I guess this brings me to think that if a student invests in the idea of change as it relates to their Aikido training is that progressive... or does it walk them down a road where they have little opportunity to gain mastery.
IMHO, perhaps the investment in training no matter which road it goes down could be progressive. Not assessing if your investment in a specific road is bringing progression, stagnation, or regression may be unwise.
IMHO, mastery is too elusive goal. Its the process of improving/mastering at one level and moving on to the next that is an interesting curious investment.
Sometimes I meet people who are very invested in perpetuating someone else's skill level or lineage/tradition without really looking at or being invested in improving their own.
I agree. A lot on AikiWeb, even if I don't agree with, gets me thinking to find what I do agree with. I like that.