Martial art or way?
Well... I believe O-sensei himself said, looking at his pupils doing too much dance and too little Aiki technique, - "Aikido wa budo de aru!!" in the sense that Aikido is budo and has to work othewise you might as well take up dancing! Well this is my opinion of what it meant of curse, but at least two shihans (I know of) has said it too, so I take their word for it.
Another thing is something Tomita Sensei said once - "Other teachers (Aikido) give their students pieces of a cake (and they only eat the good part of it!), I teach people how to bake the cake.
What he meant is that he believe, that in order to be able to handle any situation (the aiki way!), the techniques that we learn shouldn't be trained as marely techniques against that scenario, instead learn all what the technique has to give. And the most inportent part of all in that sense - Open your mind.
It's all there! In all the techniques is everything you (and your body) need to know to be able to bake the cake, but in the event of attack you have to open your mind and expect nothing and everything.
phew! There I go again... Talking way too much!