For more than seven years, Genshin Fujinami dressed in white from head to toe while covering the backwoods trails of Mount Hiei in one of the world’s most grueling feats–a punishing quest that combined starvation, isolation and the equivalent of a lap around the equator.
For 1,000 days, rising well before dawn, Fujinami embarked alone, rain or shine, on his journey, running or briskly walking more than 50 miles–that’s almost two marathons–each day as the trial neared its climax. Along with his white robes, his only gear was a pair of straw sandals, a long straw hat, candles, a shovel, a length of rope and a short sword.
The rope and sword weren’t for survival. If for some reason he could not complete his daily trek, he was to use them to kill himself.
Few of us can match Miyamoto Musashi’s single-minded devotion to the pursuit of excellence in martial arts.
In fighting over sixty duels, many to the death, Musashi demonstrated great courage. And in winning every one, he showed superior skill and technique. Musashi attributed his outstanding swordsmanship to unrelenting practice of self-reliance and self-discipline.
In his final years, Musashi retired to a cave for a life of quiet contemplation. It was during this time that he composed his famous guide on strategy, The Book of Five Rings.
In his very last days, this Kensei (Saint of Swords) further distilled his insights on self-discipline and personal development into 21 points.