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The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master

by Takuan Soho, Takuan, William Scott Wilson

Buy the book: Takuan Soho. The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master

Release Date: March, 1988

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Takuan Soho. The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master

Essential reading for any martial artist or business person

This is not an entertaining book. This is not a story and is not engaging. What it is is illuminating! This very short (and frequently hard to find) collection of three letters/essays from Takuan Soho to masters of the sword arts contains some incredible gems. It is the kind of book that should be read a page or even just a paragraph at a time followed by a period of thought. The ideas of the interval between striking flint and steel to the production of the spark, or the visual and mental image of the glint of light on the blade of a sword become captivating and even revelatory.

If you are a martial artist, you MUST read this book. If you are in business, this is as essential as Musashi's Book of Five Rings.

From Amazon.com

Interesting, but not illuminating.

Takuan Soho has a book made of 3 parts, the first is a letter he wrote to a sword master about not "stopping the mind" and "the right mind" which basically amounts to "practice makes perfect" to the modern marital artist. I can't say that it went any further than that.

The next section reminded me very strongly of Plato's republic, as Takuan Soho went into the nature of the world as it is, which is very much seen through the lense of his understanding (16th century Japanese science I guess) which is sometimes ridiculous, and of limited use.

The third section is interesting, as he takes writing of various martial artists and interprets them or critiques them. This is useful for a modern martial artist, as we lack much of the historical and cultural context to interpret these directly from the translation. This section, along with the first are what makes the book worth reading. Still, I think that there are many more useful books out there for the martial artist to read before this one. Try Frederick Lovret's "Way and the Power", or Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" or Musashi's "A Book of Five Rings". All of these are much more useful.

From Amazon.com

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