It simply means that we must realized the limitations of our training, and see what we are really doing when we train in the martial arts.
When we train in the martial arts we are not fighting, we are training. We learn about things that might have use in physical conflict. We learn about ourselves and our limitations. We learn lots about martial things. But none of this can ever give us the actual experience of doing them, on the fly, when your life is in danger.
Usually when people ask questions like "is true Aikido effective for disarming", they are looking for a guarantee. They want someone to assure them that if they eat their vitamins, say their prayers, and put the time in, they will be able to beat up the toughest guy on the block. The truth is, no such system can ever exist.
Understood Chris. Again without sounding like a broken record. In my experiance...The purpose all Modern/Gendai Japanese Budo is to develop a Martial Mindset/Spirit. The Koryu practices have also evolved from pure combat systems into (here's a weighted phrase) Spiritual Disciplines. No one strolls around much anymore like Mushashi testing the their Fighting Skills in combat. Even O'Sensei realized that the peak of anyone's Martial Arts Practice was not the ability to vanquish every opponent but to achieve mastery over yourself. If you can accomplish this then almost all fighting (except in self defense) is rendered moot. That's why I find these kinds of 'disarming" questions ludicrous. The point being like all Martial Practices you get out of it what you put into it. You want to learn knife takeaways using Aikido? Put the time and effort in...Keep an open mind...and practice hard.
Shoji Nishio's View was (and one I have come to accept) That Aikido in order to be a Budo Had to be a Martial Art and MUST be effective against other Martial Arts both Gendai and Koryu. Almost all the Koryu Arts are based on the sword. Nishio Shihan thought it sad that Some Aikido folks discontinued this "Aikido is the Sword" philosophy, and he thought it would eventually ruin the future development of Aikido. In his view Aikido without weapons is not anything more than dancing. You cannot have one (Budo) without the other (Martial Art).
That is the main reason I hope you continue to "seek a better way" of doing things. I applaud your efforts and your own personal journey in this regard. I too spend my time in Aikido "seeking a better way" It is a core philosophy of our practice. In that regard One of these days I hope to learn from Dan Hardin or one of his students about Aiki. It can only make our/my Aikido better.
Some folks would argue that this is not "true" Aikido. It is something different. I would strongly disagree.
See you on the mat one of these days.