Thread: Hip Throw?
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Old 06-05-2003, 04:41 PM   #21
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Charles Hill wrote:
I think Shaun's post assumes way too much knowledge, especially for someone describing himself as a "newbie." I will attempt to explain things so Shaun's post can be better understood. (Shaun, jump in if you disagree with something.)
Actually, one doesn't need to know anything to practice kotodama, just as one doesn't need to know anything to practice Misogi - other than the actual "how to" of the practices themselves. What the teacher provides is the context for the practices themselves, acting as a guide to prevent the student from wandering into the nether-regions of the mystical - a complete waste of time for anyone interested in measurable results. You can be a blithering idoit, and even deaf, dumb and blind. Kotodama lies in gaining an "overseeing" of the physical parameters of (all) life forms and mapping it over with a contextual magnifying glass using the unification of mind and body through misogi. With this in mind, we can ascribe ourselves to one of two levels - that of Helen Keller, either before or after she allowed the concept of language into her brain. Helen Keller understood kotodama at its root level - and she may never have met a Japanese person. It was the individual that gave her language that was her master - a committed individual with a very high level of ability.

To put it very simply, people who practice kotodama, chant certain words to bring about specific results. It is similar to (exactly the same as?) saying, "Abracadabra" in western forms of magic.

Actually it is more akin to waving the wand, as the application of kotodama is silent, so the abracadabra, as you put it is in the mind of the wand waver. However, I don't really care for the metaphor, as there is no relation between Magic (Mysticism) and Kotodama (Application of specific principles) I guess it could apple to "fake" magic, as stage magicians do manipulate the environment in a seemingly invisible way.
Now to fully understand Shaun's post, it is important to know that some people (most famously, Morihei Ueshiba) believe that the indigenous Japanese language (before the influence of Chinese) is an uncorrupted, pure language handed down by the gods.

I would not necessarily agree with portions of this statement, but certainly disagree with portions of it.
Quote: the average Japanese, there is no connection between them. As they are schooled thoroughly in the Chinese characters, there is no confusion between, for example, ball and bullet, even though they are pronounced them same as Shaun points out. This is because, in my opinion, the Chinese characters are different.

Yes, but this only applies to translating the book I mentioned, not so much to Kotodama, itself. Point being, actual kotodama can be practiced in any language once a person understands where to look, and what to avoid.
To those who study kotodama, there IS a connection between words that sound the same. The connection and the meaning, however, are not revealed without a great amount of study, reflection, and hopefully direct guidance from a teacher.

This is where the danger lies - the words are only actuators, or pointers to what kotodama is, in themselves, they have no power, as any words can be used. This is where a teacher becomes essential - there is a lot of bogus information out there.
This is what Shaun means (I think) when he writes about translating "Yamato no kotoba" (the uncorrupted form of Japanese) into Japanese (the now common Chinese influenced Japanese.)

Actually, the problem is with academics who think that because they published a paper on it, or got a PhD, that they know what they are talking about.
Bryan, I personally highly recommend John Stevens' books on Aikido, especially The Secrets of Aikido. (Shaun, is this what you mean by "public sources?) It is very clear that kotodama was very important to Morihei Ueshiba, and even if you go no further than reading about it, your understanding of Aikido will improve.

Well, I believe it is always good to read things that are well written. It matters not, if there is any substance at all, as long as it moves you along the path towards actual understanding. As far as kotodama and its importance to O-Sensei, I would agree, but probably for a reason that most remain unaware. Why it was important is because Aikido is a form of Misogi-no-Gyo, and so is Kotodama-no-Gyo. They are linked at a certain level, but more like they way a gas gauge or odometer is linked to a car. You don't need either, however, if you want to understand certain relational concepts, you need to measure them at particular points in space and time.

This is why one must seek a real master, not merely one with the title of master. On a physical level, one can have really good aikido and not know anything of kotodama.

However, if you want to understand O-Sensei's thinking, it is better to ask someone who knows his thinking, rather than someone who only thinks he does. In the end, it will be your own experience that will show you the difference. Kotodama is more about constructing a method of gauging the level one can assert his influencing into the world, something that O-Sensei was seeking to do. It is less about controlling an opponent, or knocking them down with some mystical, unseen power, communing with the gods in their "pure" language of any particular culture, or civilization, or even being a good martial artist. However, depending on what you read, you will hear all sorts of things -- including my statements above.

...See, I knew this was not going to be "brief"

Last edited by Misogi-no-Gyo : 06-05-2003 at 04:45 PM.

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