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.
In the translations I am using the terms that was used in the Gorin no sho (Book of the 5 Rings) as they are the more popular terms for identifying Miyamoto Musashi’s works.
(KNOWING THETHREE LEVELS OF STRATEGY)
Someone who adopts guard positions in strategy and displays different guard positions while handling the sword sometimes slowly, sometimes fast practices strategy of a low level. Someone who has refinement in strategy and who appears magnificent die to elegant bearing, practices at an intermediate level. The supreme strategy will appear neither strong nor weak; nether slow nor fast, neither magnificent nor bad, but broad, straight and calm. You should examine this well
(*note* in the test musashi uses the term “ge”, “chu” and “jo” when using these terms in expression, they are more than just low medium and high they also refer to level of skill or quality.)
(A GRADUATED CORD MEASURE)
You must always have a graduated cord measure in your mind. If you measure your opponent by adjusting the cord to him, you will be able to ascertain clearly his strengths and weakness, his straightness and crookedness, where he is relaxed and where he is tense. With this measure you must size up all aspects of your opponent – round, square, short, crooked or straight. You should examine this well.
(THE PATHWAY OF THE SWORD)
Without knowing the pathway of the sword, you cannot handle it feely. You cannot properly slash you opponent if you put too much force into it, if you do not have a sense of the back and the side of the blade, if you shale the sword around like a knife or a spoon for serving rice. You must train in hitting you opponent well, always knowing the pathway of the sword and moving it calmly, following its weight.
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