Is this "IT"? Is this aiki?
I don't presume to know the answer to any of these questions, and I'm not trying to cleverly construct some sort of argument with rhetorical questions. I'd just like examples of "IT" and aiki. Is one a method of obtaining the other? Is it the only method? Are they the same thing? If not, can you have one and not the other?
This is sorta why I asked what "IT" was, specifically, in an earlier post. The basis of "aiki" is what Tohei and others referred to as "ki strength" and what the Chinese would maybe call "qi" or "jin" (interchangeably, because it's an idiomatic usage). "Ki strength" involves a specialized strength skill/ability, hence Tohei and Ueshiba showing all those demos that do "immoveable" this and that. However, if you want to strengthen that power, you have to do various training exercises, including things like the Aiki Taiso, breathing exercises, stretching, etc., and the breathing component is a large factor in this type of strength.... hence the idea of "Kokyu" power, "breath power".
But notice that we're already up to two major components and we haven't really hit the idea of "IT" if you mean it as "aiki". "Aiki" is when you blend that type of power with incoming forces from Uke (preferably without resistance, martially, but you can make a lot of demos with kokyu power even if you just do immoveable stuff). If someone wants to argue that there is no way to do true "aikido" with resistance (this was a mainstay of Erick's a couple of years ago), I'd say they're just naive and aren't really thinking... or they don't really understand the topic.
So the essence of "Aiki" is still going to be that core strength, breath additive if you know how to do it and have it, and so on. In other words, until you define what you mean as "IT", I wouldn't want to get too involved or make assumptions about what your unspoken idea of "IT" is.
I would disagree with some of Shaun's replies to you about what "IT" is, BTW. The assumption is that Shaun knows all these things well enough to be an expert and I simply have no idea what he can do and can't do. The idea that he is better than Chen Xiaowang is startling news indeed; perhaps I should go to Shaun and learn from him.
Anyway, my point is that "IT" needs to be better defined. One of the problems with this conversation and some of the conversations in years past (there were some doozy assertions made on this forum a few years back) is that some people don't really know the topic very well and they make the assumption that no one knows any more than they do. I think this is the attitude that gets Aikido in general into so much trouble. Notice my earlier comment about how Tohei's knowledge was rejected 40 years ago largely due to ego and politics.