Do not intend to Wound, but to Kill!

Posted by on Apr 1, 2013 in Stories of the Way

Budo ethos

Its a frightening concept which seems to epitomise the worst of warfare.

The saying is attributed to Miyamoto Musashi, regarded as one of the greatest Japanese sword masters and warriors, a survivor of over 60 duels (some famously recorded) and author of the Go no Rin Sho (the Book of 5 Rings) a popularised book on the Art of Strategy.

But the quote does not mean what may appear at first glance.  Rather than being a call to war, it is a request for restraint.

Many people are “killed” a little each day by countless “cuts”, criticisms, callous questions and needless aggressive interactions.

Mushahi’s admonition is to avoid petty squabbles, harassment and bullying relationships that hurt and wound.  The Warrior puts aside the minor and chooses not to be troubled by small trifles as irritating as they may be.  Knowing that they have the power to kill, they choose not to be upset by the petty irritations of life and reserve their power to counter the significant events that will entail a life or death struggle.