Musashi Miyamoto (1584-1645) is one of the more well known samurai,
and lived at the end of the warring states period in Japan. His
achievements are legendary, but based on a historical person. From
a young age Musashi trained his sword fighting techniques and engaged
in over 60 duels, without losing. He became so good that he would
often only use a wooden sword against opponents with real swords.
His most famous fight was on Ganryu island with Sasaki Kojiro. The
way the story goes, Kojiro was a famous swordsman in his own right
and was especially proficient with an extra long sword. To battle
Kojiro, Musashi carves a sword out of an oar of a boat to match
the length of Kojiro's sword. He wins the battle in one strike.
His writings, The Book of Five Rings, was heavily marketed
in the US as the secret to the Japanese way of business. While somewhat
misleading in nature, it has been effective in making Musashi and
his book widely known. With various translations available, much
of it describes sword techniques, but contains a good amount of
philosophy flowing throughout the book.
For more information, here is a good site about Musashi