Why? Because you just can't do striking in practice as you would do on the street. If you wear protective equipment, the effect of the strike is not the same and if you don't wear equipment you must pull the atemis to not injure your uke. It is just not the same. It can't be. And this has been a problem with martial arts in general for as long as I am aware.
But if indeed we can use full speed movements in practicing Aikido (by excluding locks and atemis) then we can practice what would happen in a street situation in the dojo with no compromise.
Personally locks are my favorites, as they represent what actually have the potential of working in Aikido.
[Im thinking more of one on one fights that may arise due to various circumstances. Honestly I haven't made it up to the full-scale multi-attack yet. Im of the mind of just walking away.]
As for atemi with equipment not being the same, dunno.
There is the tendency to think that protective equipment dulls all pain. The fact is that as a younger person where this may seem to be the case, as one grows older and perhaps gets out of shape, any sustained beating, with or without protective equipment, will get to you.
The guys who are in the ring who make it look so easy have had their bodies adjusted turned into virtual punching bags... much like the guys who punch their hands into rice so that when they strike someone with their fist it doesnt cut open on the bridge of someones nose.
So I would say dont discount MMA gloves [they are pretty thin anyway, I would tend to go with the MMA sparring gloves which are a bit thicker but let you try out your Aikido techniques.]
Personally, atemi and Aikido are one in the same.
There was a point in my training at the beginning where I thought a conflict could be resolved with a magic pin or throw that didnt hurt uke. - but truth is, the harder the attack, the harder the fall.
If the guy is centered, how do you take that center... probably going to be a knee to the chest, and elbow strike to the face. [wouldnt really recommend the elbow strikes even with head-gear.]
Truth is, there is a magic bullet, and that is staying center and not getting involved in the conflict.
Similar to you, I want to take my Aikido to the next level - as I have mentioned in another thread, I would like to mix my Aikido with Thai Boxing.
What I have found is that my body is not in the shape currently to jump in with a Thai boxer for training. [not as springy as I was a decade or so ago... working on that.]
Once Im able to better condition my body, and I am able to get MMA gloves, I believe I will have some fun with it. - until then I can go through simulations of course, the typical Aikido hypothetical scenarios, etc.
But as someone pointed out, Aikido does seem to be stuck where the Uke doesnt try to regain his center to keep Tori on his toes... granted, there is no reason this shouldnt happen, and though not necessary, something that a live training with protective equipment could assist with.
As another poster pointed out, its around Sandan, etc. when you can really start flowing from one technique to another, and going for it. I feel this is way to long. This is something that should be nailed down in the upper kyu levels - and in truth should be addressed at the lower kyus.
The structure, methodology, of how Aikido is taught seems to be the issue and its one of those things you have to figure out on your own. That is why I mentioned it would be good just to give everyone in the dojo some gloves and let them go for it.
Often certain fundamental concepts just seem to be falling through the cracks, and people hang around at a basic understanding for a long time. [I take that back, they get it, but they cant demonstrate it as they dont get it... get it?]
Its been said before, sometimes, you just got to feel it.
Many people are in delusion as to what would work or not work, when in a real situation they would probably fall at the first strike cause they are out of shape. [first question is, "Rocky can you go the distance"]
... and I will add, I believe Aikido [for me] is learning how not to get into a situation where a fight could happen.
This really could be expounded on, and is worthy of contemplation - as this is the ultimate solution.
The rest is for sport and show.
Anyway - I have babbled on enough, and I probably have made a great example of someone who is unable to communicate exactly what it is Im thinking concerning this. lol