Although we have a small group at LBI, there is always a beginner. So, even though we would rather work on more advanced combinations, the fundamentals are reviewed for most classes. The point of reviewing is not to just engage the interest of the beginner, but to open the eyes of the long term practitioner to the variety of variations that can be adapted to this base.
Hence, Sensei Griffin will stay with one theme, and from it we will build from it until we have the beginner taking some type of ukemi to introduce them to the real fun of Aikido.
Sometimes I miss introducing sticks into practice, but then again, look at how far some of your friends at Aikido have come from that first class of fumbling and falling into a heap? Kind of makes it all worth while when they take ukemi like a champ during seminars.
At least, I love it, when they finally start picking up details to question Aikido's mechanics!