Re: Evaluation of "Spirit of Aikido"
Just a note on the translation. Larry Bieri told me that Kisshomaru U. had the first draft of the translation translated back into Japanese to check it and was unhappy with how "Buddhist" it read. Larry Bieri (and others?) then worked on the text to get it more in line with the original. This makes me think that it is likely to accurately reflect the Doshu's thinking.
Another thought, I think it is clear that a major aim of the Doshu/Aikikai was to clearly define Aikido in the "marketplace" of Japanese martial arts. "How is aikido different from karate, judo, kendo,etc?" I think this was a much greater influence on various decisions made than "What is/was Morihei Ueshiba'sAikido?"