Miyamoto Musashi, also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke, or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer, and ronin. Musashi is best known for his work on strategy, Gorin no sho (The Book of Five Rings), which dealt with the martial experience both individually and militarily. He is also the author of The Dokkōdō (The Path of Aloneness).
Almost nothing is known about the early years of Miyamoto Musashi's life. In his book, he writes that he was born in the village of Miyamoto in Mimasaka province. ("Musashi" is the name of an area southwest of Tokyo.) The historian Kamiko Tadashi, based on the few existing texts of Miyamoto Musashi, states, "[...] Munisai was Musashi's father… he lived in Miyamoto Village, Yoshino County [Mimasaka Province]. That's probably, where Musashi was born.
With a career that spanned decades and battles alongside some of the most well-known figures in Japanese history, Musashi was incredibly skilled in everything he undertook—a master painter, strategist, and duelist. Inspired by his philosophy of never contemplating defeat or giving up until your target is achieved.
Miyamoto Musashi is considered one of the most famous swordsmen in Japanese history. His contemporaries nicknamed him Kensei ("Holy Sword"). Musashi became famous for his outstanding swordsmanship, which he honed in many fights using a wooden sword from an early age.
Musashi claims within the volume that one should train with a long sword in each hand, thereby training the body and improving one's ability to use two blades simultaneously.
Two years before his death, he retired to a cave on Mount Kimpo near Kumamoto and wrote The Book of Five Rings (around 1645) on tactics, strategy, and philosophy of warfare, which is still quite popular today. Among other things, the Book of Five Rings promotes the practice of calligraphy and other arts.
Miyamoto Musashi's philosophy of warfare could be summed up in the go, no-sen, sen no sen. Go: Avoid and retreat; do not commit yourself needlessly. No‑Sen: Do not attack first; intercept an attacker to prevent them from achieving their goal. Sen‑no‑Sen) : Once the foe makes a move, shift position to intercept them.
Musashi wrote The Way to Go Forth Alone (The "Dokkōdō) in 1645, just before his death. It is a short work that sums up the essence of his combat doctrines. Consisting of 21 precepts, it appeals to men of action and always remains pertinent to them. Each chapter begins with the title of his next long project as if he was going to fill it out. Something similar appears in A Book of Five Rings which opens with a description that looks like it will be a preface but then turns into "Chapter One."
On 20 May 2000, at the initiative of Sensei Tadashi Chihara, a Budokan was inaugurated in Ōhara-Cho in the province of Mimasaka, the birthplace of Miyamoto Musashi.
The Budokan is the only place to remember the life and journey of Miyamoto Musashi. Where he researched martial arts and became a great swordsman, the Budokan remains dedicated to traditional saber and kendo swordsmanship.