You say tomAYto, I say tomAHto; let's call the whole thing off!
I bet this one will inspire a more than its share of long responses, so I'll try to get to the point.
Basically, I believe that the term "Martial Arts" is somewhat misleading(I could be wrong though!). Why? because the term Art is used in the sense of a way of making something or doing something. For example, doctors call their profession their "Art". Have you ever heard the term "State-of-the-Art" referring to new technology? Martial, on the other hand implies war, pertaining to war or characteristic of war. Thus, Martial Art means the method of waging war. It is the almost literal translation of Bujutsu -the techniques of war or of "stopping the blade" or the techniques of the warrior.
Perhaps we should be thinking not in terms of Bujutsu, but in terms of Budo, the Way of the Warrior or the Way of "stopping the halberd". Not Martial Art, but rather, the Martial WAY. This goes beyond merely the "techniques of the Warrior"; it implies imbuing oneself with the attributes of the warrior of honesty, courage, clear- mindedness and compassion. It means BECOMING more than what we are, choosing an earnest, honest and moral way of life.
Is Aikido Budo? definitely: as long as we're training our mind and bodies in the context of an attack, stylized as it may be, depending on each one's style of Aikido, we're talking about a MARTIAL Art- the bringing of peace from a situation of CONFLICT. We are learning how to de- escalate conflict- those inside us, and through this training, eventually those outside us.
Just my 2 cents worth.
[Edited by stratcat on October 11, 2000 at 02:50pm]