I agree completely with the above comments about what a "pacifist" really is, although I'm not actually very fond of the "isms" of this world.
The only thing that doesn't sit well in me about this thread is the predetermined idea that if one answers that he chooses not to fight is a way to avoid telling that aikido doesn't work.
Aikido is a martial art and, as such, it works fine in self defense situations. But since self defense means to save yourself from another person's violence, isn't it the best way to actually not be there?
In aikido we don't block a punch,we step slightly out of the attack line and control the strike. So when the punch reaches it's target, we are not...there.
In the same mentality, one should avoid fighting as best as possible, and engage only if he has no other choice.
Avoiding fighting when possible and using aikido effectively when you can't avoid it , is indeed the ultimate self defense...
Yes I think it is logical to assume that the best way to save yourself from another person's violence is to NOT be there. Of course.
to also comment on moving out of the attack line and controlling the strike:
The problem I see with both these statements is that they assume a great deal of control in the situation. By NOT being there in the situation you obviously have control and don't need to be there.
getting out of the line of attack assumes alot of control as well. You even use the word control.
In a perfect world...yes...I think both these things are appropriate responses.
The issue is that in many situations, I'd say most situations where we are facing genuine violence that we can't avoid...control is a very limited thing and a precious resource that we need to obtain.
On an attack getting out of the way of the initial attack may not grant you the control you need and may serve only to spiral you into a deeper hole of problems. At some point we will have to move in and engage in some manner in order to disrupt what your opponent is doing to you and then regain control.
yes, at some point we need to regain control of the situation if we want to have a choice in the decisions that are made in the situation. In most cases I believe it requires you to enter and engage or to irimi to use an aikido word.
The problem I have found with "only engaging as a last resort" is that many times we wait way way too long to engage until we have had so many of our options removed that we have put ourselves at great risk. The mentality that trains "only engage as a last resort" trains use to bargain and reason with our opponent until the very last possible moment. This is a very, very fine line I think. Many of us will yield way too much ground and experience a large amount of dissonance in a violent encounter until it is too late.
I think in practice it is better to practice hard and determine your "redlines" that is, those points that you will not allow to be crossed and when they are you immediately take action without emotion or futher thought.
"engaging as a last resort" requires us to invest a great deal emotionally in the situation as we reason with our opponent. This might be good sometimes, maybe not so good in others. If I feel physically threatened, I can tell you I am not going to reason or emotionally invest in my opponent I am going to state my redlines, mitigate them as best I can, and take immediate action.
That action may be to slowly back to a door, align myself with my friends, or it may be to pick up a chair and crack him with it before he does it to me. it just depends on the situation.