the mistake comes when we take what worked beyond the parameters in which it worked, coming to ignore those parameters (especially when they are extremely limited), and then universalizing that which worked as that which works
David, your analysis is right on. I want to take this a different direction though... This is the problem I have with people who compete TOO much in their aikido training. The problem is that forcefullness AND sensitivity need to be developed (so that that you can slowly learn how to remain effective with less and less forcefullness). Granted, people who compete TOO little - well of course they have no idea if what they are doing works at all. However, just because something works, doesn't mean it is best, or cannot be improved upon. You need to back off on the competition enough to learn how to be even less forceful and remain effective. My opinion is that if someone with a good deal of time invested into dedicating their training to that idea (more effective, less forcefulness - because the benefits of having more martial sensitivity has been developed under stressful drama) gets into a fight, we would see a very different thing happen. I think people keep missing this point so their misapplicaiton of reductionist thinking convinces them that they are training in the "best" and "most realistic" way and that anything else is well ... bullshido...