Don J. Modesto
Hope this finds you well.
Surprised we don't here more about Hardacre and Ooms and Teeuwen and Rambelli and the rest when so many folk seem interested in aikido spirituality. I personally found that Abe's Weaving the Mantra put a lot of the decontextualized stuff about Osensei and Shinto in a context we greatly helped me understand what was going on. Rambelli's article on Honji Suijaku at Work was also useful. Despite my jaundiced comment about him, Stevens is useful, I must admit, but so limited, like trying to understand music by looking at Picasso's Man with a Guitar.
It is curious that, excepting George, nearly all the people who write about aikido--and whose opinions I respect, even if I do not share them, have 'done time' in Japan. I mean, especially, Stanley Pranin, John Stevens, William Gleason, and Ellis Amdur. Stan's achievement is clear. I have occasion to offer criticism of Prof Stevens' translations, but the fact remains that his achievement is remarkable. I have just received Gleason's second volume, on kotodama, and he covers quite a lot of the ground that Stevens has covered in his earlier books. But again, he has produced a work that illuminates a deep and dark subject.
In a way I have discovered why they need to write. There is so much to say that has not been said--and still needs saying. I never bothered much about the Hardacres, the Rambellis, the Abes until I came here and saw how intellectually barren is the staple fare on aikido. The 武 suffers for want of an effective 文 to complement it: complement it, not substitute for it.