Jon Reading wrote:
It is my definition too.
You made me think of something that has not been addressed. The concept of "pre-emptive strike".
Really I think this is a very related issue and one that centers heavily around ethics and the ethical employment of force.
For me, irimi is not pre-emptive. pre-emptive means you are attacking uke before he attacks you. As most of us know the doctrine of pre-emptive strike employed by the U.S. in Iraq has been a source of controversy.
So, if I enter into nage and disrupt him (attack) before he attacks I think it is one set of ethics. If I respond when he attacks another....I think this concept is covered well in the Oscar O'ratti book dealing with the four possible scenarios of attack.
When Graham discusses moving behind uke by moving off the line before uke attacks...I see this as pre-emptive. Of course, what you do once you achieve this position affects the ethics of the situation, but the fact is...you have done SOMETHING that uke must now react to in some way. I would say, for most situations in which he felt threatened and exposed, it will serve to escalate the situation.
Is that good or bad? I think it depends, but at the base level YOU did something that caused Uke to respond.
On the other hand, if Uke moves first and attacks, and I respond...well then it might be different even though the outcome ends up the same.
I am not saying what is right or wrong...only that we need to consider all the factors that go into the situations we might find ourselves in.
I go back to my word-problems... If 2 trains leave the same location at the same time, traveling the same speed and the destination is the same distance...
Practically speaking, the shortest distance between your [fist] and your partner is a straight line. Presumably, his attack will be on that straight line. You simply cannot move a longer distance than your partner without changing the equation. For either partner, you can change distance, speed, and duration.
If my irrimi abdicates the line, then I necessarily must either negatively affect my partner or speed up my movement. If my irrimi closes the critical distance while establishing a new line of attack, I will actually reach my target first without altering the remainder of the equation.
While it may look the same, starting my movement sooner than my partner is not
sen sen no sen timing, it is compensatory timing. Here's what gets me... Clark Sensei said it... sometimes the timing is evasion. I have been racking my brains for several years now to reconcile that little gem. I think there is a difference between the defined timing of combat and the observation of compensatory timing. Best I can describe it... Nolan Ryan (best pitcher, ever) could throw a fastball 95 mph+. As a non-professional hitter, I could hit a fastball if I started my swing mechanics timing sooner. As a professional hitter, I could hit a fastball without the need to start my swing earlier. Things get tricky as soon as I need to first determine whether to swing or not, then figure out where the ball is going to be. Sometimes we need evasion to buy us time to act... That's OK, but I am not sure that timing actually is combat timing.
I think this is why in the pressure cooker of intensity, irrimi is is tough to do. I think many of us mask our bad combat timing with compensatory timing. As soon as our partner speeds up though we cannot match him. Take away the foreknowledge of what is going to happen... Well, our partners obviously have bad energy, or didn't do something right, or aren't "committing" to the act. or whatever.
As a wrap-up to kevin's question, I think that sen sen no sen timing is performed under the intention to supersede the attack and encourage an alternate cognitive thought process. I think simply moving into a new position that your partner can [still] attack has nothing to do with the timing of combat (or distance).