Interesting final point Chris! Never thought of it like that, but I think you may be right, and I think you're right Sid about the 5 element thing; thats what struck me as strange with Ueshibas comments, because he suggests you respond with fire if attacked with fire.
However I wasn't trying to get all esoteric, I was just presuming 'fire' meant a strong attack. You see, I have always thought if the attack is strong, you can use soft technique; however if the attack is weak, you have to use force (i.e. if an attacker just stands there in randori, you have to give them a slap to initiate movement).