Originally posted by Bronson Diffin
So if we run with that would it be more correct to say that O Sensei "discovered" aikido?
seems too strong of a word for me. I would say O Sensei emphasized
Aiki in his practice. Other people did Aiki Arts like Daito Ryu Aiki-jitsu, but no one displayed the Aiki Spirit as strongly as Morihea Ueshiba.
Both the founder and his teacher, Sogaku Takeda, realized that what he was doing was sufficiently different from Aiki-jitsu that it needed a different name. Among these other possible names were Aiki Budo and Aiki No Michi, both emphasizing Aiki and a way of life.
Some people portray the founder like he was some highly intelligent Martial Arts Engineer, who came up with a break-through design in the Combat Arts. But that is just a reflection of their own perspective of a westernized, modern view. Actually the founder was a throwback, someone with the psychological make-up of Ancient Japan. This was reflected in his writings and language. Modern Japanese had a difficult/impossble time understanding him, since he wasn't really from their time.
Like Peter Boylan remarked, it would be up to his students to present Aikido to the modern world.