Yup -- that was kind of my point. People who train to use archaic weapons against other archaic weapons don't tend to fret themselves trying to justify the relevance of what they're doing -- or to be insecure about whether what they're doing is a "real martial art".
Aikido's far more exposed than those other arts, so it's going to attract more attention. But there are too many Aikidoka IMO who are way too insecure, defensive, or incomprehensibly condescending when it comes to discussions about what they're doing. Nor can some honestly understand or articulate why they're doing what they're doing. And then they get into arguments trying to hit a target that can be completely different from person to person.
Not very aiki, if you ask me. And the community earnestly wonders why Aikido is disliked by some?
As I started dabbling in other martial arts from Aikido, I had no probably identifying myself as someone who trained Aikido before coming to the new dojo (and someone who may unapologetically go back someday).
Each time I clearly articulated why I did and what I got out of it without any sort of apology, pretense or superiority complex, and got nothing but positive energy out of it, even from the young, seemingly aggressive, tattooed male UFC fans in their 20s training MMA or Jiu Jitsu that some Aikidoka look down on.
I remember an earnest discussion after one session at a very rough and tumble old school Judo dojo here in Seattle about Aikido that didn't turn at all into an "Aikido sucks" discussion because I didn't get defensive and attempt to impose Aikido's context or intent onto what those guys were training. My new wrestling coach, who taught me the sudden and some would say violently sudden movements of single and double leg takedowns, told me he admired how elegant and smooth Aikido looked.
It's funny that arguments for real-ness tend to base themselves on modern applications and on lineage/heritage. Can you really have it both ways?
Quite frankly, yes, depending on what you mean by lineage or application. And if you are earnestly talking about optimal martial arts in that exact context, Aikido wouldn't be on the top of many people's lists for very pragmatic, unbiased reasons.
And you know what? That's okay.
(cue the circular "but they don't understand
what we're doing..." arguments......)