L5R - Great Stone Bridge
Ten Orders of Leadership
The Importance of Warfare
War is inevitable, like a spring fog, it creeps in from the sea and slowly covers the country in a cold, white shroud. It dissipates in time, but once it is gone, the land is never the same.
In time, your daimyo will call upon you and your men. You will serve and you will command. But before this time comes, you must prepare and study. Just as a child must learn to walk before he should run, you must study warfare before you make war.
You will learn that victory is not taking the lives of your enemy, but saving the lives of your own. You will learn that he who falters first is the first to fall. You will learn that the price of defeat is greater than honor or pride. Learning to win is not enough. You must learn how not to lose.
There are those who say warfare is selfish, and those who study it seek only to increase their own glory and position. They are fools and lead Rokugan to doom.
I tell you now, that nothing is more important than the study of warfare. It must be foremost in a samurai’s mind at all times. Warfare is the highest of all studies, for it protects all others.
If a leader does not command his generals to study of warfare, they will become uncertain on the battlefield, and hesitate when the important decisions must be made. This will cause the leader’s army to fail, and when the leader’s army fails, his one moment of uncertainty causes the deaths of many thousand.
And when the army is defeated and destroyed, the army will march on those who thought that the study of warfare was selfish, and cut their heads from their bodies and leave them to rot in the dust.
That is the way of the world, and those who believe differently are fooling themselves.
Duty is the samurai’s soul, your reason to life. Neglect your duty and you scar your soul.
Duty is the perfect gem with a hundred thousand facets. Each facet is the way you live, a way you act, a way you serve.
Fulfilling Duty is all or nothing. Black or white, there are no grays. Live for each facet, for if you dismiss even one, your gem loses all worth.
This is what it means to be a samurai.
A Samurai’s Purpose
You are samurai. Train as samurai, live as samurai. Foremost, from the moment you rise at dawn to when you lay at dusk, keep in mind and heart the understanding that you must die.
When you surrender your thoughts to ambition, lust, greed, or any other thing, no matter how base or noble, you will hesitate for that one crucial moment when it comes time to sacrifice your life for your lord.
Samurai live. Samurai train to fight. Samurai fight to live. Only alive can a samurai fulfill his Duty and protect his lord. The fine line to learn, is that while you are fighting to live, you must be willing to die. Duty beyond all things is the soul of a true samurai.
Living to fulfill Duty is why a samurai foregoes ambition, abstains from lust, and sacrifices his personal morals. Above all, this is why you are samurai.
Ignorance and Stupidity
There are two kinds of fools: the ignorant and the stupid.
An ignorant man puts his hand into the fire because he does not know it will burn him. Once he is burned, he will never do it again.
A stupid man will keep putting his hand into the fire, because he will not learn.
When you lead men, remember this lesson. teach them what they must know. A student is blameless for his ignorance. He only does what the teacher tells him.
Good and Evil
Shinsei says, “Nature does not recognize good and evil.”
But I tell you now that men do recognize the difference, and to ignore the way of the world and hope it to be a better place than it is.
Loyalty is not learned, neither is it inherited. Unlike Imperial positions filled by right of blood, loyalty must be earned. Remember this as you remember your name each morning, for once you forget, you have done your enemy’s work for him.
Your men will enter your service as a babe enters this world into its mother’s arms. They will be without loyalties, without obedience, without skill. Loyalty, unlike the others, must be given constant attention. Like a lone rose in a garden of weeds, without your care it withers and dies.
Build loyalty in your men. Build it taller than the highest trees, so your enemy cannot see its end. Build it stronger than the stoutest walls, so it may weather any storm. Build it closer than the beat of your heart, so it may never be lost. Build it always.
Lead with perception and intelligence.
With these two virtues, you need not be a master of tactics or strategy.
Nor must you be a master of command or ordinance.
Nor will you need to understand supply or terrain.
With perception, you shall find those who do understand such things, and direct them to their proper duty.
With intelligence, you will know not to get in their way.
The Five Measures
Evaluate an army according to the Five Measures. As the Little Master said, all the world was made of five elements, your army is made of the Five Measures
Measure of Wind:
An army begins with you, its general. If you are true and virtuous, you will lead from the light. Just as Lady Sun shines upon a falcon in flight, soaring without a shadow, you will lead your men quickly, because you never need to look back.
The Measure of Earth:
When you understand the ground upon which you fight, the advantage is yours, An army on foreign ground, oblivious to its pitfalls and unaware of its boons, is vulnerable and easy to attack.
The Measure of Fire:
You must lead your army under the Emperor’s Laws. When you do, you give a soul of fire, for it knows its actions are just. When you do not, you suffocate the fire and rob the fuel from the flame. Your hound will no more trust you when you steal its food than will your army when you steal its fire.
The Measure of Emptyness:
Lastly, there is Heaven. Understanding the passage of the stars is the final understanding. There is no explaining the Measure of Emptiness, only recognizing its virtue when it manifests. In nothing, there is everything.
The Way of Deception
To charge your army into battle without foreknowledge of your opponent’s capabilities and weaknesses brings you no glory and brands you a coward. Your concern. is to the safety of the Emperor and that of your Clan. Blind death is swift death.
Instead, when facing the enemy, let him see what you want him to see. Show him your right hand, strike with your left. Hide all he does not need to see, for the sting of your slap will ease the pain of a sudden blade in his side.
Entice Him With Falsehoods
When your enemy is entrenched and secure, lure him from his nest. Attack that which is dear to him to draw him from his ground. Take him from his sanctuary and take him on your time.
Strike Hard and Quick
When your enemy is more powerful than you, strike quick and hard, and retreat. Flow like the water, move with no form or shape or substance. Commanders without courage or confidence do not know how to retaliate against you. Those who understand your ways will know what you are doing, and know that their strength has been turned to weakness. They will know that you are the sagacious general, and those who know the ways of Heaven and Earth will retreat and go home.
Hammer and Anvil
When a man has time to think, he can make plans.
When he has no time to think, but must immediately react, he can only make mistakes.
Use cavalry and quick legs to harass him. Give him no rest. Rotate your legions so they may rest while another marches.
Be the hammer and make him the anvil.
“Draw courage from the colors of your clan.”
“It is not difficult to find good advice, though it may be difficult to listen to it.”
“Make your enemies doubt what they fight for: take away faith, and they will surrender.”
“Sending an army without a scout is like leaping from a mountain without looking below”
“A great man’s heart can pump the life’s blood of a thousand men.”
“No enemy was ever overcome by repeating the same strategy. Innovation creates victory.”
“A simple spear makes one man an obstacle that can daunt a dozen cavalry”
“With the spirits of his ancestors standing beside him, a samurai never stands alone.”
“Be wary of that which is formless, for it cannot easily be countered.”
“He who is intent on dying can be murdered. He who is quick to anger can be insulted. He who is self-conscious can be humiliated. He who is compassionate can be troubled. But the commander whose mind is focused, and whose soul is taken up by the strike, he will know victory.”
“Surprise and strength and the battle is won.”
“Without honor, there is no victory. Without fear, there is no defeat.”
“Even the simplest tool can be a deadly weapon in the hands of a samurai.”
“Show weakness where you are strong.”
“Let your enemy see what he wishes to see, so that he will underestimate you.”
“No army has claimed as many lives as ignorance.”
“Be like unto the sea, which washes over all without thought or hesitation.”
“War is the most noble pursuit of a samurai. It gives him purpose, and brings honor to his ancestors.”
“The tale of a hero can cripple the unworthy.”
“Put down your blade after your enemy does.”
“The finest defense that can be mounted is an offense against one’s enemies.”
“Whether in court or on the battlefield, the Scorpion rarely attack in an expected manner."
1. Always carry a text with you. When you have nothing else to do, read. The mind must be exercised as well as the body.
2. When your lord calls to you, run to him, fall at his feet and speak his name loudly and proudly. Proclaim your loyalty to him with
a shout that is painful to the throat. Be convinced in your loyalty, for if you are not, your lord will not be convinced either.
3. Keep your sword close and ready and clean. Failing your sword is failing your lord.
4. Keep servants if you must, but only if you must. If there are repairs to be done on the house, make them. If there are rooms to be
cleaned, clean them. Idleness is an enemy, and it is always best for a samurai to understand a thing before he asks another to do
it for him.
5. Lady Sun and Lord Moon made us with a left hand and a right hand. In the left hand goes the text, and in the right hand goes the
sword. Remember this.
6. When you come before a superior, drop your hands at your sides and bow lower than they. Dropping your hands away from your
sword shows your trust. Bowing your head does this as well. These two actions say: “My life is yours to take if you wish.”
7. Rise in the morning before your servants and have half their duties done before they have even bathed. Men follow the example of
those they admire.
8. Assassins creep in the late hours, so go to bed early. Then, when they creep in at midnight, you will be fresh and rested and ready.
9. Wash. A dirty man must itch and scratch. An itching and scratching man is slow.
10. Be ready to die.