Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.
ok, I had tired to post a reply before but my connection must have given out. Shame because it was a work of art. Let me try again.
Your doubts on aikido are most likely justified. This does not mean that Aikido is of no value from a martial aspect, just that it will take longer and not be as effective as some of the other options. When people have doubts the question they ask themselves should always be - why do I train? If self defence is your *primary* goal, there are better options out there. The problem is that there are many other reasons to train Aikido, but often these reasons are harder to articulate than "self defence" so it's easy to devalue them in your mind. Ask yourself - if you had very good self defence but were not still doing aikido, would that make you happy or would you still miss the training?
Which leads me to my next point - this is not an either or situation. for many years I trained Aikido and then for several years I trained both Aikido and BJJ. I found that each art helped the other - the BJJ made my aikido more effective and the Aikido helped my BJJ flow more the way it should. So you can go out and crosstrain in something else - make it something complimentary and watch how both arts grow together. Be careful about throwoing out the baby with the bath water.
The only reason I'm not still training both is that with a young family I also need to be hanging out with, time is a problem :-)
Also there's no way you're too old to start something new. I have older people than you walk through the door of our BJJ club routinely.
There are some people (some of them on this thread) that will try and convince you that if you try to look outside of Aikido, or if you find Aikido not realistic enough for you, that it's your fault and you are somehow deficient in your aikido training. This is rubbish.
I'll say that again, this is rubbish. Don't let anyone tell you that looking to expand your knowledge beyond the confines of an aikido dojo indicates any kind of failing on your part. It is a very positive and courageous step - and something you should be firecely proud of.
The kind of doubt, questioning, and critical thinking that leads to this step is the thinking that drives progress.
Don't buy into the "but you've only been doing it for 5 years - you' can't expect it to work yet" nonsenese either. If self defence is of interest, 5 years should be enough of an investment to see a significant return. I'm often stunned that some people seem to think that telling someone in their 30's that this art is so subtle it will take 20 years to show results, is some sort of selling point. Three's plenty of arts that will give you very good unarmed self defence capability after 5 years.
Having said all of that.
Bullshido jumped the shark some years ago. where once it was a useful site dedicated to uncovering what amounted to MA fraudsters, now it's a pack of self congratulatory back slappers who need hear no more than the name of the art you do to deride it's effectiveness if it doesn't fit the mold.
I know of several people that have used Aikido effectively in physical altercations. I have used it effectively at times on the BJJ mat.
Understand also that Aikido isn't like other martial arts. It's not so much about winning the fight as getting out of the way of a fight. Which means most of the time when Aikido is deployed effectively, it's not in the sort of environment that is likely to be caught on tape.
I was reading through an old black belt magazine the other day (circa 1996) and there was an article by a well respected martial artist at the time recounting an incident where he'd had to deal with multiple attackers in a bar. He talked about the importance of not trying to "win" a fight, but just get out. He talked about throwing people aside as they came at him, not to beat them but to create space to move and escape. It sounded alot like Aikido.
The martial artists name was Rickson Gracie.
My reccommendation - find something that you think you might like from the alive arts - muay thai, judo, BJJ, wrestling, boxing, sambo etc. But keep doing your aikido as well, at least for a year or two (after the initial bloom of the new art has died down) and then make your own informed choice.