I would contest the fact that your earth hand was OK. The way I teach tenchi-nage usually is to unbalance the person with this earth hand, preferably with 'leading control' (i.e. as they reach for it you lead it down). Then you can throw them effortlessly (literally should be a tap) with the other hand. Also, with the heaven hand, it is useful to feed this up behind their arm (breaking the grip) and throw by holding under the armpit (this is easier if you are doing a tenkan version).
However this is not the only way, and (though I'm not good at this method) you can lead them back in to you, and then literally walk past them on one side (which is actually a very effective way of drawing their arm out to one side) whilst raising your heaven hand towards their face (and if necessary pushing through). The 'trick' here is to think of someone walking through one of those two section doors, but the top section is closed i.e. you want them moving towards you, and you stop the top section moving (allowing their centre to slide underneath your arms) without pushing forwards (which would just get resistence). Obviously timing is imperative.
For both of these two techniques the heaven hand should not be left behind (it should be in front of your centre) otherwise, it won't do anything.
However, I would not feel at all disconcerted. For one, Aikido is supposed to be 80% atemi (although I consider atemi to be real strikes rather than pretend ones), and also, aikido is great 'cos you can use proportional force to the attack. As it seems that this other bloke was not a real threat I would not worry. In addition, the fact that you are analysing this suggets that this won't happen again.
Last edited by ian : 05-02-2001 at 10:24 AM.