Re: Poll: How important a goal do you feel is the "aikido" notion of defending yourself while minimizing or negating damage done to your attacker?
It appears I have the honor of answering you first:
I answered 'critically important' - it is tough to blend thoroughly with an opponent if I am thinking about how I am going to crack their skull, neck, ribs, hands, elbows. I have to do "Awa Sedu" (I am so sorry for my spelling - my sempai spoke and I am writing phonetically).
On the street I have blended nicely with attackers and then run like hell. No one died.
Recently when burglarized I cleared my house with a .45 in hand (STUPID! I should have left and called for help), but I was only 9/10ths committed to killing: there was a good chance I was going to encounter a frightened thirteen year old and I would not want to kill him even though he had kicked in my back door. Same 13 year old attacking my wife with a knife I would put down like a dog.