Re: "The goal is not to throw"
I try and work with the "attack", be that strike, punch, grasp etc. A focus on the desired result tends to mean things are forced. I agree that you need to maintain your own structure(s), and feel for what is happening in your body and uke's body. So sometimes for a very similar looking grasp (e.g. katatedori) a good response is shihonage, sometimes a kokyunage. Makes life more interesting when you are trying to demonstrate a particular technique of course - need good uke to make the technique appropriate to the attack!