I have no doubt that's the case. But, it's to the point of your OP to emphasize that I don't see a de-emphasis regarding aiki in Hakkoryu vs. Daito-ryu and aikido, but rather there are different flavors of these principles between Daito-ryu and its descendants, and in turn between Hakkoryu and its offshoots. Executing tachi waza from a starting point of being pinned to a wall by a ryote attack simply helps elucidate the flavor of a given interpretation.
I'd venture to say that there are notable differences today in those interpretations between Hakkoryu, Kokodo and the Dentokan. And, not only can the interpretations of the principles differ greatly from art to art, but also to a certain degree from teacher to teacher within an art, and student to student within a dojo. I feel that Hakkoryu, for its part in recent years, has reaffirmed its baseline interpretations and protocols by increasingly pointing out to the student body how the art today correlates to the original teachings of the shodai soke. So, while there are various flavors of kihon waza in terms of minutiae of form, the vocabulary regarding what the underlying principles mean is growing more cohesive within the art -- aided by the nidai soke's direct participation in these efforts in Japan and abroad.
In the spirit of the preceding advice in the thread, I'd encourage you to not adjudicate these things from the comfort of your computing device keyboard and the confines of your own dojo. There have been some remarkable discoveries and/or reaffirmations when people actively seek out a qualified other perspective (Devon, Richard and I, for example, have reported some of ours on AikiWeb).
I agree with everything you said; You can't learn any martial art purely from the internet, dvd, or book. I hope to gain further experience and tuition from other teachers and other arts when I can get the opportunity. At the moment that opportunity is not available to my knowledge here in the UK (I don't think there are any Hakkoryu or Kokodo dojos in the UK). Once I'm in Japan however, I hope to broaden my experiences and carry on my training.