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Library: translations (Musashi)


Author: Lum
Date:Mar 24 1998

This is from numerous texts written by Musashi.

(on the strengths and weaknesses of different weapons)
Different weapons vary in their strengths and weaknesses.

The long sword is the most versatile weapon.  It is best in close combat.

A long spear is preferable to a polearm.  The spear is quicker, the polearm is
defensive.  In fighting, offense is more important than defense.  Neither one
of these weapons is used inside.  They are not for capture (subdue-ing) an
enemy.  They are for large armies fighting outdoors.

But if you concentrate too much on just the sword, you are neglecting "the
way" (flexibility).  And will not suceed.

A bow is a good weapon, especially in battles with terrain that hinders
movement.  But, the range is limited, so it's not a popular weapon. 
[untranslateable].  This is why few masters teach the bow anymore, and why it
is so uncommen today.

A gun is very useful for armies defending a fort or a wall.  But it is useless
once combat is joined.

Because a bow's arrows are visible as they fly to their target, you can
improve your aim.  Note that a gun is not like this.

[untranslateable].  Your swords must not break.  Your long spears and polearms
must not snap.  Bows and guns must be sturdy and reliable.  Reliable weapons
are better than pretty ones.  

You should train well with all weapons.  You should treat them all with
respect, not favour one over the other.  [untranslateable].  It is bad for
leaders to favor certain things or people over others.  You must learn
everything that is appropiate.

(the proper way to learn fighting)

1) Do not lie to or "kid" yourself.
2) Train thoroughly, and-
3) in all (relevant) things.
4) [untranslateable].
5) Be able to tell the beneficial from the malignant (???).
6) Develop "feeling" for everything.
7) [untranslateable].
8) Don't ignore details.
9) If it's not useful, don't do it.

You must not learn how to fight by thinking of yourself.  [boasting].  You
should pursue fighting to the utmost, if you wish to learn it.  If you do
this, you can become a true master.  A true master (at combat) can win a fight
before it even starts.  The second a master lays eyes on an enemy, the enemy
is defeated.  (more boasting).

The date is around 1650 (approximentally).