Intro and Book 1
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, 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.
I had my first duel at 13 years old. I struck down a strategist of the Shinto school, one Arima Kihei.
At 16, I struck down an able strategist Tadashima Akiyama. At 21, 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 dueling with strategist of various schools, and not once failed to win even though I had as many as sixty encounters.
This was between 13-29 years old.
When I reached 30, 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 realize 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 practice 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.)
Chapter 1= THE GROUND BOOK
Strategy is the craft of the warrior.
- Commanders must enact the craft
- Troopers should know this Way
No warrior today really understands the Way of Strategy.
There are various Ways=
- the Way of salvation by the law of Buddha
- the Way of Confucius governing the Way of learning
- the Way of healing as a doctor
- the Way of poet teaching the Way of Waka, tea, archery, and many arts and skills
Each man practices as he feels inclined. It is said the warrior’s is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.
Even if a man has no natural ability, he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way. Generally, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. But this is different from the acceptance of death by priests, women, and peasants who die readily in their duty or out of shame.
The warrior is different in that studying the Way of Strategy is based on overcoming men. By victory gained in crossing swords with individuals, or enjoining battle with large numbers, we can attain power and fame for ourselves or our lord.
This is the virtue of strategy.
The Way of Strategy
In China and Japan, practitioners of the Way have been known as “masters of strategy”. Warriors must learn this Way.
Recently people have become strategists. But they are usually just sword-fencers.
The attendants of the Kashima Kantori shrines of the province Hitachi received instruction from the gods, and made schools based on this teaching, traveling from country to country instructing men. This is the recent meaning of strategy.
In olden times, strategy was listed among the Ten Abilities and Seven Arts as a beneficial practice.
It was certainly an art but as a beneficial should be so. The benefit of my strategy, although it includes sword-fencing, lies in a separate principle. I have explained what is commonly meant by strategy in other schools in the Tradition (Wind) book.
Fifthly, the book of the Void. Void is that which has no beginning and no end. Attaining this principle means not attaining the principle.
The Way of strategy is the Way of nature. When you appreciate the power of nature, knowing rhythm of any situation, you will be able to hit the enemy naturally and strike naturally. All this is the Way of the Void.
The Name Ichi Ryu Ni To (One school - two swords)
Warriors, both commanders and troopers, carry two swords at their belt. In olden times these were called the long sword and the sword. Nowadays, they are known as the sword and the companion sword.
In Japan, whatever the reason, a warrior carries two swords at his belt. It is the Way of the warrior.
“Nito Ichi Ryu” shows the advantages of using both swords.
The spear and the halberd are weapons which are carried out of doors.
Students of the Ichi school of Strategy should train from the start with the sword and the long sword in either hand. This is a truth= when you sacrifice your life, you must make fullest use of your weaponry. It is false not to do so, and to die with a weapon yet undrawn.
If you hold a sword with both hands, it is difficult to wield it freely to left and right, so my method is to carry the sword in one hand. This does not apply to large weapons such as the spear or halberd, but swords and companion swords can be carried in one hand. It is encumbering to hold a sword in both hands when you are on horseback, when running on uneven roads, on swampy ground, muddy rice fields, stony ground, or in a crowd of people.
To hold the long sword in both hands is not the true Way, for if you carry a bow or spear or other arms in your left hand you have only one hand free for the long sword. However, when it is difficult to cut an enemy down with one hand, you must use both hands.
It is not difficult to wield a sword in one hand; the Way to learn this is to train with two long swords, one in each hand. It will seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. Bows are difficult to draw, halberds are difficult to wield; as you become accustomed to the bow so your pull will become stronger. When you become used to wielding the long sword, you will gain the power of the Way and wield the sword well.
The Water Book will explain that there is no fast way of wielding the long sword. The long sword should be wielded broadly and the companion sword closely.
According to this Ichi school, you can win with a long weapon or a short one. In short, the Way of the Ichi school is the spirit of winning, whatever the weapon.
It is better to use two swords rather than one when you are fighting a crowd, and especially if you want to take a prisoner. These things cannot be explained in detail. From one thing, know ten thousand things. When you attain the Way of Strategy there will not be one thing you cannot see. You must study hard.
The Benefit of the Two Characters Reading “Strategy”
Masters of the long sword are called strategists. As for the other military arts, those who master the bow are called archers, those who master the spear are called spearmen, those who master the gun are called marksmen, those who master the halberd are called halberdiers.
But we do not call masters of the Way of the long sword “longswordsmen”, nor do we speak of “companion swordsmen”. Because bows, guns, spears and halberds are all warriors’ equipment they are certainly part of strategy. To master the virtue of the long sword is to govern the world and oneself, thus the long sword is the basis of strategy. The principle is “strategy by means of the long sword”.
If he attains the virtue of the long sword, one man can beat ten men. Just as one man can beat ten, so a hundred men can beat a thousand, and a thousand can beat ten thousand.
In my strategy, one man is the same as ten thousand, so this strategy is the complete warrior’s craft.
The Way of the warrior does not include other Ways, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, certain traditions, artistic accomplishments and dancing. But even though these are not part of the Way, if you know the Way broadly you will see it in everything. Men must polish their particular Way.
The Benefit of Weapons in Strategy
There is a time and place for use of weapons.
The best use of the companion sword is in a confined space, or when you are engaged closely with an opponent. The long sword can be used effectively in all situations.
Moreover, in large scale strategy the superior man will manage many subordinates dextrously, bear himself correctly, govern the country and foster the people, thus preserving the ruler’s discipline. If there is a Way involving the spirit of not being defeated, to help oneself and gain honour, it is the Way of strategy.