Good post George... however, this thread is not about what Aikido is or isn't.... I don't think that's what Mike, Dan or anyone is debating, well except for Erick maybe....
This thread is about baseline (foundational/core) skills that are common to the Asian martial arts. Skills that open a door to whatever form of martial expression takes your fancy - whether it be Aikido, CMA, MMA, BJJ, JJ, Karate and what have you... I believe this is what O'Sensei intended when he mentioned... "[absorbing and] clothing [the venerable traditions] with fresh garments...to create better forms", or that it is "...the religion that perfects and completes all religions".
The idea that none of what's being discussed here is or isn't Aikido, per se, is not the real issue. It's whether these baseline skills can or can't be applied to Aikido, which I think you agree, if it makes one's Aikido better, then why not. What Mike and Dan are saying is that it already is in Aikido
, but was misunderstood or knowingly or unwittingly withheld, or that the way in which these skills are being transmitted is obscured, or a combination of the above.
That you could use such skills for peaceful or aggressive means is merely a choice - I believe Dan has already mentioned this... several times. Whether that can be considered "Aikido", as a form of spiritual practice, or whatever... is also a choice. But I think you would also agree, that one's level of spiritual practice is also limited by the "strength" of one's foundation in the physical side of the practice. I don't think anyone is specifically discussing martial applications or interpretations. Again, whether these skills can be applied in a martially-valid venue is outside of this discussion. That it *could* give you an edge in such a venue, is by the by, and largely a conscious choice.
I also believe that what Mike and Dan are saying is that, their particular approaches to training these skills are essentially grounded on the same core principles as other venerable traditions that purport to develop these skills. It is to these core principles that I believe is what is being discussed.
So, if such discussion aids in one's own introspection of what their own practice of Aikido encompasses, or can encompass, then so much the better. As to how they choose to take the things being discussed here and where they wish to take their own physical practice and expression, is largely a choice molded by their own teachers and their own experiences.
I think it would be prudent to be aware of what "baggage" one is carrying in that regard. For those, like myself, who prefer to travel "light"... make of it what you will. If it helps someone perceive the threshold and the doorway, well and good. But they will have to walk through the door first... and it helps if one wasn't lugging all that baggage in at the same time...