Re: Kotegaeshi, help please
I think the idea of the "dori" is to establish a demonstrable control over your partner. It's not really an "attack," but the control that precedes the attack. The aikido use of the "dori' is to the control without the attack, although technically the "attack" would not matter, hence the progression to omit it.
The notion that a static grip is somehow, "wrong" as a practical control is odd. At its base level, the attack is supposed to be a stimulus. If it is a poor attack (i.e. one that does not affect our partners), it should give us less trouble, not more. "Like most beginners, you attacked me wrong." It is possible that the nature of a grab can affect the manner in which you deal with the attack, but it should not affect your ability to deal with the attack.
The notion that a grab is avoidable is also false. The assumption of bodily control via a grab or clinch is a common and successful method in many combat arts. The principle we work on is not to the let the grab assume bodily control. This is often communicated with the "kuzushi on contact" mantra.
To go back to kotegaeshi. I trained for many years before I heard the best advice about my kata - "I'm not that good." You need a partner that is invested in your progress, not preserving her ego. Falling down is not the purpose of kata. Form is not the purpose of practical application. Don't confuse the two.