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The Book of Five Rings book cover

The Book of Five Rings Quotes

there is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.
Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain.
Do nothing that is of no use.
The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them.
If you wish to control others you must first control yourself.
You can only fight the way you practice.
from one thing, know ten thousand things.
It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet.
Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.
The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy's cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him.
Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man.
All man are the same except for their belief in their own selves, regardless of what others may think of them.
If you do not control the enemy, the enemy will control you.
Do not sleep under a roof. Carry no money or food. Go alone to places frightening to the common brand of men. Become a criminal of purpose. Be put in jail, and extricate yourself by your own wisdom.
To know ten thousand things, know one well.
You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.
The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight, and the only reason a warrior fights is to win.
The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy's useful actions but allow his useless actions.
Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast….Of course, slowness is bad. Really skillful people never get out of time, and are always deliberate, and never appear busy.
The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things.
To become the enemy, see yourself as the enemy of the enemy.
When you decide to attack, keep calm and dash in quickly, forestalling the enemy...attack with a feeling of constantly crushing the enemy, from first to last.
No man is invincible, and therefore no man can fully understand that which would make him invincible.
There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any "Way."... A person should study as they see fit.
It is difficult to realize the true Way just through sword-fencing. Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest things and the deepest things.
When in a fight to the death, one wants to employ all one's weapons to the utmost. I must say that to die with one's sword still sheathed is most regrettable.
Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. Even when your spirit is calm do not let your body relax, and when your body is relaxed do not let your spirit slacken. Do not let your spirit be influenced by your body, or your body be influenced by your spirit.
It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way.
Never stray from the Way.
Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast.
When your opponent is hurrying recklessly, you must act contrarily and keep calm. You must not be influenced by the opponent.
This is the way for men who want to learn my strategy: 1. Do not think dishonestly. 2. The Way is in training. 3. Become acquainted with every art. 4. Know the Ways of all professions. 5. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters. 6. Develop intuitive judgement and understanding for everything. 7. Perceive those things which cannot be seen. 8. Pay attention even to trifles. 9. Do nothing which is of no use.
In the construction of houses, choice of woods is made. Straight un-knotted timber of good appearance is used for the revealed pillars, straight timber with small defects is used for the inner pillars. Timbers of the finest appearance, even if a little weak, is used for the thresholds, lintels, doors, and sliding doors, and so on. Good strong timber, though it be gnarled and knotted, can always be used discreetly in construction.
A thousand days of training to develop, ten thousand days of training to polish. You must examine all this well.
Immature strategy is the cause of grief".
You should not have a favourite weapon. To become over-familiar with one weapon is as much a fault as not knowing it sufficiently well.
When you attack the enemy, your spirit must go to the extent of pulling the stakes out of a wall and using them as spears and halberds.
If you are not progressing along the true way, a slight twist in the mind can become a major twist. This must be pondered well.
Nobody is strong and nobody is weak if he conceives of the body, from the head to the sole of the foot, as a unity in which a living mind circulates everywhere equally.
What I call the void is where nothing exists. It is about things outside man's knowledge. Of course the void does not exist. By knowing what exist, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.
Even if you strive diligently on your chosen path day after day, if your heart is not in accord with it, then even if you think you are on a good path, from the point of view of the straight and true, this is not a genuine path. If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation, then a little bit of crookedness in the mind will later turn into a major warp. Reflect on this.
Teaching people a large number of sword techniques254 is turning the way into a business of selling goods, making beginners believe that there is something profound in their training by impressing them with a variety of techniques. This attitude toward strategy must be avoided, because thinking that there is a variety of ways of cutting a man down is evidence of a disturbed mind. In the world, different ways of cutting a man down do not exist.
In the strategy of my school, keep your body and mind straight and make your opponent go through contortions and twist about. The essence is to defeat him in the moment when, in his mind, he is pivoting and twisting. You should examine this well.
In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.
It may seem difficult at first, but all things are difficult at first.
You win battles with the timing in the Void born of the timing of cunning by knowing the enemies’ timing, and thus using a timing which the enemy does not expect.
This is a truth: when you sacrifice your life, you must make fullest use of your weaponry. It is false not to do so, and to die with a weapon yet undrawn.