Re: how do we define martial?
What's our definition of love, though?
I've been interested in Marishiten lately. Marishiten - who as an uneducated English speaker I will refer to as she though i think there are issues with that - was a deity very important to bushi from the 10th century up into the Edo period.
We don't seem to have received much about Marishiten in the spirituality of Aikido but i believe understanding a bit about her and why she was worshipped is of paramount important in any discussion about what budo actually is.
Anyway - what her devotees sought from her was all about perception. You wanted your enemies to be blinded and unable to see you, while you wanted for yourself, the ability to not be tricked by illusion, and to see clearly what was actually happening.
I think there is a link between that and the concept of bu, and probably of "love" as well. It certainly speaks to the concern that professional warriors have of their jobs not only on the battlefield, where obviously there are issues such as the fog of war, the need to not fall into traps while making your own traps work, etc. There are the issues raised when one leader sits down with an opposing leader, and they try to come to terms, with various internal factions trying to push things one way or another. How do you see through the emotions and baggage and make a deal? There is also the issue of which side to join when battle lines are drawn, and when to decide to pull your guys out and switch sides. Its not just about making correct decisions in battle, its about making correct decisions before and after battle, and decisions about battle.
Two men who have fought against each other and have probably killed many of each other's close friends and family, sitting down and hammering out a peace agreement. Acting in accord with allies and enemies. That's a form of love, right? It is certainly stopping spears.
So an art that allows one to prevent violence from developing, or perhaps even starting in the first place, that would be a fine martial art. I would think warriors who answered only to other warriors would find such an art quite worthy of study.