Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?
When I studied aikido, one thing I noticed was that my instructor and his instructor would always tell us to 'play'. They would show a technique or concept, then tell us to play, and proceed to walk around correcting bad form. So I guess I've always had the idea of just doing 'something' instead of standing there with an unworking technique.
I also come from the beleif that as long as uke is honest, uke is never wrong. A good uke should simply give a good honest attack, and then respond honestly to nage's actions. A lot of people seem to want uke to follow along like a prescribe dance number with a logical conclusion. I think it is fine to fail. If you are not performing right, uke should not fall down. However, if uke is not honest and gives bad attacks, then he is counter productive. It is a fine line to walk. Usually though even a dishonest attack can be turned into an honest response by simply changing what you are doing. He keeps giving you a hard time with his knife hand? Go to his head or his other arm. If he says he could of stabbed you tell him it's a good thing he has a wooden knife :-). Of course if you dont have the confidence or ability to change your technique, simply ask the teacher to do it for you. It sounds like some uke's have too much ego and can't see training as training, but instead see it as winning and losing. They want to win your kata. Make sure to thank them after you change the technique and throw them. Give them a hug, and let them know you do not perceive what you just did as winning.
Currently I spend most of my time in sport based drills. We are shown a technique, given a small amount of time to practice it with no resistance (and by no resistance I mean none). After 1 or 2 minutes of this we start to resist it. The resistance grows over a minute or two until we are now in a goal based drill. (My goal is to sweep to the mount, your goal is to pass my guard). I find this the most effective way for me to learn a new technique. So when I do get a chance to practice aikido, I love a 'tough' uke to give me a hard time.