The Way of Strategy


When I reached thirty I looked back on my past.  The previous victories were not due to my having mastered strategy.  Perhaps it was natural ability, or the order of heaven, or that other schools’ strategy was inferior.  After that I studied morning and evening searching for the principle, and came to realise the Way of strategy when I was fifty.”

Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

The Way

Musashi is known to have introduced and perfected a two-sword kenjutsu technique known as Niten’ichi Ryu which means two swords as one.  His non de plume used on some of his artwork was “Niten” which signifies “Two Heavens.”  Some believe that this may refer to his strategy of holding a sword in each hand.

Musashi believed that when you attained the Way, you would achieve understanding in all things.  “You will see the Way in everything,” he wrote.  Indeed, he created masterpieces that illustrated his love of the natural world.  He painted cormorants, herons, birds, and flowers.  He was at the same ease with a calligraphy brush as he was with a sculptor’s or metal worker’s tool. Although none have been found, there is historical evidence that he wrote poems and songs.

When Musashi was in his early sixties, he took up residence in Reigan Cave, Kyushi, where he wrote “Gorin no Sho,” A Book of Five Rings.   Each volume connects the different elements of battle to the physical elements in life as described by Buddhism, Shinto and other Eastern religions – Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Void.  It is a testament to his dedication and passion for the Way.

“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”
Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy