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I was finally able to connect the dots yesterday in class. I showed the class ushiro ryotedori kokyu nage and it really made sense what sensei says in regards to kamae. You have to offer uke something to attack in order for the technique to work. I would actually futher that by saying you have to make it easy for uke to attack you.
In the case of ushiro kokyu nage, if nage just stands and waits for uke to grab both wrists from behind, then uke will likely have the advantage of being able to pull nage down from behind. If nage does tenkan while uke is still attacking, this lets uke grab the other wrist faster and puts nage in a better position to complete the technique.