Re: Techniques for beginners
I am not sure what my teacher tried to teach with that exercise. Except that it was one more way to try to focus on relaxing a body part.
With the years, I have tried to add some relevance myself.
First, I ask uke if he can feel the difference between a tori that is trying to muscle himself through the exercise, and one that stays relax all the way through.
Second, it is great to show tori how staying relax can make him stronger then using muscles (it looks greater then using the unbendable arm, IMHO).
Third, tori should keep focussing on his circle, even when uke broke the circle. The only thing that happened is that the ring got bigger, the mental aspect should still be the same. Don't bring the fingertips together in a straight line (think about a D), but still bring them together in that (broken) circle (O).
I try to relate that third aspect into waza.
For example a kokyu exercise in katatedori (simular to earth part of tenchi nage). People only think about the arm that is grabbed, while trying to get kuzushi they solely focus on that side of their body, putting their balance/tension on that side.
I tell them to think of their arms as they were the fingers, putting focus on both of them while they form a big circle that goes into the ground. Then they should try to unbalance the partner thinking as if they were grabbed by two partners, each grabbing one arm. This way they will remain more centered, while working in one direction.
I did try to the exercise with two ukes, but I need to work on it a bit more to make it more practical as an exercise.
Another exercise I try to use this metaphor in is aihanmi katatedori ikkyo omote. Tori's arms are the fingers, completing the circle through the center of uke. Tori needs to move the entire circle, while trying to keep the circle in uke.
I don't know if this was the kind of answer you were looking for. But these are just some concepts that helped me understand/practise better. And I hope it does the same for my fellow students.
I hope I explained myself well enough. It is not easy to explain these things on the mat, let alone write them down in a forum.