In light of the conversation about fighitng, I disagree that our objective is to learn to fight without resistance. In my experiences that has been a failing proposition for me as a strategy. Resistance implies "defense only" without offensive countermeasure being applied as "resistance" would be anything that is offensive. You simply cannot control a fight without seizing the iniative and controlling your opponent, this is offensive in nature and hence you must dominate and control.
Personally what I think gets lost in perspective is that Aikido is a methodology for learning certain aspects of a martial pracitce...it is not a "fight strategy" per se....so when I hear "Aikido is about fighting without resistance". That implies that it is a particular way/strategy for fighitng...and I personally feel that is where we get into trouble and folks start looking at aikido as a flawed methodolgy, when in fact it is not, it is simply being looked at in the wrong way.
Fighting is my life. It is what I do. As such, I have found a place for aikido as a methodology for mastering some very key and important concepts, and frankly, It is challenging slow, but does a good job in doing what it is designed to do which is to teach you how to move your body in very efficient ways.
Integrating this into a "fight strategy"...i.e "cross training" or "MMA", is the correct perspective I think....at least it is the one that works best for me. How do you take your basic fight plan and strategy, ie clinch, kicking, punching, weapons, pushing, shoving, use of mass etc....and make it more efficient?
To me, it requires looking at all the elements and aspects of fighitng and diving in on the spectrum and training each of them under methods of control. Randori is one element, Waza is another element..etc.
I think if we loook at aikido more as a methodology to learn some very important elements of fighitng and less of a method of fighting, it changes how we perceive and judge aikido as a success or failure.
Yes I was not implying that Aikido should train WITHOUT resistance. Quite the contrary, but in general while we are learning, we are often told to let the person do the technique to us and this carries on even to the advanced levels to a certain extent.
If Aikido is viewed as a tool in a toolbox rather than a complete answer I would totally agree and from this I have actually gleaned lots of valuable lessons from Aikido.
Aikido coming into play from Clinch
For example, I have been working on fighting from clinch lately and a lot of Aikido moves have a lot of relevance there. I have successfully applied several locks in such situations once I have had contact with the person.
Traditional Aikido assumes you're this leet person who can use Aikido from the start while your attacker is starting to attack you no matter how unpredictable, persistent, fast and relentless he is. In my opinion, unless you're really really really good, this is not going to happen easily especially not with a two/three times a week training. Real fact is that for Aikido to work, you need a great ability to read your opponent's moves, something that static training and traditional randoori do not inculcate.
Once you're in the clinch position however, things change. He no longer can punch you as much and the game is a lot more slower with more body contact. This is a great time to use your Aikido sensitivity to feel his balance and utilize his weak points.
You're not so much trying to intercept his punch and his momentum at the very exact moment he's going to be most off balance (that's hard), you're probing him for weaknesses and grabbing him.
From this point, I found that I could actually use pull off locks like kote-gaeshi and hiji-jime (one of the most common ones I manage to get off actually) and my sensitivity developed from Aikido training made me realize the moments that these locks would work.
However when we weren't allowed to clinch (to just train striking techniques), it was extremely hard to get anything off (even with MMA gloves) unless he messed up.
Just thought I'll add this in since it was something I recently discovered