Mary Eastland wrote:
[*]Were the basic elements of Aikido ever codified by O-Sensei or anyone else?
Sure he "codified" them... he just used traditional metaphors (mostly borrowed from the Chinese and Shinto, it appears) to obscure (in the tradtional manner of Asian martial obscuring) what he wanted to keep hidden yet to show that he knew it:
"open your feet to the **six directions, N, S, E, W, Up and Down**"
"Aiki-- the power which harmonizes all things: Never stop polishing [that jewel], You who tread this Path."
"The **Divine Will** (try "mind intent") permeating body and soul is the blade of Aiki: Polish it, make it shine throughout this world of ours!"
"Aiki-- [its mysteries] can never be encompassed by the brush or by the mouth. Do not rely on words to grasp it; attain enlightenment through practice!"
"Takemusu is the harmonization of Creation's **fire and water**; that interaction is the Divine Techniques of GI and MI.
"A great blessing for us: IZU and MIZU (read "yin and yang") forming the Cross [and Path] of Aiki. Press on firmly, guided by MIZU's Exalted Voice!"
"Link yourself to **heaven and earth**; stand in the very cventer with your heart receptive to the resounding mountain echo."
"Sun, earth, and moon harmonized perfectily; on the bridge above the vast sea the mountain echo Path [leads me]."
"Keep **heaven, earth, god, and humankind in perfect harmony**, blended and bound together for all eternity".
"Vibrant **Life** (wrong translation, idiomatically) circulates and vivifies all creation: The jewel-spirit of Aiki, **Heaven's Floating Bridge**."
"Brave and intrepid, the cross and path of harmonyh is an instrument of the gods. Utilize the **Eight Great Powers** to sustain the Divine Plan."
"Kototama (try "vibrations of ki")-- seething throughout the cosmos: In the plains of Heaven, in the dceep sea, one vast mountain echo."
"Entrust yourself to the sacred **life force of heaven and earth**; draw your heart close to the gods, O brave warriors".
"Progress comes to those who train in the **inner and outer factors**. Do not chase after "secret techniques", for everything is right before your eyes".
It is before your eyes, but it is still deliberately hidden; you cannot make up your own definitions of what he was talking about (as many of the New Age seem to have done) because he is talking about very specific things in his deliberately flowery and obscure way.
Acknowledgements to John Stevens for the translations; he might have altered his translations if he had understood the tradition from which many of the references came.