April 16, 2012


The greatest sword fighter of his time, Miyamoto Musashi, also known as the Sword Saint, is one of the best-known samurai in Japanese history. Born in 1584 in Harima Province, Musashi was raised by his uncle in Shoreian temple. By the time he was 13 he had already won his first duel against Arima Kigei, a student of the Shinto Ryu school of military arts. For the next 16 years he made a name for himself, fighting in more than 60 duels (including against the Yoshioka School and his most famous duel against Sasaki Kojiro) in which he was undefeated. During this time he also enlisted in Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s army and although he was on the losing side, he escaped, crawling among corpses and drinking from muddy puddles to survive. After the war, he turned his attention to teaching swordsmanship and he is credited with creating the nitoryu technique in which you fight with two swords. Later in his life, he became a master painter and writer. His most famous written work is The Book of Five Rings, which covers the sum of his experience as a sword fighter including strategy, tactics and philosophy. At the age of 62, Musashi died of thoracic cancer in Reigando Cave (the same cave where he lived as a hermit while writing The Book of Five Rings).

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Yuri Tsukino
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