author C.C.Cole's blog

Sunday, August 18, 2013

On the Wisdom of Simplicity

I’ve been a longtime fan of martial arts and still have the privilege to endure the training sessions when I can make the time for it in my life.  Any person well skilled in martial arts with the proper training will tell you it’s a lifestyle, both physical and mental that is embraced together.  There is no perfection of the skill, one is a student always training, and even “Masters” take humble but serious responsibility in teaching others what they know.

In other words, “The Karate Kid” made several valid points about martial arts, but to leave it at tournament training would be disrespectful.

“A Book of Five Rings” by the famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi is one of the philosophical books many read that are either trained in martial arts, read history of the Samurai, or amongst the masses that read “The Art of War" by Sun Tzu and “The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli, a set of books that each carry their own deep philosophical messages that apply to modern life and are often quoted today.

Musashi’s book, like Sun Tzu is a brief read, but has a wonderful, simplistic way of examining society and thinking about it from a warrior’s point of view.  He reviews various methods of fighting and strategy, and the relationship of facing one opponent versus numbers of opponents.  He describes certain weapons are useful for certain battles, but not weapon is suitable for all battles.  He reminds the reader that battles are not won by weapons alone, thinking honestly for you will bring about the cunning needed for victory.

What does Musashi’s book have to do with a new author?  Everything.   He emphasizes over and over again “this takes much practice.”  Writing takes practice.  Historically the samurai remain famous for their skill and discipline.  As we create characters, think about what conflicts they face and how they will overcome them.  New writers, if you have a couple of hours, pick up Musashi’s book and read it.  He gives us a large dose of inspiration with very few words and pages.  I highly recommend it.

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