Miyamoto Musashi and the Two-Sword Style

by jaketimothy


“In the way of this style, it is correct for even the beginner to hold a sword and short sword in either hand and train in the Way.  When you put your life on the line, you want all your weapons to be of use.  Your real intent should not be to die with weapons uselessly worn at your waist.  Moreover, when you hold a single weapon, with both hands, it is difficult for the right and left hands to move freely…  A bow, spear, or any other kind of weapon you may hold in your left hand, but in all such cases, you will have to use the sword with one hand…  To learn how to wield a sword in one hand, first take up two swords.”

Master swordsman Miyamoto Musashi describes his martial style in The Book of Five Rings.  The two-sword style is a strategic approach with two truths that prepare the follower for obtaining victory in life.  By making use of all your weapons and allowing each hand to move freely, you learn flexibility and agility through gaining experience achieving victory with whichever hand has better position and opportunity.  Learning to control both simultaneously, one learns balance between advantages and gains deeper self control.  We are then able to respond fluidly and dynamically when we employ multiple means toward our ends.  By employing both in pursuit of success, we are able to rely on one or the other as opportunity demands.  A more general truth is that the beginner should take up arms in the same manner as the master.  Each person should understand what it takes to execute with mastery in the final stages of your advancement, and equip yourself and organize your efforts in the same way from the beginning.  This runs counter to the approach many take when it comes to education and training.  People often equip the young with a less complete or less full compliment than they do with the mature and the form and type of learning evolves as the student progresses.  Musashi teaches the opposite, that we learn best by selecting the outfit which is best suited for success and learning that way from the beginning.