The conversation contined with Budo Sportif becoming the substitute phrase ...rather like AikidoTM used in this forum (rather more cleverly than I've just used it...).
It would seen that this recognition that 'Aikido' has been somewhat watered down in some quarters is not a recent concept.
(above quote taken from "Ai Ki Do - The Way Forward" by Pierre Chassang - 8th Dan.
Over the years in a number of threads, I have brought up topics such as these:
Ueshiba was famous for having people push on him, from standing to sitting cross legged on the mat. Many people have talked about their inability to move Ueshiba. Where in modern aikido is this feat replicated? Yet, Kodo, from Daito ryu replicated it. I'd guess if people did the research, Takeda and Sagawa, too. Tenryu was undone because Ueshiba knew the secret of aiki. Those push tests that Ueshiba did were a "hidden in plain sight" for showing an aiki created martial body.
In every encounter with an aiki person, each tester had some martial background, from jujutsu to kenjutsu to sumo to fighting. Yet, every time someone tested an aiki man, that tester was undone and came away with a singularly unique experience. Something they had never felt before. See articles about Ueshiba meeting Takeda, everyone meeting Ueshiba, etc. High ranking kendo people wanted Ueshiba's secret. They called it taisabaki, but it was aiki. In modern aikido, show me where a BJJ, judo, or kendo person has met an aikido person and come away with a singularly unique experience (that wasn't disdain).
Quite a few of the giants of aikido studied under Ueshiba for about 10 years and were regarded as being very good. Show me the modern aikido equivalent where someone has studied modern aikido for about 10 years and is good. Ueshiba himself was less than 10 years. (refer back to previous paragraph for how little other martial arts helped.)
Look at the Daito ryu greats and you find similar abilities that Ueshiba had (push test, stopping people in their tracks, throwing people using a handkerchief, etc). Where in modern aikido are these abilities? Why is it that some in Daito ryu can replicate them? What is Daito ryu aiki and why is it the same as Ueshiba's aikido aiki?
There is no timing in aikido. Rear attacks are dangerous for uke. Power. Where in modern aikido is the person who can actually replicate these skills? Modern aikido relies upon getting offline, drawing the attacker out in some manner whether large or small movement, blending with the attack, etc. No timing, no modern aikido. Ueshiba's ukes have said that they dumped out of the technique before Ueshiba's powerful grip got hold of them. Not physical power. aiki power. The same aiki power that they encountered when attacking from the rear.
Where in modern aikido is another Ueshiba? Where in modern aikido is another Shioda? another giant of aikido? no aiki, no giant, no great. Yet in Daito ryu, Kodo produced at least two greats, who are still living. Sagawa at least one.
At this point, I think students of aikido should be questioning each and every shihan about aiki, about the skills of Ueshiba, about Daito ryu aiki, about the training differences between the founder and the son, the founder and the students, about why Ueshiba's feats were replicated in the Daito ryu world and in some of the aikido greats yet have all but disappeared in modern aikido, about why Ueshiba valued push tests and modern aikido can't replicate what he did, about why the training times were so small compared to modern aikido, why did Tohei go outside to learn internal skills, why did Shioda go to Kodo, etc.
With a broad brush, There is no aiki in modern aikido. Aiki is the defining difference between modern aikido and Ueshiba's aikido. It really is as simple as that.
NOTE: There is no assigning blame here, no pointing fingers. History isn't as neatly packaged to give a clear answer as to why aiki was never taught. In his later years, Ueshiba doesn't seem to have clearly taught it at all. But, then again, was he teaching it but in his own spiritual terms and words? Throw in different eras of Japanese history, Japanese culture, a World War, etc, and you get quite a mixed bag of events.