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Been working on the ASU bokken kata's 1 and 2. I am glad to announce that neither myself or my practice partner hurt each others' fingers/hands. I've done this before (knock a finger or knuckle) and know that it can be a surprise and painful at the same time. By the way, I'm practicing these 2 kata in preparation for our upcoming kyu 6 & 5 tests.
As to kote gaeshi - here's a trick (actually the right thing to do): as you bend back the wrist from the kote gaeshi hand grip, also step back, effectively pulling the uke's arm and body off balance. It's amazing how little tips like this improve the movement.