of five rings

The Water Book

The softest of stuff in the world
Penetrates quickly the hardest;
Insubstantial, it enters
Where no room is.

By this I know the benefit
Of something done by quiet being;
In all the world but few can know
Accomplishment apart from work,
Instruction when no words are used.

- Tao Te Ching

  • Tatemae - what you show others
    Honne - What your real intentions are
    Never Reveal Your Honne
  • KAN and KEN: KAN is seeing through or into. KEN is observing superficial experience. KAN is seeing with the mind. KEN is seeing with the eyes. The resolution of these two is Heihö.
  • Sensitivity training was done to heighten awareness of motion and sound in the periphery, in order to develop a sense of presence.
  • To practise a technique only half-heartedly builds bad habits and lessens one's practise time of the proper technique.
  • The In-Yo footwork: When you walk naturally, you walk with both feet. Even when you shift your weight from one foot to the other, both feet will move. This is natural movement. Moving one foot only is not just unnatural, it puts you off balance. Be natural in your movements and thoughts, in combat and every day life. To try to change your natural footwork is mind-stopping.
  • Position: Taking a position is not taking a position. When you move your sword to the upper position, this is not a position from which to move. It is not a position of rest. All movement, all the time, is continous. It is all part of the final move, that of cutting the opponent. Do not be complacent in a ready position. Always be on the alert. Even though you are protected in this position, always have the same attitude, the same outlook.
  • "The timing of an instant": A suki is an interval, literally, a space between two objects, or in time, where something can enter. This suki may be considered as the "stopping" of the mind, a psychological or mental suki. It is in this moment that one must strike, when the opponent allows that gap to open. That is why it must be in the timing of an instant.
  • Munen musö: Your natural abilities act free from any conscious thought to act. There is no sign of effort; it is an impassive mind. Where there is no intention, there is no thought.
  • The long sword instead of the body: For positioning, only the body moves. When cutting, the long sword and the body move as one. The sword strikes--you do not.
  • Utsu and ataru. Utsu is the conscious dealing of a blow. Ataru is to strike without thinking of doing it, that is, just doing it. Ataru is the munen musö mind at work. Utsu would be to put all your concentration and attention and effort into the blow, which commits one to a course of action from which there is no recovery. Ataru is the impassive, "no effort" strike.
  • Do not over extend yourself over too great an area. This causes you to lose balance.
  • To stab at the mask: Diversion as a means of strategy. Once you have distracted him, gain the advantage by following with your attack.
  • Slapping parry: The idea is, in one motion, to both deflect the oncoming sword and to return a strike. The timing involved is a quick one-two movement.
  • Practising a thousand days is said to be discipline, and practising ten thousand days is said to be refining.







5 rings