Understanding the events in the life of James is often quite depressing for those that seek to have knowledge that is pure and authored with the best of intention. We find that most of the information that we study lacks a significant author of authority. As a community of information, Kenpo is often punished for this, but the same can be said for almost all information that exists in this world. No matter the art, there is one person who had at one time, evaluated the information that they had collected in accordance to their experiences and offered up to the community a means to parse the information set. An art then is as good as the information set, the experience, and the perception presiding over the information.
James Mitose offers a means to prejudice the information and the experience. This is his only contribution that is significant within his teachings. He expresses that there is a prejudice based upon the level of interaction and states in essence that there are three levels of this biasing-a priest's bias, a warrior's bias and a commoner's bias.
The problem at this time is the evaluation of this contribution in light of the many gross wrongs of James. This is a significant problem given the vast amounts of negative publicity. Rightly all of it is deserved as he is responsible not only for his actions but also the interpretation of those actions from the community in which he resided.
Some choose to justify these actions as a series of uncontrolled actions stemming from a man who did not know the customs or requirements of his new country. The problem with this justification is that if we choose to infer that James was intelligent, we then are contradicting our premise. James then in evaluation to a group of his peers would fail miserably as members of his peer group on average did not make those choices.
Members of his peer group did not make money the way James did. Members of his peer group did not go to jail in association with murder. Members of his peer group did not forge certificates of knowledge and religious affiliation. Therefore, this evaluation is very juvenile. James being intelligent would know the expectations as he would have learned through observation and experience. Life at the basic level does not change significantly from culture to culture as all societies address the common behaviors exhibited by James. Few intelligent individuals would dispute this commonality as it is a functional precept of being deemed educated.
We can choose to say, instead, that James was ignorant. He was unintelligent and for the most part he must have copied what he knew from someone that was intelligent. This argument would justify the actions of James and moral flaws. James would then represent a substandard of human society and allow the practitioner to say the origin is based on crude fighting skill that became harness into an efficient vehicle by later practitioners. The problem with this argument is that James even in his worst moments justifies his education. Individuals that knew him justify his education at most moments in his life. The teachings the come from James are at a higher level than the efficient striking movements of the modern lineages. This then cannot be correct as an argument despite its repetition and ripple throughout the internet.
James was intelligent. It is clear at least to me that he was. He has key comments that only a teacher would say and on matters that only a teacher would evaluate. He was trained at some point but not sufficiently as has been discussed. He had the lessons but not the application of the lessons-although of course he would learn through the unstructured nature of life experience. His choices were of angst and stubbornness to accept a new world and a new life. He was an incredibly stubborn and angry man at times!
The math, if we evaluate James, works out such that the number of gross wrongs is much greater than the gross rights in his life. This is unfortunate on many levels. So how can anyone tolerate or endear a James Mitose? This is the difficult question. The best answer I believe that I have heard came
from Bruce Juchnik. His answer was simply that James was his teacher. No matter the deeds of James, James kindled some sparks. How big or small these sparks are is not important right now. Any person that opens doors to life choices is your teacher. We may not personally like a teacher. They do not have to be a good person. They do not have to exhibit healthiness or satisfy our idea of perfection. They are merely people that facilitate the expansion of our world. In this sense, James is valid and will always be valid to some. James is not automatically your teacher just because you learn Kenpo or Kosho. James is not someone to admonish either just because one doesn't understand his lessons. James may be criticized but this is accepted when one takes the role as a teacher.
If James is a teacher, then what did he teach? This is the second most difficult question for a practitioner as James taught intellectual tools. Kosho is a cognitive vehicle of life choices and perception. Kenpo is the physical manifestation of the Kosho decision-making engine. It is possible to mimic the Kenpo movements that were vehicles of teaching in a moment of time, in a place, with a question, and a base of inquiry. It is impossible to recreate the validity of those movements in a different time, place and base of involvement even with the same question being asked. James knew this and this is the reason he invalidates the movements of the modern traditions. They are dead arguments to James and do not demonstrate the decision-making engine necessary to qualify as Kosho study. Kosho is an applied intellectual tool. The inability to apply the tool on one's own automatically renders the product invalid.
James describes that there are a countless number of movements in Kenpo-i.e. the number of movements is infinitely countable as a set based upon the movement of time, emotion, age, intelligence, purpose, social consequence, perception and physical skill. Some have moved towards the direction of changing the purposed vehicles into miniature katas to increase the skillset. This makes sense, so what then are katas. Again we see the failing of not understanding the intellectual tools to a Kosho practitioner.
The decision-making engine is the lineage of Kosho and Kenpo. James failed at this miserably, but he also succeeded at this much more often. The consequences of failing in use of this engine is much more dire. James did not have complete mastery to succeed through his failures. This is what we can see upon viewing James. It is unfortunate. The Kosho engine is dangerous to not only others but also to the individual if not applied properly. This is why we understand that there must be limitations and restrictions within the practice and study.
The Kosho engine is applied at three levels. At the lowest level, the decision making engine is applied to assist others in the obtainment of their highest aspirations. The practitioner teaches what the student needs to succeed in life and builds restrictions that bind them into avenues of positive choices. This level of instruction is what was taught during the years of the official self-defense club.
At the intermediate level, one applies the decision making engine to assist the individuals that must make sense and order in the world-i.e. the warrior class. The practitioner must skew the environment so that the "warrior class" can enforce choices that they do not make and provided them with the means to live without the guilt from choices that they wish not to make. This is an important role for the priest class. It is this level of instruction that was taught in the modern Kosho era.
At the highest level, the practitioner must teach how to apply and utilize the decision making engine. This level requires a number of tools to do so. It requires openness into all matters life including past, present and future thoughts and experiences. It requires a significant degree of introspection as well as critical evaluation from our peer groups. It requires that one must not only teach, but that they must also bear all responsibility for any actions and resultants of those actions. It requires that the practitioner must fail to the highest degree to understand the failings in others. The priest's level of kosho is the rendering of a decision making process to accept the failures of others while also obligating the practitioner in the promotion of the individual's success. It is not for everyone. James knew this. He expressed this.
In Kosho, the practitioner is obligated to teach when presented with a question. A punch may represent the most basic of questions. It is after all a problem seeking a solution-but not necessarily the solution that you may believe in or have been trained in. A practitioner is not obligated, however, to have to teach one to apply the Kosho engine. This is a matter of both ability and privilege.
This may seem like a simplistic set of concepts in outline, but there are a number of quirks in this system when confronted with the experience of applying this set of guidelines. These guidelines govern the daily interaction of the practitioner, but there are a number of derivations to make the system adaptable in any environmental-emotional-temporal complex.
The reader should, in their understanding of Kenpo, seek to understand the motives and behaviors that exist, the framework for those motives as well as the natural ability to envelop derivation. If one considers Kenpo as a means to develop a systematic database then we must apply the rule of behavioral and computational modeling, which suggests that we will have significant limitations based on the current systesm. Our decision time is inversely proportional to the number of choices and the execution of such is limited by the specificity. There is a reason old martial art books and military books spend most of their time in conversation. It is only the mindset that matters-and some mind sets have greater utility than others.
James would go on to describe utility in his asking of the question as to whether your system protects you in all aspects of your life? It is a fair question in Kosho, maybe not the social world, to ask why one is at harmony with the world but can't make choices to survive a marriage, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, aggressive disorders, depression and many other negative life quality decisions. Clearly there resides a contradiction somewhere in one's life that will impede their ability to make appropriate decisions. Under the right conditions, these contradictions may cause failure for not only the practitioner but also the dependent chain that is supported by that practitioner.
The next page will discuss the problems in regards to the generations and education gaps within the kenpo community. It is a matter to consider and one that some practitioners will understand from their experiences.