I would disagree, Chris.
We recently welcomed a "new" member to our club. In reality he outranks a good number of us, but more importantly his style is very, very different. He comes on average once a month. Where do you draw the line on technical proficiency in relation to good aikido? I was under the impression that good aikido is a combination of technique (which takes some of us longer to improve on than others), good manners and maybe most important the genuine desire to improve ourselves AND others. Idealistic? Maybe. But give me partner who sucks but who tries hard over a technicaly gifted partner who is a wank any day.