Hello iaibear:

Depending on where in upstate NY you were, I'd suggest Konigsberg sensei to explore more deeply such things. Decades ago I was a seminar student of his... and was never confused despite that Aiki was never my practice.

Any teacher whether Cooking, Aikido, Tode, it does not matter (IMHO), however you present your information is critically important. Haphazard, random you get a very different understanding than highly structured.

Learning, doing, then doing against full resistance are very different "creatures". There are certain structural requirements/positions regardless of the specific technique.

Two, three inches different and anybody can still make X technique work. But you have to use other different pieces for that to occur. The physical structure does not change. The way one achieves them might.

Alter the timing, the angle, the breathing of a technique, and there are all kinds of nuances, subtlety. Start somewhere, learn one SINGLE method of it... learn something really well, and different nuances, subtleties are discovered...

Too many variations, we don't truly learn...
IMHO...
Jeff