Your last post was a good clarifier. In the end it seems like we are saying the same thing in different ways. Though imho periodic variances in ma ai and other aspects during the performance of kata do not work as well (as a developmental
tool) as targeted drills designed to address certain issues. The simple reason is because during the practice of kata, one is still pretty focused on executing technique correctly, hence the amount and depth of awareness being applied to other things may not be as deep as they can be in a targeted training drill.
Using the example of Hiriki no Yosei - it is a great exercise to understand how to focus elbow power during movement, which can later be applied to waza like Shi ho Nage and many many others. However, though the continuous kata practice of Shi Ho Nage can also help one develop one's elbow power, during the practice of the architectural structures (form or kata) of Shi Ho Nage, one's focus may be more concerned with other aspects of the kata such as alignment, positioning, extension, kuzushi, atemi etc. All this means is that one still develops elbow power during kata training, but one does not focus on and internalise the deeper elements of breath, thought, alignment, movement etc. that help generate elbow power as is done in a targeted exercise like Hiriki no Yosei. To me, the difference merely comes down to what is one's primary focus during either kata, randori or drill type training. Each one is better than the other for different elements of one's development. My only point is that it is not always best to use a wrench to drive in a nail, even if it could do the job.
I hope this clarifies.
Also, I plan to meet Ellis at the Budoseek / Gulf Coast Martial Arts Winter Camp in Jan. 2006 in New Orleans, should be much fun.