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Lead and follow, follow and lead; the difference is perceived only from outside.
I have several analogies I use when teaching the concept of leading. I'll speak of leading uke's mind, grabbing her Ki, leading the attack, moving on the intent etc. My initial lead determines how well I will evade the attack and subsequently be able to redirect uke's energy along a harmless (to me) path.
But there is no leading without following. While I am leading uke I must also be following her and so to further lead her on. I don't switch from leading to following and back again; rather both actions are performed continuously. Leading and following are no more separable than mind and body.
Uke and I have different goals at the onset of each encounter. Uke seeks to intersect me at some point and apply either a grab, blow or both. My aim is to avoid said intersection and lead uke along a different path. This process involves my leading uke's mind/body along lines that will be unoccupied by me. At all times it is important for me to know where uke is going and so I must follow her lead as I lead her following.