I am a new-comer here, so I do not know which way the conversation has gone, but I simply wish to comment on the article I just read - share some insights gained from applying it to my practice.
I am fairly new to the practice of Aikido, I hold no formal rank in any association, my experience is only about three years, though I am a Goju Ryu practitioner of about thirteen years, with formal rank, though that means little to me.
Anyways, I found the article to be quite enlightening, infact, it is something I will refer to quite often for guidance in furthering my exploration of the deeper levels.
It has helped me open up to the more subtle things in practice - I have often questioned why everything must be uniform, because I have found that not all things work the same way for everyone.
Perhaps it is good to get the rough idea, but it must be stressed that there is more than one way to do something. I tend to agree that freestyle Randori should be stressed more, in order to get the feel for letting things happen, but with mindful awareness, rather than blind action.
To slowly do things in freeform would be a great benefit for many students who wish to experience Aiki in a way that actively promotes learning through direct awareness of the moment.
Eventually it could be possible to speed things up a bit, but that is why there are various levels to training.
I've begun putting this notion more actively into action during every aspect of my training, Kata, freeform and set drills. Studying myself and what intents or preconceived notions pop into my head, taking note of the outcome and how much it differs from what I thought would happen.
I find that if I just let things flow, without forcing myself toward any given outcome, then the proper technique happens all on its' own.
Slowing down my Kata to an almost Tai Chi-like pace also helps promote this type of training. Putting my Kata in perspective so I can actively see what I am doing, how it could benefit from and how it relates to my Aikido practice.
Whenever I am helping my Aikido Sensei demonstrate technique I am often surprised to note how similar the movements are to movements in certain Kata that I practice - were it not for intentionless awareness, paying deep attention without expecting to find anything, I would not have noticed this little detail that I had overlooked so many times before.
It is so amazing how the simplicity of a situation slaps us in the face - we tend to make things more difficult than they really are.