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.
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.
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.
i'm in agreement with your assessment Reuben.
just a quick 2 cents from me FWIW. a quick background about me is that i've been training in aikido for about 4 years now, with no other significant prior MA training nor 'live sparring' experience.
a few weeks ago, i met up with a martial arts enthusiast (mainly Chinese-based MAs) who was well conditioned and a fairly seasoned fighter. we had a couple of friendly 'spars', and bearing in mind that i have had zero experience in sparring prior to that, these were the results:-
the first spar we had was purely grappling - and i was pleased to have held my own fairly well then. i successfully threw him a couple of times using my aikido training simply by 'reading' and feeling his movements, but of course got slammed a couple of times as well. balanced out okay in the end i guess.
however, when we went into a striking/punching spar, i got thrashed big time. i got a black eye, a bloody nose, and not much to show for it. LOL.