Re: causing no (serious) harm
...And at what point does a student forget the martial aspect of the discipline because they are overly concerned with a philosophy of the founder who, took many years to formalise into what we generally accept is aikido per se ?
I am far less concerned with the moral or philosophical aspects of the art and more interested in effective application, IMHO once I am fully capable of making effective technique (in a martial sense) I am then equipped to exercise choice over how that application is used - simplistically, "to harm or not as the case may be"
Having worked for several years in high security prison facilities (catA) I am well versed in the dynamics of physical conflict, although there were times when negotiation proved successful, those times were generally always with individuals who were less likely to engage in fisticuffs, the individuals more likely to fight were rarely talked down (indeed they expected you to try and would attempted to use this to their advantage)
Attempting a peaceful solution with an individual influenced by drugs, alcohol or indeed deep depression is often unsuccessful, indeed these people don't feel normal levels of pain (induced to attempt compliance) or, they may be capable of 'inhuman' amounts of strength. In these circumstances, practicality is the only philosophy.