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 elabora te 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.
(SIZING UP THE MA)
Different schools give different instructions on the way to assess the “ma”, but I find that they tend to fix or rigidify your strategy; that is why I advise you not to take into consideration what you have learned before.
Whatever the discipline may be, it is repeated exercises that you arrive at the point of being able to assess the “ma”. In general you should think that when your sword reaches your opponent, he can also reach you. When you want to kill an opponent, you have a tendency to forget your own body. You must reflect well on this.
Let us recall that “ma” is not exactly distance but is description of the space-time of a distance / relationship. “Ma” also refers to the action of the mind by which this spatial and temporal phenomenon is grasped.
(*Note, in this text Musashi is doubtless alluding to the habits acquired by Lord Hosokawa in the Yagyu-ryu*)
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
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