Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Well, speaking of flow in a technique and using the previously given example of potential (or realized) atemi in uchi kaiten-nage -- every one of those strikes would definitely interrupt the throw and/or have the potential to interrupt the throw. And this they would do whether they are actually hitting or merely distracting. This lends one to believe that atemi in Aikido cannot merely be a matter of "seeing the hidden strikes" within a given waza. Real research has to go into such a process. Saying, "Oh, look, I can hit you here, and here, and here.", in my opinion, should not count as real research.
In other words, yes, if I "distract" with the first strike to uke's face, and uke parries with the free hand toward the inside, this would lend itself clearly to the passing on the inside/under of the grabbing arm. BUT, if uke parries to the outside, which he/she may very well do as I cannot presume to dictate the way in which uke's "distraction" manifests itself, then such a parry would lead to a loss in directional harmony if I were to still attempt to pass inside/under the grabbing arm. Or, if uke weaves to the inside of said strike, this too would interrupt the flow of the technique. So too would uke bobbing under the strike since this would greatly lower the arm I would be intent upon passing under. Now, if uke, in his/her "distraction" actually used the grabbing arm with which to deal with this first atemi the whole technique would be nullified as well.
On the other hand, if this first strike actually made contact, anatomical positioning from such a strike would actually cause parts of uke's mass to either halt in its forward progress and/or to actually reverse from its forward progress -- assuming it is not I that would bounce off of the target (which is totally possible as well). Either way, the end result is that I would either be attempting to pass under an arm that is moving away from me, or I would be attempting to pass under an arm that I am moving away from. This would greatly negate the flow of the technique, if not make it impossible. Certainly, it would make uchi kaiten-nage not the best tactical option to choose.
On the next strike, the next one mentioned in the thread (i.e. the elbow to the ribs when passing under), again we have a similar problem. Anatomical positioning from such a strike would make passing under the arm more difficult since said strike would either have the body of uke moving away from me (should I hit high the ribs) or leaning toward me (should I hit low on the ribs) -- thus lowing the arm I am trying to pass under. Again, the flow of the technique would be hindered, and the technique may end up actually being prevented by my own actions. Positioning uke to bend over at the ribs also lends itself to uke being able to counter my movement as I pass under his/her arm -- as in a grappling situation.
On the last two strikes mentioned, the handsword to the back of the neck and/or the knee strike to the head -- both at the completion of the first kuzushi: Again, said strikes would nullify the technique. If I strike the back of someone's neck, anatomical positioning would work to ground their base more -- making throwing highly difficult. Such a strike would be working directly against my intention of having uke's feet and head establish a reversed relationship. The knee strike as well would have uke moving in a direction different from the one required by throwing. On a further note, both of these strikes represent a very effective way of rendering another human being unconscious and/or immobile. If delivered efficiently, which is not all that difficult to do here, the likely outcome is that one would be trying to throw something more akin to a sack of potatoes than a body that is filled with an energy that can be redirected into a throw.
These strikes are all very commonly demonstrated all over the world for this technique. Yes, they flow within the movement of uchi kaiten-nage. Yes, they happen or can happen within the rhythm of uchi kaiten-nage. Yes, they can be thought of as happening on the half or quarter beats of a given technique. But, no, in my opinion, they do not lend themselves to the throw itself. They actually negate the throw, or, in the case of the first "distracting" atemi, have the potential to negate the throw depending upon the myriad of ways that uke can actually be "distracted".
This, to me, is a loss of aiki. And it is every much an error as is trying to force a throw or force a lock. There is a gap here between one's intent and the actual physical outcome of that intent. I hold that this gap comes from some basic assumptions, that are hardly ever questions, and that underlie this entire thread -- assumptions that span across the morality of combat, the path to spontaneity, and even the heart of Aikido itself -- both in terms of its pedagogy and its architecture.
My two cents, thanks so much,