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Recommended Reading

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1 Recommended Reading on Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:27 pm

I've noticed that a lot of people on the forum refer to Miyamoto Musashi's "The Book of Five Rings" on frequent basis. I like this. It is a great book from both a philosophical and a warriors perspective and well worth the read. If anyone has any other things they read or saw that changed their perspective or just thought it was really interesting I thought it would be nice to have a place to share it. I'm gonna start on the same line of thought and recommend 2 books that are frequently read in conjunction with "The Book of Five Rings"

"The Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho - A philishophical book largely about keeping an open mind, conquering your emotions, and defeating an opponent through indominatable will. Takuan was a well know contemporary of Musashi and is famous for a legendary encounter with the swordsman where he stood holding two fans held to the sides of his body and asked Musashi to attack him. Musashi raised his weapon and assumed several stances before lowering his sword and announcing that the zen monk's defense was impenetrable.

"Hagakure" by Yamamoto Tsunetomo - actually I'm relatively certain that at least some of you have already read this book since you use the same symbol as Yamamoto. For those of you that haven't, its a worthy read. "Hakagure" is a collection of commentaries from the samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo concerning swordsmanship and Bushido.

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2 Re: Recommended Reading on Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:32 pm

a less philosophical book but still an good read for those who practice the martial arts. "Musashi" by Eiji Yoshikawa. Its a historical fiction chronicling the life of Miyamoto Musashi. Obviously its based upon the numerous legendary feats of the great swordsman, but with many holes filled to create a more full picture. For those of you who like anime there is a manga called "Vagabond" that is based upon this book.

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3 Re: Recommended Reading on Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:32 pm

hell yeah thanks man!


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4 Re: Recommended Reading on Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:04 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed Eiji Yoshikawa's Musashi, was one of those books I couldn't put down till I was done.

While Musashi dominates a lot of the "greatest swordsman ever" polls, I think that the western sword tradition is sadly neglected.... I would love to see how Musashi would have done versus the top western swordsmen, we used to have a very good martial art tradition that has kind of been abandoned in the modern age.

Richard Francis Burton (the explorer, not the actor) is someone who many considered to be the best swordsman of his day in europe, and he wrote a number of books on martial training. But its hard to compare things, though Burton did range far and wide and did spend some time in the orient... (he went everywhere, he was one of the first non-muslims to sneak into mecca back when that would have been a death sentence)...

anyway, his Sentiment of the Sword is a classic manual of western sword fighting styles...

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5 Re: Recommended Reading on Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:24 pm

I read Hagakure and I can't even believe that I forgot about that one. I guess it's time to re-read it...

Roger just popped open a can of bloodthirsty, predatory worms. The "Musashi vs the West" debate is a GREAT one! It is also arguable one of the most flamed forum debates. This is a GREAT topic to be debating around a fire with a case of beer and it's one I'd love to have with Roger.

Roger, this week from Thursday to Sunday we're having build days at my house in the Acreage. We'll be up at all times of all those days building gear, hanging out, discussing plans/ideas, and just having fun. It'd be awesome if you came out one night, shared some input on our weapons and gear manufacturing, just hung out with us, and possibly had this debate under the circumstances I stated. You're more than welcome to come and you're more than welcome to bring people with you. If you're interested, just let me know...


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Corruption causes justice to appear as insanity. - Saito Hajime, "Samurai X: Trust & Betrayl"
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6 Re: Recommended Reading on Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:45 pm

"The Art of War so legit-" Tupac Shakur

How can you forget Sun Tzu lol

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7 Re: Recommended Reading on Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:58 pm

fucking hell Hector. you're right. how did anyone forget. Art of war was required for nearly all samurai boys up through meiji era. well... all samurai of notable families.

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8 Re: Recommended Reading on Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:12 pm

lol its so easy to read and understand. Thats why its the first thing to read. You read it and its not abstract,

its just like if you double your opponent in numbers you can attack and win, if you are equal in numbers with your opponent you will tie, if you have less numbers than your opponent then you will lose.

Simple lol

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9 Re: Recommended Reading on Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:48 pm

Budoshoshinshu. it was a book for middle to low class samurai to introduce them to bushido. the easier to find translation is "Code Of the Samurai"

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10 Re: Recommended Reading on Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:11 pm

"By the Sword" - Richard Cohen
This one caught my eye at the library a few weeks. The cover says "A history of gladiators, musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions" but the book is much more than just this. The Author is an Olympic Fencer himself so he can obviously provide great insight into the mentality of the western swordsman. It chronicles well the histories behind much more than expected, starting from Egypt around 1190 BC and working right up to the modern foil and packed with short stories about swordfighters from across the ages. Apart from being an interesting read it provides great insight into the mentalities of those who study the sword, across the world and across time as well as understanding the weapon and what it represents.

a few quotes from the book that i rather enjoyed . . .

- in 1793 the Augustin Rouseau, fencing master to the royal family was sentenced to the guillotine. Upon verdict the revolutionary judge exclaimed "Try parrying that, Rousseau!"

- If you want to find out about fencers, go up behind one as he faces his practice target. Burst a balloon behind his back. The foilist will immediately lunge at the pad. The epeeist will stand his ground, immobile but alert. The sabreur will swing round and assault you.
- a hungarian axiom

- Doesn't everyone wish he could fence? . . . It is violence refined into beauty; it has associations with love, honor, and suicidal pride. We think of great fencers - unlike great footballers or great junk-bond salesmen - as superior beings; air and fire, rather than earth and water. We think of Cyrano, Zorro and the three musketeers.
- James Traub 1994

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