First off, let me just say I LOVE Shirakawa sensei's aikido....
Maybe some of you recognize this first waza from last weekend: Katate-dori aihanmi ikkyo
Well, Tom A and I had lunch yesterday. He says, "if we are supposed to do things as 'easily' as possible, and with as little strength and effort, then why did we practice doing all that running around as uke after we grabbed nage?'
Simple answer, Tom (and everyone else): katate-dori aihanmi is to keep nage from pulling his sword. It is effective if done properly. Nage therefore has to irimi tenkan in order to avoid being trapped. So he (nage) irimi-tenkans across the uke's front, symbolically drawing while striking at uke with the butt (handle) of the sword. That's why uke moves and repositions..so as to not get hit. That's the reason for all the "running around". ;-)
Deeper answer, Tom (and everyone else): instead of tenkaning to merely avoid the conflict (the stopping of the draw), nage meets (extends ki into) uke's grab and "directs" him by taking his balance. This forces uke to either a) fall down or b) reposition so he can again face nage.
To conclude, this whole interaction above is NOT the waza...its the dance before the waza. When done properly uke cuts a second attack - after he repositions - and that is when nage "cuts" him with kesa-giri (known in some aikido circles as....ikkyo). This version is more like what we normally see in aikido, where nage doesn't wait for the attack. Rather, he avoids the initial conflict and "kills" uke as he comes back up. There's another way...but thats for another blog. It's still BEAUTIFUL aikido and very sound in execution.
Just some food for thought...enjoy your day.
(y'all better hope my hammy heals up soon....)