Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)
Rank Aikido? Is it rank or is it politeness? Sometimes, people misunderstand their role in being polite, so they err on the side of caution. Sometimes, people are kissing butt. People behave that way in any hierarchical organization. You can convince yourself it doesn't happen, but it happens.
As to the pictures of Doshu, what you are calling misalignment, I am seeing as transitional movement. Specifically 285 appears to be a body shift and draw on what appears to be sankyo; 284 precedes 285, and it would seem to prove my assertion above; If you'll look carefully at 248, you will notice his dogi top closes between his hands, again, a transitional movement it appears, but his basic structure looks fine for what it is; 245, uke is off balance and it appears he (Doshu) is taking his uke down in an ikkyo. Looks like pretty good stuff to me. I don't think there is anyone alive who's technique couldn't be nitpicked by way of stills, but these were a poor choice, in my humble opinion.
As to people tanking for their superiors, it happens. It should be, and in better schools it is discouraged, but it's a fact of life. I try not to do it, but I have done it when I'm being used to demo technique in front of a class or in a demo. It's a way of trying to get along with people. If every single time I tried to demo a technique, my uke felt it was okay to trip me up for any misstep, I would never be able to demonstrate until my technique was perfect.
I submit that with only a very few exceptions on this planet, there are not many folks who could demo with me more than once or twice, if I was allowed, or God forbid, encouraged to show the openings or weakness of any or every technique. That is not realistic. My teacher is amazing. He can throw me at will. I have felt him mis-step in a demo. I would never try to capitalize on that, both out of espect, and if I change-up, it gives him permission to do that to me, and I'm not as stupid as I look.