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Over the past several weeks, I've been focusing more and more on the process of generating power by sinking my center. Combined with that concept is the concept of keeping three points of contact with uke during waza -- a concept borrowed from judo by Don Dreager, and passed to Ellis Amdur from Terry Dobson (if I recall what Ellis said correctly).
A lot of what I had been doing did not result in good kuzushi, despite my best efforts. I had some idea of moving from my center, but did not really understand which way to move. A lot of my focus was on catching my opponent's timing. I don't think any of these things are bad or wrong, but there's something to be said for being able to make your own opportunities for catching timing by creating kuzushi with powerful movement and good strikes. Dropping one's center plays a part in both powerful movement and powerful strikes.
Where timing does come in is the irimi part of our movements. Ellis makes the point at his seminars that O'Sensei always talked about irimi and irimi-tenkan. So, there's no tenkan without irimi. We worked on Saturday with tsuki kotegaeshi. My initial reaction was to get off-line while entering. However, one of the senior students pointed out that doing so leaves uke in a good position for a follow-up attack. The better response in that situation is to strike straight down with an atemi to the punching arm while it is coming in -- to enter first (there's the timing element), and take up the space that the attacker wants to use. Surprisingly to me, this strong irimi movement is good even if uke has a knife.