This really begs the question.
How important do you see randori training in the context of over-all Aikido?
I've posted a lot about my opinion but before I do it again I am really interested in general opinions.
I really like your description of handling the chaos in randori. Not that I ever thought I was much good at it, but one of the most vivid impressions I've ever had in my still brief training in Aikido was when you paired me up with Omonishi sensei and half way through, he kindly tried to remind me: "randori."
I was trying
; he was just too fast and precise...or put another way, I was simply too slow and sloppy. It gave me a palpable sense of the gap between our abilities...something more visceral than the simple idea that he was further along than me. The lesser degrees of resistance then gave me something to work with in terms of developing a more assertive expression of different waza.
From my meager point of view, I think one of the great assets of the Shodokan method is the structure of its training and particularly its graduated approach to resistance in randori. It also reinforced in my mind the difference between "competition" and "cooperative" resistance.
So to answer the question, I think in the grand scheme of things, randori is crucial to understanding real-time application.
While I'm thinking about it: thank you for that!