I agree 110% Mike! I believe that aikido is simply a methodology.
One of the things we do is form an attachment to aikido and attempt to "box" it up as a separate and distinct "object" that we can possess as a very special group of people.
How self limiting that concept is! It prevents us from experiencing much more than is out there.
Not to sound to Zen or Buddhist on this, but the attachment to aikido style or technique is one of the biggest sources of delusion that we have as budoka.
I just finished writing a few things on the principles of budo on my new blog: www.budowarrior.blogspot.com
If anyone is interested.
I think as Aikidoka we need to understand, first WHY we are studying aikido. It may be for the wrong reasons, or different reasons all together than why we started.
I boil it down to just this. Aikido is a methodology for studying budo. Budo is based on the underlying principle of happiness or peace. In order to have that we must learn to resolve conflict within ourselves.
I think when most of us come to the martial arts, we come for various reasons least of which is to be at peace or happiness. I think intuitively we know this at some level, if no other reason that we simply like the way we feel when doing it.
However, if we don't explicitly know this we get distracted and confused. We focus on the external things such as the techniques we attach or associate with aikido.
We get into discussions like "aikido doesn't work in a real fight".
So, the question of "what makes and aikido technique an aikido technique" really becomes a Koan.
Aikido is a concept or methodology based on the universal principles of harmony and peace. All is aikido, yet aikido possesses nothing as a concept. So, when you label an aikido technique as such, it becomes a falacy since aikido cannot possess anything.
Applied as a concept of conflict resolution we can recognize aikido in many forms, applied as a technique, we can see nothing.