Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.
I'm a New Zealander. We don't solve disputes by shooting people.
In the venerable tradition of our English, Scottish, Irish and Maori forebears we resolve conflicts in the old-fashioned manner: Fisticuffs. We enjoy hitting each other. So do many Australians I believe.
Nevertheless I have spent less than 5 minutes fighting in the last 10 years.
On the other hand I will probably practice Aikido for between 200-300 hours a year.
In a worst case scenario, this means I practice for 2000 hours in 10 years to ensure that I am ready for those 5 minutes.
Is it just me or does that make no sense whatsoever?
Hell, not even I am that paranoid.
(It would make more sense to embrace religion and spend 60 years preparing my soul for being eternally dead: the investment-return ratio is considerably better)
As such, the question of whether Aikido does or does not work in a fight is in many respects irrelevant. Moreover, I am much more likely to suffer more pain and a greater number of injuries as a result of practicing Aikido than as a result of being attacked.
In fact, this is most likely true of many martial arts: People suffer more injuries and pain learning a martial art than as a result of being involved in a serious conflict.
I know of more judoka whose knees and shoulders have been destroyed in competition than of those who have been beaten up in a street fight.
Does Aikido work?
We can train for the real case as best we can. But in the end, the joy we get from the training itself is worth far more than any self-defense benefits we might gain.