Re: Shihan vs Fighters
Agree with your thoughts. However, I think one school of thought would say this: "if self defense is a concern of yours, then don't you owe it to yourself to train in the most effective ways possible that give you real skill, in as short amount of time, as efficiently as possible?""
I think this is the crux of why we end up with this issue in aikido, we confuse what and why we study what we do.
As you say though, there are better reasons and more logical reasons to study budo and aikido than self defense, which is the most illogical reason to spend all this time and money studying something that is an absolute inefficent delivery system for learning self defense!