That's why I had the quotes. I don't think he took the "ki" out of his techniques either. But, in an overall view, he separated "ki" out into another program, or training approach. So, in some essence, he made "ki" separate to stand on its own, without martial validity. Yes, I think the idea is valid in that you have solo training and paired partner training. I just think something went wrong with Tohei's approach or implementation. IMO. I can look at two of Kodo's students and see aiki skills. Sagawa supposedly stated that people were "getting it" once he started to teach it. But, from Tohei's approach ... ???
Again, not saying Tohei didn't have skills or that he was a bad teacher, etc, etc. I'm just saying something doesn't add up somewhere in that environment.
I think what happened with Tohei's approach was the same thing that happened to the mainline's approach - some students got it and some did not. Therefore, as time progressed, the skill had become diluted to an extent.
As far as Tohei's aikido skills, he was definitely respected by the honbu students when he was still there. I was at a Saotome seminar where he stated that Tohei had very strong ki skills and that no one was able to put him down. However, I believe he did not take it to the next level, this has become very evident from what I have seen and felt from my time with Dan. But, I also believe, his four principles of mind and body coordination are an excellent way to get your foot in the door in the IP/aiki stuff - of course, further training with the likes of Dan, Mike, or the Ark will take you further.