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Miyamoto Musashi Book Survey

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  Introduction Daruma (Bodhidharma) Meditating, Eisei Bunko Museum/Foundation Are you a fan of Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵, 1582- 13 June 1645)? I wanted to know as much as historically possible about this famous samurai, which led me to reading and studying the books profiled in this post.  At Martial History Team we promote  martial arts history based on sound evidence and sourced research . This meant that fictional works like Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa (English edition, 1981) were out of scope for this review.  I focused on three sorts of books: 1. Translations of Musashi's best know book, the  The Book of Five Rings (五輪の書, Go Rin No Sho ) 2. Biographies 3. Supporting works Some of the books I read fit into more than one category, and will be noted below. As I am neither fluent in Japanese nor in the possession of the Japanese source material for this book, I cannot comment on the translation -- except when it is clear that the author is not actually translating anything. (I will

Did Miyamoto Musashi Say "There is more than one path to the top of the mountain."?

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   Did Miyamoto Musashi Say "There is more than one path to the top of the mountain."? Introduction I came across this quote in one of my martial arts Facebook groups. I am completing a survey of books by and about Miyamoto Musashi (1582-1645), and I did not recall reading this phrase. The sentiment also appeared to be completely opposite to what Musashi thought, as he is very direct and precise about how to live. I decided to research this quote. The Source The Martial Artist's Book of Five Rings, 1994 The source of this saying is easy enough to find. It appears in the book first published by Tuttle in 1994 as  The Martial Artist's Book of Five Rings , by Steve Kaufman. The subtitle says "The definitive interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi's classic book of strategy." Since 2004, Tuttle has sold it as  Musashi's Book of Five Rings . I already described why this book has nothing to do with what Miyamoto Musashi actually said. Please see my post  Did Mi

Why Should Practitioners Care About Martial Arts History?

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 Why should practitioners care about martial arts history?  Introduction To answer this question, I'd like to divide martial arts practitioners into two approximate, somewhat stereotypical, camps. Division should not be the goal of the martial arts community. However, it is difficult to analyze as broad a group as "all martial artists." My hope is that these terms will facilitate the identification of common characteristics and the formulation of reasonable conclusions. The first group consists of people who seek excellence by replicating or emulating the original teachings of their art. I call these practitioners emulators . The second group includes people who seek excellence by testing their art against other practitioners. I call them contestants . There is overlap among the groups, but this differentiation provides a rough starting point for the discussion. I seek no value judgement concerning either group and I have personally trained in both modes. Emulators Within

Five Facts about the 1879 Encounter Between Ulysses S. Grant and Kano Jigoro

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  What do the English sources say about Ulysses S. Grant's encounter with professor Kano Jigoro in Japan?  Introduction  General and President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) and judo founder Kano Jigoro (1860-1938) are my top two favorite historical figures. Imagine my surprise when I first learned that the two men had an encounter in Japan in 1879! Kano biographers will often tell the reader that Grant witnessed a jūjutsu demonstration in which Kano was a participant. I've wanted to know more about this event, so I researched a variety of resources, drawing on my experience with each man's life. This post will list five facts derived from English sources. Some of those English references are based on Japanese sources. This is the best I can manage at this time. I lack the Japanese sources and the ability to read Japanese. I invite readers who have both Japanese sources and the requisite language skills to add to the discussion! 1. Professor Kano offers a brief but primary ac

The Bruce Lee Library and More

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  Where can one find reputable Bruce Lee quotes?  Introduction  It's common to find quotes by Bruce Lee throughout social media. A fair number of these quotes are just plain fakes. There's so many false "quotes" on the Internet that I (Richard) occasionally research them for a dedicated affiliated blog called Sourcing Bruce Lee .  If there are so many fakes around, how does one find reputable Bruce Lee quotes? This post will introduce several sets of resources, starting with Tuttle's Bruce Lee Library. These books, especially those in the Library, are the sources social media users will find as the most accurate and fruitful repositories of Bruce Lee material. The Bruce Lee Library: "Tier Zero" Sources Tier Zero Sources: The Bruce Lee Library, volumes 1-8 The Bruce Lee Library is a series of 8 books originally produced by Tuttle Publishing  between 1997 and 2000. They are mainly written by John Little. His LinkedIn page states that he was the literary e

Best Book Winner: General Martial Arts Histories in English

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  What English language general martial art history book does Martial History Team recommend?  Introduction When I (Richard) started Martial History Team in late January 2020, I said that the goal of the project was to promote martial arts history based on sound evidence and sourced research. In late June I published Best Book Winner: Professor Kano Biographies in English , my first attempt at guiding interested readers toward specific resources on a single topic. Today I'm pleased to provide a second specific recommendation, based on reading several books, some of which were quite lengthy. That delayed production, along with my focus on publishing several book relating to cybersecurity, explained in my post Quick Update on Martial History Team Status . With that groundwork laid, on to the list! The List The following are the 6 titles in consideration. The title links to an Amazon page, if available, or to the publisher. The rating links to my reviews at Martial Journal , when avai