DonMagee, I agree with you more than I guess you would expect
What you say about "inexperienced" contestants winning against experienced ones, is an example of what I tried to introduce. There is no system of techniques, no martial art per se, that guarantees victory. As Einstein told us, it's all relative
About making the opponent play your game, Musashi spoke about this in his Go Rin no Sho. He talked about rhythm - how to make the opponent follow your rhythm, and how you should not follow his, and so on.
The mental aspects are of vast importance in any martial art - also in between them.
About rules, I did not say that aikido has none, not at all. I said "less limiting", by which I mean that aikido is a martial art where all kinds of attacks and situations are trained. Of course, that is also the problem: there is not enough time to get good at all of it.
But if we really look for an optimal martial art, I believe that specialization is not the key. A wide "curriculum" and the ability to adapt will prevail. But that takes time.