Re: The purpose of Aikido?
I believe there are alot of bad assumptions and paradigms being made concerning aikido and all martial methodologies in general here. Yes, I call them martial methodologies as essentially that is what most of the so-called systems are methodologies and not "arts" per se. although they could be considered "arts" in the definition of a liberal art, but not as a combatives system or art.
I feel about as qualified as anyone to comment on what makes something a combative system since it is pretty much what I do as a professional day in and day out, and very actively today!
As a combat arms soldier, we have many techniques and methodologies for training various components of what we deem important to be effective at what we do, I suppose you could call all the training I do an "combatives system" or a complete system, yet we don't look at it that way, we look at it as components or methodologies to train.
For example, I am well qualified in CQB and Gun work, however, that is not my expertise and I am not the "sensei" of that stuff per se. My strengths are empty hand or Combatives.
So, the guy that trains me in pistol and rifle close quarter stuff as the subject matter expert is my "student" when we transition to combatives.
We view them as mutually supporting methodologies, but they are separate and distinct in the skills that they are training.
So, I believe that the paradigm that says a "martial art" has to be "effective" an interesting one as it begs the question "effective at what?" what are the boundaries of "effectiveness.
Of course WHAT DO I KNOW? identifies the issue by bringing up the whole "get a gun" argument. which, I think is a wrong perspective/conclusion used typically to invalidate any empty handed training in the way that it is done. However, of course, guns do drive the limitation or constraints of our emtpy handed training and it does need to be kept in mind.
I also believe that empty handed martial arts can be broken down into many different methodologies designed to enhance or reinforce desired endstates and things we want to inculcate into ourselves.
Aikido I believe, trained correctly is one such methodology. Agreed that many don't necessarily understand what that may be, or two people may not agree on what is being trained...and that is okay I think.
For me, Aikido has a place in my training, and you can take it FWIW...but I am a professional like many on here that depend on my "martial skills" as a way of life.
However, as pointed out by the OP and a few others, even though I disagree with alot of the statements, that it is incomplete as a holistic system...but that does not mean that it is not "effective" IT IS EFFECTIVE FOR WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED TO TEACH.
I train predominately in BJJ and Mitliary Combatives. Right now I am preparing my unit to go to war. While we focus in the "off season" on many different things with a heavy "Sport Jiu Jitsu" focus and I spend alot of time in Aikido, now that we are preparing for combat operations, we shift our focus/methodologies to the techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) that our assessment and analysis tells us we need to based on what we are seeing on the battlefield.
My base and background for TTPs is based on the fundamentals that I learned in Judo, Jiu Jitsu, and yes...alot of it in Aikido. Honestly as we tighten our shot group to focus on weapons both enemy, control, multiple opponents, etc...I find my background and base in aikido to be even more important.
Even in the non-violent arena where people skills and body language come into play.
Anyway, each methodology has a strength and it has weaknesses. What is important is not arguing about the categorical effectiveness of an art, but discussing the limitations and constraints and focusing on the things that the art does train well.
It is also important to not try and make it something that it isn't..you'll practice it for 10 years under delusion and then feel ripped off once you meet reality and "X Art" failed you.
I don't think too many of the experienced posters here, none that I know of propose that AIkido is a one stop shop by any stretch of the imagination. Most of the Voices of Experience have a pretty good handle on reality I have found.
Anyway those are my experiences and 2 cents worth.