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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.
I had an interesting discussion the other day about different styles and how aikido, specifically my level of aikido, compare with each other. At some point in the conversation it was brought to my attention that it doesn't matter what the style is. What is important is the level of commitment the individual has. The difference in commitment is readily noticed between practicing martial arts for competition versus practicing for self-defense (self mastery, self improvement, self realization, etc).
There is a definite amount of respect I have for those people who commit to training their mind and bodies to the point of being able to compete. Not being extremely competitive myself, I can only imagine that there is a certain amount of precision involved in competitive training, i.e., knowing the rules about where you are allowed to strike, knowing which strike zones are worth more points, etc.
There is a definite amount of respect I have for those people who commit to training their mind and bodies to handle being attacked on the street by multiple assailants. Someone who sets out to attack you has definitely committed themselves to your demise and your ability to handle that will be demonstrated by which person is able to walk away from that situation voluntarily.
So maybe it's worthwhile to find some similarities between these two scenarios. Doing this might help find out what the real differences are.
l. They both invoke an enormous amount of