Two Swords as One

Samurai, both commanders and troopers, carry two swords at their belt. In olden times these were called the tachi [long sword] and the katana [sword]; nowadays they are known as the katana [sword] and the wakizashi [companion sword]. I don't need to explain this in detail. Let it suffice to say that in Japan, a warrior carries two swords as a matter of duty, whether he knows how to use them or not. It is the Way of the warrior.

I have decided to call my approach "Nito Ichi Ryu" [two swords as one] to show the advantages of using both swords.

As for the spear and the halberd, and so on, these are considered additional weapons.

Students of the Nito Ichi School of strategy should train from the start with the sword and the long sword in either hand. This is a truth: when you sacrifice your life, you would want to make fullest use of your available weaponry. It is unnatural not to do so, and to die with a weapon yet undrawn.

If you hold a sword with both hands, it is difficult to wield it freely to the left and to the right, so my method is to get used to wielding the sword in one hand. This does not apply to large weapons such as the spear or halberd, but swords and companion swords can be used in one hand. It is encumbering to hold a sword in both hands when you are on horseback, when running on uneven roads, on swampy ground, muddy rice fields, stony ground, or in a crowd of people. To hold the long sword in both hands is not the true Way, for if you carry a bow or spear or other arms in your left hand you have only one hand free for the long sword. If or when you find it difficult to cut an enemy down with one hand, then by all means use both hands. There is nothing complicated about this.

It is not difficult to wield a sword in one hand; the Way to learn this is to train with two long swords, one in each hand. It will seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. Bows are difficult to draw, halberds are difficult to wield. In each case, you get used to the tool: as you become accustomed to the bow your pull will become stronger, and as you become used to wielding the long sword, you will gain the power of the Way and wield the sword easily.

As I will explain in the second book, the Water Book, there is no fast way of wielding the long sword. The long sword should be wielded broadly and the companion sword closely. This is the basic idea for the beginner.

In my school, you can win with a long weapon, and yet you can also win with a short weapon. For this reason I don't specify the length of the sword but regard the essence of my approach as the resolve to gain victory by any means, whatever the weapon and whatever its size.

It is better to use two swords rather than one when you are fighting a mob, and especially if you want to take a prisoner.

These things need not be explained in detail. From each point, ten thousand things can be inferred. When you attain the Way of strategy there will be nothing you cannot see. You must study hard.