Re: Martial Ineffectiveness
George, Your post reflects very well with what I here my sensei saying and doing. Attacking with intent, projecting your energy at nage, etc. And I have read the same comments else where. On the mat I have felt frustration when an attack is weak and half-hearted and the overall technique becomes a feeble act of hand waving and acting.
However, can you help me reconcile some of your comments with other request and remarks I have heard. In particular, my sensei has asked me to slow down and focus on connecting my movements. He said that while fast is fun that to learn the techniques better I need to make the motions slowly and precisely. "Speed will come latter." I have also heard my sensei and others (in particular Mary Heiny Sensei at the last seminar) tell uke to match their attack to the "skill" of their nage. Slow for beginners and fast for more advanced students.
My personal means of reconciling this is that the key is not necessarily speed but intent and projection. This is reflected in my experience on the mat. I have learned quite a bit and felt a solid attack from sempei as they slowly but with intent and projection attack shomenuchi (or other attacks) towards me. As a beginner, can feel where their power is coming from and where it is going. If I follow through with the technique properly I can feel the release and that I have stepped out of their realm of influence to a place I can now act from. If I fail, I can feel where and when the mistake was made. And I can do this with in my ability. Other sempei attack more with speed. I react. Sometimes I react properly, sometimes not. But as a beginner, I don't get a sense of where I failed only that I failed. I shake my head and try again. I think I learn either way but to be honest. I think I learn faster working with the slow sempai. I feel this is the case because after working on a technique with the slow sempei I am more likely to have success with the fast sempei. The reverse however is not true. [Oh and to make things clear, the slow sempei when practicing with each other are far from slow. And when they attacked me in randori at the last test if they were attacking slow I didn't notice, I was too busy reacting.]
Which brings me to matter of etiquette. Asking your nage to slow down, so that you can slow down as Sensei requested. And how to deal with those who might feel they are doing you a favour by going at full speed as you try to focus on a particular aspect of technique. This may be particularly true when working on irmi.