Aaah ... the good old 'OM(F)G-My-Favorite-Technique-Does-Not-Work-Anymore'. We all have that feeling once in a while, and more often then we would like.
I have a hate-love relationship with iriminage (notice that the hate is in front of the love).
You start to get the hang of some technique ... fall in love with it ... and then evil sensei adds something more to it and you feel you want to cry like a little baby that got his lollypop taken away from him after the first lick.
Getting familiar and fluid with a technique for a 5th kyu examen does not mean it needs to be effective. Sensei only wants to see if you know what technique goes with what name and if you know where you need to place your feet and hands. At least I have the feeling that that is required in my dojo.
Although you might be able to make a technique work by hitting someone in the nose, you are only masking a poor technique. There are other ways to get/keep kuzushi, that's what we need to practise.
And did I mention that atemi is very important?
Now the kotegaeshi problem. I once had to practise with an uke that had wrist problems, so I could not crank the wrists to make the technique work. I had to unbalance him by using the lower upper arm, just above the wrist. After a bit of searching I had it figured out. And now I always do kotegaeshi as if uke has wrist problems, the wrist cranking is a little extra I sometimes put in there.
So Dalen, perhaps you can try to make kotegaeshi work by grabbing above the wrist and without the cranking. If sensei allows it offcourse, always do what sensei says (or shows
Btw: with 'you' I dont me you, Dalen, but the general aikidoka. I hope you (Dalen
) got something out of my rambling.