Manuel Delgado-Eberhardt wrote:
To modify what Mr. Fooks wrote, sometime getting off the line isn't possible (staircase). Luckily, he had drank enough to forgive my lack of experience and skill. I did manage to take his balance, and it was enough to save my butt
No doubt, off the line is always an idead situation. However having said that I think we're sometimes a little to close minded in what we might mean by off the line. e.g. I would interpret your step down onto the next stair as a type of off the line. (albeit one that doesn't leave you where you'd like to be it ws the movent that was available to you). I suspect it help stretch uke out a little in anticipation of the kote gaeshi?
I think "off the line" in some situations can be as simple as a hip turn, something just to change the relationship between your position and the line of force.