Re: How to reconcile?
"~~Hi All! I'm still having a hard time reconciling the martial/spiritual aspects of Aikido. Just when I think I'm focusing on movement/blending and flowing with my partner, they take a shot at me and tell me I'm open. I, of course, want to fly into them because I was being all open and trusting and then kick myself for ever having let my guard down. So then I go back to training in a very martial head and someone else says, 'chill, just relax and move; you're acting like you on a battlefield and it's just the dojo'.
Hmmmmm...What do you do?"
you speak of "blending and flowing with my partner". To me that's an indication that you may try to adapt to your partners behaviour. Try to figure out the technique, that makes them having to adapt to your movement (not by force but by correct movement of the body). Stay upright, stay balanced, focus on coordinated motion of body/hipps and extremities with minimum effort. Try to avoid to apply centrifugal power on uke nor pull him towards yourself.
This will reduce openness or chance for counterattack. It will give you the chance to detect a natural pattern of movement. It allows you to become more and more open without loosing yourself in "adaptation"-paradigma.
Inaba Sensei once told us, martial art is uswed to guard our personal tenderness.