The Complete Book of Five Rings is an authoritative version of Musashi’s classic The Book of Five Rings, translated and annotated by a up to date martial arts master, Kenji Tokitsu. Tokitsu has spent most of his life researching the legendary samurai swordsman and his works, and on this book he illuminates this seminal text, together with several other works by Musashi. These include “The Mirror of the Way of Strategy,” which Musashi wrote when he used to be in his twenties; “Thirty-five Instructions on Strategy,” and “Forty-two Instructions on Strategy,” that have been precursors to The Book of Five Rings; and “The Method to Be Followed On my own,” which Musashi wrote just days before his death. Read together, these five texts give readers an unusually detailed, nuanced view of Musashi’s ideas on swordsmanship, strategy, and self-cultivation.
Tokitsu puts these kind of writings into historical and philosophical context and makes them accessible and relevant to nowadays’s readers and martial arts students. Tokitsu understands Musashi’s writings—and Musashi as a martial artist—unusually well and is in a position to provide a rare insight into the man and his historical contribution.