Last year I had a conversation with a student of Ueshiba Morihei about this issue. He made clear that Ueshiba has made no secret of the influence of Chinese texts and Chinese internal arts on his aikidō.
He, the shihan, was completely astonished about my question. To him this fact was simply natural.
I think this is probably the most valuable part of this thread so far-- it deserves some follow-up. Who was the shihan? Or, if you can't give a name, can you tell us the era (pre-war, post, etc) that he studied with Ueshiba? And, in the experience of this shihan, what context did Ueshiba talk about the Chinese aspect-- was it on-the-mat lectures, lectures to non-aikidoka (like Goi Sensei's people or Omoto people), or off-the-mat comments? Thanks!
Re: Cliff's arguments against Chris, I hope the argument doesn't get pushed further than intended. I gather Chris' point is that the strategy and methodology of changing the body and mind are shared with Chinese martial lineages, and derive from common ancestry over the timescale of centuries. (Nothing controversial there.) The example of Confucianism is a good one-- I don't think it is hard to swallow that the body/mind-changing training permeates the Asian martial arts the way Confucianism permeates Asian governmental and sociological structures. (all by "influence" of culture, rather than via teacher-to-student lineages)