I did some randori (multiple-attacker freestyle), and got over a bit of my neurosis that my randori sucks. It's not good, but it's not as bad as I had psyched myself into thinking it was. Doing several in an evening is good for getting a sense of progress in what can be a very daunting activity.
I also started working on "the grid," a matrix of techniques which consists of five different throws for each of about a dozen standardized attacks. The attacks and the eventual throws are specified, but the stuff in the middle is left as a proverbial Exercise For The Student, and there are an infinity of options available. The challenge is to find a collection of techniques which are reasonably straightforward (it's not time to be too flashy), well suited to me, and diverse. Tonight, I figured out a possible set of techniques for a particular attack, "shomenuchi," which is an overhand striking attack.
The five throws are often referred to as "K.K.K.I.S.": kokyunage, "breath throw", a very broad category of open throws which generally rely on positioning and unbalancing by occupying space and leading in any of a number of directions, but without any "locks"; kaitennage, "wheel throw", which generally involves overbalancing an attacker forward and throwing them rather barrel-wise using their own arm across their back for leverage; kotegaishi, "wrist lock", which relies on positioning and torquing the wrist downwards or outwards to encourage an attacker to either drop or throw themselves over their own arm; iriminage, "entering throw", which uses an attacker's recovery from being overbalanced forward to re-overbalance them sideways and then backward; and shihonage, "four corners throw", which involves torquing and extending the arm to such an extent that an attacker must move their body to accommodate it, arching backwards and overbalancing (often in a recovery from being overbalanced forward).
So, the techniques:
Kokyunage: Step forward close to attacker's forward side and fairly deep, and turn with your back to them, striking the exposed ribs with the elbow as you come around. Take attacker's available arm (the one that was striking) and bring it in front of you and down. Move the lead foot in front of and across attacker's lead foot and adjust the other foot out slightly, then turn away from the attacker, dropping to the new back knee while keeping the arm. Attacker falls forward over the back calf.
Kaitennage: Step forward to attacker's back side, even with their elbow, and turn 90 degrees in to take "horse stance". Drop through the attacker's elbow with the lead hand, using the knees. As attacker steps forward, turn another 90 degrees and step back, bringing the arm up and behind them while the other hand braces attacker's neck. Slide forward and push the arm while retaining the neck. Attacker falls away in a front/side roll, depending on the alignment and the torque.
Kotegaishi: Step forward to attacker's back side, then turn 90 degrees and step back to be beside them. Place your lead hand over their striking hand, and as they step forward, drop the hand and slide sideways into the space they just vacated, pivoting slightly to face them. Apply the wrist lock late in the game for best effect. Attacker will fall down and inward or breakfall over the wristlock.
Iriminage: Step back, staying to attacker's back side, drawing their striking hand forward and down. Turn as they come alongside, bringing the lead hand to the shoulder to keep them in tight and slightly off balance sideways as they step in. Raise the other arm as they recover, and pivot back, then step forward to throw. Attacker will fall backwards at a (possibly very slight) diagonal to the original line.
Shihonage: Slide forward to attacker's front side, moving the back leg wide so as to face them. Strike towards attacker's head and follow through to pick up the attacker's striking arm, then draw it perpendicular to their stance, adjusting direction accordingly and overbalancing them forwards. As they recover, keep the arm extended and step forward under it toward their back foot, then pivot back, keeping tension in the torque of the arm to keep attacker off balance and unable to bring their other arm into play. Drop attacker's arm and slide forward; attacker will fall backwards or breakfall, depending on their aggressiveness and your relative orientations.
Overall, it's an exciting time, although it will probably take me out of the comfort zone I've been in for a few years, since now I'll probably start getting stressed out about "making progress" instead of just practicing without much thought for the long run.