Miyamoto Musashi Killing a Giant Nue by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

‘I have not followed the paths of other men. I have lived without the benefit of a teacher and by my own devices I became master of myself and thereby master of the sword and the brush never differentiating between any of these arts.’ – Musashi (1584-1645), Japanese Kensei, author of the Book of Five Rings

Fierce Shout: Before battle to unsettle the enemy!

Book of Earth

No man is invincible
there is only honor and dishonor,
his death written in the calligraphic ink of his study

Endeavor to know all things
becoming more aware of the world
an essential strategy to defeat the enemy

The work is more important than the worker
you are the spiritual conduit
become one who sees what cannot be seen

Book of Water

All life is the battlefield, focus your intent
the brushstrokes and strikes of practice
are not separate from their execution in life

Man and brush have one purpose
communion with the spirit of the thing, this is the
way of the warrior, sword embodying the soul of the samurai

Be as falling leaves, with no preconceived notions
Stab the heart with your expansive mind
Extend your spirit above the enemy

Fierce Shouts: Each time you strike, to maintain your resoluteness of spirit!

Book of Fire

In mortal combat you must fight to win
mean what you are doing, otherwise
you are performing tricks

Always control the enemy
keep him on the defensive, draw him to you,
be stronger in spirit and resolve

Cross the ravine with the courage of your convictions
impress your attitude upon the world
force imbalance, taking others by surprise

Book of Wind

Clever people do not understand
temperance of spirit, their tricks and false attitudes
are very dangerous to the uninformed mind

Do not be afraid to get in close
attack with power not strength
with quickness not speed

Your attitude at all times is to attack
practice with the spirit of killing the enemy
meditate on this way of strategy

Fierce Shout: In victory to honor the spirit of the thing itself!

Book of Mu (No-Thing)

The spirit of the universe is an emptiness
which is no-thing, man can have no
understanding of this place

Everything is revealed
to all men as they desire it to be revealed,
by their own definitions alone

True no-thing-ness is Mu,
the universe in relation to your art
and your art in relation to the universe

Everything is within, everything exists,
seek nothing outside yourself,
you are the spirit of the thing itself!

Tomb on Mount Iwato

‘With every note
of the mountain temple
sunset bell
sorrow arises as
day turns dark’*

*Japanese Woman Poet,
10th Century

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