Re: MMA as catalyst for change in Aikido?
Don certainly covered most of it.
Aikido is typically practiced at a range and within a context that requires mutual cooperation in order to foster the correct spirit and goals of aikido.
In order to achieve locks, arm bars, and what not, you have to have very good control over your opponent. Arm bars from the mount, triangle chokes, guillotines work because you achieve this dominance. Things like nikkyo, ikkyo, and shionage do not work because they are very complex and require a certain degree of either cluelessness from your opponent or a spirit of cooperation that typically is not seen in a MMA context. Again, good for learning principles that apply to the dynamic of a fight, but not a very good/efficient means for finishing your opponent.
I do get things in MMA that I say "ahhhh, aikido". I can show you how the guard applies the principles of ikkyo. I occassionally pull off a kotegaehsi on an inexperience opponent. Sankyo can be held, but because of the way you have to control the hips of your opponent, it is not good for finishing. although if you look at omoplata, it to me is a variation of sankyo albiet you control uke's hips and use your leg. I have used various nikkyo type pins to submit on the ground, but never nikkyo from a standing, traditional sense.
Aikido as practiced by most is designed to teach principles of movmement and is mostly principally correct, however we must be careful, IMO to not translate the methodology of aikido into a fighting strategy which has many facets...and yes, you do develop a game based on high percentage techniques that work for you.
Don covered it pretty darn good!