The name of this book is Five Rings. Buddhist teachings contain the five elements of the universe: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and No-thing-ness.
In the Book of Earth, the strategy of my school is explained. You are being told the reasons for my writing as well as their structure. You must not depend on understanding your art only by studying the one art with which you are involved. It is difficult to understand the universe if you study only one planet. One must be aware of all of the arts by becoming familiar with them as part of one’s complete devotion to one of them. Endeavor to know all things. Though you cannot ever do this, you will become more aware of the world around you, an essential strategy if you choose to be a warrior.
In the Book of Water, I explain that water fills all shapes and eventually wears down any form of captivity. I clearly explain what my Ichi school proposes for the study of strategy. There are many ways of understanding simple things, but generally the opposite is true for difficult ideas. The Book of Water explains the specifics and particulars of my Ichi school.
The Book of Fire is about fighting. When a man fights in real combat, his spirit becomes fierce. There is a time for the spirit to be large and a time for the spirit to be small. In order to be able to determine the possible outcomes of combat situations, you must constantly maintain the proper attitude by practicing diligently. You can only fight the way you practice. You will come to realize what I am saying as the Way to strategy. Full combat in battle is explained in this book.
The Book of Wind concerns itself with the strategies and teachings of other schools and the traditions of the past. There are obvious differences and there are differences that are not so easy to ascertain. One must be careful not to study traditional methods that diverge from the true teaching of the path. You must understand what I am talking about when the differences between the Ichi school and others are explained. I make the differences very clear and easy to understand.
In the Book of No-thing-ness, you will learn that the Way of strategy is also the Way of nature and that there is no difference except for what we ourselves conceive or misconceive as truth. When you understand the Way of strategy, you will be able to hit a man without a thought in a completely natural manner. There is a sound approach to understanding the entire subject. The Book of No-thing-ness is also the shortest of the written tracts, and is at the same time both simple and difficult to comprehend.
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