9 Rules from “The Book of 5 Rings”

What the heck is “The Book of 5 Rings?”

It’s a military strategy book, written in 1643 by a samurai named Miyamoto Musashi. It is said that Miyamoto-san never had a home, never bathed, never had any children, or women. On a side note, I can’t imagine why he never married, but I digress 😉 Miyamoto Mushashi was totally and completely focused on his station in life.

In other words, he completely dedicated himself to his passion.

Here are the rules that Miyamoto-san came up with in his book:

1. Think of what is right and true

2. Practice and cultivate the science

3. Become acquainted with the arts

4. Know the principles of the craft

5. Understand the harm and benefit in everything

6. Learn to see everything accurately

7. Become aware of what is not obvious

8. Be careful, even in small matters

9. Do not do anything useless

Other thoughts from the book are:

  • You can hardly become a master of martial arts unless you see the immediate in a broad context
  • Keep martial arts on your mind, and work diligently in a straight forward manner
  • You can overcome people by means of your body (knowledge and ability)
  • Large scale military science is a matter or winning at keeping good people, winning at taking care of the populace and winning at carrying out customary social observances. When you reach this point, how can you be defeated?

Of course, Miyamoto-san was a soldier and a martial arts master. His primary and only focus was on being the best samurai he could be, but I feel that his rules can apply to almost anything that you want to do well.

Some of us are already encumbered with children, houses and bathing regularly, but I feel that the basic principles he outlines in the 9 rules are attainable.

I can think of several times in my life where I should’ve thought about the broader implications of what I was doing. When I should’ve been aware of what was not obvious and let’s not get into doing things that are useless. I do that all the time.

I leave you with this, how can you apply the above rules to your life?


Rafael is an aviation geek, a consumer advocate, a dad, a multiple personality blogger, a photographer, politically opinionated, a videographer and many other things as well.