What makes the difference? What we're willing to resort to? Aikidoka are somewhat unique because we train to decide how hard we're going to do a technique each time. So there's a built in sense of ethics.
Shihan put you down light as a feather because they can. But you know they could separate your upper and lower torso along the way if they chose to.
This as they say... is a whole other ball of wax and I don't think Aikido is unique in this regard at all.... Every Martial Art I have ever seen or practiced has a "built in sense of ethics."
Ethics don't mean squat if you don't practice them under all conditions Combat or otherwise and my heart goes out to those currently in harms way who have to act outside of those ethics because they don't have time to think about ethics before they pull the trigger or lase the "suspected terrorist safe house" or drop the "surgically precise" JADAM on same safe house only to spend the rest of thier lives dealing with the "minimal collateral damage"
Some of the most ethical people I know Men I would follow into the gates of hell get to spend the rest of thier lives haunted by what they had to do in War.
My God Bless them and ease thier suffering.
To compare Aikido's "ethical structure" as unique in the light of this kind of reality is rediculous
"War is HELL and cannot be refined least men grow too fond of it!"