Graham I believe you to be 180 degrees off. Martial arts were born out of the need to fight. All cultures and civilizations have developed martial practices in order to protect, defend, and to further their societal goals. Some are more codified than others. Thus, all martial arts by nature and heritage are rooted in the basic need to fight.
As far as the spiritual aspects etc. Well any sustainable society that has produced warriors understands the need to for balance and moderation. Much of what is done in martial arts is good for you mentally as well as physically. The spiritual linkage...well, I think that is quite a different subject and alot of imprinting is done along with way to link the physical and spiritual dimensions. However, the need for martial arts is in no way born out of the need for spiritual development but simply to fight. I think this is abundantly clear.
Of course, people can realize spiritual benefits as they attempt to reconcile the violence they feel through the practice of martial arts. I can tell you it has been a good outlet for me. but so is racketball, and parkour as well. Pretty much anything that engages the mind and body is good for us.
As far as things such as shaolin done in temples. I am not a historian, but believe that the monks practiced what they practiced to defend themselves. I am sure they realized early on that being in good shape benefited their spiritually as well.
Modern Japanese history, IMO, took the opportunity to revise and re-market their goods and practices as "spritiual practices" around WWII for what I think are fairly obvious reasons. There are scholars here on Aikiweb that can discuss this better than I.
the fact remains, at the base level, that anything that is called a martial art should and is grounded in a system of combat.
and yes, the art of loading and firing cannons is a martial art.
Kevin, you only validate what I say. You yourself said you integrated what you learned in martial arts into what you do in military. Thus you already have not only borrowed from but also split them up into two separate things.
Revision and marketing after ww2 is just more over intellectualizing as far as I am concerned. Plain avoidance in my opinion. He said to Hikitsuchi that he personally had changed everything due to his realization, nothing to do with politics.
As far as shaolin goes and such things you do say you'll leave it to historians and that also validates what I say for it is the non-understanding and blatent disregard of such things which leads to all these false assumptions.
Quite simply if people want to know what Ueshiba meant by calling his art for example a shin no budo and other spiritual concepts then they had better study from a spiritual viewpoint. That's simple logic. If they want to understand budo is love then they had better go learn about love first and visit those buddhist texts for example which explain it. Same for mushin, senshin etc.
You cannot or rather should not look at these things from a military mind for spiritual matters of which O'Sensei insisted was Aikido means you would have to study such just as I would have to study militarism if I wanted to talk about the art of war.
Your reasoning from where your coming from I find quite sound and thus reasonable actually but alas only from where you are coming from.
The monks of japan were better fighters than the samurai and probably due to being in a completely militaristic world were probably more dangerous than the shaolin monks. Albeit they more often than not only had rivalries with other sects but eventually were borrowed by the elite and also eventually feared too much by them and thus banned.
Warring and fighting is fear based whilst martial arts are not. Yet another difference of which there are many.
Anyway I know we will have to agree to differ but as always I enjoyed the flow.