Written by legendary Japanese swordsman Musashi Miyamoto, The Five Rings (c.1645) is a brilliant exposition of the struggle for mastery. Combining swordfighting techniques with Zen philosophy, this classic Bushido text - devoted to achieving success through strategy and tactics - is as relevant today as it was to the 17th-century samurai. Miyamoto's teachings, based on a lifetime of experience in battle, give us unfaltering guidance on the path to victory. The book advises the reader on psychological tactics to put the enemy off guard, on ways to forestall an attack and on the importance of observation. This is also one of the great Japanese treatises on aesthetics and spirituality, speaking to us of the essential role of harmony in the way of the warrior.
Musashi Miyamoto (c.1584 - 1645) was a duellist and renowned warrior who fought his first duel at the age of 13 and was never defeated. He wrote The Book of the Five Rings in a cave during the last years of his life. David K. Groff, from whom this translation has been specially commissioned, has lived in Japan for the past 14 years; for the last 10 he has taught at Japanese colleges and universities (mainly English, but also subjects such as American Studies). He has also been involved in martial arts for the last 20 years. His practice of Musashi's style of swordsmanship has given him a unique perspective on The Five Rings. He has traced Musashi's footsteps across Japan. For his contributions to the preservation and promotion of the Japanese martial tradition, he received a formal proclamation of gratitude from the Tokyo Budokan and Yasukuni Shrine.