Just to throw a monkey in the machine. How are any of these things martial?
This is a revealing question to me, thanks, and has helped be crystallize a request to the aikido community for a wider definition of what martial is.
First, I want to point out that I've trained primarily with the Chiba/Smith lineage, have been deshi for someone who taught Green Berets, have taken challenges when teaching in Africa and have snapped a few wrists (not proud), so aikivegtable, not fruity here. Also only ten years aikido so not expert opinion.
My understanding now though is that aikido is "martial" in a wider sense in terms of what it defends you against (eg Nicks drinking example). This point has been made before that the most practical aikido technique is ukemi, as most of us are more likely to fall than to fight. (After a few beers both is very possible
The leading causes of death among young people in the UK are suicides and car accidents, amongst all population is heart disease and cancer, and falls register as leading cause of injury for the elderly. Now aikido doesn't make you invincible, but if done with the correct sensibility offers some protection against all four of these things
( IE is anti depressant, calming/focuses attention, reduces weight, provides overall health and can be used to reduce addictive behaviors, improves balance).
Also, as suggested, the crucial factors in a physical confrontations are often not strength, speed or how hard your freaking nikyo is, but mental ones. Of the opinion that those training martial in a limited sense are setting themselves up for fall/punch.
If any one's interested in this type of thing (or just wants to kick my ass, or get drunk and fall over :-) then there's a UK Aiki Extensions event in late Feb - more soon
Back to the tress and the mat,