This is the follow up entry to my previous blog! Read the previous one HERE!
Musashi, whose real name was Shinmen Takezo, was born in Miyamoto, a village in Mimasaka Province. He was the son of Shinmen Munisai, himself a distinguished martial artist. Around the age of seven, his father apparently died, so his education was entrusted to an uncle, Dorinbo, a Buddhist priest. With him he learned to read and write, as well as the tenets of Buddhism.
Musashi fought his first duel at the age of thirteen, an unusually early age for combat and probably against the will of his uncle. He emerged victorious. A couple of years later, he would begin a life of wandering, that would lead him to participate in some 60 duels and six battles, including the Battle of Sekigahara (on the losing side), won by Tokugawa Ieyasu and that gave rise to the Tokugawa bakufu or shogunate. However, Musashi won every single duel in which he participated.
In his combats, Musashi would come to espouse the idea of fighting both with the katana and the wakizashi. More generally, he was ready to confront the enemies with whatever he happened to have available, be it a bokken (a wooden sword used for training), a boat’s oar, or even his bare hands. His school of combat was known as Ni-ten ichi-ryu, or “Two Heavens, One Style”.
Musashi believed that a real strategist had to be a well-rounded person, and not stop at learning how to use his weapons and military strategy (although he believed in constant practice). For that reason, he became an accomplished craftsman in several areas, as painter, sculptor, calligrapher, metalworker, even poet.
He wrote the book Go rin no sho after he turned sixty and finished it shortly before his death at the age of sixty-two.