There's a big problem when quoting O'sensei, since people use to choose the quotes they like to make valid their own point of view.
Let me show you some examples. (I'll choose the one that are useful for me too)
These are 'quotes' from O'sensei taken from Aikiweb, that I will assume are true.
You will see that they are contradictory.
"The secret of aikido is to cultivate a spirit of loving protection for all things."
"Aikido decides life and death in a single strike"
love-for-all isn't contradictory to the ability to kill-with-one-strike?
"It is important not to be concerned with thoughts of victory and defeat. Rather, you should let the ki of your thoughts and feelings blend with the Universal."
"Aikido is non-resistance. As it is non-resistant, it is always victorious."
So, don't be concern with victory and defeat, but by the way, non-resistans always wins. Contradictory statements? what do you think?
"Aikido is not an art to fight with enemies and defeat them. It is a way to lead all human beings to live in harmony with each other as though everyone were one family. The secret of aikido is to make yourself become one with the universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this secret holds the universe in him/herself and can say, "I am the universe.""
"Aikido is the way that teaches how one can deal with several enemies. Students must train themselves to be alert not just to the front but to all sides and the back"
So, Aikido is not for fighting enemies, is about harmony, but at the same time Aikido teaches you to deal with enemies? Contradictory? Very.
So 3 possibilities
1. O'sensei was crazy. I don't think so.
2. O'Sensei was stupid. I really don't think so.
3. O'Sensei did say all those things, but people take them out of context to valid their own personal points of view. I think this is the case (I just did it).
Obviously O'sensei made those statements refering to different aspects of Aikido (technical, spiritual, mental), so those statements must be interpreted in the context O'sensei was refering to, not as absoluts statements.
Now if you think, and use logic, Why would O'Sensei spend so many years and effort training and developing Aikido techniques? don't you see the self-defense aspect of his training? or you don't want to see it?
I don't think we should deny the spiritual aspects of the art, but why deny its physical practical applications? The beautiful thing about aikido (in its technical aspect) is the way it deals with physical conflict, without oppossing to it, but redirecting it. Giving the chance for a physically weaker person to defend against a stronger one. Isn't that great in itself? Why deny that? to feel you're a good person? what, good people don't have the right or need to defend themselves?
Instructor Aikido Goshin Dojo