130+ Best Miyamoto Musashi Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Miyamoto Musashi, also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was Japan’s greatest swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer and rōnin. Inspirational Miyamoto Musashi quotes will challenge the way you think, show how to move forward and transform your whole life.

If you’re searching for profound philosophy quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of motivational Sun Tzu quotes, powerful Lao Tzu quotes, and top Confucianism quotes.

Most Famous Miyamoto Musashi Quotes

Study strategy over the years and achieve the spirit of the warrior. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men. – Miyamoto Musashi

You win battles by knowing the enemy’s timing and using a timing which the enemy does not expect. – Miyamoto Musashi

Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie. – Miyamoto Musashi

The purpose of today’s training is to defeat yesterday’s understanding. – Miyamoto Musashi

When you have attained the way of strategy there will be nothing that you cannot understand. You will see the way in everything. – Miyamoto Musashi

Accept everything just the way it is. – Miyamoto Musashi

When you appreciate the power of nature, knowing the rhythm of any situation, you will be able to hit the enemy naturally and strike naturally. – Miyamoto Musashi

Water adopts the shape of its receptacle; it is sometimes a trickle and sometimes a wild sea. – Miyamoto Musashi

People in this world look at things mistakenly and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment. – Miyamoto Musashi

If you know the way broadly you will see it in everything. – Miyamoto Musashi

Do nothing which is of no use. – Miyamoto Musashi

Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things. – Miyamoto Musashi

from one thing, know ten thousand things – Miyamoto Musashi

The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them – Miyamoto Musashi

If the enemy thinks of the mountains, attack like the sea; and if he thinks of the sea, attack like the mountains. – Miyamoto Musashi

…most warriors only perform tricks. The way of the warrior is filled with soul and feeling – Miyamoto Musashi

With your spirit open and unconstricted, look at things from a high point of view. – Miyamoto Musashi

No man is invincible, and therefore no man can fully understand that which would make him invincible. Even with complete and thorough study there is always the possibility of being defeated and although one may be expert in a particular form, mastery is something a man never stops seeking to attain. – Miyamoto Musashi

There is timing in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is timing in the Way of the merchant, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this. – Miyamoto Musashi

Do not let your spirit be influenced by your body, or your body be influenced by your spirit. Be neither insufficiently spirited or over spirited. An elevated spirit is weak, and a low spirit is weak. Do not let the enemy see your spirit. – Miyamoto Musashi

Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man. – Miyamoto Musashi

Also, by training you will be able to freely control your own body, conquer men with your body, and with sufficient training you will be able to beat ten men with your spirit. When you have reached this point, will it not mean that you are invincible? – Miyamoto Musashi

Polish your wisdom: learn public justice, distinguish between good and evil, study the ways of different arts one by one. – Miyamoto Musashi

Speed is not part of the true Way of strategy. Speed implies that things seem fast or slow, according to whether or not they are in rhythm. Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast. – Miyamoto Musashi

If you do not control the enemy, the enemy will control you – Miyamoto Musashi

As far as I’m concerned, I regret nothing. – Miyamoto Musashi

Unless you really understand others, you can hardly attain your own self-understanding. – Miyamoto Musashi

To cut and slash are two different things. Cutting, whatever form of cutting it is, is decisive, with a resolute spirit. Slashing is nothing more than touching the enemy. – Miyamoto Musashi

Even if a man has no natural ability, he can be a warrior. – Miyamoto Musashi

When you decide to attack, keep calm and dash in quickly, forestalling the enemy…attack with a feeling of constantly crushing the enemy, from first to last. – Miyamoto Musashi

Step by step walk the thousand-mile road. – Miyamoto Musashi

Too much is the same as not enough. – Miyamoto Musashi

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. – Miyamoto Musashi

Do not think dishonestly… Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters. Develop intuitive judgement and understanding for everything. Perceive those things which cannot be seen. Pay attention even to trifles. Do nothing which is of no use. – Miyamoto Musashi

If you wish to control others you must first control yourself – Miyamoto Musashi

See to it that you temper yourself with one thousand days of practice and refine yourself with ten thousand days of training. – Miyamoto Musashi

Do not let the body be dragged along by mind nor the mind be dragged along by the body – Miyamoto Musashi

The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things. – Miyamoto Musashi

In battle, if you you make your opponent flinch, you have already won. – Miyamoto Musashi

Whatever your determination or will power, it is foolish to try to change the nature of things. Things work the way they do because that is the way of things – Miyamoto Musashi

A warrior has no confusion in his mind…This is true emptiness. – Miyamoto Musashi

Do not sleep under a roof. Carry no money or food. Go alone to places frightening to the common brand of men. Become a criminal of purpose. Be put in jail and extricate yourself by your own wisdom. – Miyamoto Musashi

A bullet from a gun does not make a distinction between practice and combat. You are training to be one and the same way in your life – Miyamoto Musashi

Do not let your opponent see your spirit – Miyamoto Musashi

Imitation is the surest form of flattery and failure. I am not interested with your talk about my ideas. I am more interested in your applying them to your life. If you do not, then you are essentially not in accord with your own mind. – Miyamoto Musashi

Develop intuitive judgement and understanding for everything. – Miyamoto Musashi

When your opponent is hurrying recklessly, you must act contrarily and keep calm. You must not be influenced by the opponent. – Miyamoto Musashi

It is imperative to master the principles of the art of war and learn to be unmoved in mind even in the heat of the battle. – Miyamoto Musashi

As the innocent infant relies upon the mother for sustenance, so the innocent wanderer, following his native compassion and bliss, relies upon the natural intelligence of life to sustain him. There are various Ways. There is the Way of salvation by the law of Buddha, the Way of Confucius governing the Way of learning, the Way of healing as a doctor, as a poet teaching the Way of Waka, tea, archery, and many arts and skills. Each man practices as he feels inclined. – Miyamoto Musashi

Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. – Miyamoto Musashi

Do not act following customary beliefs. – Miyamoto Musashi

Anger. Control your anger. If you hold anger toward others, they have control over you.Your opponent can dominate and defeat you if you allow him to get you irritated. – Miyamoto Musashi

To win any battle, you must fight as if you are already dead – Miyamoto Musashi

Fixation is the way to death. Fluidity is the way to life. – Miyamoto Musashi

It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. – Miyamoto Musashi

The path that leads to truth is littered with the bodies of the ignorant. – Miyamoto Musashi

Determine that today you will overcome your self of the day before, tomorrow you will win over those of lesser skill, and later you will win over those of greater skill. – Miyamoto Musashi

No Fear, No Hesitation, No Surprise, No Doubt – Miyamoto Musashi

You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain – Miyamoto Musashi

There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as anyWay…. A person should study as they see fit. – Miyamoto Musashi

A man cannot understand the art he is studying if he only looks for the end result without taking the time to delve deeply into the reasoning of the study. – Miyamoto Musashi

In time, all things work to your advantage when you pursue them with an open heart. – Miyamoto Musashi

True warriors are fierce because their training is fierce. – Miyamoto Musashi

All man are the same except for their belief in their own selves, regardless of what others may think of them – Miyamoto Musashi

You can only fight the way you practice – Miyamoto Musashi

Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye. – Miyamoto Musashi

Even if you strive diligently on your chosen path day after day, if your heart is not in accord with it, then even if you think you are on a good path, from the point of view of the straight and true, this is not a genuine path. If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation, then a little bit of crookedness in the mind will later turn into a major warp. Reflect on this. – Miyamoto Musashi

Do not waste time idling or thinking after you have set your goals – Miyamoto Musashi

Aspire to be like Mt. Fuji, with such a broad and solid foundation that the strongest earthquake cannot move you, and so tall that the greatest enterprises of common men seem insignificant from your lofty perspective. With your mind as high as Mt Fuji you can see all things clearly. And you can see all the forces that shape events; not just the things happening near to you. – Miyamoto Musashi

The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy’s useful actions but allow his useless actions – Miyamoto Musashi

Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world – Miyamoto Musashi

The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight, and the only reason a warrior fights is to win – Miyamoto Musashi

It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet – Miyamoto Musashi

All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this. – Miyamoto Musashi

In fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. An elevated spirit is weak and a low spirit is weak. Do not let the enemy see your spirit. – Miyamoto Musashi

If you do not look at things on a large scale, it will be difficult to master strategy. – Miyamoto Musashi

Never depart from the way of martial arts. – Miyamoto Musashi

Thirdly, the gentleman warrior, carrying the weaponry of his way. The way of the warrior is to master the virtue of his weapons. If a gentleman dislikes strategy he will not appreciate the benefit of weaponry, so must he not have a little taste for this? – Miyamoto Musashi

In contests of strategy it is bad to be led about by the enemy. You must always be able to lead the enemy about. – Miyamoto Musashi

They speak ofThis DojoandThat Dojo. They are looking for profit. – Miyamoto Musashi

Cutting down the enemy is the way of strategy, and there is no need for many refinements of it. – Miyamoto Musashi

The Way of the warrior does not include other ways, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, certain traditions, artistic accomplishments, and dancing. But even though these are not part of the Way, if you know the Way broadly, you will see it in everything. – Miyamoto Musashi

Fixed formation is bad. Study this well. – Miyamoto Musashi

Second is the way of the merchant. The wine maker obtains his ingredients and puts them to use to make his living. The way of the merchant is always to live by taking profit. – Miyamoto Musashi

From inside fortifications, the gun has no equal among weapons. It is the supreme weapon on the field before the ranks clash, but once swords are crossed the gun becomes useless. – Miyamoto Musashi

The warrior is different in that studying the Way of strategy is based on overcoming men – Miyamoto Musashi

By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist. – Miyamoto Musashi

One must make the warrior walk his everyday walk. – Miyamoto Musashi

The halberd is inferior to the spear on the battlefield. With the spear you can take the initiative, the halberd is defensive. – Miyamoto Musashi

If you are not progressing along the true way, a slight twist in the mind can become a major twist. This must be pondered well. – Miyamoto Musashi

There are many ways of understanding simple things, but generally the opposite is true for difficult ideas – Miyamoto Musashi

It is difficult to realize the true Way just through sword-fencing. Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest things and the deepest things. – Miyamoto Musashi

Become acquainted with every art. – Miyamoto Musashi

If there is a Way involving the spirit of not being defeated, to help oneself and gain honour, it is the Way of Strategy. – Miyamoto Musashi

When the enemy starts to collapse you must pursue him without the chance of letting go. If you fail to take advantage of your enemies collapse, they may recover. – Miyamoto Musashi

If the enemy stays spirited it is difficult to crush him. – Miyamoto Musashi

Strategy is the craft of the warrior. – Miyamoto Musashi

Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast. – Miyamoto Musashi

In the construction of houses, choice of woods is made. Straight un-knotted timber of good appearance is used for the revealed pillars, straight timber with small defects is used for the inner pillars. Timbers of the finest appearance, even if a little weak, is used for the thresholds, lintels, doors, and sliding doors, and so on. Good strong timber, though it be gnarled and knotted, can always be used discreetly in construction. – Miyamoto Musashi

If you want to learn the craft of war, ponder over this book. The teacher is as a needle, the disciple is as thread. You must practice constantly. – Miyamoto Musashi

The bow is tactically strong at the commencement of battle, especially battles on a moor, as it is possible to shoot quickly among the spearmen. – Miyamoto Musashi

Fourthly, the way of the artisan. The way of the carpenter is to become proficient in the use of his tools, first to lay his plans with true measure and then perform his work according to plan. Thus he passes through life. – Miyamoto Musashi

When you attack the enemy, your spirit must go to the extent of pulling the stakes out of a wall and using them as spears and halberds. – Miyamoto Musashi

Never stray from the Way. – Miyamoto Musashi

The way is in training. – Miyamoto Musashi

I dreamt of worldly success once. – Miyamoto Musashi

Consider yourself lightly; consider the world deeply. – Miyamoto Musashi

If you learn indoor techniques, you will think narrowly and forget the true Way. Thus you will have difficulty in actual encounters. – Miyamoto Musashi

When in a fight to the death, one wants to employ all one’s weapons to the utmost. I must say that to die with one’s sword still sheathed is most regrettable. – Miyamoto Musashi

Immature strategy is the cause of grief. – Miyamoto Musashi

Respect the gods and buddhas, but never rely on them. – Miyamoto Musashi

If you fail to take advantage of your enemies’ collapse, they may recover. – Miyamoto Musashi

Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help – Miyamoto Musashi

Pay attention even to life’s trifles. – Miyamoto Musashi

Always return your weapon along the same path it traveled out on. In this way you can use it again without having to relocate and rethink our attitude. – Miyamoto Musashi

When you cannot be deceived by men you will have realised the wisdom of strategy. – Miyamoto Musashi

Approach the enemy with the attitude of defeating him without delay. – Miyamoto Musashi

In strategy your spiritual bearing must not be any different from normal. Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. – Miyamoto Musashi

It is said the warrior’s is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way. – Miyamoto Musashi

When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void. – Miyamoto Musashi

You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you. – Miyamoto Musashi

As if with the nut and flower, the nut has become less than the flower… both those teaching and those learning are concerned with colouring and showing off their technique, trying to hasten the bloom of the flower. – Miyamoto Musashi

In the void is virtue, and no evil. Wisdom has existence, principle has existence, the Way has existence, spirit is nothingness. – Miyamoto Musashi

Do not regret what you have done – Miyamoto Musashi

The spirit of defeating a man is the same for ten million men. The strategist makes small things into big things, like building a great Buddha from a one foot model. – Miyamoto Musashi

In all forms of strategy, it is necessary to maintain the combat stance in everyday life and to make your everyday stance your combat stance. – Miyamoto Musashi

To become the enemy, see yourself as the enemy of the enemy – Miyamoto Musashi

Know your enemy, know his sword. – Miyamoto Musashi

Crossing at a ford occurs often in a man’s lifetime. It means setting sail even though your friends stay in harbour, knowing the route, knowing the soundness of your ship and the favour of the day. – Miyamoto Musashi

You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour. – Miyamoto Musashi

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