Miyamoto Musashi, who lived in Japan in the fifteenth century, was a renowned samurai warrior. He has become a martial arts icon, known not just as an undefeated dueler, but also as a master of battlefield strategy. Kenji Tokitsu turns a critical eye on Musashi’s life and writings, separating fact from fiction, and giving a clear picture of the man behind the myth.
Musashi’s best-known work, The Book of Five Rings , provides timeless insight into the nature of conflict. Tokitsu translates and provides extensive commentary on that popular work, as well as three other short texts on strategy that were written before it, and a longer, later work entitled “The Way to Be Followed Alone.” Tokitsu is a thoughtful and informed guide, putting the historical and philosophical aspects of the text into context, and illuminating the etymological nuances of particular Japanese words and phrases. As a modern martial artist and a scholar, Tokitsu provides a view of Musashi’s life and ideas that is accessible and relevant to today’s readers and martial arts students.