My comment has nothing specifically to do with the OODA loop. The OODA loop could be the best idea ever, but it's an idea.
My point is about trying intellectualize something that is not intellectual.
Effective fighting IS intellectual. Why could we hunt beasts ten times our size with nothing but cleverly carved sharpened sticks? Applied intellect. The difference is that the exercise of the intellect in battle is primarily not at the point of application, it is primarily in the preparation.
At the point of execution intellect is subordinate to sheer will, but will, alone, will not make up for the wrong ground, incorrect aim, incorrect disposition, and lack of the right training. In the Marine paradigm, flawless up-tempo ops is the watch word derived from OODA. Marines as a force make up in that energy and skill what they lack in mass. That requires massive amounts of closely drilled training to achieve -- but also the depth of knowledge of in the nature of that training so as to apply it adaptively to contingent situations never tested against. It is a matter intellectual challenge, among the most serious that exists, and its physical side does not diminish the totality of personal involvement that effective fighting requires.
Aikido is likewise a matter of closely drilled training, but the watchword here is not relentless tempo and energy, but the fundamental negation of the possibilty of conflict as the pre-condition of victory. Void - in Mushashi's highly intellectual description. Sword-of-no-sword, in the Yagyu Shinkage. O Sensei's Aikido in its operative elements is not new in that narrow sense.
What is new is that he broadly connected that distillation of physical principle to another fundamental truth of war, that men fight most effectively not from fear, or hate, or anger, or greed -- but from love of one another. This is the root of the "implicit guidance and control" portion of Boyd's diagram.
While not "intellectual" in the sense you mean, it is definitely a cognitive function. It is not a rational "decision" that makes a man walk through a hail of live fire; it is the loving will to save his buddy. That is about as realistic as you get.
All successful fighting in war -- all budo -- depends on this. It has been realized many times in many places. It is routinely exploited in execution: ("We would not die in that man's company, That fears his fellowship to die with us... We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother; ... ").
O Sensei took that and recognized that if we fight from love, for love, and through love, then we should train the way we fight
. The thing that compels me to engage battle most effectively is love. If I extend that love even to my enemy, then I rush to his attack as I rush to save a child stumbling into traffic, and all obstacles in my path I brush aside without any concern for them. If I train with my opponent as my partner, not my enemy or competitor, then I realize this in every aspect of training. To "realize" is to cause something of importance to become manifest in action, which is is to say -- "realistic."
That is an profound intellectual choice about how to train, and why to train. It fundamentally changes the nature of the fight, while not in the least diminishing its consequences and importance. The premise of Aikido is that training from the motivation that ultimately provides success at the point of battle, changes the conditions upon which victory in that battle depends. O Sensei's training touched a universal nerve, which explains its profound cross-cultural success and its continued attraction even among those who only dimly grasp its significance.
"The essence of the martial arts is the spirit of loving protection of all beings in the universe. ...The source of Bu is divine love. It is the spirit of love and protection for all things. The training of Budo is the forging in our minds and bodies the power of divine love, which produces, protects, and nurtures all things in the Universe. The techniques of budo are signposts pointing the way which leads to this. ... Never defeated means never fighting. This is not mere theory. You practice it. ..."
The converse is to become better, stronger, faster -- and then dead -- killed by a spirit of contention. Aikido is cognitively different in its assumption about what is really (realistically) the premise of victory.