Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There's something about Samurai

I am reading Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings" right now. It is an explanation and exploration of Musashi's martial arts in both theory and practice--he was a rogue samurai, and, according to Musashi, was never defeated (in, like 60 battles).

This is a very certain book, and I am seduced by his certainty. I like certainty-- mostly because it's foreign in my country. That being said, here is a bit that every teacher (coach, carpenter, trainer, parent, warrior) should put on her wall:

"Efficiency and smooth progress, prudence in all matters, recognizing true courage, recognizing different levels of morale, instilling confidence, and realizing what can and cannot be reasonably expected--such are the matters on the mind of the master carpenter."

Musashi has got a thing for carpenters--the building, the care required, the various and sundry uses to which even the crappiest piece of wood can be put--it all comes together for him in a delicious and symbolic construct. I like that certainty. I like that the world described by Musashi (a world almost 400 years old) is a nonsensical place that still deserves care and deliberation. I like that.

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