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Self defense transcends all martial arts while encompassing them all.
The nature of conflict involves opposing viewpoints colliding at a particular place and time (the center of conflict). Without the collision the conflict cannot happen. Suppose Wellington had made a wrong turn and instead of getting to Waterloo to meet Napoleon ended up somewhere else instead. Or suppose that Napoleon, arriving at Waterloo first, had arrayed his forces in such a way that Wellington, upon seeing the forces so situated, realized that an attack would be suicidal. The conflict would have had to have been postponed until another day; or if both parties took the ensuing time to rethink their positions, may never have happened at all.
Aikido allows me to approach conflict from either point; go off in another direction or occupy the center of conflict in a safe and unassailable position. But allowing me to approach conflict from either point of view doesn't guarantee that either approach will be available to me should a conflict arise. Suppose I find myself surrounded by six attackers who, unlike their movie counterparts, aren't so dumb as to attack one at a time. It would seem that going off in a different direction is not an option; and although I may be able to occupy the center of conflict my position will hardly be safe or unassailable. In a situation such as this "It is necessary to develop a strategy that utilizes all the physical conditions and elements that are directly at hand. The best strategy relies on an unlimited set of responses." Morihei Ueshiba, The Art Of Peace, translated by John Stevens.