It must be understood that training is never completed. When the warrior thinks that training is over, he will find that the “spirit of the thing itself” he has been studying will elude him and fail to provide him with any future revelations. He must never stop training. In this way the spirit of the warrior will continue to grow.
The Way of the warrior is a Way of life and can never be construed as a hobby unless you are seeking only to impress others with your technique. You must never stop studying the written passages of masters relating to the art you have chosen to practice. Nor should you stop studying other arts that the warrior studies to broaden his horizons. The heart is essential in helping the intellect to understand the spirit.
If you do not have a map in unfamiliar terrain, how can you hope to get to where you want to go without difficulty? Even if you have directions, you may still have to negotiate roadblocks along the way. Likewise, if you do not set your mind and heart on the required principles, how can you ever hope to understand what it is you are trying to accomplish?
Remember timing. Do not forget harmony with the Universe and self. Remember that continuous study is essential for approaching perfection in a chosen art. Although some people may appear to be “there,” they too must continually deal with change—based on the rise and fall of timing and rhythm. However, through devotion to the Way of your art, you can remove yourself from the general mass of people and be able to concentrate more effectively on your chosen Way. It is also essential to remember the need to function in society, good or bad, and that in order for your Way to be successful, you must interact with society. If you wish to control others, you must first control yourself. That is why it is necessary to study continuously. This is the essence of my strategy.
The author’s Book of Five Rings is available at:
http://www.hanshi.com/books and major book retailers