Re: Martial Ineffectiveness
I used to enjoy these sort of threads, but now they're just painful. Everyone bases ineffectiveness/effectiveness on what they do or know. Someone who trains MMA is going to view everything from that perspective. Anything less, to them, is ineffective. The same goes for someone who trains boxing, bjj, etc etc etc. It's so subjective that it's painful to discuss. People with more intensive fighting backgrounds will tell another person that what they're doing won't work in a "real fight", completely oblivious of the notion that their concept of a fight is two skilled people who are tuned to the situation, going at it, but that's just what's real to them. That's why I have to shrug when I hear people like Matt Thornton, who I respect and have little doubt in the effectiveness of his system, saying things like "kotegaeshi is bullshit, that doesn't work in a real fight". In my early years I had to use Aikido in a fight twice and had a classmate who used it once. In all three cases the techniques used were ones that are commonly stated to not work (kotegaeshi, shihonage, kokyunage), yet in all three cases they worked perfectly well and the conflict ended immediately. How can anyone tell me those situations weren't real?
When I first started training I simply wanted to be able to defend myself from the types of conflict I regularly saw. That being street fights, bar fights, etc. To me, that was real and today, it still is. While my view and desire to learn more has expanded over the years, I made sure that what I was doing, at the minimum, was going to prepare me for those situations. I've seen a few fights in my day and I've never seen two trained boxers or MMA fighters going at it on the street. The few times I've seen actual fighting skill on display, it was the defender who had it, not the aggressor. People who have fighting skill rarely walk around the street looking for a fight. You tend to learn very quickly that there is always a bigger fish in the pond. That's certainly not a universal truism, but it's one I feel safe enough making in this context. The point being that it's not hard for an average aikidoka to train at a level that gives them some assurance that what they're doing is going to work for them and is in fact, not martially ineffective.
Again though, it's based on what you know and what you feel you need to be prepared for. If you're looking around the dojo and you can't tell, then you likely have no understanding of what you need to be prepared for in the first place. If you've never thrown a real punch or felt one from someone, even if you're holding pads for them, you have nothing to base it on. If in your training you've never had good, hard, fast, non-telegraphed attacks come your way, then you likely aren't prepared for even the most basic of fighting situations. If you want to be prepared, you need to either spend some time learning a bit more or find someone who already does and can give you some measure of reality. Where you go from there is up to you.
Apart from my rambling, which I had to get out, both George and Kevin stated things perfectly.