Kotodama Part I - In the Beginning

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Kodawari Hombu Dojo

Kodawari Hombu Dojo

Kotodama or kototama (言霊, lit. “word spirit/soul”) refers to the Japanese belief that mystical powers dwell in words and names. English translations include “soul of language”, “spirit of language”, “power of language”, “power word”, “magic word”, and “sacred sound”. The notion of kotodama presupposes that sounds can magically affect objects, and that ritual word usages can influence our environment, body, mind, and soul.



Kotodama Part I

In the Beginning…


It has been said by some of my past Teachers, as it has been said to them as well, that Martial Arts have become divisional and separate in their Teaching Concepts. That the true essence of Ancient Transmissions, handed down from Master to Student, are virtually lost, and few original Lineage Transmissions exist outside Monastic setting.

Even in today’s Monastic Teachings have altered themselves gradually over the centuries due to lost scribed-Transmission Scrolls due to the destruction of Temples by looting & burning by Brigands (outlaws) that go back unaccounted for centuries lawless periods long ago.

Be what may, we cannot exclude the filtering of centuries old Martial Arts & Science philosophy that has long ben replaced in modern-day Marital Art communities as ‘Generic’ methods of Martial Arts, Sporting Concepts and creative or contrived versions that mimic no particular Ryu, Style or System of Asian cultural design or origin!

Again , as I begin sharing materials that I have written over the years, are not meant to be critical to what is acceptable in todays modern day martial Arts communities as I have little in the matters of ‘Bastardized’ information outside of what I personally Teach; as to being good or bad, although I mainly support and embrace many of you who are Traditionalist Budo-ka, I only embrace my own judgements or opinions as to what IS acceptable, or not, certainly lies within ones perspective!


It is vital, more so today than ever before, that each of us enlighten our students as to what is acceptable, without pointing the finger in anyone’s direction or labeling and particular System or those who may refer to themselves as Sensei, Shin, Shodo-sho or Grand Master. We must hold true to the code of Respectability and Ethical action or how can we refer to ourselves as WHOM we are.

There is a phenomena that exist culturally in the western-world (mainly in the United States) that our students are looked upon quite different that our counter-part, the Asian Student! Many of our students seemingly have initial interest as a “Hobby” or possibly less, a “Fashion”, or simply enter as merely “something to do with their time”. Whereas in Asian countries, it is perceived as well as Practiced, as a ” Way of Life”!

Still, from today’s western-world overlook of acceptance, the exactness of authenticity of what we are introduced by many -MANY who refer to themselves as ” Sensei”, and in many cases,  “Master”,  are offering their students as a “Consumer ” other than the philosophy at which the Transmissions are offered by the Asian Teacher .

Unlike the the Japanese or Chinese, etc Teacher, this is what many have regress Western Martial Arts Mentality to; the consumers the beginning and end means to “Commercialism”.

More in Part Two . . .

About Michael Davis

Michael Davis
Beginning his martial training almost 50 years ago, Michael Davis has spent almost his entire adult life attempting to internalize, add to and propagate the body of knowledge that makes up the principles and techniques of the life preserving combative arts and sciences. Michael has taught or assisted with the teaching of seminars and events in 17 US states and four countries. In addition to training every day martial artists, he has taught members of the US military as well as law enforcement at every level...from local LEOs to Federal Marshalls and US Secret Service agents (protective detail). He has co-authored a martial arts book, written numerous magazine articles that were published internationally as well as appearing in and assisting with the production of martial arts videos and other training materials.
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