Cady, I call your *hmph* with a *bah* - you can't dismiss my counter-conjecture to your conjecture by calling it . .. conjecture. You'd then have to support your statement that pre-war students left Ueshiba to found their own school cuz they weren't getting the goods from Ueshiba . . with more than conjecture.
The fact is there are at least three discrete examples of pre-war students that left Ueshiba to found their own schools who were each able to manifest peng jin (and apply it as aiki) within their respective offshoots (Inoue, Tomiki and Shioda). Which sort of runs counter to your doubt that Ueshiba didn't pass along some very specific Daito aiki training. And if your biggest argument was that Shioda had to have the body technology to make the Kodokai "techniques" work, I could see as likely an instance where he watched, thought they moved a bit stiffly and thought "Hey, I know the body secrets here, I can do this better than THOSE guys!".
Ain't this speculative stuff fun?!
I was going to call your *bah* with a *pfffft,* but you raised an excellent point about Inouye and Tomiki. They did have some stuff. Albeit Inouye, being a nephew, may have gotten more hands-on time with the Old Man and "stolen" a bit more. Shioda's aiki was not top-drawer, but it was a decent workman's aiki. He may have taken it along a bit further with outside tutoring. But your conjecture about him watching Kodokai guys and thinking he could do it better... well, he was pretty stiff himself. The Kodokai guys in Japan are stiff-looking in their highly ritualized approach to DR... so we could just as easily conjecture that (wait for it...) Shioda was imitating their movements because that's how they taught him.
Yeah, conjecture is fun, though ultimately unsatisfying. I'd really love to see the release of some genuine, bona fide historic data that would solidify some of the backgrounds of these disciples of Ueshiba.