always curious about the 4 directions of shihonage. sure, shi is 4, but why folks think that's the throw actually has 4 directions? in my language, which was heavily influenced by chinese, often four-direction means differently. for example, if i said i have traveled to 4 corners of the world, then it meant i have gone around the world. i have always thought shihonage is "around the world" throw, i.e. you spin in circle. am i mistaken?
I agree. And I like the translation into around-the world-throw a lot. In Aikido the whole idea of shiho nage is that you can throw or pin down your partner in every possible direction. That makes it an ideal technique in case a second opponent shows up; you can place or throw partner 1 between yourself and partner 2.
I would not be surprised if the reason that Joe emphasized flow in his explanation has a lot to do with that.
In teaching the technique to beginners though, I first let them practice two directions - in many dojo this would be called omote and ura. Once they understand that, I introduce the idea of four directions. And the easiest way to understand that in my experience is to keep it simple. They start four times in the same position and from that static situation the object is to move in four directions and to throw in four directions. Once they have got that everything starts to move, nage, uke, even the four directions are no longer static, they change into eight directions, in all directions. So it looks like you are spinning in a circle.
You are not mistaken at all, you are right. For me, I was not discussing technique as such, but more the didactics of it.