Very interesting topic, Peter.
I think that aikido practice is something very individual. Apparently one practice with various partners, is memeber of group, but in the end of the story, you are alone. You face alone your weakeness and your forces, ppl come, ppl go, if you stay long enough, you can see how different your way is from any other oldtimer. And there are less and less those oldtimers...........you can't even compare yourself with others in any domain.
Nobody can help you. You have to go through all difficulties alone, even your teacher from certain level simply looks at you and doesn't give any advice. Ever wondered why?
Everyone develop in long term his own vision, and you can't say what is objectivly right or wrong. Everything is up to individual understanding and individual skills..........
That is a beauty of aikido.