In my training, I was introduced to these three concepts before my instructor ever talked about "aiki". In hindsight, I think that was good. I know, I know, the aiki people want to introduce aiki sooner in training...
Thanks for reading and responding.
I have trained with many instructors who never mentioned any principles at all. It seemed that the old-school belief that I had to "steal" the technique through just watching and practicing without any verbal description or explanation. Sometimes we are supposed to find the process and principles in the technical application practice. Just never was (or am) that bright.
There is another thread here on flow or technique. IMHO, the sequence in the learning strategy isn't as important as that eventually we do both. Its a selfish thing.
OTOH, I have trained with instructors who could talk "aiki" but could not actually apply it with any technical proficiency.
So, If I have my choice, I'd rather be able to walk it hen talk it. But as an instructor, I like the idea of being able to walk the talk and talk the walk, and that's the direction I am heading. Its a very long road with no real final destination.
So if I keep my principle/techniques at a distance that my reach is further than my grasp (distance and extension = maai), keep my eyes open, forward, and through that direction (metsuke), and stay connected to my internal motivation and external goals/direction (musubi), I just might maybe make some progress someday.
Again, that's for reading and responding (and sharing space and time on the mat).