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Synopsis

he Book of Five Rings is a text on kenjutsu and the martial arts in general, written by the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi circa 1645. The Book of Earth chapter serves as an introduction, and metaphorically discusses martial arts, leadership, and training as building a house. The Book of Water chapter describes Musashi's style, Ni-ten ichi-ryu, or "Two Heavens, One Style". It describes some basic technique and fundamental principles. The Book of Fire chapter refers to the heat of battle, and discusses matters such as different types of timing. The Book of Wind chapter is something of a pun, since the Japanese character can mean both "wind" and "style" (e.g., of martial arts). It discusses what Musashi considers to be the failings of various contemporary schools of swordfighting. The Book of the Void chapter is a short epilogue, describing, in more esoteric terms, Musashi's probably Zen-influenced thoughts on consciousness and the correct mindset.

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