So what needs to link the first and the second time?
Endo shihan also said "From chaos, we deal with each individual shape. Then return to chaos. If not, then you are trapped in the forms."
It is only now that I began to understand this. Aikido is a challenging and daunting art in the sense that when you deal with different shapes and sizes, your technique doesn't work all the time. How do you make it work all the time?
In training, you basically deal with chaos. But underneath all this seemingly chaotic environment, there are basic underlying systematic and common principles that apply to every individual. Over time they will get revealed to us one by one. You may have understood the external form of the technique but you really havn't understood the principles that govern the technique as to why it works. These common threads in techniques are what we should be searching for IMO, much more important than how to make the technique work. But the challenge is the search for these and how to prove them. Focusing just on technique, you will get trapped in the forms.