I feel like the Judo influenced Aikido, is just as soft - but it plays on more levels. Waddell Sensei has nice relaxed ground work and hip throws. Hussey Sensei seems to move me on various levels - one second he is affects me in the hands, then he seemlessly moves to ashi waza, the ne waza, and back out to a controlled distance.
I have noticed a lot a martial arts play in only one dimension. Most Tai Chi push hands, they keep their feet planted in one place. Wing Chun sticky hands demands a tight distance. Aikido guys play a big flowing game, but it still has it's spacial dimensions it seems to prefer.
As I continue to develop my personal art form, I feel doing 3-D Aikido is the way to go. We should be able to tangle with Judo guys, wrestle with the Brazilians, push hands with the Tai Chi folks, swing swords with the kendo students and move around the mat with the traditional Aikidoka. I feel if you just master one range, and neglect the other ranges of Aiki, you have not generalized the principles. You are simply favoring a preferred range.
When I lived in Japan, I pulled some Aikikai guys down to the mat. They were furious. I have heard Aiki Shihan have said "we Aiki guys don't do foot sweeps, OSensei did not do them so we don't." I humbly disagree.
I vote for making your martial arts 3d. Do it from a distance with weapons. Do it from punching range, from the clinch, and on the ground. I truly believe only when I can moved relaxed through all these levels and ranges, through timings and spaces, will I truly begin to master these concepts of Ju and Aiki.