Arthur Capone wrote:
So, in your opinion, if someone wants to hurt me, lifts their fists up in a boxing stance, and starts trying to hit me, Aikido is not able to deal with this?
First off, I have a comment that sounds very foolish at first, but holds some greater truth if you bother and think about it in some depth:
Aikido does not deal with anything. No Aikido fighter will magically appear if you are under attack. It is you who will have to fight for yourself!
Aikido will not turn you into another person so fast. If you are a great athletic and tends toward aggressiveness while fighting, you will maintain these attributes even after you have learned Aikido. If by nature you prefer recline from violent action and feel great fear, those features of your personality will still be there even after you learn Aikido.
At higher levels, after lots of years of fighting. You might be able to notice some changes and refinements of your personality due to your Aikido practice. For example: you may find Aikido affects the strategies you tend towards. After almost 17 years of practice (about half my life), I am still very careful in considering those.
Aikido has a wide spectrum of responses for any situation, including boxing types attacks. It is your personality which will determine your own choices for reaction to such states. Exactly as your personality will determine your choice of Aikido teachers and the right Dojo for you to prosper in (I doubt a person will be able to stay and prosper in a Dojo that has a very different ethos then his own).
Punches and even kicks can be practiced as part of the Aikido curriculum. In the Dojo I practice Korindo Aikido at, we practice punches as frequently as we practice both strikes and grabs together. I doubt there is any real reason not to have the same approach in a Ueshiba Aikido dojo.
One should understand that grabs, strikes and committed attacks have quite a few advantages as training tools, as they provide easy emphasis on specific elements. As such these attacks are essential to learning Aikido, but one could utilize his knowledge of Aikido to face any attack, and it will be Aikido.
Some teachers prefer to stay with the symbolic attacks, and not to refer to self-defense situations directly. These teachers would tell you that once you "truly" understand the principles taught in the symbolic training, you should be able to apply them to any situation that arises, including boxing, combinations and anything else. They would point you to the infinity of possible attacks, and claim adding a few more examples would not change your need of generalizing the knowledge to other new attacks (Capuera style attacks for example).
Other teachers will prefer to help you in the generalization process, by giving you more examples of the common world. Good teachers would acknowledge they can never teach you response A to situation B, since the situations are infinite and as you progress you will learn that supposedly minor changes can have significant implications and require you to change your choices completely.
Hope this helps in some way.