Re: Basic elements of Aikido
Seems to be a bit of a big discussion going on here - let me give my take on the original question.
I think the thing that makes Aikido Aikido are the forms: the postures, movements, and techniques. Aikido has no greater claim to ki or spirituality than other arts except that some people tend to target those items more specifically for development in Aikido - but we cannot claim such as solely our own. The various arts are all targeting the same martial ideas - it is just that some concentrate on certain ideas to the detriment of other ideas.
The problem with Aikido is that while we are all riding in rather a small boat together we, its various adherents, are not unified in major areas - training method, ki, philosophy (religion), competition, or sometimes even technique. The only way to really nail it down is to go back to the source - Ueshiba - He is Aikido.