Hold on a minute here. The above is what many believe so why change it? From what I see it's what most folks call being martially effective which they believe is the main aim and thus gives you choice.
Ron, is this the type of axiomatic concept and underlying assumption you are asking to be examined or have I got it wrong?
Have at it Graham.
The hard before soft title of the thread came from something I read that Tony posted awhile back. To paraphrase, before you can do soft Aikido you must first learn hard Aikido, or something along those lines.
Anyway, when I read Joe's post "Before you can be benevolent and spare people from pain /punishment/retribution you have to be in a position whereby you have the power to exercise your authority to inflict punishment in the first place.", it made me wonder about the whole soft vs hard Aikido debate and how it all relates to the idea of least possible harm when responding to a conflict and whether it's necessary to be in a position to inflict punishment (hard Aikido) in order to not do so (soft Aikido).
As you can see, I've managed, due to my mish-mash of mixed metaphors, to engender a boat load of confusion. But hey, most threads end up addressing tangential issues. I'm finding the responses interesting and informative.
So please, feel free to respond in any manner you see fit. I'm sure it'll be worth the read.