Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this issue. It has helped greatly.
I have never doubted the value of break falls, they are a critical part of injury free ukemi for many techniques. We have excellent instructors with decades of aikido experience, so proper teaching technique is not a problem either.
Chuck, thanks for sharing your story about the pickup truck. I've had a similar experience, 15 years ago, jogging at night and getting tripped up by kid's toys left on the sidewalk. I didn't see them and ended up flipping forward though the air and landing patially on concrete. Hurt like h**l, but breakfalling saved me from serious injury.
RebeccaM, hrvoje, ruthmc, giriasis thanks for your personal testimony, it carries a lot of weight with me. I started Aikido in my early 30's, so I didn't have personal experience to draw from.
Charles, I vaguely remember the article you refer to. I'll have to dig through the club archives of ATM and see if I can find the article and followup mail. What a shame ATM is closing its doors with the 100th issue