Friday, January 6, 2012

The Book of Earth

As far as I can tell my theories on the the mindsets really don't correspond with the Five Rings, though, from a mental aspect, I still believe that what I wrote is valid in it's own way.

Miyamoto begins the Book of Earth by describing what the way is. There isn't one way, there are several. Today, we could observe the way of the blogger, the way of the scientist, the way of the inventor, the way of the businessman... Every person has a way and they aren't restricted to their profession.

However, if one wants to be successful in the path they choose, he must learn everything there is to know about "their" way. This is in essence strategy, which is to learn and always be learning so that you are ahead of your competition.

So in a way, every person adopts the way of strategy whether they know it or not. But knowing this does not make you a strategist. That would be high a compliment for any novice to claim and surely Miyamoto would be laughing in his grave.

Strategy, which is what Miyamoto is writing about, is the art of a warrior. That may seem extreme after what I said about ways, but if you break down the idea of war, it is one side vs another and one side usually ends the victor--like a competition.

In essence we are all warriors of our own ways. We all seek to expand our knowledge of our way. Which is the Book of Earth: knowing.

Miyamoto used an example of a carpenter-overseer in The Book of Five Rings.
"The carpenter-overseer must know the theory of architecture which governs the towers and temples, and the plans of castles, and he must employ people in order that they will build the houses"
Building a house takes a great deal of knowledge; the carpenter-overseer must must be familiar with the tools at his disposal as well as his materials and how to utilize them wisely. Just like a general of an army, the carpenter must know where to cut, where to sand, where to place, where to hammer... And also the carpenter must know his employees in order to employ them correctly.

Which ones are good at constructing sliding doors? Which ones are good at constructing doorjambs? The carpenter is familiar with his workers so that they together can produce great work.

Miyamoto also goes into great detail of weapons and which to use and when to use and also goes further to say that none is better than all, though the long sword is useful in nearly any situation. He also describes timing, which is fundamental in kenpo karate when attacked.

Knowing when to attack and when to counter are pinnacle skills to learn as a martial artist. Knowing this improves your strategy just as knowing how to counter a on coming punch.

So the Book of Earth focuses mainly on knowing your way and also knowing when to make your move.

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