Today, while thinking about and researching the advancing form of oushi gari, something dawned on me. Of course, it's probably something that isn't new to most folks, but it's new to me.
The interesting thing is, it has to do with all the gari family: osoto gari, ouchi gari, kouchi gari, and kosoto gari. It's an understanding of my body's relationship to uke's, as well as the lines of his feet (and how they, in turn, relate to his hips and shoulders), and also how I get there, that I'd never noticed, and is common in all four.
And in this new light, I can figure out quite easily how to approach any of the four, advancing or retreating, etc. Which is exactly the kind of understanding I'm looking for in just about anything!
At first, I think we all have to look at techniques individually when starting out. We just have to memorize the choreography, all the while ingraining the principles (movement, etc.). Eventually, what started out as "different" techniques blur into variations of one general idea.
The problem is, I'm not sure I can describe it adequately in words. I think I may have to film myself talking about it in class. I have a camera, a tripod even, but I don't know how good the quality is (especially the audio). I'll have to test it tonight at home, and maybe bring it to class tomorrow.