Re: Advice from your sensei.
I think the advice that sticks with me and means the most to me right now is "know your body". In light of discussions here and elsewhere in relation to "body skills", unusual strength, different kinds of conditioning (things that you typically don't get from weight training)...this statement from my teacher in a style which has a very strict outward form and very rigorous training weighs on me a lot. He didn't say "know uke's body", he didn't say "learn about form", he didn't say "watch me", he said "you have to know your own body", and he's actually repeated this several times. In relation to technique, and in relation to healing injuries, and in relation to training as you get older.
Another teacher (same organization) recently stressed "relax as much as possible while maintaining the form". I have always found form and relaxation as two polar opposites. I would go one place to train in a relaxed manner and another to train form. I would try to bring the two together and fail a lot.
Recently I have had much more sucsess on both fronts...getting to know my body and getting to relax inside the form. Lot of work left to do... The strange thing is that I don't think I am hearing anything new...just listening more now.