Hi Mark, all good thoughts.
But the reality is (as Mike S. says), there are all kinds of levels of these things.
My own teacher speaks of levels of protection. 2 levels is better than one, and 3 better than two...
So, by the logic of the statements above, if I position myself so that uke has a hard time striking me, that's one level. If I use the skills you are talking about (and they are greater than my partner's skills), that's another level. If I am in a position to strike as well, that's a 3rd level. And if the movement and placement covers me from multiple opponents, yet another level.
The fact is, I cannot count on my body structure being better than the other guy. It may well be...but it may not. So in my mind, a competent MAist will still cover those other bases....just in case.
Ron (let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater...)
No arguments here. I was trying to make the distinction between principles and tactics. Body placement and timing are tactics. So, definitely, when doing a technique, employ levels.
However, if you don't have the principles down, employing tactics or levels won't be nearly as effective. So, while you may have avoided the first strike by good body positioning, that second strike will most likely hit if you don't have kuzushi. Stepping deeper may not work because you might just be getting a better body positioning and still not be gaining kuzushi. However, if the teacher says step deeper to get you to gain a better kuzushi, then that's a different thing. It's getting you to work on a principle which tactics build upon. IMO, anyway.
Once principles are accomplished, tactics or levels can be employed. And strategy will dictate how it all goes together.
So, yeah, I agree. I'm just thinking (currently) that principles are first and tactics/levels are second for the learning stages.