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Old 03-20-2005, 01:35 PM   #32
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Re: Kototama Question

Hi, Shaun,

Thanks for your detailed reply. Comments follow.
Shaun Ravens wrote:
I believe it is simply a depletion of the center or removing the heart of the art.
Yes. Something was lost with Osensei, but I'm not sure that all was worth keeping. We remember Newton as a titan for just 10% of what he did. The magical/alchemical stuff has been jettisoned. I suspect some or much of Osensei is of the same nature, better jettisoned. He seemed marvelously egalitarian about his religious beliefs, pushing them on no-one (although lecturing from that point of view incessantly). He probably expected fold to insert their own beliefs and interpretations.

Kotodama probably has some value as spiritual discipline, as inspiration. I think it has no place as explanation, however. Stevens pointing out that the KATAKANA EIGO rendering of Christ as KIRI SU TO, "one who has cut off all ties" [to the profane world(presumably)] is a gimcrack non sequitur: Capital "B".
I read time and time again how O-Sensei didn't make any sense, or how he didn't leave a specific method of study for others to achieve similar goals. However, I am sure you would agree, just because 99.99% of the people don't seem to know where to look, are too lazy to look and wouldn't know what to do should they happen to actually find what they keep insisting doesn't exist, doesn't mean that .01% of those might actually can get passed the commercial misinformation propagated by the numerous books and tiresome lectures found online.
Maybe. But maybe if it quacks like a actually is a duck. In his virulent attack on the postmodern excesses of the Modern Language Association--which being not unsimilar to the strategies of KOTODAMA--physicist Alan Sokal relates the story of a highly educated mathematician thinking he didn't understand when literary theorists started throwing around mathematical concepts. He couldn't understand them because the math didn't match the math he'd done. In fact, the writers were faking it but the mathmetician lacked the "closed mindedness" to blame them.

I don't mean that Osensei was deliberately faking anything, but geez, look at the company he kept, the enterprises he supported, and the ludicrous expeditions he went off on during his life. Perhaps for all his wonderful enlightenment, he wasn't the most sophisticated individual to be patterning your life after.
Interestingly these are postulated by individuals whom if were correct in their assumptions would actually rule out O-Sensei's development of the art, itself.
Nineteenth century scientist Ernst Haeckel believed that embryology was a map of a species' evolution. He found a stage in human embryos which led him to predict the existence of a species theretofore unknown to us and, indeed, one was found. But that we found one doesn't mean that Haeckel's explanation was right. As it turns out, the ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny thing can't work because evolution occurs at the beginning of the life cycle, at the end, AND in the middle. The "new form" was irrelevant as it could have been an adaptation to the womb and not the external environment. Haeckel was successful in predicting a species but for the wrong reasons his brilliant explanation is completely wrong. Osensei was successful in creating something wonderful, but he might not be the best person to explain it.
I am not familiar with any power that Mr. Farrakhan actually developed using his system, regardless of the nature or ultimate truth upon which said system my be based.
He sure had the power to inspire ridicule. But he has typically been judged by outsiders, a situation not suffered to the same degree with this small pond of aikido. When outsiders do take a look, they can be pretty scornful, and that may be healthy. See Harry Cook's comments (A Precise History of Shotokan Karate) on Inoue's rendering of circle, triangle, square in Stanley's interview.
We are going to find that we each need that needle to stitch together the fabric of the art we say we are studying. Without it, we will merely be left with the current world-wide parade of Aikidoka all clad in the Aikidoka's new clothes. Oops!
Or, as Heraclitus had it, you can't step twice into the same river. Osensei's aikido is long gone. Long live aikido.

I take your point, Shaun, but there have been remarkable people who became that way sans Kotodama. If there's something there to be mined, I'll be interested to hear about it. But moving forward has integrity, too. Keep me posted.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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