Nishio Sensei didn't create his own ryu of Aikido because he was dissatisfied with Aikido as an art form but as budo. Aikido's critics do not question it as an art form, they question it's combat/martial effectiveness. This is why I wanted to know whether there is a universal understanding/definition of what martial is, because it is important to the debate within the martial arts community. I've read people criticise Aikido for the techniques requiring too much compliancy to work, I've read criticisms for its apparent lack of atemi, I've read criticisms for its lack of competition and therefore the techniques being "untested". I have never read of anyone who criticises Aikido as an art form, for it not being sophisticated enough or not aesthetic or not philosophically satisfying etc.
For me Aikido is the epitomy of a martial art. It's techniques come from well established jutsu arts and their adaptation has resulted in a very pure, even beautiful use of blending and harmonization with your opponent's energy that is both martial and humanitarian. To watch Aikido being demonstrated is a wonderful experience, to see the waza being executed masterfully and their resulting effect in protecting uke and nage is truly art in motion.
I like this post. Personally the only place I have ever seen criticism of Aikido has been on forums but not in real life. So I have been a bit bemused when ever reading how 'others' see Aikido. In fact I see more criticism from within than from without.
As far as effectiveness goes in the minds of public or other arts for that matter I think Mr. Seagal took care of that one.
The one thing I find strange overall is the idea put forward that people 'hang their arms out there' and this in my opinion is down pure and simply to a lack of understanding of a fundamental principle of Aikido which is that it deals with motion and energy. Thus there is no fight. No against. No referee.
I never use the word 'mindset' either as I feel that leads to strange ideas too but if I did I would only say there are a set of minds within the framework of budo.
Martial to me implies facing danger or potential death, originally the latter, thus great discipline needed. Also I would add he of a martial disposition would 'come alive' from the viewpoint of one versus the many, ten versus a hundred etc. Progress from there and you get one harmonizing with and bringing harmony to the many. Small steps long journey but only achievable if you know where you are going. With enough skills, no different to any other realm of life, one may reach the condition of artist.