Ushiro Sensei will be at George Ledyard's Dojo for the last weekend in October. If you are as open-minded as you say that you are, stop by and see if punching can be martial. Maybe it is not the act that defines something as martial, but the spirit of the person behind the action that defines some act as martial.
Washington is a bit far (it's only a thousand miles or so
). I'm not saying that punches are "un-martial", I'm just saying, in the grand scheme, we don't need to reorganize Aikido so that we can deal with them.
There are lots of valid areas of martial study to pursue, unarmed martial arts is one of them. However I believe as martial artists it's important that we realize it's only a very small field.
If I asked an F/A-22 Raptor (fighter jet) pilot about fighting, he would talk about angles of attack. If I asked what his punch defenses are, he'd roll his eyes at me. It's all a matter of perspective and context. A man with a 28" razor doesn't need to worry too much about punching.