Aikido just doesn't seem to have anything to do with empty-hand grappling. But you don't have to take my word for it: do you ever see BJJ or MMA people using aikido? No. If it worked for empty-hand grappling/striking, they almost certainly would. Jason DeLucia has worked very hard at making it work, and his praise is confined to, "It teaches some interesting principles." or "I once used something like a sankyo to peel off a choke." The exception that proves the rule.
My original background is in Shotokan Karate and in Goju, so my thinking of Aikido is "I Think" a bit different. I find that when cross-training I have mixed success. Most of the time when my training doesn't fare well is when I am thinking about techniques to use. But when relaxed and not being afraid of takedowns etc. Technique just happens. I train with those guys to find out which techniques work better for me and which ones don't.
But I think the problem with most people who train in aikido is the lack of understanding BUNKAI.
My Goju sensei used to stress the importance of understanding Bunkai (Application)
I notice that most aikidoka just go through the motions..."Grab my wrist" "Hit my head" but we need to understand the bunkai.
As far as your quote "Aikido just doesn't seem to have anything to do with empty-hand grappling."
If I understand you correctly and that is to say that there is no answer to these methods in aikido...I would have to disagree with you..."Respectfully of course" I believe that aikido has an answer to any attack, art, situation that might arise. I just think we need to figure out how and why. I belive it is all about using your imagination in training and practicing towards that.
I like that Chris is venturing out to expand his training. My issue is simply that before we venture out to do something different we should at least have a recognizable base to work from. "I didn't see it in this video"
And I believe that no matter your grade or ranking you should always have someone you are accountable to. When you have your own "Dojo" or club and you are in front, people will follow you. So you must remain honest and open to the experience of someone more experienced than you.
I didn't see any aiki in this video and it concerned me that he had students training in that manner.
That was my opinion in this issue.
Anyway I don't know if I am speaking coherently or not, I have not had sleep in 23 hours... sorry.