Miyamoto Musashi continued to travel around Japan looking for suitable adversaries against which to test his skill. Eventually he heard about an undefeated warrior named Sasaki Ganryu who fought with a very long sword (possibly a No-dachi) and won his duels through a combination of skill and a distance advantage (having several more inches of blade than a normal katana)
Musashi challenged Ganryu who eagerly accepted his challenge, the two agreed that the duel would take place on a small island at 8am the next day.
Ganryu arrived on time but Musashi, as usual, was very, very late. Ganryu was furious. Eventually a boat was spotted approaching the island drifting with the current. The passenger was lazily slouched in the boat, seemingly half asleep and whittling at a long wooden oar. It was Musashi.
When Musashi eventually came ashore he tired a dirty towel around his head and brandished the the long oar that he intended to use as a weapon in the duel. Ganryu was enraged. Musashi had come to fight him, with a dirty towel as a headband and an oar for a sword! How dare he disrespect him so.
Ganryu apparently drew his sword from it scabbard and threw the scabbard down on the sand’. In response Musashi supposed, ‘Sasaki you have just sealed your doom, what victor on earth would abandon his scabbard to the sea’. This enigmatic remark made Ganryu even angier, clearly there was something mentally wrong with Musashi.
Musashi charged aiming the sharpened oar at Ganryus head but Ganryu blocked and countered cutting Musashi’s ‘head-band’. Musashi then spun is oar and swept Ganryu off his feet and quickly finished him with off with a blow to the head. He then bowed politely to the official officiating the duel, pushed his little boat out again and lay down to continue whittling his oar.
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