Aikido and violence...
Violence as defined by Webster-Merriam:
Main Entry: vi·o·lence
Date: 14th century
1 a : exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in effecting illegal entry into a house) b : an instance of violent treatment or procedure
2 : injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation : OUTRAGE
3 a : intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force <the violence of the storm> b : vehement feeling or expression : FERVOR; also : an instance of such action or feeling c : a clashing or jarring quality : DISCORDANCE
4 : undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)
Therefore, Aikido is in principle and by definition non-violent - as O' Sensei said ‘Aikido is the principle of non-resistance'. In addition, Aikido accepts and deals with conflict as a naturally occurring phenomenon, regardless of whether anyone agrees with the definition of violence given above. It is the how and why of dealing with conflict that sets Aikido apart from other Martial Arts; rather than exploiting people's weaknesses destructively, it redirects their misguided thoughts, intentions, and actions proactively toward a peaceful resolution. Intentions do not justify actions -- this is also known as accepting responsibility for one's self. Hence, as Aikidoka we have to train responsibly and sincerely with the proper mindset - in fact this is the first step in any true Martial Arts training. First we overcome ourselves, and then we can act properly. Here it is important to realize that thoughts turn into intentions, and then into actions -- this is what I believe O' Sensei spoke about when he said ‘move in an instant and take your opponents mind' to paraphrase a bit. On a personal note, I do think it is ironic that many people discuss and think of Aikido and other Martial Arts ‘physically'. Therefore I will leave you with a highly plausible ‘physical' scenario to think about...
An Aikidoka, sober and centered, is in a Night Club standing with their back to the wall not interacting with anyone. Suddenly a decidedly intoxicated patron - having mistaken the Aikidoka for someone else -- attacks with a right cross. The Aikidoka simply steps off-line and the assailant breaks his hand and wrist having struck the wall full force. Did the Aikidoka act violently? Should they have redirected the punch away from the wall and utilized a control technique instead?
Something to ponder...