In my "My Past Way of Budo" by Nakazono in the chapter entitled "About Power" Nakazono discusses occurrences of unusual powers, Kiai causing unusual supernatural disturbances.
I believe that these things, along with Ueshiba's stories of golden rays, seeing bullet ki before the bulletts, bulbs flashing, and mysterious rumblings from the mountain every evening at Nine,
are more Japanese myth making. In fact Kisshomaru tried to make corrections on these matters agreeing that they are exagerations of fact and other times made up out of whole cloth.
I dismiss these stories out of hand.
However I think Dan is perfectly correct, discussions of "power" from the perspective of kototama and other spiritual practices is way off the mark. The objective of such practices is not in trying to gain special powers, it is a search for an absolute truth, it has nothing to do with domination over others. The objective, in part, aiming to reduce the dichotomy of self and other, as such anything which may bolster of ego is rejected.
"Seeking to be superior is a mistake right from the start. If you get it, it will destroy you. It is twisted, unbalanced vibration for human life; not the pure, final power." (My Past Way of Budo, About Power, Nakazono)
I think Ueshiba's understanding of Kotodama is most likely in keeping with his study of Aiki in yo ho where the duality of In yo dissolves all conflict within and without. This is what he spoke to most often. I also believe that most today have no clue whatsoever as to how these things connected in his life.
Isn't it interesting that the Omoto sect used him; for validation many times and pointed to him. Deguchi's comments are often about How and why Ueshiba should do this or that because of his...wait for it...power. and his recognition as a famous budoka. To deny that is to either not have read the histories, or to be partaking in more modern myth making on Ueshiba's behalf.
The real question is, within Omoto as a ...cough...source of power. Why was he different?
I have an answer for you.
It came from your founder
Aiki in yo ho
And that came from Daito ryu.
However, just as Dan suggests that seeking the spiritual aspects within Aikido without having tangible physical abilities is lacking and border-line useless,
I would argue that having only the physical abilities without a proven ability to demonstrate a greater understanding of the metaphysical aspects is equally lacking and border-line useless.
Had he not been trained with Daito ryu's Aiki in yo ho, Ueshiba would have been no more than any of the other people in the sect. He would not have been saved, he would have been arrested, and we would not be here talking about him.
He would have been a nobody who broke the law and got imprisoned.
Again I remind you it was he himself and not me...who recognized that this art would never be seen as a true budo without power.
Incidently, I am reasonably convinced that my ideas of what power is, are not and have not, been displayed, written about or seen much in aikido since Ueshiba.
In closing I have never said that seeking the spiritual aspects within Aikido without having tangible physical abilities is lacking and border-line useless.
You said I said that. People will do what they want and pursue what they want and I think all of it is fine. They also are held accountable for their decisions. In this case they just need to be very cautious in calling what they do budo...They cannot do one thing and expect to borrow off of someone elses reputation and not be called on it by budo people from within and without of the art of Aikido. Some practices are just not budo.
Because according to the arts founder..
It will not be recognized as a true budo and will not taken seriously without power.
That's not my idea either, it's O sensei's.