Miyamoto Musashi’s Hyoho Shiju Ni Kajo – Forty Two Instructions On Strategy

Making Your Movements Stick


You and your opponent attack each other. At the moment when he blocks your sword, you close in on him and make your sword stick to his. You must glue your sword to his as though it were impossible to make it come unstuck, but without putting too much force into it. In making your movements stick, you can never be too calm. You must distinguish between sticking and becoming entangled. Sticking is strong, becoming entangled is weak.


Regarding the Place of Combat Combat against Many Adversaries


The previous two articles are more or less identical to those in the Gorin no sho (the Scroll of Fire and the Scroll of Water, respectively).


Regarding the Five Directions of the Guard

The five articles below are grouped under the title “Regarding the Five Directions of the Guard” (Goho no kamae no shidai). The five guard positions described here are not the same as in the Gorin no sho.


1. The middle guard position (kanjitsu no kamae) with your blades held slightly at an angle.


When your opponent is far away, you approach him just to the limit of his range of attack, holding your swords slanting downward and keeping your body straight. You situate yourself facing him and adopt a guard position as follows:


You raise your arms, with your elbows neither raised nor lowered, and cross your large and small swords in a forward position and at a middle level, broadly but without putting them too far forward.

The point of the large sword is tilted slightly upward and placed above the line that runs between the middle of your body and your opponent’s. The blades of your swords are neither raised nor held flat on the horizontal. They should be held on an angle.


In this position, keep your will mobile and the depth of your mind stable.


Avoid your opponent’s attack by detecting the movement of his will.


Jab the point of your sword toward his face; this will disconcert him, and on account of that he will be drawn into launching his attack.


At that point strike his arm from top to bottom by bringing the point of your sword back into position.


After striking, leave this sword at the point it has reached, as though you had abandoned it, without moving your feet.


And when your opponent attacks again, strike his arm from bottom to top in such a way as to hit him when he is a third of the way into his movement of attack.


Generally speaking, it is appropriate to keep your attention on the unleashing of your opponent’s will to attack.


You can then detect what he is about to start doing. This is a situation that is encountered all the time. You must understand it well.


2. The high guard position of gidan (gidan no kamae)

Place your right hand at the level of your ear, slanting your large sword slightly toward the inside— this is what I call the guard position of gidan.


You hold the sword neither too tight nor too loose, with the point of the sword aimed toward the center line of your opponent’s body.


You strike, depending on your opponent’s attack, either low, at the middle level, or high. The speed, depth, and force of your strike depend on his.


To dominate your opponent from the outset, strike his wrist by moving your large sword forward. But you must not strike downward.


Strike with the feeling of piercing your opponent’s hand, being quite sure of the direction of the blade of your sword.


Then, whether your opponent parries or not, you immediately raise your sword, striking from below upward.


To carry out this technique, you must hold the sword correctly and strike swiftly.


It contains a sequence in the course of which it is possible to have a chance to cut your opponent down. But at a short distance, this technique is difficult to execute; in this case you must try to achieve dominance after having parried. You must use your judgment.


3. The right-side guard position (uchyoku no kamae)


Hold your large sword down on the right side and your small sword up, as though you were going to make a broad horizontal slashing movement.


When your opponent attacks, you strike him in such a way as to hit him when he is a third of the way through his move. If he tries to strike your small sword so as to make you drop it, you lower it slightly to make him cut in the void, then you slash your opponent by straightening the direction of the blade of your own sword. Speed is necessary for this strike.


You must watch to make sure you keep the direction of the blade of your sword correct at the moment when you turn the point.


4. The left-side guard position (juki no kamae)


There are two kinds of left-side guard positions.


For the first you move your right hand, which is holding the large sword, to the left, with the point of the sword forward and rather low, directed to the right. When your opponent attacks, you strike a third of the way through his movement.


Your striking movement is as follows: You raise the sword, reaching with your arm in such a way that your hand goes beyond the point of your opponent’s sword.


After this strike, you must immediately turn the blade of your sword over.


For the second, you hold your sword rather low with the point directed to the left.


Your hand then touches your right leg, and the blade of your sword is turned toward your opponent.


You strike him as soon as he shows his intention to attack. Adjust the depth and force of your strike depending on your opponent. You must examine this strike well.


5. The low guard position (suikei no kamae)


You hold the two swords with the points coming near one another, downward and toward the inside, with the elbows broadly separated, without extending the arms. In this position, the small sword is placed forward. That is the low guard position.


When your opponent attacks, as you cross his sword you strike him on the central line, raising your sword up to the level of his forehead. You must strike broadly and fully, straight ahead.


It is bad to cross the adversary’s sword by moving your sword from the left side.


After this strike, you must immediately turn the blade of your sword over.


Depending on the situation, you could then adopt the right-side guard position. You must use your judgment.


WITH THESE FIVE GUARDS you can deal with all situations.


Without conforming to the principle of the nature of the sword, you will not be able to cut down your opponent.


The following final sentences are no longer present in the Hyoho sanju go kajo.


I have written here the general principles of my school. To learn the principle of victory with the sword through strategy, you must master the five guards by means of five technical forms. Through this you will be enabled to recognize the nature of the sword and you will obtain flexibility of body. You will be able to find cadences that conform to the way on any occasion.


What I have written above comes from my master Genshin [Musashi].


The master persevered from his youth in the way of strategy and was able to attain the ultimate level in all the domains of the art, thanks to the principle of strategy.


He engaged in more than sixty combats, either with the sword or with the bokuto (wooden sword), without ever losing. In this way he defeated the most famous adepts of all Japan.


He continued to look for a more profound way, training from morning till night.


Only after the age of fifty did he attain the ultimate state from which an extraordinary energy spontaneously emanates, and from that day on, he no longer had the need to go deeper.


The master did not write anything about his art until he met Lord Hosokawa Tadatoshi of Hishi [Kumamoto], who pursued this way.


This lord had studied the strategy of several schools and had received the highest transmission from Yagyu Tajimanokami [Munenori], the most celebrated master of strategy in Japan.


The lord secretly believed he had attained the highest level. At the time of his meeting with the master, they fought and the lord was completely dominated. He was astonished at the master’s ability, and he asked him a number of questions.


The master then replied: “As far as the principle of strategy is concerned, this is true for all the schools: if the way of ultimate sincerity does not become one with what one is trying to do, it is not a true way.”


The lord said, “Although I am not very skillful, I will persevere until I arrive at this way.”
That is how the Master came to begin teaching him the way in private, and he presented to him his first writing.


The lord swiftly attained mastery, thanks to his previous achievements in strategy. The lord said, “I have persevered in the art of the sword (kenjutsu) from the time of my youth and I have studied several schools in a conscientious manner, but I have understood that none of this was part of the true way. Everything that I had learned over a long period of time turned out to be useless and disappeared.” In this, his joy was great.


As for me, thanks be to heaven, I was able to meet my master, who granted me his special attention, and I was able to benefit from the depth of this relationship. I was able to attain the way by drinking at the spring of my master’s mind by means of training.


The master complimented me, saying, “Until now, I have taught a great number of people, but none of them was able to enter into the real way. Without attaining a true way, it is impossible to give a real transmission. Nobuyuki [Terao’s name], you have great intelligence in strategy, and you can understand ten things on the basis of one. And thanks to your exceptional ability, you have reached the state where an extraordinary energy spontaneously emanates from your person.”


But this way is not a mere method of the sword (kenjutsu), and very few people pursue it. Even if there are people who search for it, if they do not do so with a sincere mind and with great perseverance, it is better not to speak to them of anything, because they will never arrive at it. I passed a number of years without ever showing my art to anybody, saying to myself that teaching my art amounted to touching my nose to indicate my mouth.


In this situation I have a trustworthy friend, Yasumasa, with whom I have been training for a long time, and I wish to be able to continue to do so for the rest of my life. I know the real sincerity of his mind, through which he inevitably reaches success, and how could he fail?


Therefore I have transmitted everything to him, and he has attained the ultimate state of the way. It is for this reason that I bestow on him this text that comes from my master. This is an extraordinary occasion.


The school that will be perpetuated for all eternity is called Niten ichi ryu (the School of Two Swords toward the Sky). This is the strategy of the reality that has the fullness of a circle. The master gave it this name because “all principles arise from emptiness. If there is no communication, there is no response.”


The fifteenth of the eighth month of the sixth year of Kanbun [1666]
Terao Motomenosuke Nobuyuki