Here is a quote from Saito's "Takemusu Aiki Book 2"
In order to transmit the concept of takemusu, it is necessary to preserve traditional aikido. To achieve this end, I utilize a step by step practice method. There are 4 steps; hard, soft, flowing, and ki levels. I emphasize the first 3 steps, especially the firm aspect, in other words, solid practice.
One day, when I was practicing ki flow techniques, the founder scolded me saying "You cannot do ki flow training until you receive 3rd dan." I remember that scene even today. Also, the founder always remarked, "If you want to become strong, you should practice after you have become grabbed". In other words, you should start your technique after letting your partner grab you firmly.
Some dojos teach this way in the beginning stages: Uke grabs strongly before nage starts to do the technique. Other dojos teach even beginners to blend with the grab and move before the uke's grip tightens.
Which way do you train? Do you think starting from a static position is best for beginners? Should "ki no nagare" (flowing practice) be only for more advanced students?