Saturday, March 24, 2018

5 Ninja Stars for Musashi's Dokkodo by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder



In the interests of full disclosure, I was given this book for review purposes 


Title: Musashi's Dokkodo (The Way of Walking Alone)
Editors: Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder
Publisher: Stickman Publications
Format: Softcover
Pages: 245
Price: $15.95 Cover Price


I just deep a real deep dive into who Musashi was in my podcast, (Martial Thoughts Podcast).  Even though he lived about 500 years ago, his writings still inspire us today.  Most people, if they know of Musashi's writings, know about Go Rin no Sho or as the title is often translated into English, The Book of Five Rings.  However, right before he died in his cave, he actually produced another little writing, which he entitled "Dokkodo."  This was set up as 21 Precepts to live a life of complete dedication to an art, like martial arts, as he did.  It was left for his disciple.  This book goes over these precepts in detail.

Content


Obviously 21 precepts would be a very short book, so what did the writing team of Kane and Wilder do to fill the pages?  Easy.  They looked at each precept, dedicated a chapter to it, and applied that precept to modern life.  To make it even more useful, they gathered the learned opinions of other professionals to look at each precept from a different point of view.  Each precept is therefore, examines from the point of view of a monk, a warrior, a teacher, an insurance executive, and a businessman.  They all give a different view on how and why each of the precepts can apply to life today.



Pros


I really liked this format.  It's one thing to give your opinion of a piece of ancient writing, its another to gather together several opinion and place them all in the same book.  It ends up feeling like you are the proverbial fly on the wall listening to a great, well thought out conversation about the various subjects covered by the 21 precepts.  I also like that it wasn't all just a "praise Musashi"-fest, where he can do no wrong because he is Musashi.  There were times that his words were either disagreed with or at the very least, modified to work with today's world.

Cons


The only point I could make as a negative would be, if you were looking for a book of Musashi's secret's techniques, or something along those lines, this isn't the book for you.  This is looking at his last written words and applying them, for good or bad into today's world, from several different perspectives.

Conclusion

I enjoyed reading this book for a number of different reasons.  I enjoyed looking at Musashi's crazy words.  His rigorous, aesthetic lifestyle was not what most people would want.  However, through reading the different interpretations, I could see the value of what he was saying.  The true value is getting the different opinions and interpretations.  This helps you, the reader, pull out what you would think valuable.  Overall, I'm going to give this book the rare 5 out of 5 Ninja Stars rating.  I think it does a wonderful job of explaining everything as well as giving different view points.  I think, like Book of Five Rings, his writings can apply to all martial artists, and probably all people.

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