Wrestling with a butterfly
There is a chasm of difference between an edged contact and any other. The mechanical increase in pressure due to the edge geometry makes being tough and solid far less desirable compared to the art of footwork and general locomotion.
I would like to offer a few ideas for your future work to increase the value you place on gentleness and whole movement of the entire body. The reason for it is your prolonged wellbeing and hopefully increased ability and grace through life. The idea for this writing came from viewing sword work by the talented Natasha Kopylova (her videos have a graceful progression of body movement that channels to the limbs and tools and a free play of contact work without the pretense of toughness and resistance) coupled with my nature walks and many lessons from my students.
Movement within movement
Have your partner stand and move the mass from leg to leg. Progress to moving so the feet peel off the ground and turn in place slightly. Start prodding gently with a dry twig and have them combine two movements within one contact. The goal is to keep the twig from breaking and yourself from losing your movement. Achieving both goals will let you move both gently and with inner control.
Understanding of lines of movement
Take a stick and hold it by pressing lightly on both ends, each with one finger. Use only enough pressure to keep the stick in your grasp and start the work. Have your partner first stand and close both eyes. Move the stick through the body as your partner relaxes to allow the stick to pass through without creating resistance and breaking the pressure, which holds the stick in your hands. Achieving this will release within you r body smoother movement and you will feel more as one piece moving in harmony.
Throwing a bell
Find a little bell or a children toy that works the same and stand where there is no precious glass. Throw it in the air and instead of catching it when it descends, match its movement and add to it to bring it in a curve to another throw. The hidden meaning of this movement is to contact without resistance or manipulation. Imagine a blade edge meeting a blade edge as it is often seen in film. Will the blades survive such a meeting? Why not choose to join instead of obstruct.
Keeping the path open
Take a water bottle or a short stick and stand a few paces from your partner. Throw the object straight at your partner and start walking. When the stick comes flying your way, do the following. Keep breathing, move out of the path and make contact so you match the path of the stick and press it between your body and upper limbs. Keep moving and throw the stick back to your moving partner using your movement and breath. This drill is simple but will give you greater eye awareness and give you possibilities of matching and catching without sacrificing your freedom of movement. Value your freedom.
Keep safe by keeping in motion both within and outside. Let yourself be as graceful as you can be by learning from any teacher that comes your way, from the bird perching to the lady dancing with the sword.
When you let everyone teach you, you are open to many more lessons and here is a very nice one in grace and much more.
The title of wrestling with a butterfly is simple. If you can communicate and move in the world without harming the delicate and fragile, you are truly free and thus truly powerful.