Sunday, September 21, 2014
The Book of Five Rings
I often write about Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” one of the most influential books on strategy in the world. This ancient Taoist classic is the foundation of my Urbanology Strategic Management System. Miyamoto Musashi’s Go Rin No Sho better known as ”The Book of Five Rings” so played a major part in my study of the art of strategy. Unlike Sun Tzu’s concept of winning without fighting, Musashi assumed doing battle to be a way of life; he thus focused on the psychology and physic of the lethal assault and considered decisive victory the essence of any battle
While I prefer winning without fighting, Musashi helps in the understanding of how to win if you must fight. I was introduced to “The Book of Five Rings” while studying Kendo with Grand Master Lamarr Thornton. Kendo is the art of Japanese fencing. It was a difficult time in my life both personally and professionally when Master Thornton suggested that I study Kendo as a strategy to best address the physical and psychological battles I was having with myself.
Miyamoto Musashi was considered one of Japan’s greatest samurai fencers. He never lost a duel. To prove that strategy, not strength or skill, was the most important element to achieve victoty, Musashi midway in his life as a fencer, began using only wooden swords to win his many battles. To understand kendo, you must understand the mind of the samurai, which is why “The Book of Five Rings” is considered required reading in the study of Kendo.
Business executives in Japan and now throughout the world use Musashi’s strategic philosophy as a guide for their daily decisions. Understanding the relationship between battle strategies of fencing and everyday conflict maybe difficult for some, but it is important information to have when developing a strategic plan for battle.
I truly believe that it is best to learn how to win without fighting, but if you must do battle, fight with the heart of a samurai.