8/22/2021

Adventures Of Musashi

Directed by Franz Tissera. With Shin Koyamada, Tim Neff. Reborn follows the high energy adventures of a futuristic version of the famed Japanese swordsman Musashi Miyamoto. Adventures of Musashi The –Nintendo Nes– 00:37. Musashi no Bouken –Nintendo Nes–. Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai—without really knowing what it meant—he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying.

The Truth behind the Legend..

Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.” — Anne Sexton

In 1935 novelist Eiji Yoshikawa (1892 – 1962) changed the martial arts world when he published his epic Musashi, a fictionalized account of the adventures of Miyamoto Musashi which was serialized in the newspaper Asahi Shimbun. The legendary swordsman was well known to practitioners of classical Japanese swordsmanship, but virtually no one had heard of Musashi beyond that fellowship. Certainly he was not the mythic figure we think we know today, one who has been portrayed in books, movies, manga, and comics to the point where he has become a household name far beyond the traditional martial arts community.

Yoshikawa was a talented writer, one who ignited the imaginations of his readership. Once he created the mystique of Musashi it caught fire. Suddenly Musashi was larger than life, a figure whose methods of thought, strategy, and tactics were adopted across a wide spectrum of Japanese society, especially amongst military leaders and captains of industry. They studied his ancient treatise on strategy Go Rin No Sho, intuiting relevance and meaning in modern life. Before long Musashi’s legend spread beyond the shores of Japan, making an impact on people from all walks of life all across the world. In fact, his treatise Go Rin No Sho has been translated into English at least a dozen different times where it was published under the title The Book of Five Rings and various derivations thereof. It has also been printed in languages as diverse as Arabic, Chinese, Greek, German, Indonesian, French, Lithuanian, Spanish, and Thai.

Adventures Of Musashi Nes

If Musashi had not written this exposition Go Rin No Sho and Koshikawa subsequently publicized it centuries later, it is likely that Japan’s most famous swordsman would have been relegated to the dustbins of history along with most other luminaries of his period, known only by historians and historical re-enactors. Nevertheless, Musashi retired to a cave near the end of his life, put down his swords, and took up a pen. And, Koshikawa brought those ancient writings back to life. In the process he is largely responsible for making Musashi the venerable sword saint that he is today.

Roughly three hundred years after his death in 1645, Musashi has become an icon. His name is synonymous with samurai ethos, as ubiquitous as katana, bushido, and shogun. In fact, he is often called kensei, the “sword saint” of Japan. Musashi is, without doubt, a larger-than-life figure. However, he was not just a mythic hero; he was a real person too… In studying his writings it is important to remember that. Before he became the symbol of a bygone era, arguably the greatest swordsman who ever lived, Musashi was a real person, and an imperfect one at that.

Today we know that Miyamoto Musashi (1584 – 1645) was born Shinmen Takezō. He grew up in the Harima Province of Japan and slew his first opponent, Arima Kihei, in a duel he fought at the tender age of thirteen. Over a lifetime of blood and strife he killed more than sixty samurai warriors in fights or duals during the feudal period where even a minor battle injury could lead to infection and death, a miraculous feat. He was the founder of the unconventional Hyōhō Niten Ichi-Ryu style of swordsmanship, which translates as “Two Heavens as One,” or more simply “Two-Sword Style.” Like most samurai, he was a highly trained martial artist, a veritable killing machine, but he was also skilled in the peaceful arts as well, an exceptional poet, calligrapher, and artist. Two years before he died, Musashi retired to a life of seclusion in a cave where he codified his winning strategy in Go Rin No Sho which, in English, means The Book of Five Rings.

Legends state that when he was only eight years old he left home to learn calligraphy, poetry, and other arts, leaving almost everything behind. Impressive, right? Perhaps, but let’s try to separate the man from the myth for a moment. In Japanese society tatemae (official truth/outward story) often varies from honne (secret truth/inward story). Was leaving home the first steps along a path toward enlightenment in an ascetic lifestyle or simply a young man running away from an abusive father?

At the age of thirteen Musashi challenged a famous swordsman, Arima Kihei, to a duel and defeated him using a stick in lieu of a sword. Was this a heroic battle as it is customarily portrayed (tatemae) or did Musashi through grit, determination, anger, and a burning desire for glory ambush Kihei, knock him to the ground, and savagely beat him to death (honne)?

In 1612, Musashi fought another famous duel, this time with Sasaki Kojirō. Musashi showed up three hours late. When he finally arrived, both his adversary and the officials of the duel were irritated by his tardiness. Rather than carrying a steel blade he was once again armed with a wooden sword. This time it was a bokken that he had carved out of an oar. Furthermore, Musashi knew that Kojirō’s sword was a little longer than a normal katana, so he spent the extra time to carve a wooden weapon that was just a little bit longer than that, giving him an additional advantage in reach.

By arriving late, showing contempt for the opponent and the moment and then doubling down by not even having the dignity to use a real sword for a life-or-death duel he rattled his adversary. Brilliant strategy don’t you think? But, Musashi went even farther still… When Kojirō drew his sword to get things started he threw his saya (scabbard) aside in disgust, prompting Musashi to further unnerve him by commenting something along the lines of, “If you have no more use for your scabbard, you are already dead.”

Musashi had won even before the fight began because he had stacked the deck in his favor so effectively. Not only did he use psychological tricks, but he also wielded a longer weapon, something which many overlook in his victory.

Adventures Of Musashi Rom

Remember the scene in the Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon where he tricked an opponent onto a boat and then left him floating without an oar? That was inspired by another of Musashi’s dirty tricks. He may or may not have truly been the greatest swordsman of his period, perhaps even of all time, but we know for certain that Musashi was one of the most successful.

An unconventional thinker, he often fought with two swords instead of one, he made extensive use of misdirection and psychological warfare, and nearly always cheated in one way or another in order to win. In fact, he was downright brilliant at his job, which like most warriors who live in tumultuous times ultimately boils down to killing other warriors efficiently. Unlike others of his era, however, Musashi took the time to write about what he had done, the things he had accomplished, and the strategies that made him successful in his endeavors. That’s a vital factor in what we know and think about him today. After all, he’s not the only one who lived an amazing life during that time period, but he is one of the few who documented his perspectives on what he had seen and done for posterity.

Musashi

The Book of Five Rings, Musashi’s most famous writing, is a work where life experience meets genius. To read The Book of Five Rings in your youth and then peruse it again in mid-life reveals a newer and deeper understanding of what has been presented. In this sense, Musashi truly was a combative genius. Small wonder that our patron sword saint crossed over to become an icon, a legend.. But what drove him? What brought him there?

While he never wrote a book that we know of, Musashi’s father Munisai was a famous martial artist in his own right. His very name means, “A man unequaled.” After defeating a famous swordsman of the Yoshioka family in front of the shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, he was honored with the title, hi no shita heihojutsusha, which translates as, “The greatest fighter/tactician under the sun.” He was also reported to be self-assured, aggressive, aloof, and domineering. And, he firmly believed that his son was arrogant. It is easy to see that this combination of the autocrat and the arrogant would not mix well. Night and day; oil and water.. And, to be certain, it didn’t.

Musashi’s father treated him poorly, ostensibly in order to bend him to his will. It didn’t work. When he could no longer abide the strict rules of Munisai’s household and treatment that he felt was beneath his station, Musashi ran away from home. He was only eight years old at the time. Once he had made his reputation by killing Kihei he left his hometown never to return. With no meaningful relationships in his young life, he set out to “barrow the battlefield,” a term used by swordsmen wanting to prove themselves in combat and win a position within that domain. The cause, the lord under whose banner he fought, even the reason for war was not horribly important, but rather proving oneself by killing others was paramount.

Nes

Let’s think about this: No meaningful relationships, a self-selected loner, intense focus to the point of obsession, and a willingness to kill. Of course we love Musashi, he is Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris, Jason Statham, and Bruce Lee all rolled into a tough-as-nails mercenary who roamed the land with a three-foot razor blade searching out prey to slaughter.. Wait a minute, on a movie screen that’s that makes for a rousing good time, but in real life it sounds an awful lot like something a psychopath might do. Flight potato games.

Was Musashi a functional psychopath? Let’s examine some of his behaviors: To begin, Musashi was ruthless. He sought out other men to murder. He didn’t kill to defend his life, his property, or even his liege-lord; he killed simply to test his skill in battle. He killed to improve his reputation and status in life. He killed because he could. And, he was very good at it.

Musashi was fearless, another common attribute of functional psychopaths. He clearly embraced the adage, “A samurai never fears death.” The ability to be and stay mentally focused was a key to Musashi developing and honing his skills as a swordsman. This mental discipline led to the development of his innovative two-sword system, a style that was unheard of in the orthodox sword-schools of his time.

An absolute lack of conscience is another attribute of a psychopath. At no time does Musashi speak about being fair or just in his writings. His only focus was on how to win. He saw the world as a very utilitarian place. At no time did he ever express remorse either. Sure, he lived in a different time, was held to a different set of standards and ethics, but even in warrior societies it’s not easy to wantonly go around killing people with no remorse.

While he may have been born predisposed to an antisocial personality disorder, Musashi was, beyond any shadow of a doubt, a genius. Can we separate the psychopath from the genius? Sure we can, but it may be a bit of a challenge. Once we move past the acknowledgment that Musashi was a psychopath it places his writings in a different light.

Engage with the essentials of the master swordsman’s teachings, his meaningful messages, all the while keeping a balance between the value of the icon and the reality of who he was as a man. In other words, he wrote about a different time and place, a different culture and ethic. There is merit in much of what he said, but his words are not a bible.

Many people know about Musashi’s first book Go Rin No Sho, have even studied it in depth, but far fewer have perused his second one. On the occasion of Musashi giving away his possessions in preparation for his impending death, he wrote down his final thoughts about life in a treatise he called Dokkodo for his favorite student Terao Magonojō to whom Go Rin No Sho had also been dedicated. The title Dokkodo translates as, “The Way of Walking Alone.” It is a short essay that contains a mere 21 passages, yet it is just as profound as his longer dissertation.

Adventures Of Musashi

Today we published the definitive interpretation of Musashi’s Dokkodo. It takes the unique and holistic approach rather than the single perspective commonly found in translations of ancient treatises. The book contains Musashi's original 21 precepts of the Dokkodo along with five different interpretations of each passage written from the viewpoints of a monk, a warrior, a teacher, an insurance executive, and a businessman. Each contributor has taken a divergent path from the others, yet shares the commonality of being a lifelong martial practitioner and published author. In this fashion readers can scrutinize his final words for deeper meaning. In them are enduring lessons for how to lead a successful and meaningful life.

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Musashis-Dokkodo-Way-Walking-Alone/dp/0692563490