The Book of Five Rings is one of the most insightful texts on the subtle arts of confrontation and victory to emerge from Asian culture. Written not only for martial artists but for anyone who wants to apply the timeless principles of this text to their life, the book analyzes the process of struggle and mastery over conflict that underlies every level of human interaction.
The Book of Five Rings was composed in 1643 by the famed duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Thomas Cleary’s translation is immediately accessible, with an introduction that presents the spiritual background of the warrior tradition. Along with Musashi’s text, Cleary translates here another important Japanese classic on leadership and strategy, The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War by Yagyu Munenori, which highlights the ethical and spiritual insights of Taoism and Zen as they apply to the way of the warrior.
I listened via audiobook, narrated by Brian Morris, which was great. His voice was deep and resonating, and at 1.5 speed, it was less than 2 hours worth which was the perfect amount of time for me to practice my stylistic handwriting for cards that I was making.
It definitely delivered what it promised, that being teaching the principles of swordsmanship, martial arts of sorts. Something I know nothing about but the application to life in general was insightful.
Practice, anticipation, strategy, situational-awareness, embracing intuitive judgement, more practice.
It was pleasant to listen to as far as content goes, that being about martial arts culture I’m less familiar with. Some parts were a bit redundant and more technical than what I was interested in.
However the observations about human nature and response was incredibly self-revealing, especially for a book that is almost 400 years old. The principles about discipline stand true to today and I got a lot out of it.
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