Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?
Good stuff James. Certainly aikido is based upon aikijitsu, traditionaly a system designed to teach skills to be used in combat. So yes, it is no wonder we tend to focus on all that is martial or self defense.
I tend to agree, that aikido is simply a methodolgy designed around a traditonal model of japanese system of combative, but the focus is not on learning to be effective or efficient as a fighter.
Therefore, it is not primarily a system of self defense or martial skill, but a methodolgy for developing your mind, body, and spirit. An allegory so to speak that teaches us about ourselves and our interaction/interdependence with others.
If it was about martial effectiveness, or self defense...it is a poor and inefficient method for acheiving this goal. Money would be better spent on modern weapons training, and/or risk reduction training in our world today!
Aikido, I believe, is simply a methodology for self realization and discovery! nothing more than that really!