Options and choices are all about what make us human and better, smarter, and more adaptable people. Because we condition our body, mind, and spirit to focus energy and move or react a certain way we can reflexively act in a myriad of ways.
I.E: If a person is charging at us with a knife we can:
*roll out of the way
*lock arm and pin
*throw the person
*Ask them to stop
I think there's an important distinction to be made, though, between a)the options for response to a situation, b)the subset of those options that is within the curriculum of aikido, c)the subset of those
options that you, as an individual practitioner, are capable to executing, and d)the subset of those
options that you, as an individual practitioner, are capable of executing in a specific, non-theoretical encounter
. Using your situation as a person charging at you with a knife as an example, aikido doesn't teach non-physical de-escalation: you can quote from "The Art of Peace" until you're blue in the face, but the truth is, you will not learn or practice these techniques as part of your aikido training. Aikido does teach a variety of physical responses, some of which you outline above, but it's not like buying a car with an option package: you buy the car, you get the power steering and built-in DVD player, but signing up for aikido (and even showing up at the dojo and training for yea many years) doesn't automatically give you the ability to roll or lock the arm or whatever. Even if you do have one of these abilities, you may not be able to execute it in a given situation, with a violent, noncompliant attacker. If the attacker is much bigger than you, your options narrow; if he/she is much faster than you, your options narrow.
This is why I find discussions about whether aikido is "practical" to be, frankly, unutterably silly. "Practical" for what, for whom, in what situation? I've never been confronted by someone charging at me with a knive, or anything remotely like that. Given that, does it make sense to judge the "practicality" of what I'm doing by how well it would work in that situation -- and who ever said that I was doing this in order to be "practical" anyway?
I think this is a guy thing, I really do. Women who train in martial arts don't so often seem to feel the need to constantly grasp for a justification for what they're doing.