IMO, the proper understanding and implementation of those four principles will help establish a coordinated mind and body, which is required as a foundation to build aiki on.
I would agree whole heartedly with that, The only caveat being that they are not enough and in and of themselves, not complete. As you have stated, they are a foundation.
That said we have to hand it to the guy that he made an attempt at laying things out, as it was not that common in his generation. As a teacher he should be remembered; both for his power, and his attempts to come up with a teaching model to help others. For a Japanese teacher to not only care but to try and understand how to teach foreigners is a valuable example for those claiming to want to teach.
Ueshiba made his own attempts as well. Only recently have I seen the disconnect between what Ueshiba actually said and what the translators said he said. The founders message was actually clearer than he has been given credit for (if you knew what to look for) and it proves out his later approval of Tohei's work. Unfortunatley many had no clue of what he was talking about and he apparently offered little clarification. As an aside, I think Shirata's work is more complete than Tohei's model.
Lord knows it sure didn't trickle down to many of the modern students who are seemingly convinced they got it. Even the rather famous ones don't exhibit the same understanding. As has been demonstrated here with some of the recent vids from those gentle souls advocating ki... the movie title "Lost in translation"
is more fact than fiction. It's no wonder there were ki wars here and elsewhere!
I'm on the side of the ki folks and yet I would argue against most of what I have seen of their use of ki all day long! I can understand why many in the aikido community had shunned these gentle ner-do-wells who failed under pressure and called them "aiki bunnies."
I would too. The sad part is that guys under Tohei who actually had power... got shunned along with them.
Thank goodness there are tests -separate from waza- to blow up the imposters with little actual skill, if only to save others from years of work following them. That they avoid being put to the test is good judgment on their part. I have been witness to some of these people completely falling apart and not knowing what to do when they were outclassed. In their world view there is no good or bad, right or wrong, everyone is equal, even after they can't make anything they know, work. They can't process the obvious. It's weirdly uncomfortable watching them mentally process their inability to stop you, while you can do whatever you want to them and see them re-set
and sort of tell themselves they are alright and it is just different. Sort of like the George Dillman stuff; not being able to cast chi energy...with news reporters present. It just doesn't register to them that it only works on the initiated!
Similar things are probably going to happen with the recent IP/aiki training; no doubt that people claiming to know it, are going to muck it up like everything else we do to the martial arts. In the ICMA, I've already met people with decades of training under internal gurus with all sorts of neat information, who for all their effort...suck! They are stiff, shoulder driven, one-legged-army warriors who can't stand any real pressure either.
It's tough when you have to express your understanding in your own hands, under pressure from an educated crowd, with no teacher, no style, no one to support you...just you. Not everyone gets an "A" or turns out to be equally "special."