- Created: Monday, 23 April 2012 00:00
- Written by Joe
Featured on S01E48 of the ChefDiddy.com podcast.
He was a Japanese Swordsman. He is often referred to as Musashi but since I can say Miyamoto much better, that's what we will refer to him as.
Miyamoto was born in 1584 and died on June 13, 1645.
From a very young age, Miyamoto was a natural when it came to swordsmanship. He began formally training when he was only seven years old at the Yoshi-ohh-ka Dojo (Yoshioka-ryū dojo). He had his first duel at the age of thirteen against a samurai named Arima Kihei. The way they scheduled duels back then was to post a flyer in a public forum stating that you wanted a challenger for a duel. When Miyamoto saw this, he put his name on the line. When Arima saw the kids name and his age, he quickly accepted.
When a messenger told Miyamoto that his challenge was accepted, Miyamoto's uncle was shocked that this even happened. He told Arima that he must not fight his nephew for he was only 13. Arima is said to have been terribly arrogant said the only way HIS name would be cleared in this mess was if Miyamoto were to come to the duel and explain to everybody what happened.
So when the time set for the duel arrived, Miyamoto's began apologizing for Miyamoto, who charged at Kihei with a six-foot quarterstaff (essentially a big stick), shouting a challenge to Arima. Arima attacked with a standard japanese sword (wakizashi), but Miyamoto threw Arima on the floor, and while Arima tried to get up, Miyamoto struck Arima between the eyes and then beat him to death. Arima was said to have been arrogant, overly eager to fight, and not a terribly talented swordsman.
Read more for the rest of Miyamoto's Badass Bio
He then left his village 3 years later at age 16 to travel the land and to participate in as many duels as he possibly could.
In 1604, when Miyamoto was 20, he challenged the master of the Yoshi-ohh-ka school, the same school that taught him how to fight. On 8 March 1604. Miyamoto arrived late, greatly irritating the master. Miyamoto struck a single blow. This blow struck the master on the left shoulder, knocking him out, and crippling his left arm. He apparently passed on the headship of the school to his equally accomplished brother, who promptly challenged Miyamoto for revenge.
When this duel took play, Miyamoto arrived late a second time. Musashi disarmed him and defeated him. This second victory outraged the Yoshioka family, whose head was now the 12-year old Yoshioka Matashichiro. They assembled a force of archers, musketeers and swordsmen, and challenged Miyamoto to a duel. Miyamoto broke his previous habit of arriving late, and came to the temple where the duel was going to be held hours early. Hidden, Miyamoto assaulted the force, killing the kid, and escaping while being attacked by dozens of his victim's supporters. To escape and fight off his opponents he was forced to draw his second sword and defend himself with a sword in each hand. This was the beginning of his niten'ichi sword style. With the death of this kid, this branch of the Yoshioka School was completely destroyed.
His most famous duel occurred on April 13, 1612 when he was 30. He went up against "The Demon of the WEstern Provinces" (Sasaki Kojiro). The duel was to take place on an island. Miyamoto departed on a boat 100% unprepared so he cared a Bokken (a traditional japanese wooden sword) from one of the oars on the boat. When he finally arrived, he was late as usual. This irritated his opponent. The duel was quick and Miyamoto easily killed him. Since his opponent had a ton of allies on the island, as soon as the duel ended he hoped back into his raft can quickly departed the island. Legend has it that he arrived late so that he could have the tides of the sea in his favor when the duel was over, allowing him to quickly depart his victims allies.
All in all, through his life he participated in over 60 duels, going 60-0.
Miyamoto Musashi. This week's historical badass.
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