Great post all:
Amir, only comment, and not directed at you by any means...simply paraphrasing what a piece of your post to elaborate on.
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.
One has to be careful treading in these waters. Most aikido teachers train in theory and principle and NOT in reality...aikido is principle and philosophically centered more so than practical. Teachers that say this, may not intentionally mean that you can transfer you skills learned in aikido directly to the street....but to the inexperienced...they may take this to mean that you can take your training directly to the street and apply it. Theory is a long stretch to reality. It may work...or it may not.
I don't think though that overall that aikido does well as a methodolgy for preparing one to deal with the stress and range of pain, emotions, and environment of a fight.
Teachers that illude to this or allow this perception to carry on freely in their dojo without proper caution, mentoring, or guidance are being irresponsbile IMO.
I think we cross our wires a great deal in aikido training, sometime unintentionally.
I will tell you that I did not learn to fight in aikido, but learned a great deal about principles and correct body posture, alignment, movement, breathing, response...and a host of other things compassion and control as well.
I am pretty much self taught for the last two years in MMA and BJJ, with the occassional instructor here or there, my background in aikido was very helpful. Last weekend I competed in the European BJJ Championship, took 4th in Open and the Gold for my Weight Category, (Blue Belt).
My skills learned in aikido were a big part of my success.
I am learning how to fight..by fighting and grappling...not by doing aikido.
Aikido is good at teaching aikido, there is much documentation out there about what it will do for you by O'sensei and his many shihans. It is a wonderful art if you focus on the goals and lessons that they are teaching you.
If however, you, really are concerned with self defense, fighting, or anything else..then there are shorter, more productive ways to spend your time.
I'd refer you to the dog brothers www.dogbrothers.com
for sticks and blunt object fighting. Any number of MMA schools for grappling and fighting,.
Most people though, when you get down to it...are not really concerned with fighting...only conquering or supressing the fear with an illusion or a few hours a week of nightly training. They say they are....but if they were...then they would honestly seek out proper trainng and would not shy away from it when presented with it. (check out the Dog Brothers website to get an idea of the intensity of training that they present)
We should NOT however, transfer our desires, fears, or illusions onto arts such as aikido, because it is not fair to you, the others you train with, or the reputation of the art.
Figure out what it is that you really deeply want to do, why you want to do it, and then figure out the best path to achieve that endstate.
One good way to do this is to simply "let go" and begin to practice something instead of being concerned about what is right.
I have studied, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Tai Chi, Aikido, some Ba Gua, BJJ, MMA, and a few other things. In all of them, I gained valuable skills and experiences. Nothing wrong with doing it for a while and then stopping and trying something else. Perspective is good, and training gives you time to think and grow.