martial arts are formalised systems for managing the tensions between the chaos of undirected violence and the long-term interests of society. Hence the excessive formalism in the MA world perhaps.
My experience is different. Perhaps Judo, and in some instances maybe Aikido can be viewed this way, but in everything else I have studied (or am fairly familiar with): various forms of karate, Hapkido, BJJ (not only for sport), knife work etc. - all were specifically training for hard-core self-defense application where the opponant/attacker is disarmed, disabled, or left dead - not to socialize, channel, or re-direct violence, violent tendencies, or tension etc. And I believe that is pretty common. To be sure, sometimes people enroll in a martial art to release these feelings or learn options in dealing with them, but even then, the process is still grounded in violence, for the most part.
Aikido is not grounded in violence (at least mine isn't.) That is one thing that begins to set it apart from at least a good number of other arts.
The rest probably depends on how one defines Aikido, an "age-old" argument, and beyond the scope of this discussiion, although it is at the heart of it.