Ask a martial artist who’s up on his history to name the greatest warrior of all time, and chances are he’ll say Miyamoto Musashi, the legendary Japanese swordsman who cut down 60 men with his blade. No doubt there have been many other fighting men — both before and after Musashi’s day (1584-1645) — who killed more enemies, but undocumented knowledge seldom outlives those who possess it. What makes Musashi special is that he accumulated an incredible amount of experience and committed his wisdom to paper in the form of a timeless classic titled Go Rin No Sho. We know it as The Book of Five Rings.
On cursory examination, the text appears to be a simple work designed to educate young swordsmen. Yet it embodies a plethora of between-the-lines observations and advice that will enthrall anyone who reads it with a warrior’s eye. Its prose captures an old warrior’s perceptions of the world around him and conveys the lessons the master deemed essential for a young warrior’s survival. It’s important to remember that when Musashi put pen to paper, he was very old. He knew that for him, there would be no more battles and, therefore, no need to hold anything back in an effort to keep enemies from learning secret fighting methods and using them against him.
Much of the content of The Book of Five Rings is specific to combat in old Japan, yet Musashi has plenty to teach 21st-century martial artists. We may carry a tactical folder and a Glock instead of a wakizashi and a katana, but fighting is fighting regardless of the year, and much of Musashi’s wisdom still applies.
His text is divided into five parts: Ground, Water, Fire, Wind and Void. A full discussion of their modern applications is beyond the scope of this article, so I’ll focus on the most poignant lessons.
“Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest and the deepest things as if they were a straight road mapped out on the ground,” Musashi wrote. His meaning is clear: Success in combat requires planning.
A lesson frequently learned early in a martial artist’s training is that those who are destined to win do so by first studying and then fighting. Those who are destined to lose tend to fight first and then study why they lost. Although no one can accurately predict the outcome of every battle and prepare specifically for it, you can certainly stack the deck in your favor.
You must develop a realistic understanding of your skills and capabilities. Study the dynamics of conflict until you possess a basic understanding of how combat unfolds. It’s crucial to approach this with a 21st-century focus since modern-day assailants don’t always use weapons that existed in ancient Japan.
Musashi compared the way of the warrior to the way of the carpenter. The carpenter plans everything with great specificity, and you, as a martial artist, should do the same — both inside and outside the dojo. You may know exactly how you would spar with a classmate who likes to lead with a roundhouse kick, but do you have a plan in the event of a home-invasion robbery? How about a car jacking or mugging? Being prepared means you’ll never be a deer in the headlights, frozen by the savagery of the world. Leave nothing to chance.
In the second section of his treatise, Musashi wrote: “Water adopts the shape of its receptacle. It is sometimes a trickle and sometimes a wild sea. Water has a clear blue color. By the clarity, things of [my] school are shown in this book.”
One of the most difficult attributes to develop is adaptability. A wise martial artist uses techniques and tactics that fit the circumstances of the fight. His goal is to hit his adversary, not necessarily to execute his favorite technique. Knowing which kick or punch to throw as a fight begins — and being able to change course at a moment’s notice — is essential.
The ability to become a tactical chameleon requires exposure to different fighting styles. Witness the generally poor showings made by one-dimensional fighters who enter MMA competitions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In that kind of limited-rules environment, the fighter that triumphs is the one who has trained in every conceivable method, from ground grappling to kickboxing and all ranges in between.
Musashi’s moral: Study everything, keep what is useful and do not limit yourself to any one system.
“This book is about fighting,” Musashi wrote. “The spirit of fire is fierce, whether the fire be small or big. And so it is with battles.”
I once saw a well-trained martial artist get his rear end handed to him by an untrained yet much fiercer street thug who had no concerns about getting beaten up or killed. That illustrated to me the importance of ferocity. Being in great shape or having trained under a renowned master is simply not enough.
Becoming a fierce fighter doesn’t mean you have to live an austere existence like Musashi did — never washing your body lest you let down your guard, never sleeping on a pad lest it make you weak and so on. It means getting your mind oriented correctly in terms of life-or-death combat. As he wrote, “The way of the warrior is the resolute acceptance of death.”
In medieval times, Japanese warriors cultivated a fatalistic approach to things. In other words, they trained to die. As a modern-day warrior, you need not seek out your own demise in the service of another, but you must make friends with the idea of sacrificing your life so that in the midst of the fight, you aren’t distracted by thoughts of self-preservation. Of course, you should endeavor to preserve your life, but you should do so with the strength that comes from having a resolute acceptance of death and the purity of focus that accompanies it.
“In strategy, you must know the ways of other schools, so I have written about various other traditions of strategy in this, the Wind Book.”
Musashi focused much of his study on the martial ways of his adversaries. He isn’t the only historical figure to have done that; commentators as geographically and culturally diverse as Carl Von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu have penned similar admonishments.
Who are the likely adversaries of the 21st-century martial artist? Gang members, criminals and terrorists, for the most part. You must learn who they are, how they operate and what they wear. In a self-defense situation, you won’t find yourself face-to-face with a kendo student holding a samurai sword or with a kickboxer who announces himself and bows as though he’s part of a Hollywood fight flick. The opponent you’re most likely to confront today is a person skilled at taking you by surprise and willing to deprive you of your life without a moment’s hesitation.
“Some of the world’s strategists are concerned only with sword fencing and limit their training to flourishing the long sword and carriage of the body,” Musashi wrote. “But is dexterity alone sufficient to win? This is not the essence of the way. … In my doctrine, I dislike preconceived, narrow spirit. You must study this well.”
The lesson is obvious: Don’t be limited in your studies. If you take taekwondo,consider adding wing chun and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to expand your horizons. If you focus on unarmed fighting, spend some time learning knife and gun methods. If you’re a shooter, dabble in jeet kune do as a supplement. Remember that narrow-mindedness kills.
“Cutting down the enemy is the way of strategy, and there is no need for many refinements of it,” Musashi wrote. Nevertheless, some martial arts teachers romanticize combat. Those of us who have been there and done that know it’s a foolish thing to do. Combat has an ugliness, a reality and a finality that cut through all the dogma, doctrine, style disputes and miscellaneous clap-trap that clogs our consciousness. It’s simple, violent and animalistic. Understand it and accept it.
Musashi wrote: “To attain the way of strategy as a warrior, you must study other martial arts and not deviate even a little from the way of the warrior. With your spirit settled, accumulate practice day by day, and hour by hour. Polish the twofold spirit [of] heart and mind, and sharpen the twofold gaze [of] perception and sight. When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void.”
This passage typifies the Book of the Void, and throughout it, two aspects stand out: the mental, which Musashi calls “spiritual,” and the technical.
Mental: After a particularly violent gunfight, a superior asked me if I’d been scared. I said, truthfully, that I had not been. Then I qualified my answer: My lack of fear hadn’t stemmed from my being particularly brave or particularly stupid, but from being completely occupied with winning. I had trained myself to fight as well as I could, and I had a firm understanding of the rules of engagement. Additionally, I had a fall-back plan for any after-action eventuality that might crop up. Quite simply, I had a focused spirit, which is the essence of the void Musashi described.
Technical: In the November 2001 issue of Black Belt, I wrote an article titled “Enough Is Enough! The Case for Keeping Your Self-Defense Arsenal Short and Sweet.” It discussed how knowing too many techniques can be a liability because any move that’s unnatural or overly complicated will not be physically memorized. And if it’s not physically memorized, you’ll never use it in a fight.
That concept of physical memorization and subconscious programming is not new. The Japanese sword master Yagyu Tajima No Kami wrote: “Learning and knowledge are meant to be forgotten, and it is only when this is realized that you feel perfectly comfortable. The body will move as if automatically, without conscious effort on the part of the swordsman. All of the training is there, but the mind is utterly unconscious of it.”
Yagyu was referring to swordsmanship, but the concept is entirely valid for modern combatives. Likewise, Musashi’s Go Rin No Sho, which is more than 350 years old, remains a valid guide for the education of modern practitioners of the self-defense arts.
Gabriel Suarez is president of Suarez International Inc., a Prescott, Arizona-based training and consulting group that teaches modern combatives courses around the world.
En esta ocasión el lechón viajero ha pasado una semana dando pingoletas entre Zarya ozdorovitel 'nyy lager', Moscú, Krasnodar, Kazan, Perm y San Petersburgo. 6 lugares en 7 días. Para volverse loco. Este tipo de viajes no son recomendables en absoluto. Al final no sabes ni qué día es ni donde estás. Pero en cualquier caso sirven para tastar el país y sus gentes. Una primera impresión de un mundo no tan cercano (son más de 4 horas de vuelo) y diferente. La gente encantadora y lo poco que he podido ver del país me ha abierto el apetito para regresar con más tiempo. Os incluyo algunas imágenes de las cuales muchas son necesariamente de noche pues entre despertar, marchar al aeropuerto, volar, aterrizar, ir al hotel, comer y participar en la reunión nos daban las 8 y entre la reunión y la cena o después de la cena estaba el poco rato para visitar.
En las calles de Barcelona. En todo lado hay gente incívica q no recoge las necesidades del perro (aunque esta de la foto tiene aspecto humanoide) pero también hay quien le pone sentido del humor a la falta de urbanidad.
Na noite de domingo para segunda-feira quem estiver em Portugal continental, nos Açores e na Madeira vai poder um eclipse total da superlua. Este fenómeno raro ocorre quando a Lua atravessa a sombra da Terra e fica cor de ferrugem. A última vez em que este fenómeno aconteceu foi há 33 anos, em 1982, e só volta a repetir-se em 2033.
O eclipse vai fazer com que na madrugada de segunda-feira a Lua esteja mais perto de nós do que é habitual, a apenas 356 877 quilómetros de distância. Como no domingo será noite de Lua cheia e o astro estará especialmente perto: vai parecer 14% maior e terá 30% mais brilho do que se estivesse no apogeu, ou seja, o ponto na órbita terrestre em que um astro se encontra mais afastado da Terra. É devido a este facto que se batizou o fenómeno de super-Lua.
Este acontecimento torna-se ainda mais raro porque a superlua vai sofrer um eclipse. Apesar de os eclipses lunares acontecerem duas vezes por ano, a última vez em que o planeta Terra tapou uma lua gigante já foi há mais de três décadas.
As melhores horas para ver a superlua Se não quer perder o fenómeno que só volta a repetir-se dentro de 18 anos pode olhar para o céu à 1h10 (hora de Portugal continental) da madrugada de segunda-feira, altura em que o astro deixa de ser iluminado por parte dos raios solares. A partir das 2h07, a Lua vai ficar completamente tapada pelo planeta Terra durante três horas e 20 minutos. Deixa de estar à sombra às 5h27 e às 6h24 fica à meia-luz, altura que marca o fim do eclipse, segundo o Observatório Astronómico de Lisboa.
Caso não queira ficar acordado durante a noite de domingo para segunda-feira – que contará com uma média de 16 graus de temperatura mínima em todo o País, de acordo com o IPMA – vai poder assistir ao início do fenómeno raro já durante o entardecer de domingo. A Lua nasce às 19h10 e, nessa altura, irá ter uma cor vermelho-alaranjada.
Ao contrário do que se possa pensar, a Lua não vai ficar completamente escura durante o eclipse. Vai ter um brilho cor de ferrugem provocado pela atmosfera da Terra, que não só dispersa os raios como absorve muitos deles. Assim, durante o fenómeno, a luz branca que costuma iluminar o astro é substituída por uma luz vermelho-alaranjada.
Onde vai ser possível ver o eclipse Além de Portugal continental, Açores e Madeira, a superlua vai poder ser vista na Europa Ocidental, África Ocidental, América do Sul e Central e no Leste da América do Norte. Tudo porque em todos estes locais, no momento do eclipse, a Lua vai estar acima do horizonte.
Syrah. Shiraz. Petite Sirah. These wines sound similar and in result, leave people confused what's the difference between the three of them.
Syrah and Shiraz are the exact same grape, much like Pinot Grigio and Pinot Grisare also the same grape. So whether you're drinking a wine that says Syrah or a wine that says Shiraz, the wine is made from the same grape. The French call the grape Syrah, while Australians call the grape Shiraz. If your label says Shiraz, there's a good chance it's from Australia. The rest of the world tends to follow the French and call the grape Syrah, but this is not a strict rule. Syrah is pronounced sih-RAH. Shiraz is pronounced sher-AS (rhymes with jazz).
Over time, however, Syrah and Shiraz have taken on meaning beyond preference of name. Australians like to make big jammy wines from this grape, and wines named Shiraz tend to be in this style. The French make less fruit-forward wines in general, so wines named Syrah tend to be more restraint than Shiraz. This is a general rule of thumb, but not always the case. Keep in mind that although Shiraz and Syrah can be different stylistically, they are still the same grape.
Petite Sirah, on the other hand, is an entirely different grape than Syrah/Shiraz, although it sometimes gets confused because Sirah is pronounced the same as Syrah. Elsewhere in the world this grape is called Durif. Petite Sirah wines are big and inky with tons of dark fruit flavors. Don't make the mistake that this grape is in any way related to Syrah/Shiraz, as people sometimes do.
In short: Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape, both used depending on the brand/winemaker preference. Petite Sirah is a different grape and has no relation to Syrah and Shiraz.
Taken from Vivino (http://www.vivino.com/news/whats-the-difference-between-syrah-shiraz-and-petite-sirah?utm_source=summary_email&utm_medium=weekly&utm_campaign=11-09-2015) accessed at Sept 12th, 2015
Pinceladas del Duero en la zona viticultora. A poco más de 100 km por carreteras de curvas imposibles se llega desde Oporto a la región donde se cultiva la uva que dará lugar al elixir preciado del vino de Oporto y al muy considerado vino de mesa del Douro. Claro que también se puede llegar por autopista y luego tomar un bote hasta las quintas…pero no es tan romántico, eso sí conservas el estómago en su lugar porque es un viaje para echar los higadillos…
Se trata de un plato estrechamente ligado a la gastronomía gallega pero, ¿Sabemos realmente de dónde procede y cuál es su origen?
Los griegos consideraban el pulpo como uno de los más excelsos manjares del océano, siendo, junto a salmones y lampreas, el plato elegido en ocasiones especiales de los más acomodados. Los maragatos empezaron a utilizar el pulpo seco que los gallegos no utilizaban, hidratándolo, y mezclándolo con aceite de oliva crudo y el pimentón extremeño, con los que comerciaban a diario. Tras observar el éxito del nuevo invento, los gallegos lo incorporaron como plato en sus fiestas regionales, ferias y romerías, y de ahí su nombre, “Pulpo á Feria”.