Maruyama Sensei taught many ideas. We took them to mean something...and then built on that.
And in the building is where we were able to dig deeper into his teachings and discover for ourselves how to go beyond the external forms that we were taught and merge them with the ideas they were designed to embody. The most difficult part of the process, the part that took many years of training to realize, was how to learn to learn. Ki exercises, Ki testing and technique are the seeds of Aikido, not the art itself. Once they're planted in the student diligent training and honest self examination are required for them to grow and bear fruit.