Hi. I'm glad you said that Kevin. For that statement leads to the core of irimi, the secret of irimi.
In practice I prefer, in fact by far prefer, facing a sword (bokken) empty handed. This is where you learn the core of irimi.
This is where you learn irimi for you definitely don't stay on line yet you do have to enter to join, to take control, to be with. Of course the practice would be from a shomen attack.
From a yokomen attack you would learn the core of tai sabaki used for turning inside too.
But back to the point. Empty handed against shomen doing irimi done expertly leaves you standing behind or at worst part next to and part behind. It's a scary discipline for to get it right the off line is very close to the actual line, therefore not as much as 45 degrees, more like 10 or 20.
It feels very 'sacrificial' until you are used to it at which point it feels the safest thing to do. Hence the need for calm mind and the complete awareness of center line.
Of course in real situations the first thought is to interrupt or parry and move etc. but hence my view that beyond that, you can learn to move in such a way that it becomes more effective than interfering and thus my view of aiki motion.
Both work, both disciplines.
I think I could change your opinion on this very quickly if we got together, and I mean that in the most sincere way Graham. In my work with Soldiers we go through drills that teach them to deal with the decision cycle under stress.
One good example is the use of tactical folders as a back up weapon for self defense. I am not a fan. Many guys are. Alot of military guys are, especially the Automatic Benchmade Knifes. Very nice knife...I have one myself and they work good to cut stuff with when you only have one hand in an awkard position.
As a weapon of self defense though, I have found they don't work so well. How is this related to the discussion?
Well, all the guys that have them and believe in them as a CQB back up weapon have never really tried to deploy them under stress. They have this vision of clinching and then reaching for the weapon and using it.
In my experiences...i'd say 9 out of 10 times it becomes a liability trying to deploy it. you drop it, you are understress trying to get it out, it gets out of your control......
What we found is that you cannot deploy it under stress MOST of the time until you have gained control of the situation. Therefore, you need to gain structural control over your opponent as the primary means of choice rather than drawing the weapon first.
I think this is related to our discussion. Yes, with lots of knowledge of what is going to happen, you can MOVE off the line to a position of advantage. In reality, this luxury is never afforded to you. We have this vision about what we'd like to see happen, and then we have reality.
So, yes, if I had time and knowledge that someone was attacking me, then i'd move off the line behind them...or in the case of the tactical folder...I'd already have it out and drawn.
This is the real problem with things and why moving off the line is not a "bad" thing do to. It just isn't what we CAN do in most cases.
Going back to the fast moving bus analogy. Yes, of course we'd jump out of the way of the bus if we had time and knowledge that it was coming at us. Alas, if we don't have that knowledge...then we must deal with the actual bus! Of course we can't move into the Bus effectively and deal with it as it will kill us...but it is the same logic. Dealing with people though...they aren't buses and if we have the "goods" we can deal with them.
Hope this makes sense.