Re: What Exactly Are We Practicing Here?
In my dojo, we practice bokken, jo and "main nue (empty hand ?)" technique. Our Sensei always says we're here to practice ai-ki-do, not ai-do. There must be ki in whatever movement we are perorming, be it unsheating a katana or beginning g h katatedori kotegaeshi with a hand movement. If there is no ki, there is no aikido.
I believe you will find a dojo where you'll be given the opportunity to practice aikido to its fullest. Keep looking and don't worry!