The Lady of the Rings – Musashi's Book of Five Rings Strategy Interpreted for Women
Hanshi Stephen F. Kaufman
with Ann Davis
In the introduction of the book, Ann Davis discusses her initial encounters with Musashi's Book of Five Rings. Here is an excerpt from that introduction.
The first thing I had to know was why the book itself was considered the "bible" of the martial arts and how it would relate to ordinary life experiences without getting into the alleged methodology of killing everything and everyone in sight that displeased me. As a normal woman, I knew it would have to be made easy in my own mind in order for me to express the ideas therein. It would have to be done in such a manner that would make it pleasant to digest. Scanning through it again, I noticed that this Musashi fellow, who was considered the fiercest swordsman in ancient Japan, had no qualms when it came to taking someone's life. This would absolutely not do. Then the idea struck me that I could replace certain ideas with everyday events. For example, I might take a general approach to life strategy and make it fit my needs. This included the manner in which I even walked the dogs or sat at the beach. For that matter, it even had to do with my own approach to the relationships I had with people, intimately or not. If I took it out of the realm of maleness and applied the principles to true femininity, it could readily apply itself to me personally.
In the introduction to the work, it says that Musashi had killed over sixty men in fights and duels. Though I hadn't actually killed anyone in fights and duels, I certainly had experience in dealing with all kinds of jerks that I would have had no qualm in killing either. But that was not what I was looking for. I even wondered why I would want to do this. But instead of driving myself intellectually crazy, I applied the first thing I had read about no thought and no idea concerning the outcome. It seemed so simple to do when I stopped thinking about it and began to write. It became obvious that it could be done in the manner I had prescribed for myself.
The introduction also speaks about coming to terms with one's own skills and abilities and the reality of what he had accomplished that held him to a higher ideal of what life is. I have no problem with that, and I see myself in regards to having built a business from nothing and developing my own skills while learning the secrets of my own trade. This could also be applied to relationships. Take things at face value and don't try to determine how the face value should work either for or against me. That way, I could see from the other person's perspective and even gain control if I wanted to. Yes, control of myself and my emotions and possibly even those of the person I was involved with for any particular situation.
The idea became more and more lucid in my mind. Then when I read that he was also dedicated to painting, sculpture and music, I even felt more comfortable because he, Musashi, said that his Way of the Sword was not the only thing that mattered, yet it was the only thing that mattered. This was going to be great for me, and I would learn how to deal with reality from a completely different perspective. It would be functional and real. Besides, if a man could do it… Then it dawned on me. My heart, my mind and my vagina were my sword.