Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Book of Fire

I've been contemplating this ever since yesterday. I feel that Miyamoto's Book of Five Rings is a text that really can't be explained in 5 posts. I guess from what I have heard about the book, I figured that it would be simple to share the wisdom of Miyamoto in a summary. That is certainly not the case.

So I'm going to share a little about each book from now on. It's just that each book is not easily summarized. Miyamoto has added so much to the text. He has many of his own techniques inside, named, with long explanations for each one... Imagine a blog post for each chapter now.

So what I've decided is to stick with a short summary with every intention to come back to this series with a more detailed post for each technique.

For now though, let's get back to the Book of Fire. Simply put, Miyamoto says that fire refers to fighting. Fire is ferocity or passion like I described in my theory on the fire mindset.

In terms of fighting, Miyamoto says there are three ways to engage an enemy:
The first method is to attack. This is called Ken No Sen, or to set him up. The second method is to hold him off as he attacks. This is called Tai No Sen, or waiting for him to take the initiative. The third method is to attack at the same time as the enemy. This is called Tai Tai No Sen, or to both accompany and forestall him at once.
 For this post, I would like to go over these in more detail.

Ken No Sen:

Miyamoto writes that Ken No Sen is about initiative. He gives readers three strategies in regards to initiative.
  1. You want to remain calm but move quickly and take your opponent by surprise. Be wise about how much effort you put into your attacks, you do not know at this point how your opponent will react (fear is a common reaction), keep some energy in reserve in case you need to forestall.
  2. This second strategy is about overwhelming your opponent with speed. Keep your resolve and move quickly. Confuse and overwhelm with fast powerful attacks.
  3. Last one, attack with a calm mind and spirit (control the fire mindset) and create in your mind the feeling of victory. Intend to win and unleash your knowledge calmly and methodically.
Tai No Sen:

Miyamoto writes that when waiting for your opponent to attack, maintain a serene disposition. He also suggests to act weak. As your opponent approaches, watch. When he relaxes, it means that your ploy worked. At the moment he believes you are not a threat, overtake him with a strong attack. Become ferocious fire in an instant!

Tai Tai No Sen:

This type of engagement is a little awkward, but if you have ever sparred before you've seen it. As soon as your opponent moves in for an attack, attack! It takes a watchful eye and experience to do this correctly. You must be able to predict the attack and dodge and counter appropriately in your attack. Sounds a bit strange, but when you think about it, how else would you attack your attacker?

The Book of Fire is just as long as the Book of Water and filled with strategy techniques. Many are no-brainers while some are those that give you that epiphany feeling. Still a very good book. Check it out or get your own copy.

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