especially if that book is The Book of Five Rings. One of Japan's great samurai sword masters penned in decisive, unfaltering terms this certain path to victory, and like Sun Tzu's The Art of War it is applicable not only on the battlefield but also in all forms of competition. Always observant, creating confusion, striking at vulnerabilities--these are some of the basic principles. Going deeper, we find suki, the interval of vulnerability, of indecisiveness, of rest, the briefest but most vital moment to strike. In succinct detail, Miyamoto records ideal postures, blows, and psychological tactics to put the enemy off guard and open the way for attack. Most important of all is Miyamoto's concept of rhythm, how all things are in harmony, and that by working with the rhythm of a situation we can turn it to our advantage with little effort. But like Zen, this requires one task above all else, putting the book down and going out to practice. --Brian Bruya

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:23 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"The Book of Five Rings" was composed in 1643 by the famed duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Thomas Cleary's translation is immediately accessible, with an introduction that presents the spiritual background of the warrior tradition. Along with Musashi's text, Cleary translates here another important Japanese classic on leadership and strategy, "The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War" by Yagyu Munenori, which highlights the ethical and spiritual insights of Taoism and Zen as they apply to the way of the warrior.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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