A Book of Five Rings (Go Rin no Sho)

A Book of Five Rings (Go Rin no Sho) Summary

The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin No Sho) is a text on kenjutsu and the martial arts in general, written by the samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi circa 1645. It is considered a classic treatise on military strategy, much like Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Chanakya's Arthashastra. There have been various translations made over the years, and it enjoys an audience considerably broader than only that of martial artists: for instance, some business leaders find its discussion of conflict and taking the advantage to be relevant to their work. The modern-day Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu employs it as a manual of technique and philosophy.

Musashi establishes a "no-nonsense" theme throughout the text. For instance, he repeatedly remarks that technical flourishes are excessive, and contrasts worrying about such things with the principle that all technique is simply a method of cutting down one's opponent. He also continually makes the point that the understandings expressed in the book are important for combat on any scale, whether a one-on-one duel or a massive battle. Descriptions of principles are often followed by admonitions to "investigate this thoroughly" through practice, rather than try to learn by merely reading.

— Excerpted from Wikipedia,the free encyclopedia.

Book Reviews

Nietzsche de la Nuit

Musashi5 star

Unlike most translations, some heavily footnoted, this translation is very straightforward. This was written with assumption that the reader already an adept in any type of martial arts. Musashi was not Sun Tzu in terms of stratagem. Very likely he knew the work of Sun Tzu. But, he had his own ideas of strategy based on his experiences in combat, both in war, and duels.55


Sword Saint5 star

Every Corporation should have this book to read a 100 times. Every Martial Artist should read this Book it's a guide of faith. In Japan every executive has this book on his desk-For planning War against his competitors.55


Lackluster, uninspiring translation1 star

The word choices made by this translator fail to inspire me compared to the Nihon Corporation edition I first read. Passages which once moved me are utterly toothless herein.15


Great Translation5 star

I have a hardbound translation by William Scott Wilson which is nearly word for word to this one. Even if you don't buy into the fight record of Musashi, this is still a great read.55

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