This is exactly why I keep finding aikido is sooo difficult. There are so many pitfalls, so many misdirections, so many places to get off the path. I do that already, oh that's nice, but you ignore the full import, the play acting, etc.
You guys are lucky on a couple of fronts...the connection to Shirata Sensei, being surrounded by different traditions that explore the same material from different angles...it really helps.
Someone joked once about me going after Daito ryu at one point, and now going after this...I think they missed the point that sometimes to find and really understand what you have at home, you have to put all that aside and go elsewhere for a time. The exposure to Daito ryu was not in any way wasted...and this won't be either, even if I never get beyond the basics.
It is interesting, the question of "we have that." What has happened for us is a discovery that we did "have" it, but
we weren't giving it enough attention and
what we had needed to be sharpened/corrected/refined in our practice.
I can't say where it came from other than our teacher who was a student of Ueshiba, but since meeting Rob and via discussions like these we have renovated and revivified this practice. People already complained about us being "too strong" before, now, just you look out.
Another thing. "We have that" is a dangerous idea as well. Many is the time when I have heard that phrase and what has followed was not the same at all. The proof always is in the execution.