The whole Aikido IS a martial art BUT it's not about fighting because of the spiritual/martial interplay, is I think, entirely misleading.
Lest we forget, one of the world's oldest military treatises written over 2500 years ago, states quite clearly - "the highest form of victory is to subdue the enemy without
fighting". There is nothing spiritual about that statement. It clearly points to the acme of human skills development, rather than the spiritual loftiness that it is so often interpreted to mean, because, the highest form of victory IS self-victory. Through conquering one's self, are others conquered. Again, the practical rationale of victory over self, and the conduct of war without fighting, is quite clearly a recurring theme throughout the writings:
When one has a thorough knowledge of the enemy and oneself, victory can be assured.
He who knows when to fight and when not to fight will win.
The generals are the guardians of the State..... It is the duty of the general to remain clam and inscrutable; to be upright and strict....always acting for the welfare of his people...
To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable.
The adepts in warfare are those who can conquer the enemy without fighting battles.
The issue it seems, is one of perception, and the all-too-human tendency to perceive things by contrast and polarized opposites - hard/soft, light/dark, black/white, good/evil, war/peace, violence/non-violence. It isn't two different things, or even two aspects of one thing - it is one and the the same thing, in as much as a military treatise speaks not to the conduct of warfare as it does to the adept of warfare.
Only the sagacious and wise can successfully use espionage... Only the benevolent and righteous can find the right men to do espionage.. Therefore, only the enlightened sovereigns and wise generals know how to employ men of the highest intelligence to work as spies.
On the surface, that may seem contradictory - that one who exhibits such lofty character traits would engage in covert operations designed to subvert and thwart the enemy.
It is no more contradictory than the oxymoronic cries to struggle for freedom or to fight for peace, by banner waving pacifist activists. The prevention of war, by necessary means, is as legitimate as the overriding desire to maintain peace.
In that sense, martial arts is a transformative practice, on various levels - it is never about fighting... AND all about fighting...
And as someone once said... "[My karate] is never about fighting. Killing, maiming, destroying - yes. But fighting... never."