Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu

Home / 兵法二天一流と関係がある話 / Facts about Niten / 二天一流は、日々鍛錬の流派である。




Hello, this is Kajiya.

Today I’d like to explain the opening paragraphs of “Gorin no Sho”.



When Honourable Master Musashi sensei sensed his death, he decided to start putting his methods of Hyoho which he named “Niten ichiryu” into his scrolls for the first time.

In early October in 1643 (year 20 in Kan-ei era), he climbed Mt. Iwato located at Higo(old name of Kumamoto) in Kyushu. Then he worshipped “Ten”, “Kannon” and headed  to “Butuzen”



He only did this in the hope that he could accomplish writing it all and it was nothing to do with his martial arts. Just as ordinary people like us, he just prayed for things to go well.

外国語に訳される場合、天がGodsと訳される場合がありますが、天はGods ではありません。日本には西洋で言うところのGodsは、ありません。また天は神(Kami)でもありません。

When translated Japanese into English, Ten (天) is often translated into “Gods”  or  “heaven”, but our Ten(天) is not Gods or heaven. We Japanese don’t have Gods equivalent to those of the west. “Ten” is also different from Kami.


“Ten (天)” in this case means “Otentousama”. In other words, it is “the sun”. “Otentousama” is something like a conscience of human beings. In my childhood, when I tried to do bad things, my parents would say, “Otentousama (the sun) is watching you”. This keeps reminding me that something like a big presence or my conscience is watching me all the time even if nobody is around me.


Musashi sensei said that he had never lost once in his over 60 times fights. He recalled when he over thirty years old and said humbly that he won the fights not because his methods of Hyoho were perfect. Then he had been practicing hard every day and night to achieve deeper understanding of ways of Hyoho. In the end, it is thought to be around fifty years old when Musashi sensei felt all his methods of fighting fell into places of the ways of Hyoho.


It is very clear here that even a genius as Musashi sensei, he humbly said that he trained very hard days and nights for more than 20 years and eventually acquired the ways of Hyoho. It is strictly different with such claims to pray to god for 100 days and receive the secrets in your dream. He acquired these purely by hard training. For koryu practitioners we never fight to the death in modern days unlike Musashi’s time and what could we acquire by training a couple of times a week?


We don’t pray to God for secrets of fighting. We just need to train every day humbly.


Now, let me talk about Kannon. It is different from Buddha in Buddhism. Kannon is more down-to-earth and has a very compassionate existence close to us and our daily life.  She helps us in the way like Buddha does but she is more familiar and rooted in the life of the people in the past.


As Musashi sensei progresses his writing, he says that he doesn’t borrow Buddhist teachings, wise words of Confucius or good old Military records, strategy. I think the part that Musashi sensei mentions in his writings “to express clearly the authenticity and the true heart of Niten ichi-ryu by reflecting “Tendou” (Ten, 天) and “kanzeon”(Kannon) in yourself as a mirror” implies that he tried to write the book for the ordinary people to understand easily with his conscience and compassion like Otentousama and Kannon not by telling like Buddha or Confucius who stays in the height from ordinary people.


And then, Musashi sensei chose on the night of 10th October (22nd November in solar calendar), “Torano koku” just before 4am to start writing. This act is also like ordinary people wishing for good luck.


Earlier it is mentioned that Musashi sensei climbed Mt. Iwato in early October and here clearly said to start writing on 10th October. Thus, the dates of praying and the first day for writing are considered to be different. Also it is thought to be a myth that he wrote the scrolls in Reigando. (He never mentioned that he did in his writing.)

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