Sword and Circle: Book Two (The Longsword Chronicles 2)

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I slashed through all the books in less than a week. After turning 18, he has to leave his country for one year and a day never to return never to mention who he is. After departing from the impregnable plateau where his homeland is located.

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In his journey through the lands, he meets all different types of man. After all the happenings, he returns to his homeland to inform his father of all the dangers which are lurking under their homeland. Just to find out that his country…. And there, he hopes, that reason, if revealed, can be used against Morloch and the dark armies of the north gathering in the wastelands beyond the farak gorin.

The Longsword Chronicles Series

But some things are, perhaps, best left shrouded in the mists of myth. The nature of the conflict between the kindred races of Man and Morloch is about to change forever…. So said the message from Brock of Callodon, propelling Gawain and Elayeen along a path abandoned a thousand years ago, a path no man or elf has dared to tread since the mysterious destruction of the great city of Calhaneth lying in ruins at its end. And Morloch is still far from defeated. Banished from Elvendere, the three of Raheen and their companions ride for Ferdan, and the pitiful forces of the Kindred Army gathered there waiting for Gawain to lead them to war.

The Battle of Far-gor will determine the fate of the kindred races, and only Gawain believes there is still the faintest ember of hope for them all. Celebrations in the aftermath of victory at the Battle of Far-gor sweep the lands south of the Teeth, but for Gawain there is to be no joy, and his rest is short-lived. Revelation follows revelation, dread and ancient secrets are revealed, and the lands must stand and fight together once more, though this time, in secrecy.

While hope shines brightest east of Elvendere, there can be no light without shadow…. With the Orbquest bound for Calhaneth, Elayeen is left alone but for her friends in Tarn. Ancient compulsions inflicted by Sword and Circle still demand to be heard, and spies are everywhere.

Hunted by Morloch and by a Toorseneth bent on vengeance for the loss of the Sceptre and the return of the Sight, Elayeen flees Tarn, hoping to draw her enemies from her friends, and hoping her enemies will expend what resources they possess in a fruitless search for the Queen of Raheen. With only Meeya and Valin for company, Elayeen embarks on the journey south, a journey which, she believes, will end with her facing the single most important decision of her life. But the warnings of elder times should never be ignored. Last Ridings, the name given to the small patch of Arrun where dwell the remaining survivors of Raheen.

But the worms will not cease their squirming and Gawain cannot ignore them. The Orb of Arristanas and the Shadow of Calhaneth. The Battle of Far-gor, and a Morgmetal spike buried in a tunnel beneath the farak gorin and hidden for years. The pieces are coming together, and while all eyes are drawn now to the west, Gawain knows nothing good comes from the north.

What he does not expect is what awaits him in the east…. Tension mounts in Last Ridings. Allazar frets too; he has solved an ancient enigma, and neither he nor the King of Ashes can withstand the forces of elder times compelling them once more to action. There are questions to be asked, and there is only one place where the answers may be found. He frequently threw his short sword, and Kenji Tokitsu believes that shuriken methods for the wakizashi were the Niten Ichi Ryu's secret techniques.

Musashi spent many years studying Buddhism and swordsmanship. He was an accomplished artist, sculptor, and calligrapher. Records also show that he had architectural skills.

Book impression: Swords - An Artist's Devotion by Ben Boos

Also, he seems to have had a rather straightforward approach to combat, with no additional frills or aesthetic considerations. This was probably due to his real-life combat experience; although in his later life, Musashi followed the more artistic. He made various Zen brush paintings, calligraphy , and sculpted wood and metal. Even in The Book of Five Rings he emphasizes that samurai should understand other professions as well. It should be understood that Musashi's writings were very ambiguous, and translating them into English makes them even more so; that is why so many different translations of The Book of Five Rings can be found.

The following timeline follows, in chronological order of which is based on the most accurate and most widely accepted information , the life of Miyamoto Musashi. He makes particular note of artisans and foremen. When he wrote the book, the majority of houses in Japan were made of wood. In the use of building a house, foremen have to employ strategy based upon the skill and ability of their workers.

In comparison to warriors and soldiers, Musashi notes the ways in which the artisans thrive through events; the ruin of houses, the splendor of houses, the style of the house, the tradition and name or origins of a house. These too, are similar to the events which are seen to have warriors and soldiers thrive; the rise and fall of prefectures, countries and other such events are what make uses for warriors, as well as the literal comparisons: "The carpenter uses a master plan of the building, and the way of strategy is similar in that there is a plan of campaign".

In the first book the Ground Book he compares his concept of strategy to a foreman carpenter. The foreman carpenter knows his tools and men so well that he is able to guide them; delegating who does what based on their abilities, while also being aware of their morale. The foreman carpenter, if he wants the better finished product, will treat his men in such a way as to receive their best work. This illustration begins many more battle-specific lessons in strategy. Musashi says to learn one-thousand things from one thing; as a builder may build a large structure from a small one, so too must a strategist learn to see on the large scale of things.

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Initially, Musashi notes that throughout China and Japan, there are many "sword fencers" who walk around claiming they are strategists, but are, in fact, not, which may be because Musashi had defeated some such strategists, such as Arima Kihei. The idea is that by reading his writings, one can become a true strategist from ability and tactical skill that Musashi had learned in his lifetime. He argues that strategy and virtue are something that can be earned by knowing the ways of life, the professions around, and perhaps to learn the skills and knowledge of people and the skills of their particular professions.

The attendants of the Kashima Kantori shrines of the province Hitachi received instruction from the gods, and made schools based on this teaching, travelling from province to province instructing men. This is the recent meaning of strategy. Of course, men who study in this way think they are training the body and spirit, but it is an obstacle to the true way, and its bad influence remains forever.

Thus the true way of strategy is becoming decadent and dying out. As a form, strategy was said to be one of "Ten Abilities and Seven Arts" that a warrior should have, but Musashi disagrees that one person can gain strategy by being confined to one particular style, which seems particularly fitting as he admits "I practice many arts and abilities—all things with no teacher"—this perhaps being one of the reasons he was so highly regarded a swordsman.

Musashi's metaphor for strategy is that of the bulb and the flower, similar to Western philosophy of " the chicken or the egg ", the "bulb" being the student, the "flower" being the technique. He also notes that most places seem to be mostly concerned with their technique and its beauty.

Musashi writes, "In this kind of way of strategy, both those teaching and those learning the way are concerned with colouring and showing off their technique, trying to hasten the bloom of the flower" as opposed to the actual harmony between strategy and skill. With those who are concerned with becoming masters of strategy, Musashi points out that as a carpenter becomes better with his tools and is able to craft things with more expert measure, so too can a warrior or strategist become more skilled in his technique.


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However, just as a carpenter needs to be able to use his tools according to plans, so too must a strategist be able to adapt his style or technique to the required strategy of the battle he is currently engaged in. This description also draws parallels between the weapons of a trooper or soldier and the tools of a carpenter; the idea of "the right tool for the right job" seems to be implied a lot throughout The Book of Five Rings. Musashi also puts into motion the idea that when a carpenter is skilled enough in aspects of his job, and creates them with expert measure, then he can become a foreman.

Although it is not expressly mentioned, it may be seen that Musashi indicated that when one learned the areas in which your craft requires carpentry, farming, fine art or battle and is able to apply them to any given situation, one is experienced enough to show others wisdom, as foreman of craftsmen or as a general of an army. From further reading into the book, the idea of "weapons within strategy" as well as Musashi referring to the power of the writer may seem that the strategy that Musashi refers to does not exclusively reside within the domain of weaponry and duels, but within the realm of war and battles with many men:.

Just as one man can beat ten, so a hundred men can beat a thousand, and a thousand can beat ten thousand. In my strategy, one man is the same as ten thousand, so this strategy is the complete warrior's craft. Within the book, Musashi mentions that the use of two swords within strategy is mutually beneficial to those who use the skill for individual duels or large engagements. The idea of using two hands for a sword is an idea that Musashi opposes because there is no fluidity in movement with two hands: "If you hold a sword with both hands, it is difficult to wield it freely to left and right, so my method is to carry the sword in one hand.

Although it is difficult, Musashi agrees that there are times in which the long sword must be used with two hands, but one whose skill is good enough should not need it. After using two long swords proficiently enough, mastery of a long sword, and a "companion sword", most likely a wakizashi, will be much increased: "When you become used to wielding the long sword, you will gain the power of the Way and wield the sword well. You can win with a long weapon, and yet you can also win with a short weapon.

In short, the Way of the Ichi school is the spirit of winning, whatever the weapon and whatever its size. It also contains Shuriken-jutsu. It tells single sword kenjutsu also. The strategy of the long sword is different from other strategies in that it is much more straightforward. In the strategy of the longsword, it seems that Musashi's ideal was that by mastering gripping the sword, it could become a platform used for moving onto the mastery of Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu as well as being able to use a companion sword better.

Musashi often use the term "two fingers" to describe the way to hold the long sword. That does not mean he actually taught the grip with only two fingers. In "The Water Book" he notes:. Grip the long sword with a rather floating feeling in your thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger neither tight nor slack, and with the last two fingers tight. It is bad to have play in your hands.

However, just because the grip is to be light, it does not mean that the attack or slash from the sword will be weak. As with any other technique in the Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu:. If you try to wield the long sword quickly, you will mistake the way. To wield the long sword well, you must wield it calmly. If you try to wield it quickly, like a folding fan or a short sword, you will err by using "short sword chopping". You cannot cut down a man with a long sword using this method. As with most disciplines in martial arts, Musashi notes that the movement of the sword after the cut is made must not be superfluous; instead of quickly returning to a stance or position, one should allow the sword to come to the end of its path from the force used.

Thus, the technique becomes freely flowing, not abrupt. Musashi also discouraged the use of only one sword for fighting and the use of overlarge swords like nodachi because they were cumbersome and unwieldy. Even from an early age, Musashi separated his religion from his involvement in swordsmanship. Excerpts such as the one below, from The Book of Five Rings , demonstrate a philosophy that is thought to have stayed with him throughout his life:. There are many ways: Confucianism, Buddhism, the ways of elegance, rice-planting, or dance; these things are not to be found in the way of the warrior.

In his later years, Musashi said in his The Book of Five Rings : "When I apply the principle of strategy to the ways of different arts and crafts, I no longer have need for a teacher in any domain. His paintings are characterized by skilled use of ink washes and an economy of brush stroke. He especially mastered the "broken ink" school of landscapes, applying it to other subjects, such as his Kobokumeikakuzu " Shrike Perched on a Withered Branch"; part of a triptych whose other two members were " Hotei Walking" and "Sparrow on Bamboo" , his Hotei Watching a Cockfight , and his Rozanzu "Wild Geese Among Reeds".

Even in Musashi's time there were fictional texts resembling comic books. It is therefore quite difficult to separate fact from fiction when discussing his life. There have been numerous works of fiction made about or featuring Musashi. Eiji Yoshikawa 's novelization originally a s daily newspaper serial has greatly influenced successive fictional depictions including the manga Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue and is often mistaken for a factual account of Musashi's life.

The video game Yakuza Kenzan was based around his life and personality. Also appears in Baki-Dou Manga, as a revived clone of himself with his real soul intact as one of the strongest fighters in the series, used his 2 sword style in almost every combat he is shown in.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Japanese swordsman, writer, philosopher and artist. In this Japanese name , the family name is Miyamoto. Miyamoto Musashi in his prime, wielding two bokken. Woodblock print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Further information: Miyamoto Musashi in fiction. Asia portal Japan portal History portal War portal Biography portal.

Kamiko Tadashi Tokyo: Tokuma-shoten, , Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings. The Book of Five Rings: the classic text of Samurai sword strategy null ed. The latter footnote by Kamiko reads: "For his entire life, Musashi never took a wife, cut his hair, or entered a bath". The Lone Samurai. Kodansha International. Scandnet AB. Retrieved 4 March Instituto Cultural Niten. Retrieved 15 January Archived from the original on 15 June Archived from the original on 18 December Miyamoto Musashi at Wikipedia's sister projects.

East Asia. Prominent people of the Sengoku period. Ninja , rogues and mercenaries. Monks and other religious figures. List of samurai from the Sengoku period. Categories : Miyamoto Musashi s births births deaths 17th-century Japanese calligraphers Artist authors Duellists Japanese non-fiction writers Japanese painters Japanese philosophers Japanese swordsmen Kendo Martial arts school founders Martial arts writers Samurai 17th-century philosophers.

Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Miyamoto Bennosuke c. Musashi is taken and raised by his uncle as a Buddhist. Believed to have fought in the Battle of Sekigahara as part of the western army. Whether he actually participated in the battle is currently in doubt. Musashi has three matches with the Yoshioka clan in Kyoto. Funaoka, Kita-ku, Kyoto. Duels with the kusarigama expert Shishido Baiken in the western part of Mie Prefecture.

Begins practicing zazen meditation.

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