Went to North Shore Aikikai last night. We did some interesting stuff. There was a shomenuchi attack. Nage steps a bit offline and raises his arm to deflect and let the strike slip by. Using the other hand we can grab the near shoulder and as little as possible bring uke's balance off a bit. I was able to do this best by pulling the near shoulder out and then toward me in a circle. Supposedly, at some point you can do this without doing much with the other hand but I still need the cheat. Once off balanced, you slide forward a bit and drop your arm/elbow right across uke's upper chest. You move through with your center. It very much reminds me of a sword cut where you raise your sword up to deflect an attack and come down with your own right after. I actually practiced this with a bokken once while visiting an ASU dojo in Baltimore.
Here was the most thought provoking comment of the night. During my shomenuchi nikkyo I was told I had a hole. I'm always looking for holes in my technique. I do have to say I had about 3 seconds of defensiveness. Then I thought about it and went... hmmm, ok, where is the hole? For the variation I was doing at that moment, you enter and grab the attacking arm at the top as it's just coming down. You make the connection, enter, tenkan, and follow the arm down moving around and then into a nikkyo. The problem with the way I was doing it was that when I made my connection I made a loose one. I am grabbing(making a connection) but allowing uke's arm to rotate. I'm used to not setting a grab tight for most techniques because frequently once you grab hard the fluidity of most techniques stop and you are locked into doing one thing. However, in this case, it may be wiser to take a more solid hold with the grab so that you can get to the nikkyo better. I'll have to experiment with it a bit.
Now... more about the hole. The thought was that although I have a connection, I don't have as much control as possible. The way Matt does this technique is that he grabs solid with one hand to bring the hand down up and into his shoulder but with the other hand he is pushing around with his hand right away to start the nikkyo. He has a nikkyo relatively early. Then he brings it to his shoulder. I definitely see he has more control at this point then the other version. I find this hard to do this way but it may just be a matter of practice.
This brought up a couple of thoughts. If this is my hole then every technique we do when we tenkan, j-step and pull someone around has the same hole. So, as Jim was trying to point out to me last night it's about having degrees of control.
So am I left with the thought that you are in control... until you're not in which case you need to establish control?