keith I tottally agree with u. I have not had any out of dojo situations but I have spared. 2 places 1 of the times i am asamed of the other time it was in tang wei when we sparred ( it was not competion is was to help with our skills and find out weak pionts.) Ill go with when I was in tang wei. my partner and I had our stuff on and my partner really liked to kick. I found it most frusurating at first. sure I could block but i couldnt get in for the kill... so I just steped back then when he landed I quickly took teh two seconds I had and did a nice punch in the gut. ( I did not hurt him but i got kudos for it) all u have to do us have proper maai ( distance) and when he is done wiht the kick go for teh kill.
my second expirence I was at my aikido dojo.the teacher was not there ( he was on his way we clean the dojo so..) after cleaning a school friend came in andwanted to spar he takes JJ and likes to spar I told him aikido is not about competing. he would have no anvil. so I said okay. I asked if he would bow to the shoman and stuff we did and started. of course he had all these fancy kicks and stances. I just had didstans and looked at his ki and we didnt touch me much and I hit him a counple times and ( we did nto have sparring gear either.) then after he was a good sport and said good job. after thinking about the "fight" I thought I disoabyed O-sensi and was a little ashamed ( still am sometimes) and I thought how kicks work. if u have distance and they are either at the end ( like a sweep) and past u but leg still in the air they are only on one leg no balance u could do a Tenkan or urimi easly. or if they jut have their foot down after a kick u could close distanc and throw if they punch while ur at it all the better movment.
I think all u need is distance and stratigy.