Re: Are you pushing?
Lately I have been really appreciating working first control very slowly, focusing on entering with the body, unbalancing uke slowly, receiving their strike in my body, not my arms, etc. It becomes a pushing exercise of sorts on both sides. Uke receives the waza as a slow push, nage does the same from the attack, then assumes control, and continues.
I try to embody the things I learned from Dan, how to place my hips, use of the spine, use of breath, etc. I also try to embody the "body suit" feeling Mike speaks of. By doing these things (and again, slowly!) I have found ways to when uke, reverse the ikkajo/ikkyo from positions where I *should* be greatly unbalanced and disconnected (in terms of my own frame), even when working with larger and stronger partners.
I feel like there is very little martial about this practice in terms of how a person might practice 1st control for getting an arm bar in a fight. Anyone watching would almost for sure wonder what the heck we were doing, and what the purpose was.
The purpose for me is what I feel in my body and my partner's body, the sense of connection it builds in and between both bodies, the improvement of balance from odd positions, etc.
Frankly, I don't think there is enough of this sort of practice in normal keiko. I am coming to believe we spend way too much time making waza designed for a particular type of strength work in other ways.