Ethan, are you talking about O-Sensei's footsteps or Saito-Sensei's footsteps? Just confused.... I always assumed O-Sensei's own training was about daito-ryu, esoteric religion, and farming, roughly speaking.
I like Basho: "Do not seek to walk in the footsteps of the masters of old, seek what they sought".
I mean both, actually. Saito Sensei's methodical teaching reflected the way he experienced O-Sensei teaching. Saito Sensei is quoted as saying that O- Sensei would teach whole series of techniques, going through the various levels, as I mentioned above. Saito Sensei continued this pedagogical system, and also breaking down the techniques into parts ( this was Saito Sensei's own pedagogical method, I believe, making it easier to understand the physical structure of the technique before moving into the flowing forms).