Author: Jock Brocas
Reviewed by: HarmonyBudo.com
Admittedly I picked this book up on a whim, enticed by the allure of the title. Considering that I’m always intrigued when an author tries to improve or modernize classics, I thought I would give this book a chance because of the curious linkage to one of my favourite classics: Miyamoto Musashi’s famous 16th century AD writing – Go Rin No Sho, or The Book of Five Rings.
What I learned rather quickly was that this book is not a re-envisioning of this work, but instead is the authors insights into a world beyond the physical realm, using his martial arts experience as the venue by which he is showing others the way.
Here is where I put the disclaimer – Although I do believe that the world holds a great many mysteries, most of which we are not even close to unravelling nor have the ability to understand at present, the opinions expressed in Mr. Brocas’ work are his. The author is an acclaimed psychic medium as well as accomplished Martial Artist, and has blended these two passions into this work. This book does contain elements of a super-normal view of the world that not everyone may believe in, nor are these beliefs required for the practice and development of a Martial Artist.
Considering the material, he does a pretty good job interlacing many levels of understanding (both Martial and super-normal) within his work and provides an overview of, as well as a few practical lessons to assist the reader in, the benefits of meditation in ones martial arts training. He does also cite many influential figures from the Martial Arts and religious worlds, seamlessly integrating their anecdotes or lessons to support the discussion.
For those who are interested, he also provides guidance for basic development of their ‘higher selves’ (or psychic development), but the overall message is clear: that he believes Martial Arts is not simply a physical activity, and that practitioners should strive for higher ideals in their training. And I completely agree with him on this theme…
As an example, this is the purpose of his chapter, “The Sixth Ring: Spiritual Warriorship”, in which he opens with a question that so many long-time martial artists strive to answer – What does it mean to be a warrior in a modern world?
He provides a list of rules/beliefs that a warrior should subscribe to (in his opinion), and honestly, I agree with the majority of them.
Definitely a good read for those who are interested in travelling the spiritual path of their martial arts development – as guidance, or simply to provide information regarding a different point of view.