Re: Spiritual Power
Not everyone is in aikido because they want to learn aikido. Some aspire to be just like role models who they see as extremely powerful warriors who can effortlessly defeat their opponents with seemingly miraculous nonchalance.
After practicing though, they find out that the typical aikido they learn doesn't let them do that. And so they set out to find the missing piece... I.e. Aiki. When they can't find it in the aikido setting, they search for it elsewhere, other arts other teachers. And they see it as truly wonderful, that eventually it becomes a goal to itself.
The difference between aikido and other aiki arts is the philosophy behind it. Take that away and what you are doing won't strictly speaking be aikido. It might look the same but the spirit will be different. Just like a competition could be something to honour your opponent and build him, it could easily be used to annihilate him.
Nothing wrong with pursuing aiki too. In fact aikido should be of three parts. Physical, aiki and spirit. Somehow along the way, most ppl are only being taught the physical and that's what has gotten other schools who do have aiki laughing at us. Still you can't give up spirit if you never had it in the first place.