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Strategy Of Combat: Intention to Cut

"The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike, or touch the enemy's sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking, or touching the enemy, you will not be able to cut him. More than anything, you must be thinking of carrying your movement through to cutting him. You must thoroughly research this."

--Miyamoto Musashi

Much has been written about the mystical Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (whose full name is Shinmen Musashi no Kami Fujiwara no Genshin, (1585-1645)). The name Musashi is taken from Musashibò Benkei, a warrior monk who served Minamoto no Yoshitsune (known as the great warrior). Although much of his past is shrouded in legend and pure fabrication, Musashi is one of the best known Japanese historical figures today. From 1605 to 1612 he is reputed to have traveled all over Japan in a warrior pilgrimage (Musha-Shugyo) to hone his sword skills by dueling (usually using a wooden sword called a bokuto), with the end goal of not trying to take his opponent’s life. In 60 recorded fights with swords, it is said that he was never defeated. In 1643 Musashi retired and went to live in a cave named Reigandò as a hermit. There he wrote his famous treaties ,“The Book of Five Rings,” which he finished shortly before his death. Although at times difficult to understand, the text is still widely read. Translated into many languages, it is today widely studied by those in business as well as those in the martial arts. Musashi is also known for his unique style of two-sword (kenjutsu) techniques called niten'ichi (two heavens as one). In this style the swordsman uses both long (katana) and short (wakizashi) swords at once.

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