People in Modern Aikido all over the world often turn to Morihei Ueshiba, the founder, to support their aikido. However, the person they really should be turning to is Kisshomaru Ueshiba. And to another extent, Koichi Tohei. Morihei Ueshiba's martial skills and his spiritual ideology are not present in most Modern Aikido.
It's a matter that most Modern Aikido really doesn't have much in common with Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. Had Ueshiba truly been interested in "passing the torch", he would have taught someone to be as martially effective as himself. Instead, through many different deshi and his son, they all said Ueshiba was more interested in personal development than in teaching.
Hi Mark! I think that Kissomaru and Tohei taught a different, very soft form than o'sensei did that sometimes didn't look so martial. Tohei always had that tendency that eventually led to his aikido being more of a practicing form (yoga-like) than a true martial art. However, i don't believe that the form of aikido that we have today is mainly a reflection of this "soft" form. Take a look at the current Doshu, or Steven Seagal sensei for example. I am certain that in aikido there are people as martially effective as o'sensei was, if not even more, what makes you say that he wasn't teaching his students that way? It's not even a matter of passing the torch, if one practices seriously, nobody can "hide" aikido from him.