Fight Philosophy, for thousands of years, has stood to provide insights not just into the art of warfare, but of mastering the war within. From Sun Tsu's classic Art of War to the modern Tao of JKD by Bruce Lee, there are many publications that provide insight into the cross pollination of the art of fight and life philosophy. We've compiled five of our favorites below.
The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin no Sho) is a text on kenjutsu and the martial arts in general, written by the Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi around 1645. There have been various translations made over the years, and it enjoys an audience considerably broader than only that of martial artists and people across East Asia: for instance, some foreign business leaders find its discussion of conflict and taking the advantage to be relevant to their work in a business context. The modern-day Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū employs it as a manual of technique and philosophy.
Compiled posthumously following Bruce's tragic early passing, the Tao of Jeet Kune Do was the result of Lee's inability to train physically during a debilitating back injury. Unable to train, Bruce took the time to document his philosophies on fighting and life, which was to become his art of Jeet Kune Do, or the 'Way of the Intercepting Fist."
The book records Tsunetomo's views on bushido, the warrior code of the samurai. Hagakure is sometimes said to assert that bushido is really the "Way of Dying" or living as though one was already dead, and that a samurai must be willing to die at any moment in order to be true to his lord. His saying "the way of the warrior is death" was a summation of the willingness to sacrifice that bushido codified.
The 33 Strategies of War is a 2006 book written by American author Robert Greene that is described as a "guide to the subtle social game of everyday life informed by the ... military principles in war". It is composed of discussions and examples on offensive and defensive strategies from a wide variety of people and conditions, applying them to social conflicts such as family quarrels and business negotiations. Coincidentally, three other books on this list are frequently referenced in 33 Strategies.
The Art of War remains the most influential strategy text in East Asian warfare and has influenced both Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy, lifestyles and beyond. Each of it's thirteen chapters is dedicated to a specific aspect of war, giving insight into specific strategies and tactics of successful fight fare.