Outline of the Five Volumes of this Book of Strategy

Once you definitely understand the principle of swordsmanship, the ability to defeat a single person at will means the ability to defeat all the people of the world. The spirit of defeating one man is the same for defeating ten million men. A commander's strategy, which requires him to make something large out of something small, is comparable to the making of a giant Buddhist statue from a foot-high scale model. I cannot write in detail how this is done. The principle of strategy is to know ten thousand things by having one thing. A few things of My Niten Ichi School are explained in this Water book.

Third is the Fire volume. This book is about fighting. The spirit of fire is fierce, whether the fire be small or big; and so it is with battles. The Way to do battle is the same for man to man fights and for the clash of armies of ten thousands. You must appreciate that the spirit can become big or small. Big things are easy to see: small things are difficult to see. In other words, it is difficult for large numbers of men to change position, so their movements can be easily predicted. An individual can change his mind so quickly that his movements are difficult to predict. You must appreciate this. You must train day and night in order to get used to the quick changes of the mind in battle, until you begin to perceive them naturally. It is necessary to treat your training as part of everyday life. Then your spirit will remain unchanging.

Thus combat in battle is described in the Fire volume.

Fourthly the Wind volume (also the schools volume). This book is not concerned with my own Niten Ichi school but with other schools of strategy. By the term Wind I mean style or tradition, as in old traditions, present-day traditions, and family traditions of strategy. Here I clearly explain the strategies of the various schools in the world. This is tradition. It is difficult to know yourself if you do not know others [a possible reference to Sun Tzu: If you know your enemy and yourself, you will not be in danger in a hundred battles]. To all Ways there are side-tracks. Even if you study your Way daily, if your spirit diverges, objectively it is not the true Way, even though you may think you are following a good Way. What may be a little divergence in the beginning will later become a large divergence. You must realize this.

Strategy has come to be thought of as mere sword-fencing, and it is not unreasonable that this should be so. The benefit of my strategy, although it includes sword-fencing, lies in a different matter entirely. I have explained what is commonly meant by strategy in other schools in the Wind (Tradition) book.

Fifthly, the book of the Void. By void I mean that which has no beginning and no end. What can you call its innermost depths or its entrance? Attaining this principle means letting go of principles. The Way of strategy is the Way of nature. It has its own freedom. Once you detach from principles, you will acquire exceptional skill spontaneously and independently. Once you know the power of nature, you will discern the rhythm of any situation, and you will hit the enemy naturally with your every strike. All this is the Way of the Void. I intend to show how to enter the true Way naturally in the book of the Void.