Re: More or less martial
It seems to me that I've got a different impression of 'martial' to many other people. In some ways what Ueshiba was teaching after WWII was something that had already lost lots of its 'martial' aspect; which he did on purpose.
I consider 'martial' to mean for 'war'. In this context it is very much about making sure your opponent is dead. Today, the most realistic martial arts are probably 'practise on the firing range' and excercises which test your psychological toughness and stamina - 'cos these are what we would now use in war.
In most 'martial arts' the 'originators' have just systemised previously known techniques which were derived from real war applications. However, when it comes down to it all 'martial arts' are simulations which do not represent reality e.g.
- solo (karate) kata: useful for remembering techniques, but not reactive to the aggresor
- (karate) sparring: develop good reactions, but often disregard power, precision, strikes to vital points and grappling (since people tend to wear pads).
- judo: realistic grappling, but omit strikes and certain dangerous techniques.
- aikido: includes lots of dangerous techniques, but applied in a way that doesn't cripple or kill. Less focus on striking.
In some ways thats why I believe aikido is a more interesting art - 'cos no technique is really 'illegal' - however it has restrictions on its method of practise that others don't. Whatever, they all offer something, but they are all simulations which have lost part of their martial character.