Badass Dudes – Miyamoto Musashi and His 21 Rules of Life

Miyamoto Musashi, or, Shinmen Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara no Genshin, was a renown Japanese swordsman and rōnin. As of now, I dub him a badass motherfucker. Cheers to you M&M.

Musashi was made famous by his double sword style of combat and impressive undefeated record of 60 duels. His won his first duel at age 13.

I have trained in the way of strategy since my youth, and at the age of thirteen I fought a duel for the first time. My opponent was called Arima Kihei, a sword adept of the Shinto ryū, and I defeated him. At the age of sixteen I defeated a powerful adept by the name of Akiyama, who came from Tajima Province. At the age of twenty-one I went up to Kyōtō and fought duels with several adepts of the sword from famous schools, but I never lost. —Miyamoto Musashi

Shinto ryū was a style of swordsmanship used by the Samurai.

And 13 year old Miyamoto Musashi defeated a samurai.

Badass. . .

Known to not give a fuck, Musashi would show up to duels late, irritating his opposition. Not that it matters. In case you forgot, he is undefeated. In 1604, the great warrior challenged Yoshioka Seijūrō, the master of the Yoshioka School, to a duel. Musashi arrived late to the duel, infuriating Seijūrō. Regardless, Musashi won and was immediately challenged by Seijūrō’s brother, Yoshioka Denshichirō for revenge.

Not giving two fucks, M&M was late yet again. Classic move.

I think you know what happened when the duel with Denshichirō took place.

This second victory enraged the Yoshioka family and the head of the family, 12-year-old Yoshioka Matashichiro,  assembled a small force of archers, swordsmen and musketeers to challenge Musashi to another duel.

Being the unpredictable badass that he was, Musashi broke his habit of not giving a fuck and came to the temple hours before the duel. Hidden, Musashi attacked the force, killed Matashichiro, and escaped while being attacked by Matashichiro’s goons. To fend off his opponents, M&M drew his second sword and defended himself with a sword in each hand.

This was the beginning of his niten’ichi (double sword) style.

Since Miyamoto Musashi, only legends have followed suit of the niten’ichi.

miyamoto musashi 21 rules life leonardoImage courtesy of Popscreen

“There are five ways in which men pass through life: as gentlemen, warriors, farmers, artisans and merchants.” — Miyamoto Musashi

An intriguing characteristic about M&M was his ambition to pursue art forms other than swordsmanship. A form of a Renaissance Man as you can say. Musashi concluded that the way of the Warrior, as well as a “true strategist” is somebody who mastered various art forms away from that of the sword such as tea drinking (sado), laboring, writing, and painting, as he practiced throughout his life.

On his deathbed he wrote The Book of Five Rings, a book dedicated to strategy, tactics, and philosophy. A recommended read for it gives great insight into who Miyamoto Musashi was. In addition, you can use the principles in the book not just for martial arts, but in all aspects of your life.

Miyamoto Musashi’s 21 Rules of Life

You may not agree with them all but Miyamoto Musashi’s 21 rules of life are good benchmark principles to mimic while on your way to living a life of badassery.

Miyamoto Musashi. Not only was he one of the greatest warriors ever to life. He was also an artist, philosopher, and badass motherfucker.

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