In 1614 two years before he wrote the Gorin no sho (Book of the 5 Rings) Musashi wrote a work called “Thrity-five Instructions on Strategy”. It was written for Lord Hosokawa, by his guest Miyamoto Musashi. The Gorin no sho (Book of the 5 Rings) is considered a more elaborate piece off of this work.
To truly understand these teachings and the nature of this text is extremely difficult as Musashi used special terms and verbal meaning to express his respect for Lord Hosokawa, which is very hard to understand the exact meaning to translate into English.
STRATEGY ONE; (UNDERSTAND WHY) — Among the people are sailors with rudders and oars as well as farmers with a spades and hoes. Each in his way succeeds in accustoming himself to his action. You too can acquire strength through regular exercise. Nonetheless, it is appropriate for each person to choose a sword that corresponds to his strength.
STRATEGY TWO; (KNOW THE WAY) — The way is identical for a group strategy and for individual strategy. I am writing here about individual strategy, but it is appropriate to look at this towards group strategy as well. Keep in mind, the image of a general and its meaning. The limbs correspond to the vassals and the torso corresponds to the soldiers and people. It is thus that one must govern the country and ones own body, without having any imbalances. Nobody is strong and nobody is weak if he conceives of the body, from the head to the sole of the foot, as the unity in which living mind circulates everywhere equally.
STRATEGY THREE; (THE WAY OF HOLDING THE SWORD) — Life and death exist for the sword as well as for the hand When you adopt a guard position or parry an attack, if you forget to slash you opponent, your hand is going to forget and essential dynamic and will become fixed. That is what is called a “dead hand”. A living hand is one that does not become fixed in a gesture. You will then be at ease with the possibility of slashing properly, since both the sword and the hand will be adapting flexibility to successive actions. I call that “living wrist”. The wrist must not have any slack; the elbow must not be too tense not too bent. A sword should be held with tension in the lower part of the arm muscles and relaxation in the upper part of these muscles. You should examine this well. *****
(see the way I hold the sword in the picture above)
I hope that you all enjoy your lessons today from the Hyoho Sanju go kajo. Thank you all for your support! I wish you all the best in your journey of the arts.
Anshu Christa Jacobson
Headmistress of the Budo Ryu; School of the Warrior Way
21st Soke of the Tomo Ryu Tradition
Headmistress of the Budo Ryu – School of the Warrior Way
Founder of the Budo Ryu Online University
Owner of the Ninjutsu Super Store
Chief Editor of the Shinobi no Mono Magazine
Founder of the Ninjutsu International Federation
Professional Model and Artist