Thanks Dan, that's what I thought you were getting at. I was going to say that when you get some measure of that soft power, you will probably already be seeing an end to techniques as they are typically performed. All of the things that the techniques are supposed to guide you to feel and achieve happen long before the end of the technique. When you're doing all the things in you that you should be doing, things happen that can't always be stuffed back into whatever technique your instructor has you doing and trying to do so becomes counter-productive to what made that all happen in the first place.
I have my thoughts of how that may or may not change when you have those skills on both sides. I think it could be a much more active thing and kaeshi, something I think most aikidoka consider "advanced", becomes the next logical step and the next thing that "just happens" as the result of what's going on in you. Unfortunately at this point it is just a thought though.
It sort of goes hand in hand to what Janet and I were saying. On the one hand you can build power and aiki to the point that waza becomes all but meaningless. That's the fun stuff for me. But what the heck does that mean -we have to all quit the arts we love??? Nope. We have to learn to taper and govern the output and make it softer still to perform. We still dominate and control or cooperate and play. But the question remains:
Is cooperation and playing the game
(needed to make kata work) the end of our expertise? Or can we rise above to a higher level that is all but unstoppable and then still go back in and play in the same cooperative way?
I say "Yes, It can be done."
Both are achievable. I think it was what most of the greats were in fact doing. Particularly the ones who were unthrowable. Being that good, does not mean you stop being nice or taking ukemmi when you want to.
Everyone accepts a certain dynamic in a force-on-force training paradigm. Why not with ki or aiki?