Re: Just how real is violence? And where does Aikido stands in all of this?
Thnk you Michael and Matt - I think we are the same page. I jotted this down earlier today so it's a bit redundant. There are two sides that I am addressing. The first is knowing your part in the interaction. If you are acting aggressive and you are presented with a physical correction you have learned a lesson. For someone to act out physically toward you, you have crossed a boundary real or imagined. You can choose to not see staring someone down as aggressive but you are wrong.
On the other side if you are being bothered you should explore all non physical options first.
I don't see the physical as taboo. The goal is connection. You try and connect verbally If that fails the next way is physically. There are many options on that scale. A hand on the shoulder may do it or it may take something more drastic.
There is a personal responsibility in both sides of the equation. I won't advocate abdicating your responsibility for your actions nor for your personal safety. If you are not willing to make a connection than I don't think you are practicing Aikido. I'm not talking about punching people in the nose that simply piss you off. As a side note I also don't judge my morality simply on the fear of jail.