"One morning in 1596. just outside the village of Hirafuku in the province of Banshu, Arima Kihei, a swordsman of the Shinto-ryu, sat waiting for a formal apology. This was to be delivered by a thirteen-year-old boy, Miyamoto Bennosuke, the local gaki daisho, or "commander-in-chief" of every ruffian in the area, and the chief instigator of the outrage in Hirafuku."
What happened here? Kihei showed up and placed his challenge in
writing for all swordsman in the area. He might have heard that a
renowned master lived in the area, and tried the tactic as a ruse to
bring the man into open conflict. Unfortunately for Kihei, instead of
the renowned master, a young man by the name of Bennosuke noticed the
placard and accepted the challenge.
On the placard, the following was written:
"Miyamoto Bennosuke, residing in the Shoren-in, will give you a match tomorrow."
Kihei responded to this insult by sending one of his disciples to the
Shoren-in and requesting an immediate apology. Bennosuke's uncle, the
priest Dorinbo, was initially too stunned to respond to Kihei's
challenge. His young nephew was far too young to challenge the elder
swordsman in a duel to the death. Dorinbo agreed to send the boy with a
formal apology to clear his honor. Kihei accepted this proposal and
returned to the placard to await his apology.
The following morning, the villagers assembled at the challenge
placard in hopes of seeing the brash youngster be reprimanded. Bennosuke
had caused much grief for the townspeople and many wished to see the
boy humiliated. The crowd grew silent as Bennosuke and his uncle came
over the ridge.
Kihei's disciple noticed the boy carrying a six-foot staff and tried
to warn his master. Kihei gave no indication of acknowledging the
weapon. Bennosuke's body language betrayed his intentions, which were
revealed in a sudden charge at the last minute. A trained swordsman such
as Kihei had no difficulty dodging the clumsy strike, but he could not
avoid the grappling ability of his young opponent. Bennosuke grabbed
hold of Kihei and slammed the swordsman into the ground. The momentous
impact sent the assembled crowd scurrying for cover. The brave few who
remained saw Kihei attempt to stagger to his feet, but Bennosuke was
already upon him. A wooden staff shattered Kihei's myth of
"Long before writing the Book of Five Rings, Bennosuke would become known as Miyamoto Musashi.
In that book, he refers to this match quite simply: "From long ago in
my youth, I set my mind on the martial arts and had my first match when
I was thirteen. My opponent was a martial artist of the Shinto-Ryu,
Arima Kihei, whom I defeated."
~sources: The Book of Five Rings
The Lone Samurai - William Scott Wilson