Mitsuhashi Kanichiro on Musashi

Mitsuhashi Kanichiro was a kendo master of the early 20th century. Pulling again from Kenji Tokitsu’s book on Miyamoto Musashi, I find an interesting and applicable understanding of Musashi’s philosophy.

Notes on the Mind, Energy, & Body in Strategy
–          Do not over-stretch to the point of losing flexibility and the ability to spring into action.
–          A skilled practitioner does not have a lapse in their flowing mind and they immediately know how to take  advantage of an opponent who does.
–          Begin your combat with calm energy and deliberate movements. Do not be agitated and waste your energy.
–          Even though you should command the initiative, rhythms or cadences will depend on your opponent.
–          Master the three keys of the human being, (Kanichiro describes them as “domains”): mind (心), will or energy (氣), and body (身).
–          Fear hinders courage and stimulates the will of your opponent.
–          Hold your body “accentuating its central axis” The belly is forward and the entire body is dynamic.

Attitude Toward Training
–          Reflect on your doubts in training. “Even if you are lacking in knowledge and you are awkward, the future is wide open.”
–          If you are too skeptical you will be mired in doubt and never go beyond.

Within Kanichiro’s work is a poem by Musashi which reflects his school with the notion of water in winter evoking the coldness of a blade and the clearness of the mind. The water flows, never stagnating. Transparent yet reflecting the moon.

Flowing on a winter stream,
The face of the moon,
Like a mirror, transparent


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