The translation of the book of Water of The Book of Five Rings at http://www.bookoffiverings.com/WaterBook.htm states:

The spirit of Direct Penetration is handed down in the true Way of the Ni To Ichi School. Teach your body strategy. You must practice well. This is transmitted orally.

It has been a few centuries since this was published - is this now recorded, has it been lost, or is there some unlikely school which still retains a legitimate oral tradition? If it has not been lost, what is the "spirit of Direct Penetration"?

  • 1
    I saw the title and came here expecting some puns, I'm a little bit disappointed.
    – IEatBagels
    Jul 20, 2017 at 16:47
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    @IEatBagels I laughed out loud on seeing the title, and that was enough for me. Dec 14, 2018 at 6:57
  • @Hashim wow... I did not even realize that my title could be read... I'd wondered at IEatBagels' comment... Sigh.
    – Iiridayn
    Dec 14, 2018 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


The following translations (by Victor Harris and Thomas Cleary) instead translate the phrase as "Direct Communication":

The spirit of "Direct Communication" is how the true Way of the Ni To Ichi school is received and handed down.

The corresponding passage in Japanese (possibly modernized Japanese) is:




I don't speak Japanese, but Google Translate gives the following:

I will tell you how to directly lead to victory as the way of our school.
Practice often, please refrain from our school.
For details, I will tell you verbally.

Looking at translations of individual words, and the context, I'd say that this is not a reference to some secret technique, or school of fighting, but a simple statement that he's talking straight, not producing flowery metaphor from which someone is supposed to figure it out for themselves.


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