Re: If I hear 'It's all the same' one more time...!
Maybe it's worth looking at what you mean by "understanding". There's the understanding where, out of a breadth of experience, things start to fall into place. Then there's the understanding where you come upon a new thing and immediately try to wrestle it into place in some conceptual framework. The former is pretty cool when it happens, but...it happens. It's not something you do, it's something that happens in its own good time, and as Seiser sensei said, after you've done the work and got the mileage. The latter is a useful mode of thought for certain kinds of things, but IMO aikido is not one of them. Trying to enforce that kind of "understanding" on aikido is like wrestling with a giant squid: even if you think you're getting it, you're not.