I hope the title is clear enough.
I thought maybe it would be interesting if I wrote down my experiences with trying the drills from time to time.
So I had a chance to train today, briefly, with a more-or-less equal ranked/experienced dojo mate.
This time, I tried to be more open and welcoming instead of pushing away in my attention to my partner. It became very clear when we reached my limit for receiving violence, because this time, when that limit got crossed, I'd really flinch and turn away. Last time I dealt more with "hardening" my gaze. On the other hand, as long as I was still able to stay open, it became more possible to play with the distance and angle between us. My partner (after we switched roles) had a tendency to lose distance and get a bit run over by me. I don't know if that was a clever way of attacking on my side though, I wasn't really thinking about tactics just pushing forward. Which I tend to do, as attacker.
We added deflecting. Observations: The idea of deflecting tends to take my attention to my hands or my partners (or legs if he's kicking). Which is a very basic mistake! The conditions of the drill really brought this out again. In general (I wasn't aware of this at the time) thinking back I realize that I was mostly very focused on my partner, albeit in a different way than before, and not very aware of our surroundings. Not quite all the time, we didn't collide with anyone and I have some recollection of the people training around us.
We went back and forth between deflecting and just moving with hands in the back, because it seemed necessary to take a step back in the drill from time to time. One reason was that allowing ourselves to deflect the attacks seemed to also allow for a sort of ...false safety. So the deflecting could also became a coping mechanism. There was a difference in feel when it wasn't defensive deflecting but accepting deflecting if that makes sense.
...I just realized, writing this, something vague and hard to put to words about how I was holding my arms a bit stiffly, and stopping my own footwork at some point. As if thinking that I should move in some particular way, and not allowing myself to move freely.
We tried entering behind uke but that seemed entirely impossible! There were a couple moments where I could deflect almost everything and keep a nice distance and feel quite free, but I couldn't irimi from there. I don't know if there's something specific to look for there? Or is it just too soon?
I was pleased that I didn't turn away from the barrage in the first fase of the drill, until a clear point where my limit was reached. In the second fase this didn't happen at all, probably because I was coping by stiffening at that point. I'm thinking that a clear "breaking point" is actually a good sign because it means there is no attempt at hiding from it?
Comments and suggestions are very welcome, of course!