Miyamoto Mushashi, one of history's most famous samurai swordsmen wrote his philosophies before his death in 1645. Centuries later it was translated and currently known as the Book of Five Rings. It is a commonly used 'bible' for many Japanese businessman. Although Mushashi's intent when writing his work was to share lessons critical to the survival, lifestyle and existence of the samurai, his words were so profound that they have so many modern day applications. The Five Rings he speaks of were metaphorical for the 5 elements: earth, wind, fire, wind and void. Each of the five rings represent aspects of samurai life, the battles and training. Earth = foundation , Water = purity and fluidity, Fire = the energy of the battle, Wind = other styles of fighting and Void = where everything else comes from. It is a must read for all martial artists and has many lessons that are applicable to everyone. The difficulty is choosing which ones are most pertinent. I have given my favorites below.
Let me know your thoughts. Have you read this book and if so, did anything stick with you?
1. Pay attention to details. Musashi reminded the samurai to treat small things seriously. In fact, he related to the detail of a warrior taking care of the weapon itself as a critical component to achieving a long life.
2. Never stop learning. Although this life lesson is very trendy in the United States with all of the self help books and requirements for continuing education in various fields, Mushahi's approach to lifelong education was bigger than just reading new books. His intent was that continuous training is important, but in reference to expanding your goals. In other words, learn outside your scope and expand yourself by learning new things. This is the key to personalized growth, which of course leads to overall life improvement.
3. Be prepared. Surely something your mother tells you. But apply these words to a larger picture. Have foresight, instead of relying on hindsight. Certainly learn from past experiences. However, Mushahi seems to use preparedness as a deeper level of knowing. He taught that the prepared mind of a warrior will make the quality or type of weapon he used secondary in the fight.