If it is the case that aikido is "both-either-and-or", then it is like saying "aiki = anything that Ueshiba did that was frigging awesome! Oh yeah, and some awesome stuff that other people did too. But not all of it. Or it might be." If that is the closest agreement AW can reach on what aiki is, it seems like it might be better to not use it. At least if we don't want train wrecks.
That's not what I meant at all. That's another example of reductionism. I'm stating that Ueshiba himself viewed his aiki in a very complex way. Let us say that some of the modern researchers are physically able to replicate exactly what Ueshiba did. (although I've not heard any claims regarding spirit contact and possession from anyone yet, and some individuals first person accounts, in which they were literally put in paranormal states, seem also unique to Ueshiba - I'm making no statements about general, rather than individual veracity here - I'm just playing devil's advocate). Anyway, back to my point - let's say one can, like Tohei claimed (sorry for the parenthesis, I think falsely, because he didn't equal Ueshiba) - to replicate Ueshiba's aiki. Even if that was so on a physical level, as far as Ueshiba himself was concerned, that was not a replication - because, for him, the experience of kami was not metaphor. It was fact - a fact within which he encased aiki training. Or better put, they were like a braid - inextricably intertwined. Hence my suggestion of the impossibility of replicating Osensei's aiki, but the utter possibility of achieving something just as fine in one's own right -with enough time training.
The fact that Ueshiba called to Shioda for Tomiki's presence on his death bed does emphasize that Ueshiba had a big tent. But in terms of his personal aiki, one cannot separate out one component, either the physical skills or the spiritual ("the way of the aiki-bunny") and claim that one is following Ueshiba's path.
As I stated also in another thread, it is my belief that Ueshiba DID believe HIS post-war aikido was superior. Not because it was moral and nicer. He was trying projection and blending and all of that - clearly - in the 1935 film. He was outraged with Ohba in the Manchurian demo that he had to resort to pure, non-projecting Daito-ryu aiki, as his projection techniques/blending weren't working on him. My assertion is that post-war, he believed (I don't know if he did or not) that he'd melded Daito-ryu aiki, and his moral/projecting/blending/musubi in one complete entity (and you can add, his spiritual practices of chinkon-kishin, and all the rest). That's why, I believe, he asserted he'd completed aikido post-war, not that he'd turned into a bliss ninny). As I noted in Hidden in Plain Sight, his weapons postwar, at least as we can see on film, were far superior to what he was doing pre-war.