I used to train in Shotokan and corresponded with Rob Redmond. Right now, I am training in Japan!
It is important to keep in mind that Redmond's experience is only one person's. For example, I had the impression from reading his forums that only Americans said "osu". But actually, not only is "osu" used in my dojo, but it is used by lots of Japanese who play western sports, etc. So the "mistaken" Americans who "osu"ed to everyone at every opportunity weren't really wrong. Go figure!!
I don't think Redmond's issue was with the use of osu
as much as the misunderstanding of it. As you say, osu
is a sportsman's word, not a sacred word with a great deal of religious or ritual significance. What Redmond is explaining with osu
, I think, is something that happens over and over again: some Japanese say, "This is how we practice budo," and Westerners hear, "This is how budo must
be practiced, otherwise you are committing sacrilege."
Just like America, you can find dojos in Japan doing all kinds of different things. Some of them are relaxed, some formal. Some teach strict forms, some teach budo-yoga fusion stuff. It takes all kinds.
That is definitely true. But I think the existence of "all kinds" only lends more credence to the idea that one doesn't have to be one particular kind to be authentically Japanese.