Miyamoto Musashi was born around 1584 into a samurai family in Harima province. His mother died soon after his birth, so he was raised by his step-mother and then his uncle, a monk from the Shoreian temple. While staying with his uncle, he was taught Zen Buddhisma and basic reading and writing. He had his first duel at the age of thirteen and went on to have 59 more, claiming never to have lost a single one. He completed his influential book on swordsmanship in May 1645, the year he died.