Musashi vs. Kojiro

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Gary Hostallero’s latest limited edition release in all its color and detail, captures the true spirit  of the legendary Miyamoto Musashi.

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi
Sasaki Kojiro
Sasaki Kojiro

18" x 23"
Price:  $275 for both

Musashi’s most well-known duel was in 1612 when he was in the Ogawa, Bunzen province.  His opponent was Sasaki Kojiro, a young man who had developed a strong fencing technique known as Tsubame-gaeshi or “swallow counter”,  inspired by the motion of a swallow’s tail in flight.  Kojiro was retained by the lord of the province, Hosokawa Tadaoki.  Musashi applied  to Tadaoki for permission to fight Kojiro through the offices of one of the Hosokawa retainers who had been a pupil of Musashi’s father, one Nagaoka Sato Okinaga.  Permission was granted for the contest to be held at eight o’clock the next morning, and the place was to be an island some few miles from Ogura.   That night Musashi left his lodging and moved to the house of Kobayashi Taro Zaemon.  This inspired a rumor that awe of Kojiro’s subtle technique had made Musashi run away afraid for his life.  The next day at eight o’clock Musashi could not be wakened until a prompter came from the officials assembled on the island.   He got up,   drank the water they brought to him to wash with, and went straight down to the shore.  As Sato rowed  across to the island Musashi fashioned a paper string to tie back the sleeves of his kimono, and cut a wooden sword from the spare oar.  When he had done this he lay down to rest.

The boat neared the place of combat and Kojiro and the waiting officials were astounded to see the strange figure of Musashi, with his unkempt hair tied up in a towel, leap from the boat brandishing the long wooden oar and rush through the waves up the beach towards his enemy.  Kojiro drew his long sword, a fine blade by Nagamitsu of Bizen, and threw away his scabbard.    “You have no more need of that”  said Musashi as he rushed forward with his sword held to one side.  Kojiro was provoked into making the first cut and Musashi dashed upward at his blade,  bringing the oar down on Kojiro’s head.  As Kojiro fell, his sword, which had cut the towel from Musashi’s head, cut across the hem of his divided skirt.  Musashi noted Kojiro’s condition and bowed to the astounded officials before running back to his boat.   Some sources have it that after he killed Kojiro, Musashi threw down the oar and, nimbly leaping back several paces, drew both  his swords and flourished then with a shout at his fallen enemy.

It was about this time that Musashi stopped ever using swords in duels.  He was invincible, and from now on he devoted himself to the search for perfect understanding by way of Kendo.  He wrote the most perceptive psychological guide to strategy  -   “A BOOK OF FIVE RINGS”.

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