We always reach a bit of an impasse on this narrower topic within a topic. I think the failure is mine in not being able to more fully express my ideas in this medium.
Once one is able to express aiki in motion, one is able to do aikido with little effort. Not fighting, not DR but...aikido. With everything it wishes to express in nonviolence and joining of forces.
I'm not approaching my ideal model as an outsider but from having trained within the aiki arts. I am able to 'down grade" my power into responses that are soft and flowing in randori to play with aikidoka and have the ukes responses very much fit-in-line, with everything aikido is meant to look like and be. This play, on my end, just does not involve nearly as much movement from me. In short I can choose to do this art or that art as well as anyone else can. Aikido would be a "choice" on my part.
To make it clearer, what do you suppose your chances of throwing Saotome to be if he does not wish to be thrown? Is he not doing aiki-do then? I seriously doubt most anyone can throw me doing aikido to me but I can throw most people rather easily using aiki. Am I not doing aiki-do to then.
I not only understand the model but on any other day embrace it. I think Ueshiba was a visionary in taking the capturing energy of DR aiki and making it a cast away energy, while retaining the power of aiki, it was not only different in use, but much easier to do or pull off. It was also safer for the uke.
In the end though Aiki-do's aiki is still aiki none-the-less. The non-violent choice of use can be done by anyone who understands aiki, in keeping with Ueshiba's goals. IMO the waza are not techniques, but an expression of that very same aiki.
I'm fine with what you are saying... no disagreement. But as I teach around the country I constantly see people who I think have misunderstood the message.
I was training at one event with a partner who was enamored of the whole "you can't throw me" thing. He threw his punch, I entered and was resting, and I do mean simply resting, my hands on his arm. He was so busy anticipating what I was going to do and trying to stop it before I could do it that he was literally trembling with the tension of his contraction. I just sat there in wonderment... Sure he was pretty much immovable. But I was in and had the position of advantage. He was completely open. I wasn't the one that needed to move at that point. He had completely ceased anything that could be called an attack. The level of his tension was so great that he would of been completely unable to defend his openings had I moved to strike him.
What is really sad is that he will NEVER understand what it is that our teachers are doing by training this way. He is fundamentally caught in the mind of conflict and can't let go long enough to learn what Sensei is actually doing.
I think that this is a fundamental misunderstanding of what you are talking about. Being difficult to move is a byproduct of proper training but it isn't the point of the training. In the martial context stopping a technique simply means that the attacker does something else. It's all about kaeshiwaza when we talk about fighting. And kaeshiwaza requires the same joining, the same use of aiki, that all waza requires. The instant you simply stop a technique you have lost the opportunity of reversing it.
So my friend, in his eagerness to feel strong by stopping my technique had thereby made it impossible to counter it in an effective manner and take my center. He simply stopped my technique. When someone tenses up like that, they are like the board being held by a couple guys for breaking. With that level of tension, the strike I do will only have more effect.
I am not saying that this is what you are doing... I am sure it is not. But the way that a number of folks interpret these ideas often gives them a mistaken idea of what they should be trying for in their training. That's why I think it is good thing that you guys are making yourselves available so that folks can get a real hands on take on what you are doing. Because I am absolutely certain that many of the folks I run into think they are trying to do what you are talking about but are, in fact, missing it entirely.
Anyway, there are some good Aikido folks who are getting a chance to play with you that I am hopeful that there will be some movement in a positive direction in the larger Aikido community. But I continue to raise the cautionary flags when I think that people are in danger of misunderstanding what is going on.