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I used to live and work in New York City. When I go back there, as infrequent as that may be these days, I like to watch people on the crowed sidewalks as they move against the flow. I've noticed that there are three types of walkers in that situation. First there's the person who apparently has no personal space. This person is constantly being jostled and bumped by other folks moving in the opposite direction. His eyes are usually lowered and he seems to be folded in upon himself. Next is the person who powers his way thru the oncoming traffic. He radiates authority tinged with hostility. Shoulders squared he briskly walks his path and seems, via his body language, to dare others to obstruct him. Then there's the person who moves effortlessly as he weaves his way thru the crowd. His personal space is obvious without being obtrusive and he seems to be able to find openings into which he moves and passes thru without disturbing the current.
When I practice technique I look to minimize my physical contact with uke so as to give him no inkling that there is any danger at hand. Leading him while I follow his lead I want to create a void into which he will move where, with a slight touch, I can disturb his balance and effect a throw. I never seek to overtly control uke. By keeping myself just out of his field of vision I am able to suggest that he must move in such a way as to come and find me. Once he has chosen a path I encourage him to continue along it thereby accelerating his motion. At that point the technique will become evident, arising naturally out of our combined motion.