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This is where the rubber hits the road -- as the tired cliche goes -- stuff that I've been doing for a while isn't working anymore. I'm starting to learn why.
Put simply, it's this: my concept of "moving from my center," or "leading with my center" doesn't work. I learned how off I've been in a recent class where we were working on establishing the center to center connection and then throwing. I'm not bad at establishing the center to center connection, but when I go to throw, I move my center to where I want uke to go -- thereby severing the connection! I think this is why (and how) I have a tendency to lean when throwing _and_ why I tend to "bear down" when I throw by using my mass instead of my center.
In the past, I think I was guiding uke and ahead of him, but not really leading. My throws relied more on timing and momentum than true connection. This is not necessarily bad. Being able to catch timing and use momentum is a great skill, but it is not a complete skill set in itself.
I seem to need a weapons-related metaphor to help me visualize a concept. The best I can come up with right now is that the center to center connection should be like that in jo-nage or jo-dori. With jo-nage, the attacker and thrower are separated by three or so feet of wooden stick, so to throw successfully the thrower needs to have a good connection that leads from his own center _through_ the attacker's center.