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Hi Joe - Ueshiba's quote in my previous post says it better than I can. I have seen it in myself and others who have trained with me over the years; a gradual moving away from violence (read the word violence in the larger context, encompassing more than just physical assault) as an acceptable option for the resolution of everyday conflicts. Don't misunderstand though, while violence in kind isn't acceptable it does remain on the table if the situation warrants. As a last resort violence is sometimes necessary. It's unfortunate that in today's world many people view violence as the only option to any conflict whether real or merely perceived.
I believe that Ueshiba, as he grew into his creation, saw that the transformative power of Aikido was far more important than its martial applicability. That's why I don't agree with the assertion that Aikido, as it's mostly practiced today, is nothing more than watered down DR. Perhaps in a martial sense it is but Aikido training has led me down a path that opens to vistas that lay beyond the martial application of technique.
I hope this clarifies my statement somewhat. Thanks for reading.