Re: kamae problem
there are many different kind of kicks from various angles that it won't matter which kamae you are in, you are still going to get kick. many aikido folks expect single attack, one punch, one grab, one kick. how many out there expect a punch and kick at the same time or a yokomen strike and low knee cap round house at the same time? i'd bet, not many.
personally, i preferred natural kamae as in what you do normally standing around with friends and family. that way i will practicing kamae, tai sabaki as i walk around normally. which meant i practice all the time, instead of waiting to get on the mat to practice. i could rack up hours and hours of practice daily. the main thing for me about kamae is how do i move smoothly, efficiently, and at will to any place i want and my body doesn't fight me, i.e. my thought and my body movement are one.