I think this further speaks to the issue about Kata, forms, and art specific "fixed ideas of training through kata" quite well. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...5&postcount=29
In the end is it
Just -a- way?
The only way?
The best way?
Or the slowest way after all.
Or even a more less efficient way -as there is more than likely a deeper body of skills than found in one art.
My opinion is that its "just a way", in that it is a way to transition from training these skills in static postures to being able to maintain the same structure, internal pressure etc while in motion. If a specific art's curriculum doesn't contain solo training as discussed here (standing, aunkai exercises just to name a few), I guess it could be considered the only way to develop this type of strength if you haven't experienced anything outside one's art , if
you are lucky enough to have an instructor who knows what they are doing pushing on you to show you how to create those same feedings you wish to maintain.
Of course for people willing to look outside their own art, I think your last comment applies.