Re: David's Drills
An amazing exercise of self-reflection! Yes, you are on the right track - as you are hitting or experiencing all of the main elements of the drill and how they provide insights into the mind and/or into the body/mind.
Something I did not pull out as much as one could in the other summaries on these drills is this:
The reason that that irimi is chosen as the final aspect to be obtained is because there is really only one way to get it. You have to stop wanting it to happen. This is the same thing for the Angle of Deflection and for metsuke. Only folks can get through these things (i.e. angle of deflection and metsuke) with (for example) strength and stubborness and thus force these things to work at a level from which they can at least deny to themselves that they are not doing them wrong. With irimi, if you want it to happen, if you try and find it, or if you look to do it, you will undoubtedly become distracted from what else you need to do. Forcing the irimi simple won't do - or if it does it is too greatly forced and thus too hard to deny that it is being done incorrectly (i.e. totally different from how it feels in body art kihon waza). And as a result, because what else you need to do is not being done, as you enter into self-feeding cycle of distraction (i.e. a lack of awareness, an incapacity to be in the exact present as it is being experienced), you cannot irimi from within that context. You are right - it is indeed impossible. At this point, the drill becomes a type of physical koan.
If you try to irimi, you will bog down in your awareness. Thus, for example, your Angle of Deflection will tend to become forced and then eventually it will fall behind what is happening. As a result, your emotional content becomes more and more plagued by anxiety and by feelings of anxiousness. This in turn makes you look more to doing irimi but this only repeats the cycle with every loss of awareness multiplied exponentially. The only way to irimi is to let it occur by itself. Like all koans, this makes no sense intellectually, but makes perfect sense intuitively - which is why we can either do it or we can't - though we learn a lot about oursevlves each time we try (whether we succeed or not). In my opinion, a whole lot goes into being in the moment under martial considerations. These drills help point the way.
From here, from what you say, it sure looks like the drill is working for you. My advice, just keep going with it. You will get there in time - all without trying. :-)