In class one night I was instructing irimi nage. In doing so I said to bring uke's cheek and nage's bicep together. Interestingly this was interpreted as forcing uke's head to nage's arm. This of course set up a struggle. Uke fought, nage pulled harder, tensing the shoulders and stiffening the next movement of tenkan, pivot.
This is not all together unknown in our off mat lives... What he said is we need to get together on this project. What I heard was you need to get over here and follow my direction.
How do we get together? We must each make a move. A drowning man can't be saved by yelling at him to get over here. We have to go into the water, and help him. We must lead him, guide him, and if necessary hold him up while we make for shore.
So often we force the challenge to come to us and fight with it until it has been beaten into compliance. Let's give our challenge a name, Zeke. Zeke may not take the road we wish, Zeke may make a bumpy journey, Zeke may fall down, get bruised, wet, cold, tired, and angry. Imagine if we walked out and guided Zeke along a path, a road that we would wish to walk. In so doing Zeke feels more relaxed and secure. Zeke is better able to understand us, to understand our guiding, nurturing, compassionate side, to understand where we are going. Having walked the same path we now have a friend, a ally, a shareholder, a partner, we are in concert, we have come together.
Meet you nage part way. Go on the journey with them, hand in hand, center with center. Show them the way. Move together as one, then send them on their way, renewed, invigorated.