I see your point. I'll keep that in mind the next time we try it. There is definitely a big difference now that it's been pointed out.
When practicing I did straighten up one time, and the UKE was about 6 feet off the ground. I think it scared him, and me, so I went back to stooping over. But, now that it's been pointed out and I look at Saito-sensei, it appears that was the correct way. I felt a lot stronger too being more straight. Plus it probably would allow the UKE more time to get his feet rotated under him.
Thanks everybody for your time and input!
I have always remembered the story I read about in the news where some NFL lineman, some 300+ lb beastie boy, couldn't play in some game because he was injured, not in practice or in a game, but when he picked up his TV set and didn't use good posture. My back went out once when I was cutting a sheet of ply wood and leaned a bit too far out as I did the cut. So I am always conscious of back alignment. Nothing brings your practice to a dead stop like throwing your back out...