Review The Book of Five Rings

Kamis, 01 Desember 2011


The Book of Five Rings (Colección Lado Oriental #2)

by Miyamoto Musashi

Saat menuliskan pemikirannya tentang permainan pedang, kemenangan, dan spiritualitas, samurai legendaris Miyamoto Musashi bermaksud menjadikan karya sederhana ini sebagai panduan bagi murid-murid pribadinya serta generasi samurai masa depan. Ia tidak pernah mengira bahwa karyanya akan menjadi mahakarya yang begitu diinginkan oleh orang-orang dari beragam bidang kehidupan selama berabad-abad setelah kematiannya.

Bersama dengan The Art of War karya Sun Tsu, The Book of Five Rings telah lama dianggap sebagai panduan tak ternilai mengenai strategi mencapai kemenangan. Nasihat Musashi yang tak lekang oleh waktu mengenai mengalahkan lawan, membuat lawan lengah, menciptakan kebingungan dan teknik-teknik lain untuk melumpuhkan lawan dulu ditujukan kepada para pembaca di medan pertempuran dan saat ini membantu pembaca modern mengarungi pergulatan hidup.

William Scott Wilson, yang juga merupakan penerjemah Hagakure dan The Unfettered Mind, benar-benar mengikuti tulisan Jepang abad ketujuh belas dan memperjelas pokok-pokok pikiran yang membingungkan dalam terjemahan sebelumnya. Sebagai tambahan, ia memberikan pengantar mendalam dan terjemahan sebuah karya Musashi yang jarang diterbitkan, yaitu Jalan Berjalan Sendiri. Edisi ini juga menampilkan karya seni asli Musashi serta kaligrafi baru karya seniman Jepang, Shiro Tsujimura.

Gramedia 2007

Mikekite: f you don't know how to use a sword, don't bother. This book is often tauted by business leaders as a strategy book, in much the same way that Sun Tzu's book 'The Art of War' is tauted. The comparison is impractical. Sun-Tzu was far more a philosopher than Musashi. I took Iaido for 3 years before I could read this book. It IS good for strategy, but you don't get the metaphors without learning the sword first.

Robert: This book, written by a famous Japanese duelist, tells one of his relatives how to win with the sword. It is divided into five "Rings" based on five "Elements". He concentrates on Strategy and does not talk about the best guard to take or other technicalities. Many people find this book to be immoral as it espouses winning at all costs in a deadly pursuit. I regard it more as a-moral. Musashi simply never considers the question. He is simply putting down his concept of Strategy. Perhaps the moral onus is on the reader of the book?

Students of Zen would do well to read the book, particularly the final Ring - entitled The Void. Afterward the perceptive student would take up an individual sport - not necessarily fencing, tennis would do just as well - and give up trying to solve koans. After all, even the Masters say that the more you study Zen the further from enlightenment you get and there can be little doubt that Musashi was a master.

This translation from the original Japanese also contains an insightful introduction.

Matt: I remember liking a different translation when I first read this book about 5 years ago. So whether it's the translation or a different perspective on life, this was a bit of a disappointing read. Unless you are veeeeeeeerry into kendo, which I'm not, I don't know what there is to take away from this book other than it is an interesting look into the mind of a real historical figure who was a legend in his own time. Sort of like reading Yoda's light-saber instruction manual... if Yoda was real. A large portion of the book pertains to specific techniques, and as I have no clue as to what the hell those techniques are despite the long footnotes, I found the passages rather tedious. Furthermore, as the uninitiated I found constantly repeated phrases such as, "You must do sufficient research," "You must train well," "Research this well" rather irritating. But I suppose this is like trying to take instruction from any master. I was always awed when I had guitar lessons from someone like Cyril Pahinui or Led Kaapana who would say, "Or you could do it like this," and then go on a 10 minute jazz style improvisation running up and down the fretboard. So as a historical tidbit great, as life philosophy somewhat disappointing.