Re: My forum pet peeve: "I never got in a fight - the ultimate self-defense!"
You could be right Mary, as most certainly I don't have empirical knowledge to these facts. however, I have had many a discussion in forums and in the dojo concerning this very thing that have led me to believe that there is a propensity for practitioners to interpret aikido in a particular manner.
Now they are free to believe what they want to believe and I am also free to make my assumptions and opinions which I clearly state (or try to) that they are mine.
I have seen enough and discussed enough things such as "aikido is about moving off the line and avoiding the attack". Aikido is about blending with the attack. Aikido is about creating harmony with your opponent.
The founder was clearly an idealist in my opinion. However he reached his conclusions based on his experiences and realities as a realist. I believe Ueshiba had a certain pragmaticism that may not have been carried forth during the spread of the art post World War II.
I certainly don't want to argue and create divisiveness to say that my way is the only way and every one else is wrong. I hope that I am not doing that.
I only wanted to state my observations and define the things that I think are maybe not correct and maybe someone will find value in pondering on them...maybe not.
I think the OP has a very valid point concerning his pet peeve. I do agree that we need to be careful about glossing over the fact that at a very basic level that fighting is really about fighting, and avoidance is a luxury that may not be available to us.