~~For me, at 40+ and 16 years of MA training, I've evolved through a number of phases. Happily the smash and bash years are behind me! I started a few years ago really focusing on ukemi--mostly to save my butt as I don't heal as fast as in my younger days--and this shift opened up an incredible vista of sensations and understandings I had only glimpsed previously. I became more interested in the principles behind the techniques (maybe just happens in time anyway?) than in 'getting' my partner or seeming to be the tough martial arts lady.
~~I became more internally focused which allowed me to quiet down, relax, soften, connect, feel and listen to the dynamic between my partner and myself (I'll be working on this forever). After training for so many years it was hard to give up the ego of winning...or at least appearing to do things well or correctly. To allow myself to try a new concept over and over even though I missed the connection or timing or positioning over and over and got dumped on the floor (hence the much improved ukemi). To put on a white belt again and enjoy it.
~~Yes, a shift in state of mind and focus. Sensing my alignement and breath and how this moves with the other and then suddenly, amazingly, the technique shows up and works wonderfully well. But, no longer with a rush of "Yeeha, I gottcha!", just wanting to keep moving, keep feeling.