Kenjutsu – The Way of the Sword

A Leaf

“It is difficult to realize the true Way just through sword-fencing. Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest things and the deepest things.”
Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings: Miyamoto Musashi

Musashi, son of a samurai, was orphaned by seven.  Known as Ben No Suke during his childhood, Musashi was taken in by an uncle on his mother’s side, a priest by occupation.   It was a time of turmoil and violence. Hideyoshi’s aggressive campaign of unification was well under way.  Musashi grew into a strapping young man, large for his age.  He was resolute, courageous, and energetic.  Kenjutsu was a natural fit with his temperament and physical strength.

Kenjutsu, the Way of the sword, was synonymous with the nobility of Japan.  The samurai class, founded in the eight century, trained in military arts, which was traditionally regarded as the pre-eminent form of study.  The Way of the sword, inspired by the teachings of Zen and steeped in the feeling of Shinto, is the moral teaching of the samurai.  The study of Zen, with its focus on truth and simplicity, complimented the austere role of a samurai.  The aspiration of Zen is fundamentally personal.  Enlightenment recognizes and embraces the nature of ordinary life.   The end point is also the beginning.

“The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them”
Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

 

22 thoughts on “Kenjutsu – The Way of the Sword

    • I do too! One of my favourite Japanese quotes is from Shinichi Suzuki – “When love is deep, much can be accomplished.” Only eight words and yet it gives us all we need to live abundantly.

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  1. The Way of Truth and Simplicity bringing balance to the Way of the Sword. Both aspects very powerful in their own way. Bless you, dear Rebecca.
    PS I love this type of photo. I noticed it with the beautiful flowers the other day. Are you using a special programme?

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    • Oh, that marvelous word – balance.

      The program I am using is Paintshop Pro X3 Ultimate. I always smile when they add ultimate, because I know that there will be a better ultimate coming shortly. And behold, I was enticed to purchase the PaintShop Pro X5 Ultimate. I haven’t downloaded this last program because I received it in the mail just yesterday. I’m learning as I go along…so much to learn, so little time, but that’s the best part of it all. We will always have something more to discover.

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      • Thank you for the info. I shall have a look into Paint shop pro. I really like the effect that you produce with it. Have a lovely weekend, dear friend. I’m snowed in here with blizzards and deep snow, so no chance of getting out. I will spend some time chilling out instead.

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    • Thank you! I am finding Pinterest an excellent way to bring together information on a particular subject or interest. It is an extraordinary way to collaborate across the internet.

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    • I am learning from a master (that’s you)! I used PaintShop to achieve this look. I find that these programs “fix” those photos that are just a little bit blurry – and make you look like you are just a little bit artistic.

      And you are right – Ben No Suke took no prisoners.

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  2. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to really study this. I mean you really do. But it would take me more concentration and time to really understand it.
    Too much to do and too many choices.
    But thanks for giving us a little taste.
    I like the graphic of the leaves. Looks like something you could make with Gimp. 🙂

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    • It would be an adventure to really study this, but I’m too far along my timeline to undertake the physical part of this journey!! I think that it is by keeping our hearts and minds open to the good in all possibilities, that we come to the beginning of learning.

      “It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet”
      ― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

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  3. I have just read all the above dialogue–great conversation! The words” Focus on truth and simplicity” Those words come through often from all parts of the world. They must be important!.

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