I was on a seminar in the US a good few years ago and Imaizumi sensei was the guest teacher, he demonstrated some no touch throws from shomenuchi but his point was something along the lines of this... My intent (ki, call it whatever you like) is in my hand, in my fist. I'm going to punch you in the face, either move and get out of the way, or, say hello to my fist.
I liked his explanation and it made sense - certainly didn't look like his uke was intentionally falling for some other wishy washy reason other than not wanting to get punched. So to me, the point was uke reacted to a fist all of a sudden appearing in front of his face, if uke hadn't have reacted it would have looked like iriminage but instead of the arm going around the neck, his fist would have punched the guy. Kind of simple really. Was good
Marc can probably explain this one a lot better, he might have been there.
My favorite quote from my teacher (Imaizumi Sensei) was that if you move properly, you do not need technique
! Most people have some desire to preserve their well-being and this even takes place at a preconscious level. If the fist is suddenly in your face, your body is typically adjusting to get out of the way before you even are consciously aware of the threat.
A good number of years ago (also!), Imaizumi Sensei was demonstrating a technique with one of my sempai. This guy is big, strong and a good fighter. He attacked Sensei so hard and determined that he kind of turned off that switch of self-preservation. He ran right into Sensei's knuckle. Sensei was pulling his fist back because he felt that this person was not attacking in the most sensible manner.... This guy was literally knocked out on his feet. He is standing in a daze while Sensei is yelling at him because he was a senior student and he should have been able to protect himself and respond appropriately to a real threat. The sempai was never aware of his being yelled at and when he came to, he knew to sit down right away. To this day, the sempai still does not remember the correct attack that he was doing..... It was both scary and funny to watch. I don't think that anybody at the dojo is stupid enough to take a fall for Imaizumi Sensei and expect to be used again as uke. We ALWAYS give it our best shot. The more senior of us, know how to protect ourselves. The amusing part is watching the young-bloods engage in futile resistance and/or the stupid "what if" only to find out that ukemi is about receiving energy safetly, rather than making yourself vulnerable to something worse coming down the pike....
The Systema video clip posted clearly points out how we can use the body's preconscious responses to certain types of movement to offset balance and attention so that a person is on the way down before contact is being made. Aikido done well, like Imaizumi Sensei does, uses alot of the same stuff as seen in that video clip.