Robert M Watson Jr
This is quite common and one of my major gripes. For example teach/learn the 20 jo suburi (Saito method). Then string the suburi together into the 31 or 13 kata and folks fall apart - work 'ti they get it. Then 13 or 31 paired practice - fall apart again - 'til the rework and learn it anew. Same for the kumijo. Now drop them into a more or less free style interaction and they fall apart again.
Even folks that are really good at awase or ki no nagare forms of the 13, 31 or kumijo when placed in an unstructured freestyle arena don't comport so well. What are we learning in such a format - patterns of movement but not how to move. Very frustrating.
Kind of the crux of the waza vs aiki thingy.
Maybe some more freestyle training outside of regular class with your favourite training partner(s) would help ? Problem is finding a hole in the calender but if were into it that shouldn´t be a problem I guess.
Personally I feel good about my sensei´s Aikido so needless to say that doesn´t imply others shouldn´t have their own opinion on the matter..Thats life.
If we don´t like what we do we should find something else to do.