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Miyamoto Musashi Thread In GNG

Discussion in 'The Martial Arts Forum' started by Roundeyesamurai, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    543
    0
    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
  2. eddygordo

    eddygordo

    3
    0
    Feb 20, 2003
    Hi RES,

    I was wondering if you could shed some light on Musashi's duel with Sasaki Kojiro. All I know is what I saw on the Musashi Taiga Drama that played about a year ago here in Hawaii.

    Anyway, the depiction I saw had Musashi acknowledging that he could not defeat Kojiro without also getting himself killed, at least with Kojiro having the longer sword. So although the duel had been set, Musashi ran off to an island to buy time and find a solution. On the island, he found a wooden oar and carved it into a sword with sufficient length. At the dueld the two attacked with simultaneous blows, Kojiro's blow only cut Musashi's head band, and Musashi's blow fatally struck Kojiro on the head.

    Does your research indicate the reason why Musashi used a wooden sword against Kojiro? I read your posts on GNG, and was just wondering if the above-stated version has any credibility.

    Thanks,
    EG
     


  3. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    543
    0
    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
    Hi Eddy;

    Judging by the last paragraph of your post, I'm sure you already know the caveat I am going to give, but I'll post it anyway for the benefit of everyone else reading:

    Much of the story of Musashi's life is apocryphal. In fact, so much of his life has been blown up, retold, rewritten, and conjectured, that the obscurities about him are staggering.

    There are several iterations of the fight between him and Sasaki Kojiro; nobody can really claim to know conclusively which, if any, of them is the most accurate. Thus, my opinion is based on my speculation.

    What we can actually discern, based on other knowledge of Musashi's life, is that for the latter half of it, he mostly carried a bokken (wooden sword) instead of a live steel blade. This change probably (but by no means certainly) occurred when he duelled with Sasaki Kojiro.

    Sasaki Kojiro was known only for two things: 1) Carrying a long sword (the acutal length is hard to determine) and 2) Being exceptionally skillful with one cut- a cut he dubbed "The Sparrow Tail", so named because it mimicked a sparrow's tail when in flight.

    I would surmise that the length of Kojiro's sword wasn't what troubled Musashi- that it was the speed of Kojiro's cut.

    The choice of an oar to make a bokken was likely for a very simple reason- it was well-made from a good hardwood, and was roughly the correct shape and thickness to whittle down into a sword. It is EXTREMELY unlikely that he used it for its length, since the longer an object is, the more unwieldy it becomes.

    The island was not where Musashi hid, it was where the duel was scheduled to take place. Some accounts have him using one of oars from the boat he took to the island as the material for the bokken- but then, why would he show up to an island where someone wants to kill him, only to sit down for hours (perhaps days) to whittle out a wooden sword? Nope, he certainly made it ahead of time and brought it with him.

    So, why use the bokken? Very simply, Kojiro was only good with one cut- a cut which took advantage of the excessive length of his sword. Beyond that one (admittedly VERY fast) cut, the sword was unwieldy. I imagine the Musashi had the bokken in mind for one purpose: put it between himself and Kojiro's one good cut. If Kojiro cut the bokken, then his one good cut was used up, and Musashi could kill him with a knife, or whatever.

    The account of the two trying to out-reach each other with longer weapons doesn't really pan out well. The reason is simple: Go get a 6 foot staff and a watermelon. Set the watermelon at your own head height. Hold the bo at one end (like it's a 6-foot-long sword), and try to use the other end to smash the watermelon. You'll miss or bounce off more than you'll hit, and it'll take a lucky hit to smash it. It'll also be slow as hell.

    Now, here is my own speculation: I speculate that when Kojiro struck and Musashi parried with the bokken, that it didn't break. This would explain why Musashi later took up the wooden sword as his personal preference- a steel blade would almost certainly have broken under the same circumstances. I also suspect that Musashi broke Kojiro's sword (probably using the bokken).

    So, in summary, here's how I see the events as having unfolded:

    Musashi obtained an oar and made it into a bokken. He rowed out to the island to meet Kojiro. The two squared off. Kojiro and Musashi struck simultaneously. Kojiro's blade was parried by the bokken, which didn't break. Musashi broke Kojiro's sword, probably by forcing the point of the blade to the ground and striking the blade with the bokken, and killed Kojiro with a blow to the head.

    Musashi probably told people how it went, and the story was retold, and retold, etc., and grew.

    I hope I've answered all of your questions! Please feel free to post if you have more.
     
  4. eddygordo

    eddygordo

    3
    0
    Feb 20, 2003
    Thank you RES. Your posts are very informative and appreciated.

    Like other Sansei or Yonsei, I have a passing interest in Musashi, but the different accounts of his life can leave one confused or skeptical.

    Your no-nonsense, common sense approach to the subject matter appears to be credible given Musashi's similar approach. I'm sure it is no coincidence.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    543
    0
    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
    I am going to copy and paste the portions of the other thread relevant to Musashi into this thread, in order to save a repository on the subject.

    It will be several posts in length, as I am going to try to put posts together into integral conversations to make them easier to read later on.
     
  6. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    543
    0
    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
     
  7. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    543
    0
    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
     
  8. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    543
    0
    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
     
  9. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    543
    0
    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
     
  10. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    543
    0
    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
     
  11. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    543
    0
    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York