I prefer a holistic approach to learning Aikido. Tie the internal and external together early and often.
We actually get worse at the things we practice the wrong way.
Only if you are incapable of adapting as you gather experience of what works and what doesn't.
I love the game of chess. I have two friends who I've been playing against for decades. We became enamored of Bobby Fischer in the seventies and decided that the Najdorf Sicilian was the be all and end all of chess openings. I so wanted to master its intricacies, but the opening leads to a type of game that I'm just not comfortable with. The result was that I piled up a mountain of losses with both the white and black pieces. I continued to beat my head against the wall for a long time and my game continued to deteriorate.
When I finally had the realization that this particular opening just wasn't for me I adapted. I began playing the Nimzo-Larsen attack with the white pieces and the Caro-Kann defense with the black pieces. Both of these openings lead to games which I am more comfortable with and as a result my play steadily improved.
Due to the nature of the game, feedback from chess takes a long while to make a sufficient enough imprint for me to realize that some serious adaptation is required if my game is to improve. With Aikido, OTOH, feedback regarding what works and what doesn't comes often, with jarring clarity. I'm is able to gather lots of experience in a relatively short time and use that experience to alter my interaction with uke in ways that will improve my Aikido. Practiced with lots of self awareness, Aikido is marvelously self correcting.