Well, for one, I think it is not terribly productive to revisit the glory days of the Person B show… Speaking personally, the discussions here on aikiweb involving Person B got Person Me to go out and explore some of the flesh and blood people behind these posts, and I think my aikido has greatly benefited from these encounters. The current discussion seems to have evolved to be about whether aikido is best defined by technical waza, OR by its focus on exploring/developing/expressing the nature of aiki. I completely agree with Cliff's statement that "Aikido is the martial art transmitted from Morihei Ueshiba that uses a collection of techniques distilled from classical jujutsu [via his background in daito-ryu] to create an environment where the practitioner has a chance to experience aiki". My first addition would be to go on to say that it seems reasonable that one would be able to take that aiki principle and use it in a variety of circumstances (ex. intellectually, verbally, and other physical endeavors such as MMA). And secondly, that if aikido is about experiencing aiki, then solo exercises that help you develop internal harmony/aiki are a critical aspect of aikido practice. The reason I brought up the 82% (not 87%) is because Aikido has historically tried to distance itself from other arts including its parent art, daito-ryu -- and I think that if we want to define the art, focusing on the waza is not the way to do it.
Then what is
the way to do it?
I would agree that, since aikido is ideally both a search for and an expression of something greater and more important than just a martial art, trying to define it technically seems on the surface to be a bit narrow. I would also agree that Ueshiba himself never defined aikido so narrowly.
But for the purposes of language, both those things are secondary concerns. Our primary concerns are (a) having a word that can function as the name for our martial art, and (b) keeping the definition of that word specific enough that it can be used functionally.
If we are not going to define aikido according to technique and lineage, then how are we going to define it?