Musashi is one of the most famous samurai who ever lived. He may be the most famous. He fought many wars and dueled 63 opponents with his first duel occurring when he was a teenager.
Musashi was much more than a Samurai. Many people are ignorant of the fact that Musashi was on multiple paths throughout his life. His primary identity (path) came from the Bushido code of the Samurai.
When he could no longer fight to the best of his ability he found purpose in the arts. Later in his life he became a skilled poet, sculptor, writer, and metallurgist.
The paths he followed after the sword were guided by the sword. He applied the Bushido philosophy to all that he did.
He understood that the way is the same in all things. Life and death. Yin & Yang. Beginner and master.
Musashi was reborn into other masteries when he could no longer fight to the best of his ability.
He understood his duty as a master; passing mastered knowledge to the apprentice so that new students can find the way Musashi found, and hopefully, go farther than he did.
The will of the wanderer is wandering.
Mastery is a legacy of moving forward, making what is unknown known, then mastered, then passed down.
The paths of mastery
The way is the same in all things. Musashi never had a teacher because he understood he is responsible for absorbing knowledge from teachers.
They are not responsible for teaching Musashi, Musashi is.
“I have never had a teacher while studying the Ways of the various arts and accomplishments, or in anything at all.”
Teachers do not teach. Professors profess. Students learn.
It is up to the student to figure out how to connect new knowledge to existing knowledge–to teach themselves through professions or the path. Continue what works, disregard what does not, test everything.
Neurology shows that new information must connect to old information to have a chance of ‘sticking’. Sticking means learning. New knowledge sticks to existing knowledge like the elegant design of the spiderweb growing one weave at a time from existing structures.
Musashi made his first mastery web in swordsmanship. The code of the Bushido, the path, taught him how to master anything by connecting knowledge to existing knowledge, and understanding the way broadly. This allowed him to get the same fulfillment he had in swordsmanship in painting, sculpting, poetry, tea, and drama. Even when he could no longer duel, he could teach, and he could continue following the way with different paths.
Think about this in your own life. If you were a young athlete playing team sports and are now an adult, it may be difficult to continue to pursue this sport as a mastery. Not impossible, however.
With transitions in life there will be the shedding of old ways. This is okay as long as a new way is borne from the death of an old way.
Do not live without a path. Live without purpose is not worth living.
It is critical these paths are labeled so that mastery becomes concrete. This should be done with pen & paper or technology, reviewed often, made concrete in the mind.
Repetition is important for training. It is also important for commitment & Identity.
Understand that having multiple masteries can be an advantage as long as you do not overload your capacities. A wagon with too much baggage will move slow compared to a wagon with two destinations plotted strategically.
A wanderer with too many distractions–or pulls–will move slow in different directions. Most of those directions will be at ends with others.
He will not get far.
Have one mastery in each realm: Body, Mind, Spirit.
This allows movement, mastery, in three realms that should reinforce and train one another.
You may see the way in your Body Mastery, which allows your Spirit mastery to progress that much farther with your new understanding of The Way.
Through the intense study of one art, all other arts are understood. This is one reason why it is crucial to pick masteries to pursue as soon as possible.
Once you understand how to become a master, you can repeat this process infinite times.
Infinite meaning through progress. Progress is the human condition, the blight, and the purpose.