Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Thoughts on the Water Book from Musashi The Book of 5 Rings.

For some time I have been thinking about the relationship of Musashi’s book “The Book of Five Rings” interpreted for general karate (Not style specific). So I used Bing to find a version at  http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Book-of-Five-Rings-by-Musashi-Miyamoto.pdf I know there are many other translations ( and I believe I still have some somewhere ) but this is a good a starting place as anywhere. I have but added a few thoughts at this time.
Chapter  2
The spirit  of the Ni Ten Ichi school of strategy is based  on water,  and  this Water  Book explains methods of victory  as the  long-sword form  of the Ichi school.  Language does  not  extend to explaining the  Way  in detail, but it can be grasped intuitively. Study  this book; read  a word then  pon- der on it. If you interpret the meaning loosely you will mistake the Way.
The  principles of strategy are  written down here  in  terms  of single combat,  but you must  think  broadly so that  you attain  an understanding for ten-thousand-a-side battles.
Strategy is different from  other  things  in that  if you  mistake the  Way even a little you will become bewildered and fall into bad ways.
If you  merely read  this  book  you  will not  reach  the  Way  of Strategy. Absorb  the things  written in this book. Do not just read,  memorize or im- itate,  but  so that  you  realize  the  principle from  within your  own  heart study hard to absorb  these things  into your  body.
Spiritual Bearing in Strategy
In strategy your  spiritual bearing must  not be any  different from  nor- mal.  Both  in  fighting and  in  everyday life  you  should be  determined though calm.  Meet  the  situation without tenseness yet  not  recklessly, your  spirit  settled yet unbiased. Even when your  spirit  is calm do not let your  body  relax,  and  when your  body  is relaxed do  not  let your  spirit slacken.  Do not let your  spirit  be influenced by your  body,  or your  body be influenced by your  spirit.  Be neither insufficiently spirited nor  over spirited. An elevated spirit  is weak  and  a low  spirit  is weak.  Do not  let the enemy  see your  spirit.
Small  people must   be  completely familiar with   the  spirit   of  large people, and  large people must  be familiar with  the spirit  of small people. Whatever your  size, do not be misled  by the reactions of your  own body. With your  spirit  open  and unconstricted, look at things  from a high point of  view.   You  must   cultivate  your   wisdom  and   spirit.   Polish   your

wisdom: learn  public  justice,  distinguish between good  and  evil,  study the Ways  of different arts  one by one. When  you  cannot  be deceived by men you will have realized the wisdom of strategy.
The wisdom of strategy is different from  other  things.  On  the  battle- field,  even  when you  are hard-pressed, you  should ceaselessly research the principles of strategy so that you can develop a steady spirit.
Stance in Strategy
Adopt a stance  with  the head  erect, neither hanging down, nor looking up,  nor twisted. Your forehead and  the space  between your  eyes should not  be  wrinkled. Do  not  roll  your  eyes  nor  allow  them  to  blink,  but slightly   narrow them.  With  your  features composed, keep  the  line  of your  nose  straight with  a feeling  of slightly  flaring  your  nostrils. Hold the line of the rear  of the neck  straight: instill  vigour into  your  hairline, and in the same way from the shoulders down through your  entire  body. Lower  both shoulders and,  without the buttocks jutting  out, put  strength into  your  legs from  the knees  to the tips  of your  toes. Brace your  abdo- men  so that  you do not bend  at the hips.  Wedge  your  companion sword in your  belt against your  abdomen, so that  your  belt is not slack - this is called "wedging in".
In all forms of strategy, it is necessary to maintain the combat  stance  in everyday life  and  to  make  your  everyday stance  your  combat  stance. You must  research this well.
The Gaze in Strategy
The   gaze   should  be  large   and   broad.  This   is  the   twofold  gaze
"Perception and Sight". Perception is strong and sight week.
In strategy it is important to see distant things  as if they were close and to  take  a distanced view  of close  things.  It is important in  strategy to know  the enemy's sword and  not to be distracted by insignificant move- ments  of his sword. You must  study this. The gaze is the same  for single combat  and for large-scale strategy.
It is necessary in strategy to be able to look to both sides without mov- ing  the  eyeballs.  You cannot  master this  ability  quickly.  Learn  what  is written here;  use this  gaze  in everyday life and  do not vary  it whatever happens.
Holding the Long Sword
Grip  the long  sword with  a rather floating feeling  in your  thumb and forefinger, with  the  middle finger  neither tight  nor  slack,  and  with  the last two fingers  tight. It is bad to have play in your  hands.
When  you take up a sword, you must  feel intent  on cutting the enemy. As you  cut  an  enemy  you  must  not  change  your  grip,  and  your  hands must  not  "cower".  When  you  dash  the  enemy's sword aside,  or ward it off, or force it down, you must  slightly  change  the feeling  in your  thumb and  forefinger. Above  all, you must  be intent  on cutting the enemy  in the way you grip the sword.
The  grip  for  combat  and  for  sword-testing is the  same.  There  is no such thing  as a "man-cutting grip".
Generally, I dislike  fixedness in both  long  swords and  hands. Fixed- ness means a dead hand. Pliability  is a living hand. You must  bear this in mind.
With  the  tips  of your  toes  somewhat floating, tread  firmly  with  your heels.  Whether you  move  fast  or  slow,  with  large  or  small  steps,  your feet must  always move  as in normal walking. I dislike  the three  walking methods know  as "jumping-foot", "floating-foot" and "fixed-steps"
So-called   "Yin-Yang  foot"  is  important in  the  Way.  Yin-Yang  foot means not  moving only  one  foot.  It means moving your  feet  left-right and  right-left when cutting, withdrawing,  or  warding off  a  cut.  You should not move on one foot preferentially.
The Five Attitudes
The  five  attitudes are:  Upper, Middle, Lower,  Right  Side,  and  Left Side. These  are  the  give.  Although attitude has  these  five divisions, the one purpose of all of them  is to cut the enemy.  There  are none  but these five attitudes.
Whatever attitude you  are in, do not  be conscious of making the atti- tude;  think  only  of cutting. Your  attitude should be large  or  small  ac- cording to the situation. Upper, Lower and  Middle attitudes are decisive. Left  Side  and  Right  Side  attitudes are  fluid.  Left  and  Right  attitudes should be used  if there  is an obstruction overhead or to one side. The de- cision to use Left or Right depends on the place.
The essence  of the Way is this. To understand attitude you must  thor- oughly understand the middle attitude. The middle attitude is the heart of attitudes. If we look at strategy on a broad scale, the Middle attitude is

the  seat  of the  commander, with  the  other  four  attitudes following the commander. You must  appreciate this.
The Way of the Long Sword
Knowing the Way of the long sword means we can wield  with  two fin- gers the sword we usually carry.  If we know  the path  of the sword well, we  can  wield  it easily.  If you  try  to wield  the  long  sword quickly  you will  mistake the  Way.  To wield  the  long  sword well  you  must  wield  it calmly.
If you  try to wield  it quickly,  like a folding fan or a short  sword, you will  err  by using  "short  sword chopping". You cannot  cut  down a man with a long sword using  this method.
When  you have cut downwards with  the longsword, lift it straight up- wards; when you cut sideways, return the sword along  a sideways path. Return the  sword in  a  reasonable way,  always stretching the  elbows broadly. Wield the sword strongly. This is the Way of the longsword.
If you learn  to use the five approaches of my strategy, you will be able to wield  a sword well. You must  train  constantly.
The Five Approaches
1. The first approach is the Middle attitude. Confront the enemy  with the  point   of  your   sword against his  face.  When  he  attacks,   dash   his sword to the right  and  "ride" it. Or, when the enemy  attacks,  deflect  the point  of his sword by hitting downwards, keep your  long sword where it is, and  as the enemy  renews his attack  cut his arms  from  below.  This is the first method.
The five approaches are this  kind  of thing.  You must  train  repeatedly using  a long sword in order  to learn  them.  When  you master my Way of the long sword, you will be able to control  any attack  the enemy  makes.  I assure you, there  are no attitudes other  than  the five attitudes of the long sword of Ni To.
2. In the  second approach with  the  long  sword, from  the  Upper atti- tude  cut the enemy  just as he attacks.  If the enemy  evades the cut, keep your  sword where it is and,  scooping up  from  below,  cut him  as he re- news the attack.  It is possible to repeat the cut from here.
In this method there  are various changes in timing and  spirit.  You will be able to understand this by training in the Ichi school. You will always win with the five long sword methods. You must  train  repetitively.
3. In the third approach, adopt the Lower  attitude, anticipating scoop- ing up. When  the enemy  attacks,  hit his hands from below.  As you do so
he  may  try  to  hit  your  sword down. If this  is the  case,  cut  his  upper arm(s)  horizontally with  a feeling of "crossing". This means that from the lower  attitudes you hit the enemy  at the instant that he attacks.
You will encounter this  method often,  both  as a beginner and  in later strategy. You must  train  holding a long sword.
4. In this  fourth approach, adopt the Left Side attitude. As the enemy attacks  hit his hands from  below.  If as you  hit his hands he attempts to dash  down your  sword, with  the  feeling  of hitting his hands, parry the path  of his long sword and cut across from above your  shoulder.
This is the  Way  of the  long  sword. Through this  method you  win  by parrying the line of the enemy's attack.  You must  research this.
5. In the fifth approach, the sword is in the Right  Side attitude. In ac- cordance with  the enemy's attack,  cross your  long  sword from  below  at the side to the Upper attitude. Then cut straight from above.
This method is essential for knowing the Way of the long  sword well. If you can use this method, you can freely wield  a heavy  long sword.
I cannot  describe in detail  how  to use these  five approaches. You must become  well  acquainted with  my  "in  harmony with  the  long  sword" Way, learn  large-scale timing, understand  the  enemy's long  sword, and become  used  to the five approaches from the outset.  You will always win by using  these  five methods, with  various timing considerations discern- ing the enemy's spirit.  You must  consider all this carefully.
The "Attitude No-Attitude" Teaching
"Attitude No-Attitude" means that  there  is no need  for what  are know as long sword attitudes.
Even  so, attitudes exist  as the  five  ways  of holding the  long  sword. However you  hold  the sword it must  be in such  a way  that  it is easy  to cut the enemy  well, in accordance with  the situation, the place, and  your relation to the enemy.  From the Upper attitude as your  spirit  lessens  you can  adopt the  Middle attitude, and  from  the  Middle attitude you  can raise  the sword a little  in your  technique and  adopt the Upper attitude. From  the  lower  attitude you  can raise  the  sword and  adopt the  Middle attitudes as the occasion demands. According to the situation, if you turn your  sword from  either  the Left Side or Right  Side attitude towards the centre, the Middle or the Lower attitude results.
The   principle  of   this   is   called   "Existing   Attitude  -  Nonexisting
The primary thing  when you take a sword in your  hands is your  inten- tion  to  cut  the  enemy,  whatever the  means. Whenever you  parry, hit,
spring, strike  or touch  the  enemy's cutting sword, you  must  cut the  en- emy in the same movement. It is essential to attain  this. If you think  only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy,  you will not be able actually to cut him.  More  than  anything, you  must  be thinking of carry- ing  your  movement through to  cutting him.  You  must  thoroughly  re- search  this.
Attitude in strategy on a larger  scale is called  "Battle Array".  Such atti- tudes are all for winning battles.  Fixed formation is bad. Study  this well.
To Hit the Enemy "In One Timing"
"In One Timing"  means, when you  have  closed  with  the enemy,  to hit him  as quickly  and  directly as possible, without moving your  body  or settling your  spirit,  while you see that he is still undecided. The timing of hitting before  the  enemy  decides to  withdraw, break  or  hit,  is this  "In One Timing".
You must  train  to achieve  this timing, to be able to hit in the timing of an instant.
The "Abdomen Timing of Two"
When  you attack  and  the enemy  quickly  retreats, as you see him tense you  must  feint a cut. Then,  as he relaxes,  follow  up  and  hit him.  This is the "Abdomen Timing  of Two".
It is very  difficult  to attain  this  by merely reading this  book,  but  you will soon understand with a little instruction.
No Design, No Conception
In this method, when the enemy  attacks  and  you also decide  to attack, hit with  your  body,  and  hit with  your  spirit,  and  hit from  the Void with your  hands, accelerating strongly. This  is the  "No  Design,  No  Concep- tion" cut.
This  is the  most  important method of hitting. It is often  used.  You must  train  hard to understand it.
The Flowing Water Cut
The  "Flowing  Water  Cut"  is used  when you  are  struggling blade  to blade  with  the enemy.  When  he breaks  and  quickly  withdraws trying to spring with  his long sword, expand your  body  and  spirit  and  cut him as slowly  as possible with  your  long  sword, following your  body  like stag- nant  water.  You can cut  with  certainty if you  learn  this.  You must  dis- cern the enemy's grade.

Continuous Cut
When  you  attack  and  the enemy  also attacks,  and  your  swords spring together, in one action  cut his head,  hands and  legs. When you cut sever- al places  with  one  sweep  of the  long  sword, it is the  "Continuous Cut". You must  practice  this  cut;  it is often  used.  With  detailed practice  you should be able to understand it.
The Fire and Stones
Cut  The  Fires  and   Stones  Cut  means that  when the  enemy's long sword and  your  long  sword clash  together you  cut  as strongly as pos- sible without raising  the sword even  a little. This means cutting quickly with  the  hands, body  and  legs  - all three  cutting strongly. If you  train well enough you will be able to strike strongly.
The Red Leaves Cut
The Red Leaves Cut [allusion to falling,  dying  leaves]  means knocking down the enemy's long sword. The spirit  should be getting control  of his sword. When  the enemy  is in a long  sword attitude in front  of you  and intent  on cutting, hitting and  parrying, you strongly hit the enemy's long sword with  the  Fire  and  Stones  Cut,  perhaps in  the  spirit  of the  "No Design,  No  Conception" Cut.  If you  then  beat  down the  point   of  his sword with  a sticky  feeling,  he will  necessarily drop the  sword. If you practice  this cut it becomes  easy to make  the enemy  drop his sword. You must  train  repetitively.
The Body in Place of the Long Sword
Also "the long sword in place of the body". Usually we move  the body and  the sword at the same time to cut the enemy.  However, according to the  enemy's cutting method, you  can dash  against him  with  your  body first, and  afterwards cut with  the sword. If his body  is immoveable, you can  cut  first  with  the  long  sword, but  generally you  hit  first  with  the body  and  then  cut with  the long sword. You must  research this well and practice  hitting.
Cut and Slash
To cut and  to slash are two different things.  Cutting, whatever form of cutting it is, is decisive,  with  a resolute spirit.  Slashing  is nothing more than  touching the enemy.  Even if you slash  strongly, and  even  if the en- emy  dies  instantly, it is slashing. When  you  cut, your  spirit  is resolved.
You must  appreciate this.  If you  first  slash  the  enemy's hands or  legs, you  must  then  cut  strongly. Slashing  is in spirit  the  same  as touching. When you realize  this, they become indistinguishable. Learn this well.
Chinese Monkey's Body
The  Chinese Monkey's Body  is the  spirit  of not  stretching out  your arms.  The spirit  is to get in quickly,  without in the least  extending your arms,  before  the  enemy  cuts.  If you  are  intent  upon not  stretching out your  arms  you  are  effectively  far away,  the  spirit  is to go in with  your whole  body.  When  you  come  to within arm's  reach  it becomes  easy  to move your  body  in. You must  research this well.
Glue and Lacquer Emulsion Body
The spirit  of "Glue and  Lacquer  Emulsion Body" is to stick to the  en- emy  and  not  separate from  him.  When  you  approach the  enemy,  stick firmly  with  your  head,  body  and  legs. People  tend  to advance their  head and  legs quickly,  but  their  body  lags behind. You should stick firmly  so that  there  is not  the  slightest gap  between the  enemy's body  and  your body. You must  consider this carefully.
To Strive for Height
By "to strive  for height"  is meant, when you  close with  the enemy,  to strive  with  him  for superior height  without cringing. Stretch  your  legs, stretch  your  hips,  and  stretch  your  neck face to face with  him. When  you think  you  have  won,  and  you  are  the  higher, thrust in  strongly.  You must  learn this.
To Apply Stickiness
When  the enemy  attacks  and  you also attack  with  the long sword, you should go in with  a sticky  feeling  and  fix your  long  sword against the enemy's as you receive  his cut. The spirit  of stickiness is not hitting very strongly, but  hitting so that  the long  swords do not separate easily.  It is best  to  approach as  calmly  as  possible when hitting the  enemy's long sword   with    stickiness.   The    difference   between   "Stickiness"    and "Entanglement" is that  stickiness is firm and  entanglement is weak.  You must  appreciate this.
The Body Strike
The Body  Strike  means to approach the  enemy  through a gap  in his guard. The spirit  is to strike  him  with  your  body.  Turn  your  face a little
aside  and  strike  the  enemy's breast  with  your  left shoulder thrust out. Approach  with   the  spirit   of  bouncing  the  enemy   away,   striking  as strongly as  possible in  time  with  yout  breathing. If you  achieve   this method of closing  with  the enemy,  you  will be able to knock  him  ten or twenty feet away.  It is possible to strike  the enemy  until  he is dead.  Train well.
Three Ways to Parry His Attack
There are three  methods to parry a cut:
First, by dashing the enemy's long  sword to your  right,  as if thrusting at his eyes, when he makes  an attack
Or, to parry by thrusting the enemy's long sword towards his right  eye with the feeling of snipping his neck.
Or, when you have  a short  "long sword", without worrying about  par- rying  the enemy's long sword, to close with  him quickly,  thrusting at his face with your  left hand.
These are the three  methods of parrying. You must  bear  in mind that you can always clench your  left hand and  thrust at the enemy's face with your  fist. For this it is necessary to train  well.
To Stab at the Face
To stab at the face means, when you  are in confrontation with  the en- emy, that your  spirit  is intent  of stabbing at his face, following the line of the  blades   with   the  point   of  your   long  sword. If  you  are  intent   on stabbing at his  face, his  face and  body  will  become  rideable. When  the enemy  becomes  as if rideable, there  are  various opportunities for win- ning. You must  concentrate on this. When fighting and  the enemy's body becomes  as if rideable, you can win quickly,  so you ought not to forget to stab  at  the  face. You  must  pursue the  value  of this  technique through training.
To Stab at the Heart
To stab  at the  heart  means, when fighting and  there  are  obstructions above,  or to the sides,  and  whenever it is difficult  to cut, to thrust at the enemy.  You  must  stab  the  enemy's breast  without letting  the  point  of your   long  sword  waver, showing the  enemy   the  ridge   of  the  blade square-on, and  with  the spirit  of deflecting his long  sword. The spirit  of this  principle is often  useful  when we  become  tired  or for some  reason our long sword will not cut. You must  understand the application of this method.

To Scold "Tut-TUT!"
"Scold" means that,  when the enemy  tries to counter-cut as you attack, you  counter-cut again  from  below  as if thrusting at him,  trying to hold him  down. With  very  quick  timing you  cut, scolding the enemy.  Thrust up,  "Tut!", and  cut  "TUT!" This  timing is  encountered time  and  time again  in exchange of blows.  The way  to scold Tut-TUT is to time the cut simultaneously with  raising  your  long  sword as if to thrust the  enemy.
 You must  learn this through repetitive practice.
The Smacking Parry
By "smacking parry"  is meant that when you clash swords with  the en- emy, you meet his attacking cut on your  long sword with  a tee-dum, tee- dum rhythm, smacking his  sword and  cutting him.  The  spirit  of  the smacking parry is not parrying, or smacking strongly, but  smacking the enemy's long  sword in accordance with  his  attacking cut,  primarily in- tent  on quickly  cutting him.  If you  understand the  timing of smacking, however hard your  long swords clash together, your  swordpoint will not be knocked back  even  a little.  You must  research sufficiently to realize this.
There are Many Enemies
"There  are  many  enemies"  applies when you  are  fighting one  against many.   Draw  both  sword and  companion sword and  assume a  wide- stretched left and  right  attitude. The spirit  is to chase the enemies around from  side  to side,  even  though they  come  from  all four  directions. Ob- serve  their  attacking order, and  go to meet  first  those  who  attack  first. Sweep  your  eyes  around broadly, carefully examining the  attacking or- der,  and  cut left and  right  alternately with  your  swords. Waiting is bad. Always quickly  re-assume your  attitudes to both  sides,  cut the  enemies down as they  advance, crushing them  in the  direction from  which  they attack.  Whatever you do, you must  drive  the enemy  together, as if tying a line of fishes,  and  when they  are  seen  to be piled  up,  cut  them  down strongly without giving  them  room  to move.
The Advantage when Coming to Blows
You can know  how to win through strategy with  the long sword, but it cannot  be clearly  explained in writing. You must  practice  diligently in order  to understand how to win.


Oral  tradition: "The  true   Way  of  Strategy   is  revealed in  the  long sword."



One Cut


You can win with  certainty with  the spirit  of "one cut". It is difficult  to attain  this if you do not learn  strategy well. If you train  well in this Way, strategy will come  from  your  heart  and  you  will be able to win  at will. You must  train  diligently.



Direct Communication


The spirit  of "Direct Communication" is how the true Way of the Ni To

Ichi school is received and handed down.


Oral tradition: "Teach your  body  strategy."


Recorded in the above book is an outline of Ichi school sword-fighting.


 To learn  how  to win  with  the  long  sword in strategy, first  learn  the five approaches and  the  five attitudes, and  absorb  the  Way  of the  long sword naturally in your  body.  You must  understand spirit  and  timing, handle the  long  sword naturally, and  move  body  and  legs  in harmony with  your  spirit.  Whether beating one  man  or two,  you  will then  know

values in strategy.


Study  the contents of this book, taking  one item at a time, and  through fighting with  enemies you  will gradually come to know  the principle of the Way.


Deliberately, with  a patient spirit,  absorb  the  virtue of all this,  from time  to time  raising  your  hand in combat.  Maintain this spirit  whenever you cross swords with and enemy.


Step by step walk the thousand-mile road.


Study  strategy over  the  years  and  achieve  the  spirit  of the  warrior.

Today  is victory  over  yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your  victory over lesser men. Next, in order  to beat more  skillful men, train  according to this  book,  not  allowing your  heart  to be swayed along  a side-track. Even if you  kill an enemy,  if it is not based  on what  you  have  learned it is not the true Way.


If you  attain  this Way of victory,  then  you  will be able to beat  several tens  of men.  What  remains is sword-fighting ability,  which  you  can at- tain in battles  and duels.


There is a lot to think about here, of course karate is not about fighting with swords. But if one replaces the idea of sword attacks with strikes, kicks, locks and throws perhaps that will give some idea of how these ideas could be considered.

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