Miyamoto Musashi and Seijuro Sensei


Miyamoto Musashi is said to be the greatest swordsman in the history of Japan.  He is the author of “The Book of 5 Rings,” a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today.

Musashi trained for years and at a certain point felt that he was ready to face the greatest swordsman in all Japan, Seijuro Sensei.  He went to Kyoto to challenge him.  In those times, the senior student would fight battles for the head teacher, so the teacher wouldn’t have to lose face if he lost.   But Musashi wanted to duel with the master himself.  So he went to the town square and challenged him openly.  That way he wouldn’t have to face the senior student.

The duel was to happen according to tradition- at dawn, with full etiquette and dress.   Seijuro Sensei arrived at dawn in full gear.  Musashi was not there.  Hours passed.  Mushashi was nowhere to be seen.  More time passed and Seijuro became visibly enraged.  At this point Musashi stepped out of the crowd dressed as a peasant.  Seijuro was even more angered because Musashi had not dressed appropriately, and he disrespected him by only bringing a wooden sword!  Seijuro stepped forward in anger and slashed downward at Musashi.  Musashi lifted his wooden sword into his chin before Seijuro’s sword made it’s way to the target, and killed him instantly.


In a match in the dojo, we will not be effective if we are angry or scared, and the same is true in life.  It is especially important that martial artists practice control of their emotions.  If a martial artist loses control, someone may get hurt.  The difference a martial artist and someone who is merely a fighter is that a martial artist uses confidence, focus, and powers to control himself.  A fighter seeks to satisfy his ego and control others.

“If your temper rises, withdraw your hand; if your hand rises, withdraw your temper.”

-Gojun Miyagi

One Response to “Miyamoto Musashi and Seijuro Sensei”

  1. Shawn King says:

    The book of 5 Rings is an excellent read on strategy and philosophy…

    I understand what he did in this story to a “T”

    There have been times I have used similar tactics when rolling with others that I know are bigger, stronger, faster and more technical than I…

    What they sometimes lack though is the “Mental” game…

    I can begin making jokes, telling them they don’t have the finishing hold, playful taunting, etc…

    What ends up happening is that they let it get into their heads and actually begin listening to me and believing me… They let go of what would have been a TapOut… they get frustrated and start making mistakes…

    They have not learned to control their own minds and thoughts…

    And that is one of the major differences I see between a Fighter and a Martial Artist.

    “Control over your Mind”

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