Well what does kata has to do with Aikido?
We need to look and understand the form, our form, more specifically, the Aikido form. Many a times, i observed that beginners do not know their place in the dojo when in practice. They take on an uke and by the end of their practice, they are not where they started. Often they find themselves at the edge of the mat, out of space to move.
That is where the virtue of kata comes into play. A kata starts and ends the same way, back in the same position, it takes training and awareness to know that, to know your place every step of the way. Where you start, is where you end it.
So for Aikido, for all its free movement, we are still arrested by the relation to space. the pardoned is the more awareness we bring to our space and being, the more we realise, we have more and more space to move, and we will never find ourselves cornered, with our enemies bearing down on us.