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What's with the floating throws?

For a while now, I've been pondering on and practicing around the set of ukiwaza in Junanahon kata.  These things are called floating throws, which sorta begs the question, "What's so floaty about floating throws?" or "What do the floating throws have that other throws don't that makes them floaty?"
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Here's one explanation that I heard from a very highly-ranked teacher a while back (or at least my understanding of his teachings). Part of what makes this scheme interesting is it includes shihonage as a floating throw even though it's usually grouped with the wrist throws.
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If you get into exquisite synch with uke, then you can accentuate his ups and his downs slightly.  A lot of what we do involves accentuating a down-step to make uke fall (we call this otoshi).  But there is the other end of the spectrum.  If you accentuate uke's upward motion even slightly then you can get an effect like throwing a ball up in the air, where it floats motionless for a moment.
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In the case of uke, you don't actually throw him upward, but if you catch him at the top of his upward motion and lift slightly, then it sort of unhooks him from the ground, effectively unplugging him from his source of power (the Earth).  The effect is that uke stops exerting (because he has nothing to exert against) and starts trying to get his connection to the Earth back.
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In this scheme of floating throws, you get in synch, float uke as described above, and as he tries to re-establish his connection to the earth in different ways, you guide him (and yourself) into the apropriate form for shihonage, maeotoshi, sumiotoshi, or hikiotoshi (or a lot of other possible throws).
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So, it's the kuzushi that's floaty - not the nage.  Interesting, huh?
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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