Got off the subject?
I think we are wandering into the philosophical and spiritual arenas again instead of the original question?
The word Aikido aside, and the root of techniques aside ... what then qualifies the technique to be based under the unbrella of Aikido?
Could it be that all the hand to hand training is but a variant of bokken and jo training? Not just any training, but the Japanese style of using jo and bokken.
Nearly every single variant of what we take into Aikido is from the Japanese style of martial arts, but is redefined in its application of the Aikido practitioner's use of that variant.
If we are talking about using our hand, the jo, or the bokken ... aren't these also striking, slicing, poking, pushing, and redirecting weapons also? How gentle is that!
Or, is it Aikido because of the smooth connecting flow that allows for fast hard practice without serious injury? (although there are reports of broken bones and such from ukes who have not paid attention during demonstrations?)
No. It is not the fact that we can not introduce stikes, punches or kicks into practice, but it is the means to use them within the parameters of Aikido's foundations without breaking those foundations or falling from them.
Sometimes I think that the slips during practice, along with the recoverys, are the best lessons to adapting to include alternative methods of distraction.
If you take the time to see where you are during your practice, and if your uke can actually strike or kick you, it will enlighten both of you to correcting sloppy, or lackadaisical practice. There is a means of Aikido practice that includes pain, limited locks that will cause pain, and the spacial relation which allows for the fluid motion of Aikido techniques.
Indeed, there is much more to Aikido than the basic pillars we teach in the kyu ranks, but then without foundation ... how could we build such a large and intricate house from our Aikido practice?
Look at it like this ... if you were walking down the street, and doing things, say like the the fantasy scene in a movie where the actors are talking, laughing, playing, acting like a kid as they continue in stride, that would be akin to adding something into your Aikido techniques that is practical.
If you are stopping to become repositioned, getting your bearings to do the next movement, that would be very un-aikido like, interrupting the flow of movement, stopping the energy.
I have gone on too long. Think about energy, motion, and where we get our practice from in relation to what works and what does not.