Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)
As I currently understand the concept, awase (matching) means that neither uke nor tori has sente (initiative); both share the center until one of them takes it.
My current take is that learning to feel awase is vital in the beginning, but that in order to develop any real ability to steal both sente and posture when uke doesn't want you to, one must eventually learn to be appropriately "out of phase," as Ledyard sensei put it.
IMCO, it's akin (not Phil) to learning strict rhythm-keeping in music. One can't deliberately break the rhythm in predictable ways until one has learned what the rhythm is. Only then can one can play in and around the rhythm, or "in/out of phase."
I reserve the right to tweak my thoughts on this stuff as I get gooder.