Miyamoto Musashi The Five Rings & Nito Ryu
by James Y
(MInnesota, United States )
Miyamoto Musashi was the Samurai in the late 1500’s and early 1600”s. I think he died in the 1640’s if I remember right, but he is the original source that wrote “The Five Rings” which is in recommended resources on your site due to its still significant role in kendo/ strategic guidance. I was introduced to The Five Rings even before I had ever heard of Sun Tzu or the Art of War because of the connection to Kendo from my family at an early age.
However, less commonly discussed or was it someone else who shared the namesake of Musashi’s contributions to the way of the sword was the style of “Nitō Itchi” or “Niten Itchi-Ryu” which was the style using two blades? I wondered if I just assumed the same Samurai was the source of both contributions, never truly verified it, and I was hoping you could clarify?
Also, after practicing Kendo for years, even after coming to Japan to train in kendo but more to train in Bladesmithing what would be the best time in one’s training to possibly start training in the alternate style? I have always been interested in the style, but traditional kendo was my road traveled. Learning to blacksmith then blade smith helped with muscle development that when added to training with bokkens to build the ability to maintain control as if they were natural extensions of my arm with the most common form techniques was the furthest, I went into the realm of two katanas. I have trained in other martial art weapon styles that used dual wielding but my passion for kendo kept me out of trying to learn without proper instruction.
Unfortunately, I live in an area where there is no kendo dojos or even Korean Kumdo schools to train at, and I miss training and learning. I would love to continue and even learn to make my own sparring gear as I have high access to deer hides and experience working with furs, and leather work into a wide variety of uses from boots or gloves to horse saddles and tack gear. However, I have never had any form of instruction on working leather from deer or any leather into kendo gear and learning to do it properly because of its importance is the only acceptable way to go forward with that. Your site gave me hope that maybe I can continue forward even if it’s distance learning.
Please let me know your thoughts, I would love to continue forward and having someone with a reliable point of view would be a great honor and appreciation.
Thank you for your time.