To take this into the cooking analogy, you can think "I'm going to cook chimichangas and therefore I need the following ingredients..." or you can take a look in the fridge, see what's there and make something really tasty with it, then maybe give it a name that best fits what you've come up with if you want to brag about it at work the next day.
Exactly, Paul. I think that's an excellent analogy. There's a difference between being able to follow a specific recipe, and actually being able to cook on the fly with whatever ingredients are available. Following a recipe is similar to painting by numbers.
It's very different to cook, or paint, or do aikido from a rote technique outer framework, than it is to have an internal understanding of the foods, the flavors, ingredients, the paints, the brushes, the movements, the forces... and have an understanding of how to combine them in a harmonious way.
In the video link I posted with Chef Ramsey, he literally says he wants to "get his hands" on the beef rangoon - as if it's something he can possess in a box. And the Maylasian lady tells him to drop all that, and instead gain an understanding of what she's showing him. Ramsey even says towards the end of the video, "You've really helped open my eyes." And that's exactly what Ueshiba credited Takeda with - opening his eyes to budo.
Even in Japanese cooking you're often not going to get any precise recipes. Instead there might be a general list of the ingredients. Other than that, you're on your own. Agak, agak.
In Takemusu Aiki there is no time for putting together the ideal shopping list. You work with what you've got, and you spontaneously create something tasty and harmonious. "Then maybe give it a name that best fits what you've come up with if you want to brag about it at work the next day."