Close this search box.
Close this search box.

This is the Way: What We Can Learn from Musashi

A few years ago, thanks to Disney, the phrase, “This is the Way,” became a little bit of a meme. It was popularized by the Disney Plus show, The Mandalorian. The phrase was central to the philosophy of the Mandalorian people, who had very rigid beliefs, like never taking off your mask. Rules that often ended up being broken, because that’s how our modern media treats rules. 

The show borrows heavily from the writings of Japanese warrior and martial philosopher Miyamoto Musashi, and his book The Book of Five Rings. The Phrase, “this is the way,” is taken directly from Musashi, and perhaps you could make a case that the rules being broken are inspired by Musashi as well. It’s easy enough to read Musashi that way but lazy. In Truth, Musashi challenged the martial arts orthodoxy not because of a desire to be defiant, but rather because he sought greater efficiency. 

For instance, we all love all the leaping and flipping, and sword spinning we see in Hollywood movies. But Musashi believed these flourishes to be a waste of time and energy. He didn’t want to waste effort on any of that. Instead, he focused on getting the fight over as quickly and efficiently as possible. Every movement you make must be made with the intention of cutting your enemy. He said, “The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy’s cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him.”

Musashi defied the rules of his era because he had rules he believed were better, not because rules were made to be broken, as we see portrayed in The Mandalorian. Not because rules are rigid and stupid, as we are often told. On the contrary, Musashi had a list of his own rules to which he compelled rigid adherence. And while we learned a lot from Sun Tzu about how to fight a war, we can learn much about how to conduct ourselves on the battlefield, whether in a one-on-one confrontation or in a massive battle. Even though our battlefield is ideas and our weapons pen and ink the rules still offer a better way. The rules are as follows.

1. Accept everything just the way it is.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
11. In all things have no preferences.
12. Be indifferent to where you live.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
17. Do not fear death.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor.
21. Never stray from the Way.

The rules were centered around eliminating excesses, in behavior, in combat, and in all conduct. Musashi taught us to be direct, honest, respectful, and to the point. Avoid unnecessary confrontations, but when those confrontations arise end them cleanly and quickly. Most of all he taught us not to be emotional, but rather to be thoughtful. To investigate our enemy thoroughly and know them inside and out before engaging. 

I believe that many of these principles can be applied in businesses and should be practiced in politics today. Today we have two parties that have become wasteful with our time and money. Rather than quickly and efficiently correcting the problems before us, both parties have become enamored with flourish and flash. Both parties act less like employees of the people trying to get things done, and more like celebrities in search of a camera. Both parties engage in ratcheting up crass emotionalism that puts the people against each other. Both parties seem to have plenty of wasteful projects to solve problems that don’t exist, like the needless redesigning of our State Flag when there was nothing wrong with it, all because certain elements of our government felt that there is, “time for arts and crafts as well.” Musashi would not agree. If there is time for arts and crafts, then it is time and energy that is wasteful and needless. But the flag issue here in Utah is only one of many ways the government wastes our time and resources with inefficiencies. 

Look at education. We see countless videos online of things going on in classrooms that ought never be allowed in schools. Then our children end up believing themselves to be the smartest ever, while they fail on every level to demonstrate even a basic understanding of math, real science, or literature. But they can rail forever crass emotional anti-American nonsense, and fantastic fantasies surrounding identity that reject things as they really are, breaking Musashi’s first and most important rule. Yet should we dare to question if education really needs as much money as it gets or dare to ask if there is a more efficient way, then we are met with crass emotionalism in response. Telling us we don’t care about children.  

I could go on forever about the ways our government has strayed from the Way. Our own system was built with checks and balances to assure that Reason, not emotions, would win the day. And yet, not a day goes by without some politician or another getting up in front of cameras and making a fool of themselves while trying to make an emotional appeal to their ever-shrinking base. While the majority of us just groan and yearn for a return to quiet times. 

It seems to me that if we truly wish for a return to normalcy, conducting ourselves with an eye singled towards victory, and not allowing ourselves to fall for the crass emotional traps that are being laid for us by our opponents is the way. And eschewing the leaders in our midst who play these emotional games, and waste our time and resources is the way. Finally, electing leaders who will not waste time on crass emotionalism, or flourishes, who won’t waste resources on selfish pursuits and self-aggrandizement is the way. 

We live in a time where our emotions are being manipulated. But we must win. We don’t have time for crass emotionalism or flourishes. Anything that does not lead us to a clear and decisive victory must be eschewed. This is the way.


Leave a Reply

New Topic Each Month.
Become the expert and learn things you’ve been missing.
Liberty and Your Countrymen Need You!

Join Our Email List

Get news alerts and updates in your inbox!

Get Involved

Iron County News is a grassroots volunteer newspaper. It subsists on the monetary and working donations of private citizens and journalists who feel that real news needs to come to the forefront of mainstream news practices.

If you’re interested in writing for the Iron County News, or contributing in other ways, please contact us.

Subscribe to Our Email List

Get Iron County News alerts and updates in your inbox!