Hey Rob (and Dan
Good Stuff...I am curious though...The phrase "shut down" is used allot to describe how well this "aiki" works in a training environment. I have no doubt that it does but that does not interest me as much as how well it works against another fighter in an (for lack of a better phrase) "alive" environment
To be blunt anyone with any modicum of skill can "shutdown" almost anyone else in a training environment but that's because most Aikido folks thinking grabbing someone's wrist is what Aikido is all about. It is to a point I guess but what about when an Aikidoka progresses to more advanced practice?
Personally, I just feel that there's a different quality in the kind of "shutdown" I used to be able to do relative to what I think Dan and Rob (and others) are talking about here (and what I can now do).
It's kind of a difference between active resistance and sort of a structural tone (for lack of a better term). Example? I'll try...
A) Old way: someone tries to put kotegaeshi on you, but you're able to adjust the angle and your balance so that they're not able to get enough leverage to really get the throw, or maybe you slip the lock before they can really get it set up. Either way, you're doing something, meaning there's some strategy/technique that you're using. Traditionally this is where the whole kaeshiwaza reverse-reverse-reverse-reverse back and forth happens (if you're playing that).
B) New way: someone tries to put kotegaeshi on you but they just run into a freakin' wall. They can't even get it started but from their vantage point, you're not doing anything. From uke's side, you're not having to coordinate or do much of anything to keep the technique from happening, it's just like the pressure on you (through the technique) just kind of dissipates all across your body (at least that's how it feels to me). Nage typically shoots you a weird look like, WTF is that? BUT (and here's an important distinction) you're not tense or resisting the technique, so you're able to move at full speed along whatever lines you choose, because you haven't had to adjust yourself to block the technique, it just kind of feels like it bounces off, or dissipates around/through you.
Don't know if that helps (or if it's what Rob, Dan, etc were actually talking about, but it's how things are working for me these days).