Nice description of blending Gary, thanks.
The problem is that most can not really do this....only the appearance of it ..... and that is made possible by the dance like roles taken in most most Aikido two person practice. Nothing wrong with cooperative practice to this extreme if that is what you want. Providing slight resistance, moderate resistance or extreme resistance in a setting where the parties are in agreement that this is the approach to be taken is "cooperative practice." It is this kind of paired practice with differing levels of resistance that let you know if you are on the right path to developing the tools needed to approach the limits of your art. There is no argument from me that you choose your own path and which way it takes you is ok.....
From my perspective looking at Aikido from the view that I am offered very few instructors have the internal skills needed to approach what O'Sensei was capable of or for that matter what Saotome Sensei can do. A good friend of mine told me that if you are really a seeker you will at some point reach the end of what your teacher can give you and you have to go out on your own to fill in the rest through your adaptation of what you find combined with what you are now. This has all been, this thread and other like it, about defending positions and not about seeking, searching and improving.
Off to a friends Aikido dojo to sit on a test board.....