I look at it this way. I try to have others control me as little as possible. If I am out walking, minding my own business - why should I have to change my plans and give up my wallet, or whatever it is when I can tell him to back off and continue about what I was doing?
Sorry - but running away at every threat is not the way I want to live my life. I would rather die living the way I choose, than to live knowing I was a sell-out.
Whether you walk away (or run away) or fight him, that is your choice. If you feel you have to fight him, no matter what, regardless of the situation, then you are letting him control you. Self control and self determination are in your hands, and the consequences of your choice are yours: is what's in your wallet worth his life (or yours), his health (or yours).
People have never said fighting was bad, but choosing to hurt someone when you could also choose to end the conflict without damage, well... in my book not as good a choice.
Blindly fighting for pride, to 'not be a sell out,' that is giving up self control to control by your attacker...as the other person implied with the stimulus-reaction reference.
While I agree with most of what Opher said (hi, Opher, BTW
), I do disagree that running away is from lack of confidence in Aikido, but rather that is can be the correct application of Aikido as his fourth paragraph went on to describe.
I guess not everyone is in Aikido to beat up an attacker. If self defense is the goal, especially self defense that overcomes all opponents, perhaps the 60 bucks/month are better spent on a handgun, some classes, and a permit to carry concealed....
my 2 cents