Well, I don't know about "separating" the art. What I am thinking about is looking at the parentage and drawing from the larger education of aiki, rather than the child art of aikido. Much in the same fashion as algebra, while a distinct form of math, still relies of the foundation of a mathematical education. In this sense Lee's comments are accurate - aiki is old stuff; we are not "inventing" anything. More likely, we are re-discovering an education process. There could very well be a reason the processes dissappeared - they may not be better than the aiki-do process.
I think this is a problem for the aikido community because I think there is a practicing segment of the community that is not practicing aikido with aiki. Drawing upon that larger education will therefore be impossible. I think this was part of the problem the early shihan encountered - the task of educating new students in aiki without the significant training background from which many of the early shihan came.
I think MMA is developing very fast. Most fighters share experience in the same arts - kickboxing, wrestling, ju jutsu, etc. They are branching into other arts to see what can be useful. Karate and judo are [relatively] new comers to the sport. One trick can win a fight... sometimes a big fight. If it works, they will come...
I really think it would be better if you guys developed a new vocabulary and really did just say "Hey we've studied some deep martial arts and we're putting together a way to work on these things in the modern world." What you are doing is new. I think sometime in the next ten years you will realize that anchoring yourself to Aikido is holding you back.
To the extent that aiki is nothing new, you could look at it as a single tool in a larger toolbox, or you could look at it as a high-level teaching that should sit atop a rather large pyramid. as in many of the koryu jujutsu systems. In the older jujutsu systems, it is an inner secret, but not necessarily the organizing principle
of the system. Aikido's problem is that aiki IS the organizing principle of the system, BUT ITS ALSO THE INNER SECRET. Which is presented directly and openly, but most people completely miss, because they have nothing at the bottom of their skills pyramid. (hmmm maybe that was why Osensei reputedly only took students who were already advanced in other arts).
So Aikido as developed by Kisshomaru etc fills in the mass of the pyramid with ukemi training, softened jujutsu technique, bits and pieces, oh and a spiritual center about getting through life resolving opposing forces non-destructively. It seems like the new IP movement tries to make aiki the bottom of the pyramid itself.
I am not going to pretend that this isn't a fascinating idea. I think hanging onto the bits of Aikido and Daito ryu framing is going to hamper your work. There is certainly this dynamic where anytime you boost what you are doing, you seem to be putting down what Aikido people are doing, which I don't think is your intention, at least not most of you.