Aikido practiced long enough provides the skills to deal with combat effectively. The more you practice the less you want to engage in combat to test your skills.
How true, how true...
let me see, by August of this year, I will have been practicing for 5 years alreaady... Luc, I know what you've been through... IMHO I think you're still at the stage where in your taking it all in. Starting to understand how the flow of ki works.. During my first few months, We train from 8 AM to 12 noon every weekend morning. I'd do everything I can to extend my time and even after the session I'd look friends to "play" with... Now that I think about it, I felt like a very happy kid who recieved his first bike... not wanting to stop.
It's all good fun (and even addictive at times) but like Mark posted, The more you practice the less you want to engage in combat to test your skills...
in my experince, I've come to realize that practicing has its place, and so will using it once the need arises. I honestly don't ever want to use Aikido on anyone, Im currently at the stage of continuing to study for the sake of sharpening my skills.... and the art has worked wonders for me in many ways (including career, lovelife etc. etc.)
Good luck on your journey!