I have been many years training in the Way of strategy, called Ni Ten
Ichi Ryu, and now I think I will explain it in writing for the first
time. It is now during the first ten days of the tenth month in the
twentieth year of Kanei (1645). I have climbed mountain Iwato of
Higo in Kyushu to pay homage to heaven, pray to Kwannon, [God(dess)
of mercy in Buddhism. - Slaegr] and kneel before Buddha. I am a
warrior of Harima province, Shinmen Musashi No Kami Fujiwara No
Genshin, age sixty years.
From youth my heart has been inclined toward the Way of strategy. My
first duel was when I was thirteen, I struck down a strategist of the
Shinto school, one Arima Kihei. When I was sixteen I struck down an
able strategist Tadashima Akiyama. When I was twenty-one I went up
to the capital and met all manner of strategists, never once failing
to win in many contests.
After that I went from province to province duelling with strategist
of various schools, and not once failed to win even though I had as
many as sixty encounters. This was between the ages of thirteen and
twenty-eight or twenty-nine.
When I reached thirty I looked back on my past. The previous
victories were not due to my having mastered strategy. Perhaps it
was natural ability, or the order of heaven, or that other schools'
strategy was inferior. After that I studied morning and evening
searching for the principle, and came to realise the Way of strategy
when I was fifty.
Since then I have lived without following any particular Way. Thus
with the virtue of strategy I practise many arts and abilities - all
things with no teacher. To write this book I did not use the law of
Buddha or the teachings of Confucius, neither old war chronicles nor
books on martial tactics. I take up my brush to explain the true
spirit of this Ichi school as it is mirrored in the Way of heaven and
Kwannon. The time is the night of the tenth day of the tenth month,
at the hour of the tiger (3-5 a.m.)