The spirit of the Ni Ten Ichi school of strategy
is based on water, and this Water Book explains methods of victory as
the long-sword form of the Ichi school. Language does not extend to explaining
the Way in detail, but it can be grasped intuitively. Study this book;
read a word then ponder on it. If you interpret the meaning loosely you
will mistake the Way.
The principles of strategy are written down here in terms
of single combat, but you must think broadly so that you attain an understanding
for ten-thousand-a-side battles.
Strategy is different from other things in that if you
mistake the Way even a little you will become bewildered and fall into
If you merely read this book you will not reach the Way
of strategy. Absorb the things written in this book. Do not just read,
memorise or imitate, but so that you realise the principle from within
your own heart study hard to absord these things into your body.
SPIRITUAL BEARING IN STRATEGY
In strategy your spiritual bearing must not be any different
from normal. Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined
though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly,
your spirit settled yet unbiased. Even when your spirit is calm do not
let your body relax, and when your body is relaxed do not let your spirit
slacken. Do not let your spirit be influenced by your body, or your body
be influenced by your spirit. Be neither insufficiently spirited nor over
spirited. An elevated spirit is weak and a low spirit is weak. Do not
let the enemy see your spirit.
Small people must be completely familiar with the spirit
of large people, and large people must be familiar with the spirit of
small people. Whatever your size, do not be misled by the reactions of
your own body. WIth your spirit open and unconstricted, look at things
from a high point of view. You must cultivate your wisdom and spirit.
Polish your wisdom: learn public justice, distinguish between good and
evil, study the Ways of different arts one by one. When you cannot be
deceived by men you will have realised the wisdom of strategy.
The wisdom of strategy is different from other things.
On the battlefield, even when you are hard-pressed, you should ceaselessly
research the principles of strategy so that you can develop a steady spirit.
STANCE IN STRATEGY
Adopt a stance with the head erect, neither hanging down,
nor looking up, nor twisted. Your forehead and the space between your
eyes should not be wrinkled. Do not roll your eyes nor allow them to blink,
but slightly narrow them. With your features composed, keep the line of
your nose straight with a feeling of slightly flaring your nostrils. Hold
the line of the rear of the neck straight: instil vigour into your hairline,
and in the same way from the shoulders down through your entire body.
Lower both shoulders and, without the buttocks jutting out, put strength
into your legs from the knees to the tips of your toes. Brace your abdomen
so that you do not bend at the hips. Wedge your companion sword in your
belt against your abdomen, so that your belt is not slack - this is called
In all forms of strategy, it is necessary to maintain the
combat stance in everyday life and to make your everyday stance your combat
stance. You must research this well.
THE GAZE IN STRATEGY
The gaze should be large and broad. This is the twofold
gaze "Perception and Sight". Perception is strong and sight week.
In strategy it is important to see distant things as if
they were close and to take a distanced view of close things. It is important
in strategy to know the enemy's sword and not to be distracted by insignificant
movements of his sword. You must study this. The gaze is the same for
single combat and for large-scale strategy.
It is necessary in strategy to be able to look to both
sides without moving the eyeballs. You cannot master this ability quickly.
Learn what is written here; use this gaze in everyday life and do not
vary it whatever happens.
HOLDING THE LONG SWORD
Grip the long sword with a rather floating feeling in your
thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger neither tight nor slack,
and with the last two fingers tight. It is bad to have play in your hands.
When you take up a sword, you must feel intent on cutting
the enemy. As you cut an enemy you must not change your grip, and your
hands must not "cower". When you dash the enemy's sword aside, or ward
it off, or force it down, you must slightly change the feeling in your
thumb and forefinger. Above all, you must be intent on cutting the enemy
in the way you grip the sword.
The grip for combat and for sword-testing is the same.
There is no such thing as a "man-cutting grip".
Generally, I dislike fixedness in both long swords and
hands. Fixedness means a dead hand. Pliability is a living hand. You must
bear this in mind.
With the tips of your toes somewhat floating, tread firmly
with your heels. Whether you move fast or slow, with large or small steps,
your feet must always move as in normal walking. I dislike the three walking
methods know as "jumping-foot", "floating-foot" and "fixed-steps".
So-called "Yin-Yang foot" is important in the Way. Yin-Yang
foot means not moving only one foot. It means moving your feet left-right
and right-left when cutting, withdrawing, or warding off a cut. You should
not move on one foot preferentially.
THE FIVE ATTITUDES
The five attitudes are: Upper, Middle, Lower, Right Side,
and Left Side. These are the give. Although attitude has these five divisions,
the one purpose of all of them is to cut the enemy. There are none but
these five attitidudes.
Whatever attitude you are in, do not be conscious of making
the attitude; think only of cutting.
Your attitude should be large or small according to the
situation. Upper, Lower and Middle attitudes are decisive. Left Side and
Right Side attitudes are fluid. Left and Right attitudes should be used
if there is an obstruction overhead or to one side. The decision to use
Left or Right depends on the place.
The essence of the Way is this. To understand attitude
you must thoroughly understand the middle attitude. The middle attitude
is the heart of attitudes. If we look at strategy on a broad scale, the
Middle attitude is the seat of the commander, with the other four attitudes
following the commander. You must appreciate this.
THE WAY OF THE LONG SWORD
Knowing the Way of the long sword means we can wield with
two fingers the sword we usually carry. If we know the path of the sword
well, we can wield it easily.
If you try to wield the long sword quickly you will mistake
the Way. To wield the long sword well you must wield it calmly. If you
try to wield it quickly, like a folding fan or a short sword, you will
err by using "short sword chopping". You cannot cut down a man with a
long sword using this method.
When you have cut downwards with the longsword, lift it
straight upwards; when you cut sideways, return the sword along a sideways
path. Return the sword in a reasonable way, always stretching the elbows
broadly. Wield the sword strongly. This is the Way of the longsword.
If you learn to use the five approaches of my strategy,
you will be able to wield a sword well. You must train constantly.
THE FIVE APPROACHES
1. The first approach is the Middle attitude. Confront
the enemy with the point of your sword against his face. When he attacks,
dash his sword to the right and "ride" it. Or, when the enemy attacks,
deflect the point of his sword by hitting downwards, keep your long sword
where it is, and as the enemy renews his attack cut his arms from below.
This is the first method.
The five approaches are this kind of thing. You must train
repeatedly using a long sword in order to learn them. When you master
my Way of the long sword, you will be able to control any attack the enemy
makes. I assure you, there are no attitudes other than the five attitudes
of the long sword of Ni To.
2. In the second approach with the long sword, from the
Upper attitude cut the enemy just as he attacks. If the enemy evades the
cut, keep your sword where it is and, scooping up from below, cut him
as he renews the attack. It is possible to repeat the cut from here.
In this method there are various changes in timing and
spirit. You will be able to understand this by training in the Ichi school.
You will always winn with the five long sword methods. You must train
3. In the third approach, adopt the Lower attitude, anticipating
scooping up. When the enemy attacks, hit his hands from below. As you
do so he may try to hit your sword down. If this is the case, cut his
upper arm(s) horizontally with a feeling of "crossing". This means that
from the lower attitudes you hit the enemy at the instant that he attacks.
You will encounter this method often, both as a beginner
and in later strategy. You must train holding a long sword.
4. In this fourth approach, adopt the Left Side attitude.
As the enemy attacks hit his hands from below. If as you hit his hands
he attempts to dash down your sword, with the feeling of hitting his hands,
parry the path of his long sword and cut across from above your shoulder.
This is the Way of the long sword. Through this method
you win by parrying the line of the enemy's attack. You must research
5. In the fifth approach, the sword is in the Right Side
attitude. In accordance with the enemy's attack, cross your long sword
from below at the side to the Upper attitude. Then cut straight from above.
This method is essential for knowing the Way of the long
sword well. If you can use this method, you can freely wield a heavy long
I cannot describe in detail how to use these five approaches.
You must become well acquainted with my "in harmony with the long sword"
Way, learn large-scale timing, understand the enemy's long sword, and
become used to the five approaches from the outset. You will always win
by using these five methods, with various timing considerations discerning
the enemy's spirit. You must consider all this carefully.
THE "ATTITUDE NO-ATTITUDE" TEACHING
"Attitude No-Attitude" means that there is no need
for what are know as long sword attitudes.
Even so, attitudes exist as the five ways of holding the
long sword. However you hold the sword it must be in such a way that it
is easy to cut the enemy well, in accordance with the situation, the place,
and your relation to the enemy. From the Upper attitude as your spirit
lessens you can adopt the Middle attitude, and from the Middle attitude
you can raise the sword a little in your technique and adopt the Upper
attitude. From the lower attitude you can raise the sword and adopt the
Middle attitudes as the occasion demands. According to the situation,
if you turn your sword from either the Left Side or Right Side attitude
towards the centre, the Middle or the Lower attitude results.
The principle of this is called "Existing Attitude - Nonexisting
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 cutting 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 actually to cut him. More than anything, you must be thinking
of carrying your movement through to cutting him. You must thoroughly
Attitude in strategy on a larger scale is called "Battle
Array". Such attitudes are all for winning battles. Fixed formation is
bad. Study this well.
TO HIT THE ENEMY "IN ONE TIMING"
"In One Timing" means, when you have closed with
the enemy, to hit him as quickly and directly as possible, without moving
your body or settling your spirit, while you see that he is still undecided.
The timing of hitting before the enemy decides to withdraw, break or hit,
is this "In One Timing".
You must train to achieve this timing, to be able to hit
in the timing of an instant.
THE "ABDOMEN TIMING OF TWO"
When you attack and the enemy quickly retreats, as you
see him tense you must feint a cut. Then, as he relaxes, follow up and
hit him. This is the "Abdomen Timing of Two".
It is very difficult to attain this by merely reading this
book, but you will soon understand with a little instruction.
NO DESIGN, NO CONCEPTION
In this method, when the enemy attacks and you also decide
to attack, hit with your body, and hit with your spirit, and hit from
the Void with your hands, accelerating strongly. This is the "No Design,
No Conception" cut.
This is the most important method of hitting. It is often
used. You must train hard to understand it.
THE FLOWING WATER CUT
The "Flowing Water Cut" is used when you are struggling
blade to blade with the enemy. When he breaks and quickly withdraws trying
to spring with his long sword, expand your body and spirit and cut him
as slowly as possible with your long sword, following your body like stagnant
water. You can cut with certainty if you learn this. You must discern
the enemy's grade.
When you attack and the enemy also attacks, and your swords
spring together, in one action cut his head, hands and legs. When you
cut several places with one sweep of the long sword, it is the "Continuous
Cut". You must practice this cut; it is often used. With detailed practice
you should be able to understand it.
THE FIRE AND STONES CUT
The Fires and Stones Cut means that when the enemy's long
sword and your long sword clash together you cut as strongly as possible
without raising the sword even a little. This means cutting quickly with
the hands, body and legs - all three cutting strongly. If you train well
enough you will be able to strike strongly.
THE RED LEAVES CUT
The Red Leaves Cut [allusion to falling, dying leaves.
- Draeger] means knocking down the enemy's long sword. The spirit should
be getting control of his sword. When the enemy is in a long sword attitude
in front of you and intent on cutting, hitting and parrying, you strongly
hit the enemy's long sword with the Fire and Stones Cut, perhaps in the
spirit of the "No Design, No Conception" Cut. If you then beat down the
point of his sword with a sticky feeling, he will necessarily drop the
sword. If you practise this cut it becomes easy to make the enemy drop
his sword. You must train repetitively.
THE BODY IN PLACE OF THE LONG SWORD
Also "the long sword in place of the body". Usually we
move the body and the sword at the same time to cut the enemy. However,
according to the enemy's cutting method, you can dash against him with
your body first, and afterwards cut with the sword. If his body is immoveable,
you can cut first with the long sword, but generally you hit first with
the body and then cut with the long sword. You must research this well
and practise hitting.
CUT AND SLASH
To cut and to slash are two different things. Cutting,
whatever form of cutting it is, is decisive, with a resolute spirit. Slashing
is nothing more than touching the enemy. Even if you slash strongly, and
even if the enemy dies instantly, it is slashing. When you cut, your spirit
is resolved. You must appreciate this. If you first slash the enemy's
hands or legs, you must then cut strongly. Slashing is in spirit the same
as touching. When you realise this, they become indistinguishable. Learn
CHINESE MONKEY'S BODY
The Chinese Monkey's Body [short-armed monkey. - Draeger]
is the spirit of not stretching out your arms. The spirit is to get in
quickly, without in the least extending your arms, before the enemy cuts.
If you are intent upon not stretching out your arms you are effectively
far away, the spirit is to go in with your whole body. When you come to
within arm's reach it becomes easy to move your body in. You must research
GLUE AND LACQUER EMULSION BODY
The spirit of "Glue and Lacquer Emulsion Body" is to stick
to the enemy and not separate from him. When you approach the enemy, stick
firmly with your head, body and legs. People tend to advance their head
and legs quickly, but their body lags behind. You should stick firmly
so that there is not the slightest gap between the enemy's body and your
body. You must consider this carefully.
TO STRIVE FOR HEIGHT
By "to strive for height" is meant, when you close with
the enemy, to strive with him for superior height without cringing. Stretch
your legs, stretch your hips, and stretch your neck face to face with
him. When you think you have won, and you are the higher, thrust in strongly.
You must learn this.
TO APPLY STICKINESS
When the enemy attacks and you also attack with the long
sword, you should go in with a sticky feeling and fix your long sword
against the enemy's as you receive his cut. The spirit of stickiness is
not hitting very strongly, but hitting so that the long swords do not
separate easily. It is best to approach as calmly as possible when hitting
the enemy's long sword with stickiness. The difference between "Stickiness"
and "Entanglement" is that stickiness is firm and entanglement is weak.
You must appreciate this.
THE BODY STRIKE
The Body Strike means to approach the enemy through a gap
in his guard. The spirit is to strike him with your body. Turn your face
a little aside and strike the enemy's breast with your left shoulder thrust
out. Approach with the spirit of bouncing the enemy away, striking as
strongly as possible in time with yout breathing. If you achieve this
method of closing with the enemy, you will be able to knock him ten or
twenty feet away. It is possible to strike the enemy until he is dead.
THREE WAYS TO PARRY HIS ATTACK
There are three methods to parry a cut:
First, by dashing the enemy's long sword to your right,
as if thrusting at his eyes, when he makes an attack.
Or, to parry by thrusting the enemy's long sword towards
his right eye with the feeling of snipping his neck.
Or, when you have a short "long sword", without worrying
about parrying the enemy's long sword, to close with him quickly, thrusting
at his face with your left hand.
These are the three methods of parrying. You must bear
in mind that you can always clench your left hand and thrust at the enemy's
face with your fist. For this it is necessary to train well.
TO STAB AT THE FACE
To stab at the face means, when you are in confrontation
with the enemy, that your spirit is intent of stabbing at his face, following
the line of the blades with the point of your long sword. If you are intent
on stabbing at his face, his face and body will become rideale. When the
enemy becomes as if rideable, there are various opportunities for winning.
You must concentrate on this. When fighting and the enemy's body becomes
as if rideable, you can win quickly, so you ought not to forget to stab
at the face. You must pursue the value of this technique through training.
TO STAB AT THE HEART
To stab at the heart means, when fighting and there are
obstructions above, or to the sides, and whenever it is difficult to cut,
to thrust at the enemy. You must stab the enemy's breast without letting
the point of your long sword waver, showing the enemy the ridge of the
blade square-on, and with the spirit of deflecting his long sword. The
spirit of this principle is often useful when we become tired or for some
reason our long sword will not cut. You must understand the application
of this method.
TO SCOLD "TUT-TUT!"
"Scold" means that, when the enemy tries to counter-cut
as you attack, you counter-cut again from below as if thrusting at him,
trying to hold him down. With very quick timing you cut, scolding the
enemy. Thrust up, "Tut!", and cut "TUT!" This timing is encountered time
and time again in exchange of blows. The way to scold Tut-TUT is to time
the cut simultaneously with raising your long sword as if to thrust the
enemy. You must learn this through repetitive practice.
THE SMACKING PARRY
By "smacking parry" is meant that when you clash swords
with the enemy, you meet his attacking cut on your long sword with a tee-dum,
tee-dum rhythm, smacking his sword and cutting him. The spirit of the
smacking parry is not parrying, or smacking strongly, but smacking the
enemy's long sword in accordance with his attacking cut, primarily intent
on quickly cutting him. If you understand the timing of smacking, however
hard your long swords clash together, your swordpoint will not be knocked
back even a little. You must research sufficiently to realise this.
THERE ARE MANY ENEMIES
"There are many enemies" applies when you are fighting
one against many. Draw both sword and companion sword and assume a wide-stretched
left and right attitude. The spirit is to chase the enemies around from
side to side, even though they come from all four directions. Observe
their attacking order, and go to meet first those who attack first. Sweep
your eyes around broadly, carefully examining the attacking order, and
cut left and right alternately with your swords. Waiting is bad. Always
quickly re-assume your attitudes to both sides, cut the enemies down as
they advance, crushing them in the direction from which they attack. Whatever
you do, you must drive the enemy together, as if tying a line of fishes,
and when they are seen to be piled up, cut them down strongly without
giving them room to move.
THE ADVANTAGE WHEN COMING TO BLOWS
You can know how to win through strategy with the long
sword, but it cannot be clearly explained in writing. You must practice
diligently in order to understand how to win.
Oral tradition: "The true Way of strategy is revealed in
the long sword."
You can win with certainity with the spirit of "one cut".
It is difficult to attain this if you do not learn strategy well. If you
train well in this Way, strategy will come from your heart and you will
be able to win at will. You must train diligently.
The spirit of "Direct Communication" is how the true Way
of the Ni To Ichi school is received and handed down.
Oral tradition: "Teach your body strategy."
Recorded in the above book is an outline of Ichi school
To learn how to win with the long sword in strategy, first
learn the five approaches and the five attitudes, and absorb the Way of
the long sword naturally in your body. You must understand spirit and
timing, handle the long sword naturally, and move body and legs in harmony
with your spirit. Whether beating one man or two, you will then know values
Study the contents of this book, taking one item at a time,
and through fighting with enemies you will gradually come to know the
principle of the Way.
Deliberately, with a patient spirit, absorb the virtue
of all this, from time to time raising your hand in combat. Maintain this
spirit whenever you cross swords with and enemy.
Step by step walk the thousand-mile road.
Study strategy over the years and achieve the spirit of
the warrior. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is
your victory over lesser men. Next, in order to beat more skillful men,
train according to this book, not allowing your heart to be swayed along
a side-track. Even if you kill an enemy, if it is not based on what you
have learned it is not the true Way.
If you attain this Way of victory, then you will be able
to beat several tens of men. What remains is sword-fighting ability, which
you can attain in battles and duels.
The Second Year of Shoho, the twentieth day of the fifth
Teuro Magonojo SHINMEN MUSASHI
The Ground Book
The Fire Book