For my first 20 years I just learned techniques and while I thought I advanced, I got nowhere. For the last ten or so I have been searching / researching / looking / trying / testing out my understanding of aiki. I have no frame of reference for comparison becuase few others think likewise. Everywhere I go it's technique technique technique. Kokyu ho and kokyu nage and kokyu ryoku are all just more techniques on a syllabus for most people out there. All this waffle on about harmony, peace, universal, nature, ki, and such like is for those who simply have no idea and need something to attach to and cling on to. For me, aiki is a practical skill that can be learned and it is the very core of what we should be chasing. And you have to chase it becuase there is no one out there who will show you. I know I'm on to something and strangely, no one out there is remotley interested. If someone does express interest and I listen, they spend 90% of their time telling me what they think and from the very first word they utter I know they have no clue, and the more I have to listen the less I am likely to say anything at all. However, threads like this indicate that people are becoming interested. I don't even know if I am headed in the right direction but from my perspective, most people advance to a certain stage and then stagnate or worse, slowly deteriorate, for the rest of their lives.
Just my 2c.
Agree very much with what you have written and am at that 20 year wall right now. Despite some great teachers that I've met and trained with somehow there seems to be something thats not quite as it should be, something more that I don't see. Fortunately there are people that can help, they are here and they do seminars. Unfortunately their style of correspondence seems to upset some people and detracts from their message to a point where they get accused of talking 'Mumbo jumbo'....Its a shame as up close and hands on the message comes across so differently. To add to the issue...normally respectable down to earth average joe types like myself when posting in their support get dismissed as being devotees and cult followers.
Never mind - Like you I carry on working and look forward to seeing some progress in the future, hopefully in the right direction.