Re: What Makes a Technique an "Aikido" Technique?
I just want to share a few thoughts here. I'll try to explain it in what I see as the three dimensions on the practice of aikido.
In a physical dimension, which means the way the body works as a structure, aikido is based on physical principles that are universal because they apply to everyone. Thus, aikido techniques are designed to learn and hopefully master those principles to achieve control over an opponent(s).
In a mental level, aikido aims for a sharp and focused mind, which will allow your brain to receive the information from your senses (eyes, ears, etc.), Analise this information and respond in a efficient and immediate fashion to a attack/conflict. This respond obviously is not a conscious respond, but a immediate response through muscle memory obtained through lots of techniques practice.
In a spiritual level, and here I don't mean spirit is this ghostly being that goes to heaven or hell, (I'm atheist so I don't see spirit that way), in aikido aikido, as I see it anyway, spirit is the attitude with which you confront a situation, so aikido aims for a calm, steady spirit which will allow your brain and body respond properly. Now a calm spirit implies not having a violent attitude and also implies not having an "I-love-every-body", "life-is-beautiful" attitude. Just being calm with not bad or god feelings towards the situation.
Having said ALL THIS (sorry), I think one can consider AIKIDO everything that uses the physical principles, done with a focused mind and a calm spirit--quite hard to achieve though-- even if to the eyes it looks like an standard aikido technique or not.
Now about hurting or not others, as I said before one should have no intention to harm, nor to be delicate with the attacker(s).
Now we have to be aware of who's receiving this aikido "technique". If he/she is a aikidoka or skillful person, he she might blend and not be hurt (by the way, in an aikido dojo not only nage harmonizes, also uke should harmonize with nage's techniques to avoid injury, ukemi, remember?). But if the attacker is not skillful enough to blend with this aikido "technique" he/she IS going to get seriously hurt or worst.
So for all those who see aikido as the I-Love-everybody, hippie-love art, being hurt in aikido is not only responsibility of who does the technique also who receives it.
Haven't you hurt stories of O'sensei sending his uke's to the hospital from an aikido demonstration? what, O'sensei wasn't doing aikido or the ukes weren't paying attention or weren't skillful enough and got hurt?
Sorry for my English.