For the new Aikido student it is quite difficult to conceptualize the meaning of contact.
To realize that, we can consider the following situation: our body leans against a wall without the slightest sense of pressure or use of muscle power. Imagine we are standing near a wall, we extend our hand to the front (picture A) and lean our body a few degrees to the wall (figure B). The hand touches the wall and the body definitely is based on the wall with a minimal force. The power comes purely from the weight of our body.
This sense of the minimum force which keeps sufficient contact with the wall is the one that we should have when, during a technique, we are instantly in contact with our partner.
The focal point of our hand on the wall is a fixed point which instantaneously does not move. In each technique the corresponding point of contact is between the bodies of the involved roles (attacker and defender). Both roles should have in their mind that this contact point as eg in an attack katate dori or shomen uchi remains momentarily stationary (as in case of contact with the wall). This situation provides a balance between the bodies of the two roles. If one of the two roles exercise excesses power at this point (push or pull) it disrupts the balance conditions.
Each technique is complemented by a series of discrete points of balances, where the bodies are kept together under the above concept. Keeping this kind of contact throughout the course of a technique, the two bodies act like one which keeps the two roles safe even if the technique involves difficult kinesiology or breakfalls. Why? Because both bodies are in a constant balance. Because both bodies move from one position of balance to another position of balance under the laws of physics and therefore the laws of nature (at least as we know them today) without using muscle power! Because the two bodies act as one entity. And the "One Entity" cannot harm itself!
This awareness requires time to be achieved and is purely an experiential process. How quickly one wins this sense depends on the perception, experience, the frequency of training and of course on the guidance of the instructor.
In another topic we shall investigate how we can use this sense of contact in every activity of our lives!