I guess I'm part of third group, then, since I haven't had any hands-on experience with Dan, Mike, or Ark and yet am quite convinced that Aiki skills are real.
Well, as I tried to explain above, I cannot meet "their terms." I live too far away, and have other responsibilities that greatly limit my time and finances. Also, it hasn't been that I just looked over and saw Mike and Dan and others with Aiki skills that I didn't have and insisted they give them to me for nothing. No, these guys have been pushing the Aiki stuff fairly strongly at aikidoka, going so far as to suggest that most Aikido today is devoid of any real martial power and effectiveness because it lacks Aiki. Okay. But don't tell me there's a problem and then shut the door on finding a way to resolve it.
I don't think that you can say it much better.
I for one am certain that Saito sensei and the Iwama crowd are not talking about "Aiki" in the same respect as the IP/IS/ICMA crowd. I don't think the Aikikai is talking about the same thing when they say "Aiki" either. Both of those groups have a very legitimate claim the the word "Aiki".