Paul, I think one of the difficulties with 'what you call kata is not what I'm talking about' is that you were pretty specific in your definition.
Kata, you say, is when the attack and the technique are proscribed. That is also kata for me. I find that, within that structure, there is much room for work on timing. For a student on their first day, that might not be the place to focus, although working with a beginner that is often a great place for me to focus.
So, I guess I'm not sure I understand what it is that you are referring to. Whether you call it an 'introductory stage' or 'kata' or whatever. If all you mean by it is 'proscribed techniques' then I don't think I agree with you. If you mean 'before the student is ready to understand timing,' then I might agree with you but I would say that you are speaking tautologically. We could also discuss whether there is such a stage, which is a different question.