Richard StevensJapan

Munetoshi Vs. Tengu

Richard StevensJapan
Munetoshi Vs. Tengu

During my day job as a Geographer I found myself in a conversation about "freeze-thaw weathering", which is a type of physical weathering where water freezes inside of rocks and expands causing rocks to crack. During the conversation my mind immediately jumped to an old story involving a famous swordsman and a Tengu...

Yagyu Munetoshi, the founder of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu (a school of Kenjutsu, circa 1565) spent a good deal of time in his home of Yagyu Village. One day he was walking in the forest when he encountered a Tengu, a mythical bird/human creature that practices swordsmanship. Munetoshi being one of the most famous swordsman in Japan jumped at the opportunity to duel the creature. Drawing his sword he swung at the Tengu's head. As his blade came down the Tengu disappeared and the boulder it was standing in front of was split cleanly in two by the power of Munetoshi's blow.

The picture above is the actual boulder in Yagyu Village, which can still be seen today. While the story is certainly entertaining and one of the many legendary feats of Yagyu Munetoshi is credited with, physical weathering split the boulder. Maybe Bruce Lee was right... "be like water".