Good article and agree with a lot of what you said. Major exception is,
George S. Ledyard
If ones trains correctly, however, some degree of ability to apply the principles practically is a natural byproduct of proper training. But it isn't the point or the prime focus. ]
In Aikido, the ability to apply the principles practically is
the measure of your progress. The greater the ability , the greater the progress.
What other way is there to measure your progress?