"doesn't sound to me like he reacted that badly if it only bothered him for a few days."
Does each person react the same?And have you read what his reactions were in those following days? The reason why he only reacts for a short while is because a few days later he is trying to avoid being killed. You can't argue motivations or reactions unless you've read the book.
had to kill the men?
or chose to kill the men?
Again, you're questioning motivations and actions without having read the book. You do not know the setup -- where are the men? How many of them are there? How long does the main character have to save her?
The main character shoots the men because otherwise they will shoot him. He can't get to them beforehand. He cannot disarm them. They know he is coming, and they know why.
"they may die because of his efforts to save the child, but that's something quite different."
No, they do die because of his efforts to save the child.
Craig Hocker wrote:
I am not offended, just puzzled that you are setting up one of the severest tests for someone who believes in the values Aikido promotes, yet have no interest in exploring that dilemma this puts on your protagonist. Hence my suggestion you drop in something more generic since you are simply looking for a generic plot device that many martial arts would fit.
You raise an excellent point, Craig. (values versus actions). So, bearing in mind I know nothing of martial arts, my question is: would other martial arts not have the same values? Also, one of the major themes in the book is how the main character tries to avoid the conflict, but keeps on being sucked into it, not through his own doings. If he had a generic form of training, perhaps he would not be so keen to avoid fighting?