I started classes on May 5th, 2009, and am looking forward to a very long and interesting journey.
My experience has been the same as Maggie's. Exercises like these have been very valuable for me.
It's fine if Mickey doesn't get anything worthwhile from them, but it's unfortunate that he dismisses them as useless for everyone.
I do not dismiss the training exercise described, for beginners, such as yourself. I use something similar with my students.
I hope you use it as learning tool as it is meant to be, not an enabler of live Aikido.
Also, your paraphrasing of the original statement changes the dynamic.