George S. Ledyard
Ellis Amdur Sensei once said that the difference between "self defense" and a "martial art" was that in martial arts you were training to fight another professional. By that standard Aikido is not really a "martial art". Aikido is not about fighting anyone, in my opinion.
I think that Aikido is a mental and physical health system. Some level of skill at application is a byproduct of proper training but not the point. It is a form of Budo.
I would like to add some comment to this:
I spoke to the gym owner (the one which I currently go for work-out now) about karate as he is a long time practitioner.
I asked him why learn kata? If you want to fight and why not just kumite all the way?
He replied, "Learning to martial art to fight in this modern age is stupid. I have learn karate for many years, if some thugs come with a gun or knife, karate is not my answer, running away is better" And this is coming from someone who has done karate many years and also with high degree rank in it."
I still insist, then why learn karate at all? To which he replied, "Why not? Why lift weights? Why learn ballet? It is a hobby for some, physical fitness for some, art for some"