Hi John - thanks for your view on things.
I think the big question about this kind of practice is whether repeating it again and again will get you there. People like Dan and Mike talk all the time about the need for regular solo practice to develop these "lines" internally (and Kanetsuka Sensei among others keeps hinting at this too), but Ikeda Sensei didn't talk much about this aspect at all - not in the classes I was in, at least .
My training with Dan helped immensely.
Its also helped understand Kanetsuka Senseis demo at the Doshu course in 2010 and I am convinced he was showing the same stuff to an audience that on the whole might not have understood.
In Ikeda course with my limited appreciation I could still see things that directly matched Dans stuff and explanations.
There was also a lot of stuff that I couldn't really do very well...sometimes I just accepted this and didn't complete the work...I'm sure others will have got frustrated and resorted to muscling it...its understandable though I think....without Dans input I'd have been far far worse though.
Anyway - I'm not convinced just repeating the stuff will get you there....but training with someone that explains what you do, gives you exercises to train your body to do it and then demonstates how you use the stuff. ......This is the way forward for me !
Great to see you again.