My point, I suppose, is that in my admittedly eclectic arc of learning, I have glimpsed it from time to time and more and more. I have little exposure to such relatively more regimented methods in aikido, although I have much exposure to other methods of regimented learning. I cannot perceive how that transcendence is to be accomplished in a reliable way given that background. The "chaotic" model, for lack of a better term, seems to culminate at the brink of that transcendence by its nature, whatever its other potential pitfalls along the path. The regimented model would seem to require some other measure of design or plan to accomplish that, also by its nature.
I guess that is really my question.
I think Wayne answered your question pretty well, and Larry seems to have spoken to it several times. Indeed, I attempted a brief answer myself earlier, referring to renzoku waza, and how chaining different waza together while requiring strict adherence to form is often used as a bridge to jiyu waza. These often start as simple 1, 2 3 types of forms, and then grow in complexity over time, eventually incorporating role changes in shite and uke to foster more spontenaity.
The practice of jiyu waza on that foundation then gives freedom to express the lessons learned in more rigid fashion. Pressure testing in the kyu and dan ranking environment helps to cement the lessons learned in formulaic training, and then when the testee is faced with unpredictable changes in the testing environment, measure how one does in maintaining the specific detail required, while reacting freely to an uncertain environment.
I found with my own training that while formulaic kata would pop out quite naturally with the first attack or two, I would usually then be stuck in the same waza for the next 8 throws or so. It was (and sometimes still is) difficult for me to 'unstick' what happened first from my body and mind. There can be no doubt that in my case the formulaic environment is sometimes difficult to 'overcome'...
And yet, because of that same training, when faced with sudden or trying circumstances, I have found that what pops out typically works very well. Go figure....
I should also mention that when I first started aikido in less formulaic styles, I had a VERY hard time figuring out what the instructor was doing...even to the point of knowing where to put my size 11 feet!
Yoshinkan was the only realistic way forward for me. Now that I have a small clue as to where my feet go, I attempt to branch out from there. I think in more formulaic styles, it is even more important for the individual to realize at some point that a great deal of self exploration is required once one gets to the Dan level.
Ron (it always comes down to the individual...)