I have been many years training in the Way of strategy, called
Ni Ten Ichi Ryu, and now I think I will explain it in writing for the first
time. It is now during the first ten days of the tenth month in the twentieth
year of Kanei (1645). I have climbed mountain Iwato of Higo in Kyushu to pay
homage to heaven, pray to Kwannon, [God(dess) of mercy in Buddhism. - Draeger]
and kneel before Buddha. I am a warrior of Harima province, Shinmen Musashi
No Kami Fujiwara No Genshin, age sixty years.
From youth my heart has been inclined toward the Way of strategy.
My first duel was when I was thirteen, I struck down a strategist of the Shinto
school, one Arima Kihei. When I was sixteen I struck down an able strategist
Tadashima Akiyama. When I was twenty-one I went up to the capital and met all
manner of strategists, never once failing to win in many contests.
After that I went from province to province duelling with strategist
of various schools, and not once failed to win even though I had as many as
sixty encounters. This was between the ages of thirteen and twenty-eight or
When I reached thirty I looked back on my past. The previous
victories were not due to my having mastered strategy. Perhaps it was natural
ability, or the order of heaven, or that other schools' strategy was inferior.
After that I studied morning and evening searching for the principle, and came
to realise the Way of strategy when I was fifty.
Since then I have lived without following any particular
Way. Thus with the virtue of strategy I practise many arts and abilities - all
things with no teacher. To write this book I did not use the law of Buddha or
the teachings of Confucius, neither old war chronicles nor books on martial
tactics. I take up my brush to explain the true spirit of this Ichi school as
it is mirrored in the Way of heaven and Kwannon. The time is the night of the
tenth day of the tenth month, at the hour of the tiger (3-5 a.m.)