Re: flow, or technique
I'm a sankyu student, and have been practicing for four years, with a switch in styles (due to moving towns) a year ago.
I started with more static style (full contact>some contact), where beginners focus on technical forms before adding speed and flow. I moved a year ago to another town, and a different dojo which is all flow based (some>No contact). I can say I'm very thankful for my earlier training in forms, as beginners who are thrown into flowing training have a steep learning curve. Of course some thrive, but others flounder- and the safety of Uke can be compromised when the basic technical forms have not been broken down to the elements.
In conclusion, flowing style (some to no contact) has challenged my aikido greatly, and I have learned a lot in the past year of my practice, especially about improvisation- but I'm sure glad I had three years of basic technique hammered down first!